I love mini muffins. They are the perfect size for little fingers, bake up in a matter of minutes and pack lots of flavor into every bite. For this post, I took one of my favorite cornbread recipes, added some savory elements to it and whipped up some magical honey butter to make the perfect cornbread mini muffin. Not too sweet, not too savory. Crumble these up in your chili, add them as a side with soup or even a salad or serve them to a crowd. These mini bacon cheddar cornbread muffins are my new go-to quick side and that honey butter…pretty sure I need that on repeat – it’s so good!
White or Yellow Cornmeal – What’s the Difference?
I live in Kentucky. Kentucky is culturally very Southern and in the South we enjoy a lot of cornbread. Most of that cornbread is made with white cornmeal. In other areas such as the Northeast and Texas, you may find yellow cornmeal commonly called for in recipes. What is the difference? The difference lies mainly in their coloring. White cornmeal comes from white corn and yellow cornmeal from a yellow corn. They can be used interchangeably in recipes. I love using this cornmeal from our local mill or in a pinch I’ll pick a bag up at my grocery store. You may also see cornmeal labeled as “bolted.” Bolted means that the cornmeal has been ground finely and is sifted through to give you the finest grain. Unbolted cornmeal has a more “gritty” texture. For this recipe I recommend a bolted, or finely ground white cornmeal.
Magical Honey Butter
What is cornbread without honey butter? These mini bacon cheddar cornbread muffins don’t have a whole lot of sugar in them. If you prefer a sweeter cornbread, you may want to increase the sugar by 1/3 of a cup, or just make some of this amazing honey butter to slather on your muffin. This honey butter is made with room temperature butter and whipped together in a mixer making it creamy and smooth. It would be delicious on top of any bread, but a little dollop of honey butter on this savory cornbread muffin is especially delicious.
These days, buttermilk is not always kept in kitchens. I do love the properties of buttermilk and almost always keep my kitchen stocked with buttermilk to use in many of my recipes. However, I like having easy substitutions for when I do run out of buttermilk. My favorite substitution for buttermilk is to mix together 1 part sour cream and 1 part milk in a liquid measuring cup. In this recipe I would fill a liquid measuring cup with 3/4 cup sour cream. Add 3/4 cup milk to the sour cream until you reach 1 1/2 cups of liquid. Stir together and use in place of the buttermilk.
Bacon Cheddar Chive Muffins
Before adding the liquid ingredients to the cornbread muffins, I mix together all the dry ingredients in the bowl. This includes cooking up the crispy bacon and dicing it into small chunks. Grate the cheese right into the dry ingredients and cut small pieces of chives right on top of the dry ingredients. I love the flavor combination of bacon, chives and cheese. The cheese you use will determine how much cheddar flavor these muffins will have. A sharper cheddar will lend to more of a cheesy flavor. These muffins remind me of our favorite sourdough cheddar biscuits with a light cheddar flavor. If you’d like to leave out the bacon, cheese and chives, the muffins recipe will give you a more traditional corn muffin. Fluff together the dry ingredients with the savory elements before adding the liquid to this batter.
The Key to Light and Tender Cornbread Muffins: Don’t Over-mix
One of the keys to a light and tender cornbread muffin is to not over-mix the batter. Mixing starts to activate the gluten in the flour which is wonderful in bread, but not so wonderful in muffins. Once you add the liquid ingredients to the dry, mix together lightly until mostly combined. It’s okay to have a few streaks of dry ingredients left. This batter will be more on the thick side. If you think it is too thick, add a little splash of milk, being careful to not mix too much.
Scooping Batter and Baking Cornbread Mini Muffins
Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray and scoop the batter using a cookie scoop (this one is the perfect size for mini muffins) straight into your mini muffin tin. If you have little pieces of bacon sticking out, push them down a bit with your fingers. Bake the muffins in a preheat oven for about 10-12 minutes. These muffins don’t need a liner and will pop right out of a good mini muffin tin. Enjoy warm with a smear of magical honey butter or plain…straight from the oven!
Frequently Asked Questions
Some herbs aren’t as readily available in some grocery stores. Finely chopped green onions are an easy substitute in these cornbread muffins for chives.
Sure! If you want a plain cornbread muffin that tastes delicious, you can leave out the savory bacon, cheese and chives.
Cornbread muffins can be stored at room temperature in a ziplock bag for about 24 hours. After that, stick them in a ziplock in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Yes! You can scoop the batter into a regular, 12 cup muffin tin. Bake at the same temperature for about 15 minutes.
These cornbread muffins are not super sweet. The sweetness pairs very well with the savory in these muffins. If you want a sweeter cornbread muffin, I would increase the sugar from 1/3 cup to up to 2/3 cup total.
Mini Cheddar Bacon Cornbread Muffins with Magical Honey Butter
Mini Cornbread Muffins
- 2 cups all purpose flour 10 oz
- 1 cup cornmeal 5 oz see recipe notes
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar (change to 2/3 cup total if a sweeter muffin is desired) 3 oz
- 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk 12 oz see recipe notes for substitutions
- 2 eggs
- 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled
- 2-4 oz bacon (cooked and crumbled) 4-8 oz bacon uncooked see recipe note
- 1 small bunch chives
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese 3 oz
Magical Honey Butter
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Cook the bacon, drain the grease, crumble and let cool.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Grate the cheddar cheese and add to the dry ingredients.
- Using kitchen shears, cut the bunch of chives into small pieces over the dry ingredients. Whisk to combine.
- Add the bacon to the dry ingredients and mix to combine.
- To a large liquid measuring cup, add the buttermilk, cooled melted butter and eggs. Whisk to combine.
- Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix gently until just combined.
- Scoop small balls of muffin batter into a mini muffin tin. Bake in preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes until muffins spring back and are baked through.
Magical Honey Butter
- Using a handheld mixer or stand mixer, whip the softened butter until light and creamy.
- Drizzle in the honey and whip until fully incorporated. Add the powdered sugar and salt and whip for a few minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Enjoy! Honey butter can be stored at room temperature, covered for a few days or refrigerated for longer storage.
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