This Simple Trick Will Help You Make Your Fluffiest Muffins Yet

From ripening avocados to making food outlive its "Best By" date, the internet is full of kitchen hacks. Though they often focus on how to properly de-shell eggs or create the perfect freezer soup, many tricks can offer inexpensive shortcuts to trim down on time and money in the kitchen — and some have historic ties.  

Left with a smelly pot after cooking soup or other greasy foods? This is a centuries-old intolerable issue that extends back to medieval times, according to Medievalists. In a 10th century cookbook inscribed by Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq, "The Book of Dishes," some of the earliest known kitchen hacks are mentioned, including tips on storing spices and cooking vegetables. But most importantly, al-Warraq solves the pungent problem by using two walnuts in an enclosed pot. After a few days, this removes the smell and grease.  

Another historic trick came from the introduction of baking soda. Because yeast and other baking goods were expensive and primarily reserved for the wealthy, many 1800s Irish families had to utilize what was at hand and adapt their cooking methods. As a result, soda bread became the norm and a filling source for lower-class families, per My Recipes. Now, it is a beloved and celebrated Irish recipe. 

Thanks to the internet, it is much easier to find and use kitchen tips. So whether you want an efficient kitchen, sustainable produce, or fluffier muffins, there is a kitchen hack for everyone.

The unexpected ingredient you should use when baking muffins

Rice is an inexpensive yet highly versatile kitchen necessity. Not only is it an easy addition to nearly every cuisine, but it can also be used to ripen fruit, made into a heating pad (via Healthline), or used as a unique way to evenly cook breakfast pastries, like muffins.

Yes, as Kitchn notes, by placing a teaspoon of raw white rice underneath muffin liners in a pan, the rice can draw out any excess grease or oils from the baked goods and allow them to cook more evenly. This process is similar to blind baking, a term used to describe a pastry or pie crust that is cooked before it is filled, according to The Spruce Eats. Here, baking beans or raw beans are used as a weight and extract moisture from the flaky crust.

Lentils and other pulses perform similarly, though their absorption levels may vary. Bon Appétit states that lentils more closely resemble pasta than rice, which soaks up nearly all the water it is cooked in. For this reason, rice is a more optimal source for drawing out excess moisture.

More tasty tips and tricks to making fluffy muffins

Starting with the basics, one of the most essential rules in baking is to not over-mix your batter. Doing so can cause muffins to become overly dense and tough to chew, per Tasting Table. It can also create tunneling, which according to Sugar Geek Show, happens when porous pockets of air form throughout the muffin. Ensure your batter is mixed slowly to keep muffins moist.

Another tasty tip for creating muffins is to use applesauce in the mixture. Some muffin recipes are naturally more fluffy than others due to their increased butter and sugar contents. However, The Busy Baker suggests swapping these out for more liquid-intense ingredients, like applesauce, to keep muffins moist and long-lasting. Plus, it can decrease calories and fat. 

You can also substitute cake flour for all-purpose flour to make your muffins more — you guessed it — cakey. According to Southern Living, flour has varying levels of gluten and protein depending on which type of wheat it was created from. Compared to all-purpose flour, cake flour can transform drier muffins into spongier, sweeter, and more delectable pastries.  

Regardless if you're enjoying pumpkin, cranberry, or apple cinnamon muffins for the holidays or celebrating them year-round, there are multiple tricks, including rice, to ensure you serve up the most fluffy and flavorful muffins yet.