6 Grocery Store Muffins To Buy And 6 To Avoid

What is it about muffins that make our breakfast taste buds sing? Perhaps it's the inherent sweetness that pairs perfectly with a cup of coffee, or that pleasantly full, satisfied feeling we get after consuming one. Whatever the reason, muffins remain an extremely popular breakfast staple. Statista reported that in 2020, over 95 million Americans ate pre-packaged muffins, which is expected to rise to around 99 million in 2024. Obviously, there is a huge market to be found in the ready-made muffin department — which is why the majority of grocery stores are now offering them in their bakery sections, available to be picked up right along with the rest of your weekly food staples.

However, as is typically the case in any over-flooded market, the question of which ones to purchase arises. With so many flavors, sizes, and brands of muffins available, how do you determine which are worth the buy and which should be left in the aisle? Using our own experiences and the help of consumer reviews, we've compiled a guide to help you on your next muffin-seeking journey. Here are six grocery store muffins you should buy and six you should avoid.

Buy: Sprouts Pistachio Muffins

When you first glimpse the Sprouts Pistachio Muffins, you might be initially turned off by them. That's because the inside, which pokes out like a delicious reveal from the middle of the cracking, golden brown muffin tops, is green — very green. But this neon-like hue is actually a good thing. Why? It speaks to the ample, natural flavor of the nuts inside.

Just like a full-bodied, creamy pistachio ice cream or a good pistachio macaron, these delicious Sprouts bakery creations sport the infamous green hue associated with the nuts that grow on the pistachio tree. Just as their exaggerated color would suggest, these muffins are baked with real pistachios, creating a flavor that feels authentic and not at all artificial. Complete with a moist, almost creamy texture and a perfect, mild sweetness level that is not overpowering in the least; these muffins can be completely and utterly addicting. You might want to snag two containers because there's zero chance your four-pack will survive the end of the day — maybe even the car ride home.

Buy: Costco Corn Muffins

When you think about Costco's various muffin flavors, a corn one might not even show up on your mental radar. That's because this lesser-known variant from the ever-popular Costco bakery has not traditionally been available in every warehouse. Over the last few years, the previously low-key corn muffin flavor has been making a name for itself slowly but surely, gaining the attention of consumers everywhere.

Moist and cakey and reminiscent of a really yummy cornbread, these giant baked treats may just have to replace your usual purchase of blueberry muffins the next time you're shopping at the wholesaler. Aside from the great taste that is corroborated by reviewers across the board, there is another major perk associated with the yellow breakfast bites: they are some of the lowest-calorie muffins you can get from Costco. While the franchise's Double Chocolate Muffin, for example, is almost 700 calories, the Corn Muffin is just over 500. That might still sound like a lot, but considering the nutrition stats of the other muffin choices surrounding them on the shelves, the Corn Muffins fare slightly better for your waistline — and, of course, your taste buds.

Buy: Publix Blueberry Muffins

Publix is famous for its bakery department. Its cakes, pies, doughnuts, breads, and yes — muffins — are praised by consumers all along the Southeastern United States, where the franchise is based. And while various exciting flavors such as Zucchini Nut or Apple Bran grace the aisles of the popular grocery store, we'd like to nominate the simplistic, classic Publix Blueberry Muffin four-pack as the one you should place first in your cart. Each of these sweet, streusel-topped, moist treats filled with generous amounts of flavorful berries that explode in your mouth with every bite are a breakfast indulgence well worth the cost and the calories — and it's not just our word you have to take for it.

Throngs of customers feel the same regarding this particular Publix bakery steal, and the Blueberry Muffins are often called out on platforms such as Reddit as being one of the top items to buy from the Publix bakery. "Delicious and soft muffins from the Publix grocery bakery," said a hopeful, recipe-seeking user. "Any other muffin recipe just does not compare!" High praise. Pardon us while we add the grocer's blueberry muffin variant to our Instacart order. 

Buy: Trader Joe's Gluten Free Cinnamon Coffee Cake Muffins

Trader Joe's is a treasure trove for organic produce, snacks, supplements, and other healthy staples at an affordable price. People with gluten allergies tend to find a haven in the grocer, as well, seeing as Trader Joe's selection for those with celiac disease and other sensitivities is considered superb. And among the gluten-free pancake mixes, sandwich breads, cookies, and stuffing, there is a stellar muffin worth trying — whether you personally avoid gluten or not.

