photo of hand holding a banana cinnamon muffin showing off its domed top

About These Banana Cinnamon Muffins

These banana cinnamon muffins are extra flavorful thanks to a generous amount of bananas and sour cream in the muffin batter. The bananas and sour cream makes the muffins extra moist, keeping them fresh and flavorful for days after baking.

To make them even more special, each banana muffin is sprinkled with a generous amount of cinnamon sugar. The cinnamon sugar topping gives each muffin a unique wide and domed crunchy muffin top. Each muffin is so crunchy and delicious that I actually refer to this recipe as “crunchy top banana muffins!”

And for even more bakery style muffin recipes, check out Hummingbird High’s muffin recipe collection! I’m proud to say that almost all my muffin recipes have sky high and beautifully domed muffin tops (just like you would find at a bakery).

@hummingbirdhigh because the best part about eating a #muffin is the muffin top #muffins #baking #bakingrecipe ♬ Au Revoir – Sweet After Tears

How I Developed This Banana Cinnamon Muffin Recipe

I’m firmly in the camp that a good muffin recipe is defined by its top. The top should be crispy and crunchy with cake crust and lots of sugar. And there’s a muffin recipe on Hummingbird High that does this really, really well: my copycat Levain Bakery blueberry muffins.

So if you’ve followed my blog or my Instagram for a while now, you’ll know that I was obsessed with trying to recreate Levain Bakery’s blueberry muffin recipe at home. Their muffins are known for their sky-high domes and sugared tops that spread far and wide. After stalking their Instagram feed for behind-the-scenes secrets and attempting eight recipe trials, I nailed it!

The secret to produce a crispy, crackly muffin top was to sprinkle a generous amount of sugar over each muffin. The sugar melts the muffin top, causing it to spread more, and gives it a crunchy texture. I decided to try this same technique on this banana muffin recipe, too.

I was incredibly pleased by the results and am excited to share the recipe with you below!

photo of a muffin pan full of banana muffins being placed on a tabletop

Ingredients and Substitutions

Now that I’ve convinced you to make these banana cinnamon muffins, here’s everything you need to make the recipe:

Shopping List For Banana Cinnamon Muffin Recipe

  • bananas (the riper, the better!)
  • sour cream
  • pure vanilla extract
  • all-purpose flour
  • baking soda
  • baking powder
  • kosher salt
  • light OR dark brown sugar
  • unsalted butter
  • large eggs
  • ground cinnamon

And let’s talk about some key ingredients and their potential substitutions.

Really, REALLY Ripe Bananas

This recipe works best if you use incredibly ripe, spotted, and almost black bananas. The riper they are, the more banana-flavored your muffins will be.

Sour Cream

I LOVE using sour cream in baked goods with banana—like my recipe for Banana Bread With Sour Cream and My Best Banana Bundt Cake Recipe. Why? Sour cream also adds a nice tang that complements the banana. It also helps keep the muffins from being too sweet (especially with all that cinnamon sugar!). In a pinch, you can substitute the sour cream in the recipe with any unflavored full-fat yogurt or crème fraîche.

Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is granulated white sugar with a touch of molasses to give it its signature color and flavor. I love pairing it with anything banana because it almost tastes like the bananas have been caramelized. Mmm. 

Cinnamon Sugar

Okay, cinnamon sugar is not actually a recipe you can buy in a store (I think). But don’t fret! You can easily make cinnamon sugar at home by whisking together granulated white sugar and a generous amount of ground cinnamon. You’re going to need a surprisingly large amount for this recipe since each muffin will be sprinkled with 1 teaspoon of the stuff!

photo of muffin in a gold muffin pan showing off its tall muffin top

How To Make Banana Cinnamon Muffins

Here are the basic steps to make banana cinnamon muffins from scratch:

  1. Prep the ingredients for the banana cinnamon muffins. (Prep Time: 10 minutes)
    For this recipe, it’s especially important that ingredients like bananas, sour cream, butter, and eggs are at room temperature. Why? Room temperature batter will warm up more quickly in the oven, and will encourage the muffins to rise more as they bake. 

    But truthfully, you’ll still end up with pretty tasty muffins when using eggs and sour cream that are straight from the fridge. But it’s likely that your muffin tops will be shorter and squatter. So if you want sky-high, bakery-style muffin tops, make sure your ingredients are at room temperature! 

  2. Make the muffin batter. (Work Time: 10 minutes)
    The muffins come together in a stand mixer, similar to how you would make cake or cupcakes. Although you can make muffins with easier methods, using a stand mixer results in bakery style muffins!

  3. Rest the muffin batter. (Rest Time: 1 hour)
    The recipe instructs you to rest the batter for one hour at room temperature. Technically, this step is optional. But if you want super domed muffins with seriously tall tops, rest the batter for an hour! Doing so allows the flour to hydrate and absorb the liquids in the batter more fully, leading to taller domes.

