The Secret Ingredient You Need Every Time You Bake Muffins

From soft and spongy chocolate chip muffins to sweet blueberry varieties, a batch of these sweet treats are fun to make for their versatility and delicious flavors alike. While adding in a splash of vanilla syrup or a handful of walnuts can be a good way to elevate this classic indulgence, the secret ingredient you really need every time you bake muffins is mayonnaise. Surprised? Just hear us out first.


While you might turn up your nose at the first mention of adding this condiment to your muffin mix, it actually makes a lot of sense. Most mayos are made up simply of ingredients like oil and eggs, so they make a great substitute for ingredients commonly used to make muffins already. Additionally, adding a small amount of mayonnaise to an established recipe can also enhance the batch entirely, making for extra moist and tender cakes as the simple addition infuses the batter with added fat and moisture. Finally, this silky addition makes for added richness in baked goodness too, balancing out overly sweet flavors with its innate tartness and tang.

How to incorporate this unexpected addition into your muffins

Depending on your recipe, there are a few different ways to add mayo into your muffin formula. For starters, you can swap out any butter or oil for a healthy portion of mayonnaise instead since the ingredient is already made up primarily of fat. This helps to simplify your recipe and keeps messes to a minimum. While you can't do this for every baked good recipe, like those that take their structure from butter such as biscuits or pie crusts, you can for muffins as they retain their shape thanks to starches like flour and baking powder. 


Additionally, if you're out of eggs, adding in 3 tablespoons of mayo instead could be the simple substitute. Finally, you can also add this secret ingredient of mayonnaise in addition to your eggs and fat to help enhance the mixture with added moisture. Because trust us, this addition can even make boxed mix muffins taste incredible. (Dare we say even homemade.) Just be aware of how mayo will change the structure of the batter and add a tablespoon at a time at first for the best results.

Other fun ways to elevate with mayonnaise

The incredible versatility of mayonnaise doesn't just make it an unlikely upgrade for baking projects like muffins. (And cakes and cookies too, just to name a few more). Mayo is also a great addition for a few other unlikely dishes as well. For example, spreading a dollop of this classic condiment onto fresh seafood can make for the best grilled shrimp and fish. Adding some of this ingredient onto fish before grilling makes for juicier, flavorful proteins too. Plus, it's a safer addition than butter or oil, as this silky spread sticks to the flesh of fish so you don't risk any fat falling into the grill grates and splashing back onto your skin. Additionally, your grilled cheese will taste like heaven with a simple swap of butter for mayo, adding additional tang and depth of flavor. The same benefits can be said for other sandwiches like cheesesteaks and beef dips too.


For lovers of sweet and savory alike, don't overlook this culinary powerhouse in helping to elevate your dish. If you don't have it already, it might be a good idea to keep a jar of mayonnaise on hand for any future recipes just in case.