Here are some helpful solutions for the common causes:

  • Ratio of dry ingredients to fats and liquids 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 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.

  • Too little fat was used; wrong fat used
    • When the fat is cut too small, after baking there will be more, smaller air pockets left by the melting fat. The result is a baked product that crumbles. When cutting in shortening and other solid fats, cut only until the pieces of shortening are 1/8- to 1/4-inch in size.
    • 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.
    • 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 quick breads. Use butter, margarine or vegetable oil spreads with at least 70% fat in sticks. Learn more about Fats in Baking.