Muffins have the potential to be delicious treats that the whole family will love. You might bake muffins on the weekends as a type of special dessert, but some people serve them along with certain meals as well.
If you’re experienced with baking muffins, then you probably have things down to a science. Those who are fairly new to baking them might run into certain issues, though.
Have you taken a tray of muffins out of the oven only to find that they’re flat? Were you expecting fluffy muffins with domed tops, but wound up getting fairly flat muffins instead?
This is something that can break your spirit a bit, but you need to try to determine what went wrong so that you can do things right the next time. Keep reading to learn about why muffins might turn out flat so that you can get better results in the future.
1 – Leavening Issues
Leavening is going to be crucial when you’re trying to get muffins to turn out normal. When you’re baking things, you’re generally always going to add a leavening agent that will help things to rise.
You need to ensure that you use the right amount of leavening ingredients to get the muffins to turn out how you want them to. If you use the wrong amount of ingredients, then it can lead to the tops of your muffins becoming flat or sunken in.
When you’re trying to get the leavening ingredients right, it’s important to note that you’re supposed to use one teaspoon of leavening for every one cup of flour that is in your recipe. If you do this right, then you shouldn’t have the muffins turn out flat.
Measuring things out properly is a must when you’re trying to avoid complications. It’s possible that you might have made some mistakes when measuring the ingredients that caused the issues that you’re experiencing.
Always use measuring cups when preparing your ingredients so that you get things right. It’s also necessary to take the time to level things off so that you’re only using the right amount of the ingredients in the recipe.
You might not think that a little excess flour at the top will be a big deal, but it’s possible that it might matter more than you know. Be mindful of this and always level off your ingredients to avoid issues.
Another thing to consider is that your leavening agent could have been rendered ineffective. For example, you could be using baking powder as a leavening agent, and this can become ineffective if it is left uncovered.
When baking powder isn’t covered properly, it’s possible that it could be exposed to moisture. This moisture from the air is enough to make it not work as a leavening agent in your baking as intended.
Moving forward, you should always ensure that your baking powder is covered tightly. Doing this should make it so that it’ll always be ready to work as intended when used as a leavening agent in baking.
This can also happen with other types of leavening agents. Just do your best to use ingredients that you’re confident will be good and ready to work as intended.
2 – The Muffins Have Been Underbaked
The other likely issue is that the muffins have simply been underbaked. If you don’t bake them for long enough, it’s possible that they won’t be able to form the cellular structure that is necessary to form domes.
This leads to the muffins collapsing and coming out looking rather flat. The cell structure needs to set in during the baking process or else the air spaces that are left will simply wind up deflating.
You don’t have to fully understand how the process works to know that underbaking is going to be a bad thing for your muffins. It might be necessary to be more meticulous about how you’re baking them to get better results.
Some people might have issues with oven temperatures when baking things such as muffins. Your oven might say that it’s a certain temperature on the outside, but the temperature could be a bit different on the inside.
This is why many bakers like to use oven thermometers to be sure about the temperature inside the oven. It allows you to be more precise when determining how long something should bake.
It’s possible that you might have just been overly cautious about taking the muffins out due to being worried about having them burn. No one wants to eat burnt muffins, but you also don’t want to eat underbaked muffins.
Generally, it’s going to be recommended to bake muffins at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. You could reduce the baking time if you’re worried that the recipe you want to use calls for a lower temperature.
It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the muffins instead of walking away. Just check them every so often, and test them to see if they have truly finished baking before turning your oven off.
You can use the tried and true toothpick test to determine if the muffins are actually done baking. Insert a wooden toothpick into the center of one of your muffins.
If the toothpick comes out clean, then that indicates that your muffins are done baking. It’s fine for a few crumbs to stick to the toothpick, but it shouldn’t be runny in any way.
Do You Need to Throw Flat Muffins Out?
You don’t necessarily have to throw flat muffins out if you don’t want to. It might be that the muffins will still taste pretty good even if they aren’t as presentable as you hoped they would be.
Consider taste-testing the muffins to see what you think about them. If they’re good enough, you could choose to still eat them if you want to.
Otherwise, it’s possible to turn the muffins into something else if you’d like to. You could crumble them up and use them as a topping for ice cream or something like that.
There are plenty of ways that you can still enjoy muffins when they’ve turned out flat. It just depends on whether the taste is good and if they’re actually done baking or not.
It might be more likely that muffins with slight leavening issues will be ready to eat. You could try baking flat muffins some more if they aren’t done, but you likely won’t get them to rise again.
Try your best to follow the advice above so that you can get your muffins to turn out the way that you want them to. There are really only two basic causes of muffins turning out flat, and that makes it easy to troubleshoot what went wrong.
It could be an issue with the leavening agent that you decided to use. If your baking powder was exposed to moisture, then it might not have done its job to make the muffins rise.
You could have easily made some mistakes with measuring out your ingredients, too. People often make little errors when they’re baking when they get distracted by things.
Underbaking muffins can cause them to collapse due to not being able to form the proper cellular structure. You need to ensure that they are given the proper time to bake if you want them to turn out with domes like normal.
Now that you know all of this, it should be easier for you to get good results. Muffins are a tasty treat and you’ll get good at making them when you have some more practice under your belt.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.