Banana Muffins

Here is the ever-popular Banana Muffin recipe, along with adjustments for different flours. Unlike cake batter, muffins require a light mixing technique to inhibit gluten development and produce a light texture. (High sugar and fat are the gluten-inhibitors in cake batter.) The light and brief mixing technique for muffins makes it possible to use either plain (cake) flour or strong (bread) flour. Since strong flour is more absorbent than plain flour, a little extra liquid is needed. With self-raising flour, baking powder should be omitted, but not soda bicarbonate or salt.

I recommend using 85g sugar (rounded ⅓ cup) for your first batch, until you find your preferred level of sweetness. This is equivalent to 1½ level teaspoons sugar per muffin.

For gluten-free and sugar-restricted diets, please see the notes below the recipe.

For photos of this recipe, please see “Muffin Method”. The photos will enlarge if you click on them.

Makes 12 standard-size muffins muffin

275g plain flour or strong flour
[or 2 cups unsifted Canadian all-purpose flour; tap or jiggle the cup to settle the flour before levelling]
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg, medium or large
75–100g white granulated sugar (⅓–½ c)
100ml vegetable oil
300ml or 300g ripe banana purée (about 3 medium)
100ml milk
2 tablespoons water or milk
(Add 2 tablespoons extra milk when using strong flour, all-purpose flour, or gluten-free flour)
Optional: 50g chocolate chips (¼ c) or chopped walnuts (⅓ c)


1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F), Gas Mark 5, fan oven 170°C. Prepare the muffin pan with paper cases or grease.

2. Mash bananas thoroughly to make a wet lumpy purée. Use either a potato masher or an electric blender. Measure 300ml.

3. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and salt. Add chocolate chips if using. (Add xanthan gum for gluten-free.)

4. In a medium-sized bowl, beat egg briskly with a fork. Stir in sugar, oil, banana purée, milk, and water. (Add extra liquid if using strong flour, all-purpose flour, or gluten-free flour.)

5. When the oven has reached the correct temperature, pour the wet mixture into the dry. (Add nuts if using.) With a metal spoon, mix lightly just until combined and no dry flour is visible, about 20-30 seconds. Do not beat or over stir, and avoid stirring round and round.

6. Fill the cases nearly full. Bake about 20-22 minutes until lightly browned.

For gluten-free muffins, use plain white gluten-free flour, which should be a flour blend. Add 1¼ teaspoons xanthan gum to the dry ingredients. (Xanthan gum is essential for good texture, to replace the role of gluten.) Use 2 medium eggs instead of one, and use 2 tablespoons water. Give the batter a good stir for 20 seconds to develop the xanthan gum. The light mixing technique does not apply with gluten-free muffins since there is no gluten present.

For sugar-restricted diets, the sugar can be reduced to 2 level tablespoons or less; sweet toppings should be omitted. It’s best not to omit the sugar entirely as it does have an effect on texture as well as flavour. (Note that 2 tablespoons sugar per batch will equal ½ teaspoon/muffin; 1 tablespoon sugar per batch will equal ¼ teaspoon/muffin.) Low sugar muffins are best served warm.