Get into the holiday spirit with a batch of gingerbread muffins. Perfect for breakfast, snacking, or dessert, these tender muffins are filled with holiday spices and topped with a dusting of confectioner's sugar.
This homemade gingerbread muffin recipe makes a wonderfully soft, moist, and tender batch of muffins. Since they're not too sweet, they're perfect for snacking, breakfast, or a light dessert.
Want to make a loaf of gingerbread instead? I have a recipe for that, too: homemade gingerbread loaf. Muffins and bread loaves make a great homemade holiday gift!
Make a batch of gingerbread muffins for Christmas morning, holiday movie night, or just because. They're great served with fresh apple slices, a dollop of whipped cream, or a smear of whipped honey butter.
Ingredients and substitutions
Since this is a baking recipe, I do not have many substitutions to offer. Baking is an exact science, and each ingredient serves its purpose in the recipe. I do not recommend making any substitutions that I haven't mentioned in this section!
- Unsalted butter - Make sure your butter is room temperature so that it easily incorporates with the rest of your ingredients. Unsalted butter and salt can be substituted with salted butter.
- Brown sugar - Light or dark brown sugar will work in this recipe. I used light brown sugar because it's always on hand in my pantry.
- Large eggs - Allow them to come to room temperature before adding to your batter. To bring eggs to room temperature quickly, fill a bowl with hot tap water, add your eggs, and allow to set for 10 minutes. Remove your eggs from the water and dry off before cracking.
- Molasses - I recommend Grandma's Original Molasses (a common brand found in grocery stores). Molasses is a must when baking gingerbread and gives it a distinctive flavor. Light or dark molasses will work in this recipe - dark molasses gives your gingerbread a stronger flavor.
- All-purpose flour - I do not recommend substituting your flour with any other types of flour you may have on hand. AP flour has the perfect amount of structure needed for a quick bread recipe.
- Baking soda - Cannot be substituted with baking powder.
- Spices/Extracts - You'll need vanilla extract, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. All of these ingredients work together to give your bread a well rounded flavor.
Tips and tricks
How to prevent dry muffins:
- Measure flour with a scale or using the spoon and level method. Spoon flour gently into a measuring cup until heaping, then level off the top with a knife. Scooping flour using a measuring cup compacts the flour, adding up to 25% extra to a recipe.
- Don't overbake your muffins. To test for doneness, use an instant read thermometer. When the center reaches 200 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit, they're ready to come out of the oven. You can also test with a toothpick. If the toothpick is dry or has crumbs (not wet batter), your muffins are done.
- Don't omit any wet ingredients. Butter, eggs, sugar (yes, even sugar), and molasses all add moisture and help your muffins retain moisture after baking. Omitting, reducing, or substituting these ingredients can cause muffins to turn out dry.
- Don't slice into hot bread or muffins. Unwrapping or slicing muffins in half while they're hot releases steam, which is the moisture inside your muffins. Wait until they're mostly cooled before enjoying.
Frequently asked questions
Yes! This is the same recipe as my reader-favorite gingerbread loaf recipe, but in muffin form. Pour your batter into a lightly greased or parchment lined 9x5 loaf pan. Then, bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean/with dry crumbs, or the center reaches 200 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit when tested with an instant-read thermometer.
To freeze, you'll need a freezer safe container a gallon-sized plastic freezer bag. Carefully layer your muffins into your container or bag, using layers of wax paper between each row of muffins (to prevent sticking). Muffins will keep for three months or more in the freezer.
Homemade muffins will stay moist for about 3 days before they'll need to be eaten, frozen, or discarded. Store in a tightly sealed, freezer safe container at room temperature.
1. The biggest cause of dry muffins is overbaking. Every oven runs slightly different, so I recommend checking on your muffins periodically about 2-3 minutes early just in case your oven runs a little hot.
2. Don't reduce or omit any of the moisture-adding ingredients. This includes eggs, sugar, molasses, and butter.
3. Measure your flour using a kitchen scale for best results. Excess dry ingredients added to the recipe can cause your muffins to turn out dry. If you don't have a scale, use the spoon and level method instead.
Gingerbread muffins are great as a morning treat with coffee or tea. Pair them with some fresh fruit like apple and orange slices and some candied pecans. They also make an excellent less-sweet holiday dessert. As a garnish, sprinkle some confectioner's sugar on top or add a dollop of whipped cream. If serving warm, a smear of whipped honey butter makes a great addition.
- ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup (107 g) brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup (170 g) molasses
- ½ cup (114 g) boiling water
- 2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar, for dusting, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Stir until well combined.
- In a small bowl, add molasses and boiling water. Stir until combined. Add to butter mixture and stir to combine.
- In a separate bowl, whisk (or sift) together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add wet ingredients. Stir until just combined.
- Portion batter into muffin pan, filling about ¾ full. Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a mufifn comes out clean or with crumbs, not batter.
- Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before dusting tops with confectioner's sugar (optional).
- Store cooled muffins in a tightly sealed container at room temperature. Homemade muffins will keep for about 3 days.
- Muffins can be frozen in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Set frozen muffins on counter top for 30 minutes to bring to room temperature.