Salted Caramel Buttermilk Brown Sugar Muffins

I love when muffins get a nice domed top. And when they’re dripping in salted caramel.

But not all of muffins get that coveted dome. Nor are they always drenched in caramel.

But these are both. I was hoping for the best with the shape and texture because I adapted one of my most popular recipes, Cinnamon-Sugar Crust Cinnamon-Ribbon Bread.

I had never made the recipe as muffins, but when I make the bread, it always rises beautifully and cooks through so evenly. And it’s such an easy recipe to make. One bowl, no mixer, nothing fussy.

It totally delivered for the muffins and they’re soft, wonderfully moist, and the crumb has the perfect balance of density and lightness.

The batter has melted butter, oil, and buttermilk. The later two in particular keep quickbreads and muffins soft, moist and supple.

The buttermilk balances the sweetness and I just love baking with buttermilk. The results are unparalleled and everything turns out so fluffy and tender.

I used real buttermilk but if you don’t keep it on hand, I highly recommend this Powdered Buttermilk. If you don’t use buttermilk often, but sometimes see a recipe that needs a small amount, but think you won’t use the rest of the jug before it goes bad, then the powder is for you. Shelf stable, keeps for ages.

Or make buttermilk by souring your own milk. Add about 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice to 1/2 cup milk, wait 10 minutes for it to curdle, then use as indicated.

To sweeten the batter I used brown sugar which provides wonderful depth of flavor because as the muffins bake, the butter and brown sugar caramelize, creating subtle caramel undertones.

And clearly I played up the caramel flavor by drizzling the muffins with salted caramel. Make your own or use storebought. The muffins don’t ‘need’ it, but why not.

The basic recipe is a great jumping off point for tweaking to your liking. Add mini chocolate chips to the batter or go stick with cinnamon-sugar.

Rather than topping with salted caramel, try a vanilla cream cheese or a browned butter glaze. Can’t go wrong with any of those options.

The muffins are so fluffy that they’re are almost like eating cupcakes for breakfast, minus the frosting. And in place of it, all that caramel.

Which I’m not exactly complaining about.

Salted Caramel Buttermilk Brown Sugar Muffins

These easy, one-bowl, no-mixer muffins are soft, wonderfully moist, and the crumb has the perfect balance of density and lightness. The batter has melted butter, oil, and buttermilk to keep the muffins fluffy and tender. Don’t overfill your muffin pan because the muffins rise very well. While baking, the butter and brown sugar caramelize, creating subtle caramel undertones. Although they don’t ‘need’ it, I played up the caramel profile by drizzling with salted caramel. Make your own or use storebought. Use the batter as a jumping off place and try adding chocolate chips or glaze them with another favorite.

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1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt, optional and to taste
salted caramel, for drizzling (storebought or homemade)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a Non-Stick 12-Cup Regular Muffin Pan with paper liners or spray well with floured cooking spray (I prefer the cosmetic look of no liners); set pan aside.
  2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power; set aside.
  3. In a 2-cup glass measuring cup or medium bowl, add the buttermilk, oil, egg, vanilla, and whisk to combine.
  4. Add the buttermilk mixture to the melted butter and whisk to combine.
  5. Add the brown sugar and whisk to combine.
  6. Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, optional salt, and stir until just combined; don’t overmix. Batter will be lumpy and don’t try to stir the lumps smooth or muffins will be tough.
  7. Using a large cookie scoop or 1/4-cup measure, distribute the batter evenly among each cavity of the prepared muffin pan. Cavities will be between 2/3 and 3/4-full; don’t exceed 3/4-full or muffins could overflow because they rise very well.
  8. Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes, or until tops are domed, puffed, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs dangling but no batter. Bake until done; watch your muffins and not the clock. Allow muffins to cool in pan for about 10 minutes before carefully removing.
  9. Drizzle muffins with salted caramel as desired. Don’t add the caramel until you’re ready to eat them because they could get soggy. Muffins are best fresh, but will keep airtight for up to 5 days at room temp; or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

Adapted from Cinnamon-Sugar Crust Cinnamon-Ribbon Bread

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