You just need to know a few simple tips to be able to convert muffins to bread and bread to muffins!
Have you ever had a great recipe for muffins but wanted to bake a loaf instead? How about the other way around? Luckily, there’s not really a difference in the batter from the recipes for traditional muffins versus a loaf of quick bread.
You can easily switch back and forth on your favorite recipe and bake in whichever form you prefer. To do that, there are just a few things to consider and adjust to have you baking muffins and quick breads like a pro!
In the photo above, you’ll see a favorite muffin recipe, Chocolate Chip Muffins, in both muffin and loaf form. It bakes beautifully either way, giving you some flexibility for serving or sharing a tasty treat. Below, you’ll also find some other recipes that will convert easily.
Now, let’s talk muffins and quick bread loaves!
Choosing Pans for Muffins and Quick Breads
The right pan, of course, depends on the volume of batter the recipe makes. I don’t usually keep exact measurements of batter, but it’s easy to know from the yield of the recipe how to make the change to muffins or loaves.
For a recipe that makes 12 standard muffins, you’ll get 1 standard loaf. Let’s start by qualifying what “standard” means. A standard muffin pan has 1/2-cup capacity cavities. Mini muffin pans have a smaller capacity, while jumbo muffin pans have a larger capacity. (We’ll talk more about those another time.)
As for a standard loaf pan, you may get different answers depending on the source. Some consider a 9″x 5″ standard, while others opt for 8 & 1/2″x 4 & 1/2″. I usually use a 9″x 5″ pan, which is what I specify in most of my quick bread recipes. If your pan is the smaller version of standard, then just be careful not to overfill your pan. Stick to the rule of filling your pans 3/4 full, and you’ll be fine almost all of the time.
These are the pans I have and most often use:
Converting Muffins to a Loaf of Quick Bread
Muffins generally bake at higher temperatures than a loaf of quick bread, so you’ll want to lower your oven’s temperature to make your muffin recipe in loaf form. In most cases, you’ll need to set your oven 25-50°F lower than the muffin recipe recommends. You generally can’t go wrong with 350°F, but that’s not a hard and fast rule because there are just so many muffin recipes out there.
As for the time it takes to bake a loaf versus muffins, that will need to increase to bake the larger, thicker bread thoroughly. The exact time your bread will need will vary depending on the recipe, but aim for somewhere in the 45-60 minute range when baking at 350°F.
Take a peek through the door at 45 minutes and reassess that time estimate. When it looks done according to the visual cue the recipe gave you (lightly browned, for instance), try the toothpick test to see if your bread is ready. The recipe should tell you whether you’re looking for the pick to come out clean, with a few moist crumbs, or some other test.
Converting a Loaf of Quick Bread to Muffins
To make muffins from a quick bread loaf recipe, you’ll use the same approach as above, but in reverse. Start by raising the oven temperature by 25-50°F. That will usually put you in the 375-400°F range. Again, that’s a general rule that can vary depending on the specific recipe. I’ll also mention this quick reminder that you’ll get taller muffins at a higher temperature.
And as you might expect, those muffins will bake faster than a quick bread loaf. At 375°F, most muffins will take 23 to 28 minutes. At 400°F, expect your muffins to bake in 20 to 25 minutes. As you approach the low end of those time estimates, look through the oven door and you’ll be able to make a more accurate estimate.
With these tips, you’ll be able to convert your favorite muffins to loaves and vice versa. Keep in mind that these are general guidelines, but these tips will get you on the right path for baking your best muffins and quick bread loaves. Then use your best judgment to make any further adjustments.
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