  4. Bake the muffins. (Bake Time: 20 minutes)
    The muffins only need between 20 to 22 minutes in the oven.

  5. Cool the muffins. (Cool Time: 1 hour)
    I know it’s going to be hard because these smell so good, but I encourage you to cool the muffins completely before serving. Because these muffins are so top-heavy, you’ll run the risk of accidentally pulling the tops and bottoms apart if the cake is still warm!
photo of banana muffins on a parchment lined sheet pan

Recipe Troubleshooting and FAQ

FAQ: Questions About Baking Equipment

Why don’t you use muffin liners for this recipe? Can I use muffin liners?

Yes, but with reservations. You’ll still need to spray the outer rims of each cavity with cooking spray to prevent the muffins from sticking to the pan. The bottom of your muffins will also have a slightly different texture than mine—they’ll be softer.

I also find that it’s easier to “decapitate” (that is, accidentally separate the muffin tops from their bottom halves) the muffins when you use liners. I really don’t know why!

FAQ: Questions About The Recipe’s Techniques

Why do I need to rest the muffin batter for an hour?

This banana cinnamon muffin recipe instructs you to rest the batter after making for one hour at room temperature. Technically, this step is optional. You can bake the batter immediately after making and end up with some pretty damn good muffins. But if you want super domed muffins with seriously tall tops, rest the batter for an hour! 

Doing so allows the flour to hydrate and absorb the liquids in the batter more fully, leading to taller domes. During the resting process, the gluten strands in the batter relax, leading to more tender and fluffy baked goods. You can read more about the science in this Kitchn article and this Food52 one (where I’m quoted!).

When resting your muffin batter, don’t stick the batter in the fridge. Chilled batter will cause the muffins to stick in their cavities. In fact, make sure ALL your ingredients are at room temperature before using in the recipe. Again, this is one of the secrets to super tall muffin tops! Don’t miss the baker’s notes section below for more information.

Can I fill ALL the cavities in the muffin pan with batter? Why do you only fill every other one?

It’s best if you follow the recipe instructions exactly as they are written, especially when it comes to filling the muffin pan. Why? The tops of the muffins spread so much that if you fill each single cavity, they’ll spread into one another and get stuck, creating one giant muffin top mass. The empty cavity in between each muffin prevents that from happening.

FAQ: Common Errors and Mistakes

Help! My muffins didn’t spread as much as yours. What did I do wrong?

The recipe instructs you to sprinkle 1 teaspoon of cinnamon sugar over each muffin before baking. Did you skimp or skip the sugar? The sugar is what causes the muffin tops to spread—using an amount less than what’s listed in the recipe would lead to the same results. Similarly, did you use a different type of other sugar other than granulated sugar? Other sugars like brown sugar, coconut sugar, demerara sugar, and sanding sugar don’t enable the muffin tops to spread as well as granulated sugar.

Help! My muffins got stuck in the pan—only the tops came off. What did I do wrong?

The recipe instructs you to wait until the muffins have cooled to room temperature before attempting to unstick them from the pan. Did you try and turn out the muffins while they were still warm? Because these muffins are so top-heavy, you’ll run the risk of accidentally pulling the tops and bottoms apart if the cake is still warm! Wait until they are cooled completely before turning them out of the pan.

Once they’ve cooled, don’t just pull them out of the pan by their tops. The best way to unstick them is to use a metal offset spatula. Run the spatula underneath the entirety of each muffin top to unstick each one completely. Then, working one muffin at a time, use the offset spatula to tilt the muffin slightly on its side with the muffin top to enable you to wiggle your fingers underneath the muffin and lift it from the bottom.

FAQ: Questions About Storing The Banana Cinnamon Muffins

How To Store Banana Cinnamon Muffins

The muffins can be wrapped individually in plastic wrap or stored in an airtight container or under a cake dome at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Can you freeze banana cinnamon muffins?

Technically yes, but I don’t recommend it. Why not? After frozen and thawed, the muffin tops are no longer crispy! Instead they are soft like the interior of the muffin.

But if you insist, you can freeze any leftover banana cinnamon muffins by wrapping it in two layers of plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil (which will help keep any odors and flavors from the freezer out). Freeze for up to 3 months.

To thaw and serve, transfer to the refrigerator to thaw overnight. Rewarm in the microwave or toaster oven.

Best Recipe Tips

Ingredient Tip

  • Bananas are listed in the recipe by weight, not volume or size. Why? It’s risky not to include exact measurements for banana baked goods. Too little banana and your baked good will turn out too dry, but too much will cause it to collapse in the center if underbaked. For best results, use a digital scale!

    First peel the bananas, then use the scale to weigh the naked fruit. But fine—for those who need volume measurements, this recipe needs approximately 1 ¼ cups mashed bananas, from around 2 ½ large bananas. 

Equipment Tip

  • For this recipe, tools are important. You’ll need two muffin tins, a 1-tablespoon OR a 3-tablespoon cookie dough scoop, and an offset spatula (preferably with a short, metal blade).

