Why You Should Always Let Muffin Batter Rest Before Baking

We've all made mistakes while cooking. Whether it was ignoring the recipe, forgetting to sift your flour, or making random substitutions, yes, we have all made mistakes. The good news is we can learn from our mistakes (hopefully).

Some foods just take practice, like pancakes; others are doomed unless you know professional tricks. For example, bread. Many of us got really into baking during quarantine. However, even making something as seemingly simple as bread can go horribly wrong if you don't know what you're doing. TikTok user @possiblyjoanne tried to make pumpkin bread but ended up with something resembling an orange brick.

Similarly, muffins seem simple. That being said, you've likely noticed the difference between homemade muffins and those from a bakery, even if you can't put that difference into words. Well, guess what? With one added step, you can make bakery-worthy muffins at home. Double-knot your aprons, folks, we're about to turn you into professional bakers. 

The secret to perfect domed muffins

You know how you're supposed to let the dough rest when you're making bread? You should actually be doing this with your muffin batter as well. According to Kitchn, the "secret ingredient for beautifully domed bakery-style muffins is something you can't buy: time."

Most of us whip up our muffin batter and immediately portion it out in baking tins. That right there is what causes our muffins to come out of the oven with flat tops at best (or sunken at worst). Instead, prepare your batter ahead of time, so the starches have time to thicken — this will provide structure for those lovely muffin domes.

While resting your batter is the most important change you can make, there are a few other factors to consider. McCormick recommends double-checking your leavening agent for freshness, as expired baking powder and baking soda will leave you with flat-top muffins again. Because gravity is always going to be a thing, a lighter muffin recipe (like blueberry) will be more successful in achieving domes.