With sweet potatoes and cozy spices, these cakey muffins are perfect for brunch or breakfast on chilly mornings. Brushed with butter and rolled in a cinnamon-nutmeg-sugar blend, they capture all the textures of a cinnamon-sugar cake doughnut—minus the fuss of frying. This is a must for your fall baking list.
The Perfect Buttermilk Sweet Potato Muffin
If you’ve been experiencing a flush of cool weather in your area, let these cinnamon-sugar sweet potato muffins, filled with a handful of seasonal ingredients, lure you to the kitchen and right into fall baking mode.
The tender texture and tangy taste of these muffins can be accredited to not only the sweet potatoes, but a buttermilk-whole milk batter that pulls all the flavors together. The crunchy outer coating makes for an interesting contrast and just leaves you wondering if this is really just a doughnut in muffin form.
I recently made a double-batch of these doughnut-esque muffins for a breakfast gathering and needless to say they disappeared quickly. You’re going to make these on repeat.
Why You’ll Love This Fall Muffin Recipe
- If you’re baking sweet potatoes for dinner the night before, toss in an extra to make these muffins the next day. You’ll save yourself a step.
- These sweet potato muffins really capture the season when it comes to flavor and aroma. It’s one of best fall season treats.
- There’s something special about the subtle hint of nutmeg in the cinnamon-sugar coating, it’s a small detail that makes a big impact.
- You get to experience a rendition of a cinnamon-sugar doughnut without the mess of frying. Basically a nostalgic taste with a convenient, baked twist, with lots of rustic charm.
How to Bake a Sweet Potato
This recipe calls for baked sweet potato (just like sweet potato pie) that has been pureed. You’ll want the sweet potato to be completely cooled before adding it to any other ingredients. If you baked your sweet potato the night before and it’s cold from refrigeration, make sure to bring it to room temperature before adding to this recipe.
- Set your oven to 400°F (200°C). Wash and scrub the sweet potato thoroughly.
- Pierce the sweet potato a few times with a fork or knife. Place it directly on the oven rack or on a baking sheet.
- Bake for 45-60 minutes, depending on size. It’s done when a knife easily pierces through.
- Remove skin when cooled.
For the Muffins:
- All-Purpose Flour: Forms the base structure of the muffins.
- Baking Powder: Acts as a leavening agent for a light and airy texture.
- Table Salt: Enhances overall flavor.
- Baking Soda: Helps with the muffins’ rise.
- Nutmeg: Adds a warm and nutty flavor to the muffins.
- Buttermilk and Whole Milk: Contribute to the moist and tender crumb.
- Sweet Potato Puree (from one baked sweet potato): Infuses natural sweetness and moisture.
- Vanilla Extract: Enhances the overall flavor profile.
- Unsalted Butter: Adds richness to the batter.
- Brown Sugar: Provides a deeper, caramel-like sweetness.
- Eggs: Bind the ingredients together and contribute to the muffins’ structure.
- Granulated Sugar: Adds sweetness to the coating.
- Cinnamon: Infuses a classic cinnamon flavor.
- Nutmeg: Adds a a warm and aromatic note.
- Unsalted Butter: Binds the sugar and spices, while creating a delicious coating for the muffins to roll in.
Substitutions and Variations
All-Purpose Flour: You can experiment with whole wheat flour or a gluten-free flour blend for a different texture.
Buttermilk: If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make a substitute by adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk and letting it sit for a few minutes.
Whole Milk: You can use any milk alternative like almond milk, soy milk, or oat milk.
Sweet Potato Puree: Pumpkin puree can be a great substitute for sweet potato puree.
Unsalted Butter: Coconut oil or a plant-based butter alternative can be used for a different flavor.
Brown Sugar: You can use granulated sugar or coconut sugar as a substitute.
Granulated Sugar: Brown sugar can be a delicious alternative.
Unsalted Butter: You can use coconut oil or a vegan butter substitute for brushing and rolling the muffins.
Muffin Variation Ideas:
Fold in a handful of chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts into the batter for added texture and nutty flavor.
Mix in diced apples or golden raisins to the batter for a burst of fruity sweetness.
Drizzle the cooled muffins with a simple maple glaze made with powdered sugar and maple syrup.
Create a cream cheese filling by blending cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Swirl it into the batter before baking.
Add a teaspoon of ground ginger to the batter for a hint of warmth and spice.
