These bakery style cinnamon swirl muffins are made without a mixer! They have giant muffin tops, a cinnamon swirl inside and cinnamon streusel. It's basically like a cinnamon roll in a muffin!
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This recipe was originally published in November 2020. It has since been updated with a new recipe and new images.
Growing up, my mom would make these little cinnamon buttermilk muffins around Christmas time, serving them warm. This is basically a bigger, bakery style version of those muffins!
I did so much testing to get the base of these cinnamon roll muffins right! I wanted them to be made without a mixer and have giant muffin tops - because let's be honest, that's the best part of a muffin!
These muffins have a sweet cinnamon swirl running in them and are topped with a brown sugar cinnamon streusel and more cinnamon sugar. Finally, they're drizzled in a cream cheese glaze to really give you the cinnamon roll vibes. They're like a coffee cake muffin and a cinnamon roll combined!
Why you'll love this recipe!
- No Mixer: I love a recipe where I don't have to drag out my stand mixer or use a handheld mixer! These muffins are made just in a bowl with a whisk and a rubber spatula.
- Simple Ingredients: nothing too fancy here, you probably have everything you already need in your pantry!
- Cinnamon Flavors: From the filling to the topping, there is cinnamon sprinkled everywhere!
- Super Soft: I tested this recipe with an all butter base and half-butter half-oil, but I found that using all oil meant that the muffins were super soft and fluffy. Plus, it means you don't need to cream any butter.
- Bakery Style Muffins: I've got some great tips to help you get super tall bakery-style muffins!
- Buttermilk: this is going to make your muffins super moist.
- Oil: use a neutral oil like sunflower oil, canola oil or vegetable oil.
- Flour: I've only tested this recipe with all purpose flour.
- Baking Powder & Baking Soda: we're going to use both to help rise these muffins. Make sure they haven't expired!
- Spices: I'm using both cinnamon and cardamom. Feel free to swap out the cardamom for ginger or nutmeg if you prefer.
- Butter: we'll use a bit of unsalted butter for the streusel topping.
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
Step 2: In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the buttermilk, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract.
Step 3: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and use a rubber spatula to mix until just combined. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for an hour. This is going to help the leaveners start working!
Step 4: In a small bowl, whisk the light brown sugar with the cinnamon. This is your filling.
Step 5: Mix all of your streusel ingredients together in a jug or medium bowl. Place in the fridge. Preheat your oven to 425ºFahrenheit (convection, not fan) and line a muffin pan with six liners or grease them with baking spray. You're going to fill up every other muffin cavity with batter, this is going to give you taller muffins.
Step 6: Remove the plastic wrap from the muffin batter. Using a medium cookie scoop or tablespoon, scoop out 1.5 tablespoons of muffin batter (gently!) and place in the prepared muffin liners or greased pan. Sprinkle over ½ teaspoon of cinnamon sugar.
Step 7: Scoop out another 1.5 tablespoons of muffin batter and place on top. At this point the muffin cavity should be full to the top. Sprinkle streusel on top each muffin and more cinnamon sugar.
Step 8: Bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes, then without opening the oven door, lower the temperature to 350ºFahrenheit. Bake for another 18-20 minutes. Remove from the oven when golden brown. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before tranferring to a wire cooling rack. You will have to bake these in batches as we're only baking them 6 at a time!
Expert Tips & Tricks
- Kitchen Scale: I highly recommend using a kitchen scale to weigh your ingredients. It's really easy to add too much flour, giving you dry and dense muffins.
- Resting Muffin Batter: letting the muffin batter rest at room temperature will kick start the baking soda and baking powder, giving you taller muffins.
- Don't Overmix the Muffin Batter: as soon as the dry and wet ingredients are combined, stop mixing. Mixing too much will activate the gluten proteins, giving you dense and tough muffins.
- Gently Scoop: once you scoop out the muffin batter, be gentle! After resting the muffin batter, it should be very soft and you don't want to deflate it.
- Bake 6 at a Time: by baking the muffins six at a time, they won't be crowded in the muffin pan. This gives the tops more room to grow.
- Streusel: if you don't want cinnamon streusel muffins, you can leave out the streusel completely! They would be nice with just some sparkling sugar on top.
- Fill to the Top: a lot of muffin recipes will say to fill just three quarters of the way, but if you want those super high muffins tops you need to fill each muffin liner to the top!
Frequently Asked Questions
You can bake them in a muffin pan without liners! Just make sure you grease the muffin pan thoroughly. I've tested this and it actually gives you a crunchier muffin bottom which I like!
I have tested this recipe with an equal amount of melted butter. It does work but the texture isn't as soft and I found it dry, so please keep that in mind!
I keep my streusel in the fridge so the butter gets cold again. I then use a fork or my fingers to break it apart.
I recommend keeping the cooled cinnamon swirl muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
To freeze, place in a freezer safe ziploc bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Let thaw at room temperature before enjoying.
Try these breakfast recipes next!
Cinnamon Swirl Muffins
- 1 Muffin pan
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
- 1 cup white sugar
- ½ cup neutral oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs room temperature
Cinnamon Sugar Filling
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup unsalted butter melted
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Cream Cheese Glaze
- 3 tablespoons cream cheese room temperature
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar sifted
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.3 cups all purpose flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla extract, oil and sugar. Whisk for 1 minute.1 cup buttermilk, ½ cup neutral oil, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 2 large eggs, 1 cup white sugar
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold until just combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for about an hour.
- Whisk the cinnamon sugar filling ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.¼ cup light brown sugar, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- In a jug or medium bowl, mix the melted butter with the remaining streusel ingredients. It should become thick and clumpy. Place in the fridge while you wait for the muffin batter to finish resting.¼ cup unsalted butter, ¾ cup all purpose flour, ¼ cup light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 425℉/220℃ (convention setting, not fan). Line a muffin pan with 6 muffin liners or grease 6 of the muffin cavities. This recipe makes 10-11 muffins but you're baking them 6 at a time. I recommend lightly greasing the top of the pan too so the muffin tops don't get stuck.
- Remove the plastic wrap from the muffin batter bowl. Using a medium cookie scoop or a spoon, gently scoop out 1 ½ tablespoons of muffin batter and place in the prepared muffin pan. Sprinkle over ½ teaspoon of cinnamon sugar filling.
- Scoop out another 1 ½ tablespoons of muffin batter and place on top of the cinnamon sugar filling. At this point you should have filled the liners up to the top.
- Sprinkle over the chilled streusel topping. You may need to use a fork or your hands to break it up. Sprinkle over a bit of extra cinnamon sugar filling.
- Bake 6 at a time for 5 minutes at 425℉. Then, without opening the oven door, lower the temperature to 350℉/175℃ and bake for another 18-20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven once golden brown and let cool in the muffin pan for 5-10 minutes. Transfer the muffins to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Cream Cheese Glaze
- Whisk all of the glaze ingredients together in a small bowl. If the glaze is too thick, drizzle in some extra heavy cream. If too thin, add more powdered sugar.3 tablespoons cream cheese, 3 tablespoons heavy cream, 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- Drizzle the glaze on top of the cooled muffins and enjoy!