Butter v. Oil

I’ve noticed some comments about butter and oil in the reviews at Amazon.co.uk, so it’s worth a mention here.

Cake and muffin batters are very different. Cakes usually rely on large amounts of sugar and butter creamed together to produce a light texture, but this is not the case with authentic muffin batters. (See my article: Cupcakes aren’t Muffins!)


Many muffin recipes use cooking oil instead of butter. Oil, being a liquid, distributes easily in the quick-mix batter and is readily absorbed into the baked muffin, producing a light non-greasy texture. Vegetable oil is ideal because its mild flavour doesn’t compete with the main flavour of the muffin. My recipes generally specify 100ml vegetable oil per batch of 12, which is only 1½ teaspoons per muffin.

Melted butter, on the other hand, naturally solidifies when the muffins cool. As a result they have a slightly denser texture than muffins made with oil. And of course the buttery flavour is more dominant than oil, which is desirable for some flavours (e.g. Butter Pecan) but not all.

For each recipe, the choice of oil/butter has been guided by several factors to achieve the best result. For those who have ever wondered about the oil/butter question, I hope this will help to clarify!