Homemade muffins give you the opportunity to experiment with flavor profiles and favorite recipes, but the effort involved makes it senseless to bake partial batches. With a basic batch of muffins adding up to a dozen or two, it's likely you'll have leftovers that can go stale before they're eaten. One sensible answer is freezing muffins to store them for future meals. With the right supplies and techniques, frozen homemade muffins will be moist and tasty once they've thawed out, even months later.
Gather Your Supplies
Any kitchen project is easier if you pull all of your equipment together before starting to work, and that especially applies to big jobs like freezing batches of muffins. You'll need a baking sheet or another flat pan for the original freezing process, as well as a container for the final packaging. These containers should be moisture-proof and airtight to keep your muffins from getting freezer burn. The easiest to use are Ziploc or other zip-close freezer bags, with or without an additional aluminum foil wrapping.
Freezing and Packaging Muffins
The first step is to cool your muffins to room temperature before freezing them. Warm muffins placed in the freezer tend to collect condensation around the muffin paper, causing the bottom half of the muffin to be soggy once it's thawed out. Cooled muffins will keep their natural moist texture without gathering any extra moisture.
Place the muffins on a baking sheet or other flat pan, leaving an inch or so between them. Place the pan in the freezer, uncovered, and allow the muffins to freeze hard. This should take four to six hours. Once the muffins are frozen, remove them from the freezer and package them quickly, before they begin to thaw.
Your choice of packaging material depends on how long you plan to leave the muffins in the freezer. If you plan to eat them within two weeks, place the muffins in pairs in Ziploc bags and store them in the freezer in a single layer. If you plan to keep your muffins frozen for longer than two weeks, wrap them in heavy-duty aluminum foil first before putting them in zip-close bags. This foil layer will give the muffins extra protection against freezer burn.
Your frozen muffins will begin to lose quality if left in the freezer too long. As with any food storage, it's important to label frozen muffins so you know the type of muffin in each package as well as the date on which they were frozen. Use a dark Sharpie to write these details on every bag you freeze. Most zip-close freezer bags, whether name brand or generic, have an opaque portion of the bag meant for this purpose.
Frozen muffins will stay fresh and tasty for up to four months. Once you're ready to eat your frozen muffins, plan to thaw them overnight or for at least 12 hours. Keep the wrappings intact and place the muffins on a counter out of bright light at normal room temperature. Your baked treats should be soft and fresh-tasting the next morning.
If you have a sudden need for muffins with no time to wait for them to thaw overnight, you can freshen up your muffins using either a microwave or conventional oven. Turn the frozen muffins into a fresh-tasting baked treat by wrapping them securely in aluminum foil, then placing them in an oven that's heated to 350 F for about 10 to 15 minutes. For even faster results, unwrap the muffins completely, place them on a microwave-safe plate or a paper towel and microwave on high for 30 seconds.
Victoria Bailey owned and managed restaurants for 25 years, from an award-winning gourmet bistro to a pre-hipster artisan coffee house. She's constantly following food and wine trends and has even created her own private coffee bean blend. Bailey's work has been published in a number of industry magazines, and she literally wrote the book (well, one of them) on opening a neighborhood pizza restaurant.