Fold in chocolate chips or chunks into the batter.
Infuse a citrusy twist by adding orange zest to the batter or the sugar coating.
Create a crumbly streusel topping with a mixture of flour, sugar, and butter to sprinkle over the muffins before baking.
How to Make Sweet Potato Muffins
Step 1: Preheat your oven and generously coat a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray.
Step 2: In a bowl, whisk together muffin dry ingredients.
Step 3: In another, larger bowl, blend buttermilk, milk, sweet potato puree, and vanilla.
Step 4: Using an electric mixer (hand held or stand), cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually alternate between stirring the dry and wet mixtures into the butter mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients—be mindful not to overmix.
Step 5: Fill each muffin cup halfway and bake, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Step 6: In a shallow dish, combine granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Once the muffins are warm but manageable, remove them from the pan, brush with melted butter, and roll in the sugar mixture for a delectable coating. Serve them up warm and enjoy!
Check the recipe card at the end of the post for full instructions.
Storage and Freezing Tips
If you plan to consume the muffins within 1-2 days, store them in an airtight container at room temperature.
For an extended shelf life, especially in warmer climates, you can store the muffins in the refrigerator. Place them in an airtight container or sealable plastic bag.
Sweet potato muffins freeze well. Wrap each muffin individually in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer-safe bag.
When ready to enjoy frozen muffins, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for a few hours. You can also warm them briefly in the oven or microwave.
Keep the muffins away from direct sunlight and moisture to prevent them from becoming soggy.
- Bake the sweet potatoes until they are very tender. This ensures a smooth puree and enhances the natural sweetness of the muffins.
- Puree turns out a lighter and more airy muffin instead of just mashing it.
- Allow ingredients like eggs, buttermilk, and butter to come to room temperature before incorporating them into the batter. This promotes even mixing and a smoother texture.
- When combining wet and dry ingredients, mix only until they are just incorporated. Overmixing can lead to dense muffins – this is so important for a less dense muffin!
- Use a cookie scoop or spoon to ensure each muffin cup is filled uniformly. This helps the muffins bake evenly.
- If possible, use freshly grated nutmeg for a more intense and aromatic flavor.
- Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for about 5-10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack. This helps prevent them from becoming too moist.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I make these muffins ahead of time? Yes! Bake and store the muffins in an airtight container. Warm them in the oven or microwave before serving for that fresh-baked taste.
Any tips for a gluten-free version? Use a gluten-free flour blend in place of all-purpose flour. Ensure other ingredients, like baking powder, are also gluten-free.
Can I reduce the sugar in the recipe? Yes, you can adjust the sugar to suit your taste. Keep in mind that sugar contributes to the muffins’ texture and moisture.
How do I prevent the muffins from sticking to the pan? Ensure the muffin pan is well coated with nonstick spray or use paper liners to prevent sticking. Allow the muffins to cool slightly before removing them from the pan.
Can I skip the cinnamon-sugar coating? While the coating adds a delightful touch, you can skip it if you prefer a simpler muffin. Adjust the sugar and spice levels in the batter to your liking.
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Sweet Potato Muffins with Cinnamon-Sugar Coating
Sweet Potato Muffin Ingredients:
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 tsps. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. table salt
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/3 cup buttermilk full-fat is best
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup sweet potato puree (from a baked sweet potato)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 stick (8 tbsps.) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
How to Make Sweet Potato Muffins:
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and generously coat a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray.
- In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and nutmeg.2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1-1/2 tsps. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. table salt, 1/4 tsp. baking soda, 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- In a large bowl, blend buttermilk, milk, sweet potato puree, and vanilla.1/3 cup buttermilk, 1/3 cup whole milk, 1/2 cup sweet potato puree (from a baked sweet potato), 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Using an electric mixer (hand held or stand), cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually alternate between stirring the dry and wet mixtures into the butter mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients—be mindful not to overmix.1 stick (8 tbsps.) unsalted butter, room temperature, 3/4 cup light brown sugar, 2 large eggs
- Fill each muffin cup halfway and bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Coating the Sweet Potato Muffins with Cinnamon-Sugar:
- In a shallow dish, combine granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Once the muffins are warm but manageable, remove them from the pan, brush with melted butter, and roll in the sugar mixture.1/2 cup granulated sugar, 2 tsps. ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg, 1 stick (8 tbsps.) unsalted butter, melted
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