The Trader Joe's Gluten Free Cinnamon Coffee Cake Muffins are a pure taste of heaven — not just for those with dietary restrictions, but for anyone on the planet. "Trader Joe's Gluten Free coffee cake cinnamon muffins are the best muffins I've ever had. Regardless of the gluten free part," reads the title of a Reddit post under r/Celiac. "I have to get a second box every time," replied someone on the thread, "one for me, the celiac, and one for everyone else who refuses to let me eat them in peace, lol." These reviews speak for themselves. Every bite into one of these mouthwatering, moist, magical muffins brings with it the distinct flavor of smooth, aromatic coffee cake, crunchy cinnamon chunks, and brown sugar crumbles. Don't walk past these ones; trust us. 

Buy: Target Blueberry Streusel Muffins

Though most don't realize it, many pre-packaged, store-bought blueberry muffins contain blueberries that aren't real berries at all. "The blueberries in those muffins are made from apples! But flavored and dyed like blueberries," explained a user on Reddit under a thread titled, "What blueberries go in commercial blueberry muffins?" Commenters couldn't believe the admission, but it turns out that in many cases, this rings true. Even HuffPost ran an article addressing the issue of fake berries in mixes and baked goods back in 2014 — a testament to the sad reality.

However, there is a glimmer of hope to be found at your nearest Target. In the aisles of the baked goods section sits a package of great-tasting blueberry muffins that have actually been baked using — wait for it — real blueberries. Target's brand of Favorite Day Bakery Blueberry Streusel Muffins not only contain the type of fruit being advertised in the title, they also deliver a fresh, moist, sweet bite that is finished off with a crunchy, sugary sheen sprinkled on top. Target's culinary creation harbors universally great reviews — and rightfully so, we say. After all, there is something to be said about being real.

Buy: Wegmans Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

Recently, the generally well-loved Wegmans bakery has been catching some flack. Why? According to employees, more and more of its delectable bakery products are being brought in frozen rather than baked fresh in-house. "Most of the breads, the donuts, croissants and bagels come in frozen and are finished/topped in the store," admitted an alleged employee on Reddit. This might depress you a bit, as there are quite a few consumers who have learned the truth about the origins of their favorite grocery store's bakery items.

However, there is one beloved item — a muffin, no less — that has avoided the freeze treatment, maintaining its baked-fresh-daily status. "The only muffins not frozen are the mini muffins," said a presumed employee on a thread titled "Muffin Question" under r/wegmans. And to be honest — we can tell. The bite-sized baked beauties known as the Wegmans Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins are made up of a perfectly moist vanilla cake composed of whole-wheat flour and little chocolate chips, which seem to pop up in all the right places in every bite. The best part? They genuinely do taste fresh. The only downside we can find is that, due to their small size, it's easy to get carried away and pop way too many in your mouth in one sitting. Buyers, beware — in a good way, of course.

Avoid: Festival Foods Chocolate Chip Muffins

Festival Foods, a regional Midwestern grocery chain famous for its fresh, ready-to-cook meals, has a fairly extensive bakery section under its belt. Pies, rolls, doughnuts, sweet rolls, danishes, turnovers, and custom cakes await those shoppers with a sweet tooth ... but, of course, what full-scale bakery would be complete without muffins?

Festival Foods doesn't fall short in that department, offering an array of jumbo-sized muffins as part of its permanent bakery lineup. These flavors include Double Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Turtle, and Blueberry — and though we want so badly to love them, unfortunately, we just can't. This is because the muffins, in particular the Chocolate Chip variant, deliver nothing but a solidly average taste that feels slightly ... artificial in nature. This isn't hard to believe when the ingredients list is examined closely. Artificial flavoring pops up multiple times — and the long list of additional complicated-sounding ingredients leads us to wonder just how processed the treats really are. Maybe it's something we could look past in moderation, but the so-so taste just doesn't quite make these ones worth it in our book.

Avoid: Walmart Triple Chocolate Muffins

This next muffin comes out of Walmart, the world's largest retailer. Its in-house brand, Marketside, produces a number of noteworthy bakery treats that, for the most part, are pretty well-liked among consumers. Its Apple Pie, Strawberry Butter Cake, and Cinnamon Rolls, for example, are all way better than they have any right to be. But one Walmart bakery treat we can't quite put up on a pedestal is the Marketside Triple Chocolate Muffin. Oddly enough, this isn't even on account of its taste.

Walmart's take on a rich, chocolate muffin isn't bad. In fact, it can be downright delicious when fresh. The problem is that getting one fresh can be a major challenge. Consumers report frequent issues with dryness in regard to this treat in particular, blaming the fact that the product has likely been kept on the shelf longer than it should have been. "The big letdown though was those triple chocolate muffins," said one consumer on Reddit. "They were so dry and just didn't taste right." Since your chance of getting a half-stale pack seems high, we'd recommend not going there at all.

