There is more to a savory muffin than just cheese. While sharp cheddar does make them super soft and flavorful, it’s the spinach mix that makes these golden spinach cheddar muffins incredible. And by that I mean a combination of baby spinach and onions, sautéed in olive oil along with paprika, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes. The final result are soft muffins – cheesy, sweet and slightly meaty. Have these for a quick breakfast or show them off at the brunch table.
In a world where you can find any muffin any time anywhere, do we really need another muffin recipe? Well, yes, we do. I do at least. Peeling a fresh muffin, biting into that crisp top and soft center, fighting to get every last crumb off the paper is a whole experience. One I wish to repeat over and over. And right now I’m doing it with these golden spinach cheddar muffins.
I like to think of these muffins as a one cup version of a breakfast omelette. Think sweet onions and spinach, eggs and milk, cheddar and sun-dried tomatoes, smoked paprika and garlic. All packed up neatly in a tender little muffin, golden like the sun, topped with pine nuts for some crunch.
This recipe makes 12 standard muffins, just enough to cover your breakfast or snacks for a few days. Or enough to serve for brunch or lunch. They taste slightly sweet and cheesy and are a perfect companion for a hearty salad or a tomato-based soup or stew of some sort.
Golden spinach cheddar muffins – tips and tricks
- I like both mild and sharp cheddar in this recipe, so pick your favorite if you can’t decide. In any case, grate the cheese yourself. I know it’s an extra step, but pre-shredded cheese just isn’t as good and it has a different texture.
2. For sun-dried tomatoes, get the ones preserved in oil. It’s an extra bit of flavor. And I love using the oil from the jar in other recipes.
3. The batter for these golden spinach cheddar muffins is very thick. You want that. The easiest way to scoop and divide the batter is with an ice cream scoop. I use a spring-loaded 2-tablespoon (1 oz or 30ml) ice cream scoop. It’s my holy grail for everything from pancakes to muffins, cookies and ice cream.
4. I love the combination of cheese, spinach and pine nuts (just look at this leek spinach tart) which is why I’m using pine nuts in this recipe. Feel free to use other toppings such as sunflower seeds, sesame seeds or even everything bagel seasoning.
There are a few steps involved in making these golden spinach cheddar muffins, but overall this is a very easy muffin recipe. You sauté the onions as you would for any other recipe, add some spices, tomatoes and spinach. Whisk all of that with milk and eggs, some oil and flour and voila – you have muffins!
If you’re on a savory muffin kick, try these broccoli muffins too. They’re a bit more involved, but tasty nonetheless.
Golden spinach cheddar muffins
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) olive oil
- 1 small onion (finely chopped)
- 1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 12 sun dried tomatoes (chopped)
- 5 oz (140 g) baby spinach (roughly chopped)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3.5 oz (100 g) sharp white cheddar (grated)
- 2 2/3 cups (350 g) all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 cup (30 g) pine nuts
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. Set aside.
- In a pan set over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions and cook for 3-5 minutes, until tender. Stir in paprika, garlic powder and sun dried tomatoes and cook until fragrant. Turn off heat and add all of the spinach. Stir and allow the spinach to wilt.
- Whisk eggs in a large bowl. Next whisk in milk, the remaining olive oil and salt. Fold in the spinach and cheese. The mixture will be thick.
- Mix baking powder into the flour. The fold the flour into the batter and keep folding until no dry patches are left.
- Divide the batter between the muffin cups (about 3 tablespoons per cup). Top with pine nuts. Bake in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
- Remove muffins from the pan and allow to cool on a wired rack. Keep leftover muffins in the refrigerator and eat within 2 days.
- Use an ice cream scoop to divide the batter. It’s a mess-free way to do it and the only one that lets you make 12 equal portions.
- I use sun-dried tomatoes that are preserved in oil. It’s an extra boost of flavor for the muffins. But oil-free sun-dried tomatoes are okay too.
- When using cheese in this or any recipe, grate it yourself. The flavor and texture is different from the pre-shredded cheese. It’s an extra step but you won’t regret it.
- If you don’t have olive oil, any neutral oil (like vegetable oil or sunflower oil) is just as good.
- If pine nuts aren’t your thing, you can use other nuts or sesame seeds instead. Everything bagel seasoning would be delicious too.