These savory gluten free breakfast corn muffins can be made with or without a whole egg cracked right on top before they go into the oven. The perfect make-ahead breakfast for busy mornings!
It all starts with a Jiffy-style gluten free corn muffin mix
Jiffy may not make a gluten free corn muffin mix, but we have our own Jiffy-style gluten free recipe that works just the same—and is so simple to make and have on hand. I've used our gluten free cake mix recipes so many different ways. And our pancake mix a million times.
But the Jiffy-style mix was something I used mostly around Thanksgiving, and not otherwise. Corn muffins are so hearty and satisfying, but the sugar in the mix made it seem less versatile to me.
This recipe begins with a base that is nearly identical to our Jiffy-style mix of all purpose gluten free flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and shortening crumbled into the mix. We've omitted the sugar entirely without sacrificing tenderness or taste.
Topped with a whole egg—or not
I used to wake up extra early every single school day and make my 3 kids scrambled eggs. One of them hated eggs, but no matter. I was obsessed with making them some brain food before they started the school day.
I kept that going until my oldest graduated from grammar school, and it was such a relief! I discovered the joys of the make-ahead breakfast, and have never looked back. These gluten free breakfast corn muffins are a welcome addition to that repertoire.
These muffins can be made as full corn muffins, and they're still packed with hearty cornmeal and cheese. They're tender, moist and filling. But if you crack a whole egg on top, it bakes in exactly the same amount of time and takes these muffins all the way to a school day home run.
The recipe will make about 16 muffins (depending upon the size of the wells of your muffin tin) if you make them all with a whole egg baked on top. Simply fill the wells of the tin about 1/4 of the way full with the muffin mix and press it up the sides of the well. Then, crack a whole, raw egg on top of the batter.
The muffins freeze perfectly and can be defrosted briefly in the microwave or in a toaster oven on busy school mornings. Even the ones with the egg on top.
How to make these breakfast muffins
These muffins are made very easily in a single bowl. Just combine one of my recommended all purpose gluten free flour blends, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to combine well. Then, add the few tablespoons of shortening and crumble it into the dry ingredients.
The shredded cheese is then added to the dry ingredients and everything is tossed together. That way, the shredded cheese doesn't stick together and it's evenly distributed throughout the muffin batter.
Add the wet ingredients (buttermilk, sour cream, and one beaten egg), and mix to combine. Here, you could replace some of the cheese with crumbled cooked bacon pieces, for an even heartier muffin.
Like we described above, you can either make full corn muffins by filling the prepared wells of your muffin tin nearly full, or you can fill the wells only about 1/4 of the way full. Then, top with a whole egg.
I like to make 8 or 9 full muffins, and 3 or 4 egg-topped muffins. Not all of my children like the whole egg on top (especially the yolk). They are so, so wrong, though. Haters gonna hate!
Do you have to use shortening?
I use shortening in the corn muffin mix because that is what's used in the boxed Jiffy mix and I've always found it to work really well in this recipe. It also makes the Jiffy-style mix shelf-stable, which I really like.
I always use Spectrum non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening and find it at my local health food store or at Whole Foods. It's made sustainably, and it's the very best quality—and lasts in my pantry forever.
You can also use good old Crisco, though. Just don't use Nutiva brand, which simply doesn't perform the same. If you'd like to replace the shortening, you can try using virgin coconut oil (the kind that's solid at cool room temperature). Even unsalted butter is worth trying.
Ingredients and substitutions
Dairy-free: There is dairy in these muffins in a few forms: the cheese, the buttermilk, and the sour cream. I haven't tried making these muffins with dairy-free replacements, so you'll be experimenting if you try.
You should be able to replace the buttermilk with a mixture of half nondairy plain yogurt and half unsweetened nondairy milk, and the sour cream with nondairy sour cream. You should be able to replace the cheese with your favorite shredded nondairy cheese. My favorite brands are Violife and Daiya.
Egg-free: There is only one egg in the main muffin recipe. You should be able to replace it with a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel). Of course, you'll make only full-sized corn muffins as described in the instructions below, not corn muffins topped with whole eggs.
Gluten Free Breakfast Corn Muffins
1 cup (140 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1 cup (132 g) coarsely ground yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons (36 g) non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces) buttermilk, at room temperature
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (90 g) sour cream, at room temperature
1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
Large eggs, as desired
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin (or more) and set it aside.
In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to combine well. Add the shortening, mix to combine and use clean hands to break the shortening up into small crumbs combined well with the dry ingredients. Add all but about 3 to 4 tablespoons of the shredded cheese, and mix to evenly distribute the cheese throughout the flour mix. Create a well in the center, add the buttermilk, sour cream, and egg, and mix to combine. The batter will be very thick.
To make full-sized breakfast corn muffins, divide the mixture evenly among the prepared wells of the muffin tin (filling each well up to 3/4 of the way). Using wet fingers, press the batter down into an even layer in each well. To make corn muffins with eggs on top, place only enough muffin batter in the prepared wells of the muffin tin to fill the well about 1/4 of the way full. Using wet fingers, press the batter into the bottom of the well and halfway up the sides. Crack a whole egg in the center of the well, covering the muffin batter.
Sprinkle the reserved shredded cheese lightly in the center of the batter (or egg) in each muffin well. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for about 22 minutes. The egg-topped muffins are done when the egg white is cooked completely (ideally, the yolk is still slightly soft in the very center). The standard muffins are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Do not overbake. Remove from the oven and, using a toothpick, loosen each muffin in the well so that it rotates freely. Allow the muffins to cool in the tin for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Once the muffins are cool, you can place them in a sealed plastic or glass container and store them at room temperature for up to 2 days (as long as your kitchen isn’t very warm). For longer storage, freeze in a well-sealed freezer-safe container and defrost in the microwave or toaster oven.
Adapted heavily from Taste of Home.