Multipurpose Savoury Muffins

Multipurpose Savoury Muffins

Light, fluffy and very adaptable, these muffins do exactly what it says on the tin. They can be made to suit a variety of tastes/life situations with only some minor tweaks:

Kids at school? Portable, nutritious lunchbox treat.

Kids off school? Perfect snack for when they get hungry after playing, gaming or incessant squabbling.

No kids to think about? Please your inner child by making them exactly how your heart desires.

What’s more, you can easily adapt these for global flavours: see below for variations including a vegetarian version. If baking is not an option, you could make these in an appe or aebleskiver or takoyaki pan on the stovetop. With so much flexibility, you have almost no excuse not to try this recipe. The photos accompanying the recipe are of the Palak Paneer muffins that I made in one of the many trials of this recipe.

The cheddar in the basic version may seem incongruous, but it’s there to lend flavour and a tiny bit of fat – as you can see from the ingredients, there’s very little added fat in these muffins. These are great to eat plain but if you are in the mood to gild the lily, I highly recommend cream cheese, soft boiled egg and hot sauce.


1. You can make these with plain or wholewheat flour or a mix of the two. I used ‘atta’, the finely ground chapati flour available for Indian cooking. It’s very important to note that different flours will absorb liquids differently, so you may need less or more than what I have specified. Add the liquid bit by bit, stirring gently until there is no dry flour and you are left with a thick, almost dough-like batter.

2. Chop everything finely and ensure that sauteed mixture is as dry as possible.

3. This is a great way to use up any leftover cooked chicken in any flavour. You could also experiment with other ingredients such as chopped ham, sausages, mushrooms, peas etc. – just make sure that there is some textural contrast.

4. Be careful with the salt if any of your seasoning mixtures already contains it.

Multipurpose Savoury Muffins

Light, fluffy muffins which can be adapted in a myriad of ways
Course Snack
Cuisine Multi-cuisine
Servings 12 muffins


Basic Muffins

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, about 30 g
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely, about 50g 1/3 cup chopped volume
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped finely, about 100g 1/2 a cup or 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 0 - 2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 cup plain flour, wholewheat flour (atta) or a mix 150g
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup grated cheddar lighter version is ok
  • 1/2 cup cooked chicken or paneer, chopped finely or sweetcorn
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk or water or stock see note

Indian version 1: Tandoori Chicken

  • 1 tsp tandoori masala

Indian Version 2: Palak Paneer

  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 50 g cooked spinach, squeezed dry and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garam masala

Italian Version:

  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning or a mix of dried basil, oregano & thyme
  • 1/3 cup mozzarella, finely chopped or coarsely grated
  • 1 -2 tbsp finely grated parmesan optional

Mexican Version:

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika optional
  • 1 tsp Mexican seasoning or dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped jalapenos from a jar placed on a paper towel to absorb any excess moisture
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

Greek Version:

  • 1/3 cup feta, cubed
  • 1 tsp dried oregano

Peri Peri Version:

  • 1/2 - 1 tsp hot sauce, preferably peri peri You may want to adjust the quantity of the chilli flakes or omit it altogether
  • ¼ tsp lemon zest


Basic Muffins:

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C / 375°F. Grease a muffin tin with some butter.
  • Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium low heat and add the onions. Saute gently for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic. Fry for a couple more minutes.
  • Now add the tomato, ¼ tsp salt (see note 4) and the chilli flakes, if using. Fry until the all moisture evaporates. Set aside to cool to room temperature while you get the other ingredients ready.
  • In a large bowl, sieve the flour, the baking powder and ¼ tsp salt (see note 4). Add the cheddar cheese and mix.
  • Now add the sauteed mixture, chicken/paneer/sweetcorn and mix again.
  • Pour in the beaten eggs, stir, then add the milk/water/stock bit by bit, stirring until the mixture comes together and has no dry flour.
  • Scoop about 2 - 3 tbsp of the mixture into the muffin tin to fill about 2/3 of the hole - the exact quantity will depend on the size of each muffin cup.
  • Bake for about 15 - 20 minutes until the tops are golden and the muffins are cooked through.
  • Serve with cream cheese, chutney or sauce of your choice.

Indian Version 1: Tandoori Chicken

  • Add a tsp of ginger with the garlic when sauteeing. Use leftover tandoori chicken and add a tsp of tandoori chicken masala powder to the flour.

Indian Version 2: Palak Paneer (Vegetarian)

  • Omit the chicken. Add a tsp of ginger with the garlic when sauteeing. After the tomato has disintegrated, add the spinach and the paneer and fry until all liquid evaporates. Add the garam masala to the flour.

Italian Version:

  • Saute the pepper with the tomato. Mix in the Italian seasoning or herb mixture with the flour. Add the mozzarella and parmesan, if using, with the cheddar.

Mexican Version:

  • Mix in the smoked paprika (if using) & the Mexican seasoning (or oregano) with the flour. Add the jalapenos and the coriander leaves with the eggs.

Greek Version:

  • Add oregano to the flour and feta with the cheddar.

Peri Peri Version:

  • Use leftover peri peri chicken if possible. Add hot sauce and lemon zest to the eggs before stirring them in.