How to Make Boxed Muffins Better

Listen, some people might gasp when you tell them you use a box of muffin mix. But I’ve been baking for the past ten years and made a batch of muffins this morning using a boxed mix. They really aren’t that bad. But yet, they do need some jazzing up. Luckily, making boxed muffins taste better is a cinch.

Hey! What’s up? My name is Michelle, and I love to bake! I have been whipping up all kinds of treats in my oven for the past ten years – and yes, sometimes I enjoy the simpler things in life and reach for boxed mixes. I’ve discovered the best ways to rev up boxed muffin mixes.

Are you thinking about making some muffins from a box but want to make them taste homemade? Then you’ll be glad to know I’ve cracked the code on making the most delectable batch of “boxed muffins.”

The cat’s out of the bag – or should we say the box? Let me tell you how I make boxed muffins better!

How to Make Boxed Muffins Better: Tricks for Success

Boxed muffins are so easy, and there’s really no way to get it wrong. But if you’re trying to wow your neighbors at the next gathering with some boxed muffins that taste as if they’ve come from a bakery, you’ll want to utilize one of these top seven tricks.

1. Replace the Water

A lot of muffin mixes say to mix the contents with water, bake, and viola! Perfectly baked muffins that are scrumptious, if I do say so myself.

But let’s be honest – they’re missing that pizazz, am I right?

If you want to enhance the flavor instantly, you’ll want to ditch the water.

Instead, opt for some milk. I prefer to use whole-fat milk for the added richness, but you can use whatever you like. Coconut milk will taste great in certain muffin mixes, especially berry ones.

Your other option is to replace the water with fruit juice. Obviously, this will be a good choice for berry-flavored muffins. For instance, you can use orange juice to rev up the zestiness in a cranberry orange mix or fruit juice in a wildberry mix. Yum!

2. Heat the Oven to 425 F

If you’ve read any of my other articles, you’ll know I tell you to follow the directions to a tee. But sometimes, you gotta break the rules. 

Much like the temperature to bake a pizza, most muffin mixes get it wrong. They’ll tell you to bake at a low temperature, like 375F or 400F.

I will tell you to do the opposite – go for the high temperature of 425F.

If your recipe tells you to bake at 425F, then great, do it. If it doesn’t, allow your muffins to bake at 425 F for five minutes. Then, reduce the temperature to the recommended amount. After all, the goal is to enhance boxed muffins – not make them burn entirely.

3. Mix Pudding Mix Into the Wet Ingredients

Um, what?

I know, you’re probably scratching your head, wondering what on Earth I’m talking about. That’s OK. I do that sometimes, too. But you have to trust me on this one because it works like literal magic.

All you need to do is find a pudding mix that compliments your muffin mix flavor. For instance, chocolate or Oreo pudding mix for chocolate chip muffin mix. (Is your mouth starting to water? I know mine is!)

Start by reducing the milk/water by half + two tablespoons. Then, mix the rest of your wet ingredients. Finally, toss your pudding mix into the mixture. By the end, you’ll enjoy a muffin bursting with flavor and a lovely bouncy texture you won’t want to miss.

4. Use Sour Cream or Yogurt

Muffins tend to be relatively light, airy, and fluffy. They’re delicate with the right amount of sweetness, especially compared to their cupcake cousin, which can be overly sweet. 

That doesn’t mean your batch of muffins can’t be decadent, though.

If you want to zhuzh up your muffins with added richness and indulgence, I highly recommend swapping half the liquid ingredient for sour cream or yogurt. Both will provide excellent results in terms of flavor and texture.

5. Add a Banana

Have you been baking with bananas yet?

Wait, you haven’t?! What are you thinking?!

OK, OK – if you haven’t baked with bananas yet, that’s perfectly fine. But can I suggest you mash a banana for your next round of boxed muffins?

Mash one banana and mix it in with the remaining ingredients. Bake. Enjoy a muffin with a lovely banana flavor and an enticing texture. 

Note: The banana will make your muffins denser. This is not a bad thing unless you’re craving a fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth type muffin.

6. Use Mix-Ins

If there is one thing you do to make your boxed muffins better, let it be this – I’m begging you!

Mix-ins will be a serious game changer for your boxed muffin mix. The right mix-in will add a whole new level of flavor and/or texture, depending on the mix-in you’re using.

So, which add-ons are the best for muffins? While there are seemingly endless possibilities, here are just a few of the top choices:

  • Berries – fresh, dried, frozen
  • Nuts
  • Nut butter – peanut, almond, etc.
  • Zest from lemons, limes, oranges, etc.
  • Candy pieces – chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, etc.
  • Cookie pieces
  • Jam 
  • Seeds
  • Seasonings – basil, parsley, mint, cayenne pepper

7. Add a Topping

My final recommendation is to add a topping to your muffins. Why? Because everything is better with a topping; it’s just a fact.

Like mix-ins, you can add tons of delicious toppings to your freshly baked muffins. Here are a couple of favorites to try: sugar, streusel, glaze, and frosting.

8. Fill Muffin Tin Almost Full

My final tip is to fill the muffin tin until it’s almost full.

I know, I know – your recipe says only to fill it halfway. But let’s be honest – you never get the iconic muffin top everyone knows and loves (especially Elaine from Seinfeld!).

That said, I recommend filling almost to the top. 


What can I say? If you use these secrets to make boxed muffins taste better, you can fool all your friends into thinking you bought them from a professional. Oh, and before you make a batch of boxed muffins, I suggest checking out these frequently asked questions.

What does adding an egg to a muffin mix do?

Adding another egg can make many baked treats taste better, such as cakes and cookies. However, the same is not valid for muffins. Only use the stated number of eggs in your muffin mix. Otherwise, they will be overly structured and become dense, chewy, and unpleasant.

Can I use milk instead of water in the muffin mix?

A lot of people say no, but I say yes. Adding milk to the muffin mix may make it too moist for some, but I never hesitate to bake a batch with milk instead of water. I love the added tenderness and the subtle splash of richness the milk provides.

Is oil or butter better for muffins?

Honestly, both are wonderful options. If you want to rev up your muffin’s decadence, always go for butter. If you’re looking to create unbelievably delicate and light muffins, oil is the better option. It all depends on your flavor and texture preference.

It’s Easy to Jazz Up Boxed Muffins!

Boxed muffins can be basic. But with simple solutions, you can take your muffins from humdrum to exciting. My favorite option is to replace the water with milk or juice and add mix-ins, like chocolate chips or fresh fruit. Always bake your muffins at 425 F for at least the first few minutes.

Do you use boxed muffin mix? How do you make boxed muffins taste better? Do you have any tips or tricks you’d like to share with fellow bakers? Let’s hear it in the comment section below!

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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  • Malea

    If you add pudding mix, do you add it dry, or mixed according to directions on the box?