Plush and tender with an intense corn flavor, these Sourdough Corn Muffins are the perfect side for any meal. Sourdough discard adds a tangy note that makes these muffins truly unique. You can whip these corn muffins up in 30 minutes with one bowl!
A childhood favorite
The first time I had a corn muffin was at Kenny Rogers Roasters when I was 10 years old. I was always a picky eater but I instantly fell in love with their yummy corn flavor and soft, subtly sweet crumb. Every Sunday, my parents would take me and my siblings out for dinner and my vote was always for Kenny Rogers so I could have my favorite corn muffins and roast chicken.
Corn muffins always take me back to those Sunday dinners with my family. So I’ve always wanted to add a sourdough twist and share this recipe with you.
Why I love this recipe
- You can mix the batter by hand - no special equipment required!
- Intense corn flavor with kernels in the crumb.
- A plush, tender crumb that’s lightly crumbly, but won’t fall apart.
- Sourdough adds a delicious tangy flavor.
- Discard adds moisture that keeps the muffins tasting fresh for days.
What you need
Corn: You can use fresh corn, canned or frozen to this recipe! Blend it with milk to import an intensely corn flavor to these muffins.
Cornmeal: I used Quaker Yellow Cornmeal to create this recipe since it’s widely available. It’s classified as a medium-grain cornmeal, you can use any brand as long as it's not too coarse. Do not use coarse cornmeal as it will make your corn muffins too crumbly and fragile
All-purpose flour: This recipe includes a large amount of all-purpose flour, which keeps these muffins light and fluffy. Don’t try to substitute whole wheat flour (or rye or spelt etc) they will become too dry and dense.
Vinegar: When combined with baking soda, this ingredient helps the muffins rise, yielding a delightful tall muffin top and a wonderfully soft crumb. White vinegar and apple cider vinegar will both work for this recipe.
Sourdough discard: You can use active starter or add 56 grams of water and 56 grams flour if you don’t have your own sourdough starter.
See recipe card for full ingredient information.
Baking with Sourdough Discard
Sourdough discard adds a great tangy flavor to these corn muffins. Since you’re not using it as a leavener, your sourdough starter does not need to be activated or fed for it to work in this recipe and you can use it straight from the refrigerator. Older discard will have a bolder acidic flavor than freshly-fed sourdough starter. Both will work for this recipe, however, you’ll get a slightly different flavor.
I don’t have enough sourdough discard, can I still make this recipe?
Absolutely! Simply use the same proportion of freshly fed sourdough starter in the recipe. Your starter won’t add a strong tangy flavor to your cookies, but will still work.
If you don’t have a starter, but still want to try out this recipe, simply add 56 grams of all-purpose flour and 56 grams of water to your batter.
- Cook a few slices of bacon, mince finely and add it to the top of your muffins.
- Add 3 minced jalapenos and ½ cup of cheddar cheese to the batter.
- Substitute sour cream for the vinegar and milk in this recipe for extra plus, rich muffins.
STEP 1: Blend milk, vinegar and 1 cup of corn kernels
STEP 2: Combine corn mixture, melted butter, sugar and sourdough discard
TIP: Most bakers don’t know that chemical leaveners like baking soda and baking powder have a shelf life and will eventually lost their effectiveness. If yours are no longer fresh, they won’t be able to help your muffins rise.
STEP 3: Stir in dry ingredients and half of the flour
STEP 4: Fold in the remaining flour and corn kernels
TIP: Let the batter rest before baking, this lets the flour hydrate and the gluten relax which makes them moist, and tender with taller muffin tops.
STEP 5: Bake at 375 for 20 to 25 minutes
STEP 6: Brush honey butter on top of the baked muffins
How to get tall bakery-style muffin tops
- Test your leaveners for freshness: Combine a pinch of baking soda and baking powder with a drop of vinegar. If the mixture fizzes, then your leaveners will work.
- Fold in the flour gradually: Folding the flour in increments will prevent lumps and too much gluten development, resulting in plush, tender muffins.
- Start hot and turn down the temperature of your oven: Preheat your oven to 450 F and then turn down the temperature to 375 F when you put your muffins in the oven. The initial high heat will encourage your muffins to rise high, while baking at a lower temperature will gently bake your batter without burning the muffins.
- No peeking!:Do not under any circumstances open the oven door. Heat escapes every time you open the oven door, if your muffins are not completely baked in the middle, this will cause your muffins to sink and become dense and gummy.
There’s a few reasons:
- Your baking soda and baking powder may be past their prime and not able to leaven your muffins
- You may have opened the oven door before the center of your muffins are fully baked, unfortunately this would cause them to sink and the center to be dense and gummy
- You may have measured your ingredients incorrectly, weigh your ingredients to make sure your proportions are correct
- Your oven temperature may have been too low, high temperatures encourage the muffins to rise
You may have developed too much gluten in your batter. It helps to fold your flour into the batter ⅓ at a time to ensure all of the flour is incorporated without overmixing. Opening the oven door before your muffins are fully baked could also cause them to be too gummy. In this case, your muffins will sink and the interior will be gummy.
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Sourdough Corn Muffin Recipe
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- 270 grams corn kernels
- 150 grams milk
- ¼ teaspoon vinegar
- 113 grams unsalted butter melted and cooled
- 113 grams sourdough discard
- 100 grams cane sugar
- 2 eggs
- 4 grams salt
- 10 grams baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 150 grams cornmeal
- 165 grams all-purpose flour
- Blend the corn kernels: Combine the milk, 1 cup of corn kernels and vinegar in a blender jar. Blend smooth. Transfer to a large bowl.270 grams corn kernels, 150 grams milk, ¼ teaspoon vinegar
- Make the batter: Add the melted butter, sourdough discard, eggs and sugar into the corn mixture. Stir until no traces of discard and eggs remain.113 grams unsalted butter, 113 grams sourdough discard, 100 grams cane sugar, 2 eggs
- Fold in the salt, baking soda, baking powder, cornmeal, and half of the all-purpose flour into the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined.4 grams salt, 10 grams baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, 150 grams cornmeal, 165 grams all-purpose flour
- Add the remaining corn kernels and flour into the batter. Stir just until no traces of dry flour remain.
- Let the batter rest: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest while your oven preheats.
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 450 F. Grease muffin tin with oil or butter. Set aside.
- Portion out batter: Divide the batter evenly among the crevices of the prepared muffin tin.
- Bake: Place the muffin tin on the middle rack of the oven, close the door and immediately turn down the temperature to 375 F. Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not open the door before the 20-minute mark or your muffins will sink!
- Let the muffins cool in the tin for 15 minutes before turning them out on a wire rack.
- Enjoy and store: These muffins are best enjoyed on the day they are baked. Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
These recipes were developed and tested using grams for precise measurements. To increase your chances of success, I recommend investing in a kitchen scale. I've included rough volume estimates (in tablespoons and cups), but they might not be totally accurate.
Remember all ovens are unique, these recipes were tested in my oven which runs cooler than others. You might need to lower the temperature if your bake appears to be browning too quickly. Monitor your bake closely and make adjustments if needed.