Why Didn’t My Muffins Rise?

Muffins are some of the most beloved sweet treats in the world, not only because they taste great, but also because they are nice and easy to bake in large batches, or even just to create one muffin to bake in your oven!

However, just because they are easy to bake does not mean that it is impossible to bake them incorrectly and miss out on making perfect domed muffins. 

No set of muffins is ever truly perfect until the muffins look just as good as they taste. And of course, one of the most iconic things about muffins is their shape.

Muffins are supposed to look large and fluffy and need to have that iconic large top which is a direct result of ingredients like egg whites in the muffin batter.

But it’s impossible to create those perfect muffin shapes if the muffins don’t rise correctly, often a result of too little baking soda or baking powder among the liquid ingredients. 

Are you having trouble creating the perfect muffins yourself? Want to make muffins that are totally irresistible to house guests, or that you can give as a gift?

Then make sure that you read on down below because today we are going to find out exactly why your muffins may not have risen! 

Why Didn’t My Muffins Rise?

There are actually a number of potential reasons why you may have found your muffins haven’t risen in a satisfying manner. Let’s take a look at each of these reasons to find the one that suits your situation so you can better follow a muffin recipe precisely. 

Incorrect Leavening

‘Leavening’ simply refers to any of the active ingredients used to create baked goods and to allow muffins to rise. These include ingredients like baking powder or yeast.

These are essential ingredients in helping any baked goods to rise while in the oven. Baking powder reacts to the oven heat while baking muffins which allows the muffins to rise as in most muffin recipes.

If you were to have an insufficient amount of leavening in your muffin mix, then you will likely find that the muffins don’t rise at all as you bake muffins.

However, this can also occur if your leavening is expired or in some way spoiled. Generally, you should make sure to store your leavening ingredients in a dry space so that they do not become spoiled by moisture in the air.

You should also make sure that you adhere to the expiry dates of any leavening ingredients you have in your kitchen cabinets. Spoiled leavening agents or insufficient leavening ingredients can result in flat muffins no matter how long they are in the oven.

Swapping Baked Powder For Baking Soda Incorrectly

Sometimes when baking, you just might find yourself in that sticky and awkward situation where you realize at the last minute that you don’t have enough baking powder! In such a situation, you might instead turn to baking soda.

Baking powder is much weaker than baking soda which can result in spoiled muffin recipes regardless of the oven temperature or what the recipe calls for.

However, many that find themselves in this situation forget that baking soda is much stronger than baking powder, and thus find that their muffins become overloaded with leavening, resulting in a bad muffin batter which makes it difficult for the muffins to rise! 

Getting these ratios incorrect can be disastrous, as not only can it stop the muffins from rising as you expect them to, but it also affects the color, taste, and texture of the muffins regardless of baking time. 

Too Few Eggs

Another ingredient that is of course essential in baking is the humble egg. Eggs help to give a lot of structure to baked goods and are totally essential when making baked goods.

Eggs cause the cake batter to expand during the baking process, which in turn creates the perfect texture while in the convection oven, regardless of whether you used the right leavening agent or the correct temperature. 

If you are making muffins, you must make sure to stick as closely as possible to the recipe that you are working from. Using too many or too few eggs in your recipe can be disastrous.

Too many eggs will result in muffins that have an odd texture and taste, while too few eggs will of course result in muffins that are lacking in structure and height and that aren’t the usual domed muffins you expect from most muffin batters with the correct amount of soda and baking powder. 

Why Didn’t My Muffins Rise?

Overloading On Flour

Flour is also one of the most iconic baking ingredients, and this often leads many people to pile too much of it into the muffin batter, resulting in an incorrect ratio of wet and dry ingredients, which in turn leads to crunchy muffins because the thick batter has too much flour.

Adding more flour will result in less moisture in the batter, which in turn leads to a totally different texture than you would expect from most muffins in the oven that are baked in a traditional muffin pan. 

The moisture will not interact with the leavening correctly, which will cause it not to work as effectively, resulting in unrisen muffins.

The muffins won’t rise because the cake itself will be very dense, making it rather stiff, so you would miss out on amazing muffins, as the muffins will be too dry when baked in the oven.

Overmixing Or Undermixing The Muffin Batter

You don’t want to overmix your muffin batter, as this of course can result in a very unsatisfying texture. Mixing muffin batter is an art form unto itself, as there is a sweet spot you want to reach while mixing. 

As you mix more batter, the moisture from water joins with the flour, which creates strong gluten bonds, which help to give the batter structure, and helps the muffins turn out as you expect them to This is further helped by ensuring that all ingredients in the recipe are evenly distributed when baking to make your muffins.

You want to mix your batter until the bonds are perfect and firm, and no more, as overmixing the batter will cause too many bonds, in turn making the batter stiff and unmalleable, in turn resulting in muffins and muffin tops that won’t look good even if kept in the fridge overnight.

Undermixing, on the other hand, results in bonds that are far too weak, which means that your muffins will not rise properly.

Make sure to mix until all of the dry ingredients, such as the flour, are mixed in and dissolved and you have enough batter. Don’t worry if the batter is still slightly lumpy, as this is totally fine and is meant to be the case with a thicker batter.

Oven Problems

If all of the other reasons don’t sound right for your situation, then it is very likely that your oven was not primed for baking your muffins correctly. 

Of course, you don’t want your oven to be too hot, which can result in burnt or dry and bland muffins, especially if using cold ingredients and more flour.

However, you also don’t want the oven to be too cool, as ingredients like baking powder need to reach a certain temperature in order to react and cause the muffins to start rising.

You should make sure to preheat your oven to the perfect temperature every time to get the perfect muffins and muffin tops even with thicker batters.

This is also a vital step if you are creating your first muffins ever, as the batter will not be able to rise as you bake, which would make your muffins totally unsatisfying.

You can check that your temperature is just right by having a toothpick inserted slightly into the muffin as you bake it, to see if the toothpick comes out clean.

If the muffins rose and the toothpick comes out clean then your muffins will be perfect in the end.

To Wrap Up

These are easily the most common reasons why muffins don’t rise. Take a look at your own recipes to see which of these you may have accidentally done so that you can improve in the future!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Ingredient Helps Muffins Rise?

Baking soda or baking powder is the ingredient that is responsible for making baked goods rise.

Why Are Muffins Flat On Top?

Muffins may commonly be flat on the top because you have undermixed the ingredients.

How Do You Fix Muffins That Didn’t Rise?

If you find that your muffins didn’t rise after baking, then unfortunately it is too late, and you would need to start over again.

Picture of Kathryn Sewell

Kathryn Sewell

Hi! I'm Kate and I have been baking and cooking for as long as I can remember. I like to share the most interesting tips and recipes I try here on What Kate Baked for you to enjoy. If you have a favorite recipe you'd like to share send it over on social.

About the Author