Avoid: Aldi Bake Shop Blueberry Muffins

While some grocery stores like Costco, Wegman's, Kroger, Safeway, and Publix, for example, have bakery departments built into each of their locations, this is not the case with the fast-growing retailer Aldi. Though a few select Aldi locations have on-site bakeries able to whip up some delicious doughnut holes, chocolate chip cookies, or Danish strips fresh for shoppers, the vast majority of them do not — which is why, for the most part, we don't recommend Aldi's Bake Shop Blueberry Muffins during your next grocery store pick-up.

There are multiple reasons for this. Besides having a mediocre, rather artificially-tasting blueberry flavor, the muffins — seeing as it's highly likely your local Aldi does not have an in-house bakery — have been shipped in and are likely full of preservatives hearty enough to keep them going. It would hardly be the first of Aldi's products to be questioned over its ingredients. Its English muffins, for example, have been called out multiple times on Reddit for their ridiculously long-lasting expiration dates, with some consumers claiming they contain a number of disputed artificial preservatives. Given a subpar taste and the risk of consuming questionable additives, we wouldn't be lining up to try these ones if we were you.

Avoid: Kroger Pumpkin Muffins

Oh, Kroger. The bakery department of the nation's largest grocer is constantly knocked down for being subpar. "Does anyone else find that the taste of everything that comes out of the bakery is consistently unsatisfying?" said a poster on Reddit. "I mean, the stuff that comes out looks delicious, but then I find myself incredibly disappointed when I do eat them." Unfortunately, this opinion seems to extend across the board — and in the case of its muffins, things are no different.

In a separate Reddit post, another user called out Kroger's Pumpkin Spice Muffins specifically. After describing disgusting store conditions at their local store, they described a stomach-curdling scenario in which the pack of muffins they brought home included a bug baked right into the batter. "When I opened the package to eat one, baked right on top of my muffin top was a bug. Legs, wings and all," the consumer said, their disgust reading right through the text. "My neighbors and I want a clean store to buy nonspoiled, nonbug-infested food from." Yikes. If a potential praying mantis mixed in with your pumpkin spice isn't enough to make you want to steer clear of this bakery treat, we aren't sure what is.

Avoid: Lidl Double Chocolate Muffins

There's nothing quite like the feeling of not getting what you paid for. When it comes to grocery store muffins, you might have a hard time imagining a scenario in which this could happen. After all, the clear clamshell containers housing the majority of the baked breakfast treats show clearly how many you're getting right from the get-go. Surely, a person who buys a four-pack can expect four large, filling, fluffy muffins to indulge in over the next few days, right?

Unfortunately, when it comes to Lidl's Double Chocolate Muffin treats, customers report the sneaky way in which they sometimes feel deceived by the grocery store when it comes to its chocolate muffin variant. Within the subreddit r/shrinkflation, one consumer posted a thread titled, "The deceptive new shape of Lidl muffins. Shrunk by squeezing in the sides, masked by the same size puffy top." Besides a photo illustrating their point, the user went on to describe double chocolate muffins, which were very large on top — the part that is visible to the buyer — and disproportionately small on the bottom, making the customer feel slightly misled. Besides this obvious turn-off, the overly rich chocolate flavor becomes another reason we can't recommend these ones in good conscience.

Avoid: Food Lion Bran Muffins

Bran is a flavor that feels very much forgotten. However, Food Lion, the North Carolina-based grocery store, actually carries a bran muffin in its bakery section — becoming, perhaps, one of the last places to do so. According to consumers, this particular baked breakfast item has been available for years, a beloved and delicious staple for nostalgic customers happy to see this once-popular staple still alive and kicking.

But no fast food or grocery store recipe is safe from being altered over time, and in the case of Food Lion's Bran Muffins, some changes have reportedly been made to the original recipe, which has downgraded the treat big time. "Food Lion used to make a really good bran muffin," said a user recently on Reddit. "About a year ago, they changed the recipe and also made them smaller for the same price. The taste wasn't near as good. I stopped buying them." We'll be honest, below-average flavor doesn't exactly make us want to rush out and grab these ones. Still, though, if your heart is really missing the bran bakery treats of old, you can certainly give it a shot. Things change, after all, so who knows? Maybe one day soon, the pendulum will swing in a good way for these bran breakfast treats.


To formulate our list of grocery store muffins to purchase and avoid, the writer's personal taste experiences, as well as reviews, consumer encounters, and opinions drawn from the Reddit platform, were all taken into account. All of these factors went into cooking up what we believe to be an accurate and comprehensive assessment. While we believe this list to be on-target, food is subjective, and opinions may vary.