    The cookie dough scoops are for filling each cavity with muffin batter. To get tall domes, you’ll need to fill each one with SIX tablespoons of batter. It works best if you’re precise. Anything more will cause the muffins to overflow, and anything less will result in squat muffins. You’ll then need the offset spatula to “unstick” the wide muffin tops from the pan.

Technique Tips

  • Use cooking spray to spray the muffin tin in order to turn the muffins out of the pan easily and quickly. To make it work, you’ll need to spray the inside of each cavity with a GENEROUS amount of cooking spray. You should be uncomfortable with the amount of spray you used, lol. You’ll also need to spray the outer border around the cavities. And FYI—butter won’t work, and will cause the muffins to stick to the pan. Use cooking spray!!! 

  • Because each muffin requires so much batter, the recipe produces an odd number of muffins: 9 total. You’ll need to bake 6 in one muffin tin, and the remaining 3 in another muffin tin. When baking the remaining three, you’ll need to pour water into every other cavity to mimic the placement of the batter in the first muffin tin. Don’t skip this step! Skipping this step will cause the remaining three muffins to spread too much and potentially overflow into other cavities. 

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Ingredients

For the Banana Cinnamon Muffins

  • 10 ounces (or 283 grams) very ripe peeled bananas (see baker's notes)
  • ¼ cup (2 ounces or 57 grams) sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (9 ounces or 255 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup tightly packed (7.5 ounces or 213 grams) light OR dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup (6 ounces or 170 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature

For the Cinnamon Sugar Crunchy Topping

  • 9 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Equipment

  • a 1-, 2-, OR 3-Tablespoon cookie dough scoop
  • an offset spatula

Instructions
 

  • First, mash the bananas with the sour cream and vanilla. In a medium bowl, use a fork to mash the bananas, adding the sour cream and vanilla and stirring them into the mixture. The mixture will be thick and chunky, but that's totally okay, I promise!
  • Mix the dry ingredients. In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • Beat the sugar and butter, then add the eggs. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the brown sugar and butter. Beat on medium-high until light, fluffy, and doubled in volume, 2 to 3 minutes, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as necessary. Reduce the mixer to low and add the eggs one at a time, adding the next egg only after the previous one is fully incorporated, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl after each addition.
  • Alternate adding the dry ingredients with the banana mixture. With the mixer still on low, add the the dry ingredients in two equal parts, alternating with the banana mixture in two equal parts. Scrape down the bottom and sids of the bowl once more, and beat on low for an additional 30 seconds.
  • Rest the muffin batter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the batter rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
  • Prep the oven and muffin pan. While the batter is resting, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F using the convect setting (if possible). Prepare two muffin pans by spraying the inside and border of every other cavity in the muffin pan generously with cooking spray.
  • Assemble the muffins. Use a 1-tablespoon or 3-tablespoon cookie dough scoop to fill each sprayed cavity with 6 tablespoons (3.75 ounces or 106 grams) of the batter. The first muffin pan will have six cavities filled, whereas the second muffin will will have three cavities filled. For the second muffin pan, you'll need to pour water into every other cavity to mimic the placement of the batter in the first muffin pan.
  • Make the cinnamon sugar topping. Whisk together the granulated sugar and cinnamon for the cinnamon sugar topping in a small bowl. Sprinkle the top of each cavity, aiming for the batter and avoiding the pan, with 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon sugar each.
  • Bake the muffins. Bake each muffin pan for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the muffins are domed and golden brown around the edges. A skewer inserted into the center of a muffin should come out with a few crumbs attached.
  • Cool and unmold the muffins. Cool the muffins in the muffin pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Then use an offset spatula to run underneath the edges of the banana muffin tops to prevent them from sticking in the pan. Be careful to just run the offset spatula under the edges—you don't want to accidentally cut into the muffin bottom and decapitate the muffin from its top!
    After unsticking the muffin tops, keep cooling the muffins in the pans completely to room temperature. DO NOT TRY AND TURN THE MUFFINS OUT WHILE THEY ARE STILL WARM. Because these muffins are so top-heavy, you'll run the risk of accidentally pulling the tops and bottoms apart if the cake is still warm! Wait until they are cooled completely before turning them out of the pan. Run the offset spatula underneath each muffin top once more and gently tilt the muffin upwards to turn it out of the pan.
  • Serve and store. Serve warm or at room temperature. The muffins can be wrapped individually in plastic wrap or stored in an airtight container or under a cake dome at room temperature for up to 2 days.
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Weeknight Baking:
Recipes to Fit your Schedule

Over the past several years of running Hummingbird High, I kept a crucial aspect of my life hidden from my readers: I had a full-time, extremely demanding job in the tech world. In my debut cookbook, Weeknight Baking, I finally reveal the secrets to baking delicious desserts on a tight schedule.