Dry & Crumbly

Here are some helpful solutions for the common causes:

  • The fat used affects the texture of baked goods

    To insure recipe success, always use the fat recommended in the recipe.

  • Ratio of dry ingredients to fats and liquids was too high

    When flour is "scooped" into the measuring cup directly from the container, it compresses or becomes packed. This means you will be adding more flour than called for in the recipe. Spoon flour from the container into the dry nested measuring cup and use a metal spatula or the flat side of a knife to level the flour even with the top of the cup.

  • The wrong measuring cup was used; The ratio of dry ingredients to fats and liquids too high

    Clear glass or plastic measuring cups with pouring lips and handles are used to measure liquids. For dry ingredients, always use a measuring cup that comes as a "nested" set (i.e. separate cups to measure 1/4, 1/3, 1/2 and 1 cup). Learn more about measuring.

  • Too little fat was used; the wrong fat was used

    • Margarine or butter may have been incorrectly measured. Too little fat will result in dry, less tender muffins. Carefully cut on lines found on the butter/margarine stick wrapper. Or, pack it into dry (nested) measuring cup, then use a spatula or straight edge of a knife blade to level even with the top of the cup.
    • Check package to make sure the product you used was margarine vs. a vegetable oil spread. By law, margarine must be at least 80% fat. For baking you need to use a product that is a minimum of 70% fat. Spreads with less fat contain more water, resulting in dry, less tender muffins.
    • Remember that one stick of butter or margarine is equal to 1/2 cup and not 1 cup. If you confused the two, you will be cutting the amount of fat used by half.
    • Diet "margarine" or spreads in a tub contain water in place of fat, affecting the dryness and tenderness of muffins. Use butter, margarine or vegetable oil spreads with at least 70% fat in sticks. Learn more about Fats in Baking.
  • As altitude increases, liquids and even the moisture in foods evaporate faster

    • Sea level recipes for muffins may give acceptable, but different results at high altitudes. It may be necessary to change the amounts of flour and/or liquid, or to make temperature changes.
    • Muffins may need a 15 to 25°F temperature increase, depending on other ingredients used.
    • Substitute brown sugar for granulated sugar.
    • Be careful to carefully measure dry ingredients.
    • Don't overbake the muffin. Learn more about High-Altitude Baking.