Marvelous Cheese Muffins for March Muffin Madness

Tired of hearing about brackets and having your favorite television shows preempted by college basketball games for the traditional March Madness? Then switch from brackets and goal “baskets” to baskets filled with something else—muffins! These last three days of March I’ll be sharing some scrumptious muffin recipes for what I call March Muffin Madness (MMM). Even if you are a sports fan, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy some of the muffins I am going to share while watching the Final Four.

My inspiration for MMM has been Linda’s (Gluten-Free Homemaker)  “Create A Muffin” challenge. You can share your muffin recipe on her Gluten-Free Wednesdays any week, but she’s having a special roundup on the first Wednesday of April, the 7th. (The first Wednesday of every month is when the monthly challenge recipes will be featured.)

Today’s feature is Marvelous Cheese Muffins. It’s another recipe that hasn’t been pulled out of the recipe box in a while. I don’t know that I’ve made it since going gluten free. I am not sure why because it’s a wonderful recipe that is terrific served with a meal, especially soup, or on its own as a tasty treat. With the popularity of my Garlic Cheese Biscuits (you can read comments on the post and reviews here at Casey’s beautiful Live Your Art blog and here in Tiffany’s post on the ever helpful Triumph Dining’s blog—thanks so much to both of them!), I’m betting these will soon become new favorites for many, too. I mean who doesn’t like a good muffin? Or cheese? And savory muffins can be as delightful as sweet muffins. As soon as these muffins come of the oven, you’ll want to break one open and perhaps spread a little butter (or honey butter, as is Mr. GFE’s preference) on each and enjoy. That’s exactly what Son did. He walked in the door about 15 minutes after the muffins came out of the oven. I had just finished snapping a few photos of them with a mug of my homemade chili. Even though Son lives an hour away, his food timing is often amazing! Well, you know what happened next. He devoured a mug of chili and way too many cheese muffins to count. In fact, I had to snatch two out of the basket to take to Mom and Dad with a jar of chili for their soup-of-the-month gift (one of my gifts to them at Christmas).

That meant we now had no muffins left to go with chili for dinner. Mr. GFE was away from home and hadn’t had any. So, after delivering Mom and Dad’s chili and muffins, I made some more. The second time I opted for mini versions figuring the odds were that we’d have at least some left to go with dinner. This line of thinking worked, but honestly only because Son had left to visit some friends at that point. When he returned, which was after we’d gotten to enjoy some muffins with our chili, he immediately devoured the rest. He popped one bite-size cheesy morsel into his mouth after another. His defense, “Mom, you know I love these!” Well, I’m like any other mom out there, I like to see Son fed and happy so I didn’t mind at all. And, yes, he went home with the rest of the chili, too.

These muffins are a little crisper on the outside, but not hard at all. The inside is especially tender and moist. They are mildly cheesy. Of course, you can control how intense the cheese taste is by the type of cheese you use. I used your basic, sharp Cheddar, which I grated myself. I far prefer grating my own cheese. It only takes a few seconds and hand-grated cheese is much finer and melts better. (Some of the pre-packaged grated cheese melts into a big puddle of grease in my opinion. I am sure that some of it is cheese “food” and not even real cheese.) Finally, when you grate your own cheese, you know exactly what you are getting; there’s no need to read a potentially long label like there is when you use store-bought grated cheese. These muffins are indeed marvelous … I hope you’ll try them!

Check back tomorrow for a sweet muffin recipe. These muffins will be sweetened in a whole new way (at least to me) to make them refined sugar free. They will also be dairy free, and of course, gluten free. But for now, make some cheese muffins and see how long they last at your house!

Not just gf, but gfe!


Marvelous Cheese Muffins
  • 1 ¾ cups gluten-free flour mix*
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • ¾ cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  1. Combine first four ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Add cheese and mix well.
  3. Make a well in the center of mixture. Add melted butter, then milk (to help cool down the butter some), and finally the egg.
  4. Stir until moistened, breaking up any flour chunks.
  5. Spoon into greased muffin tins. Fill ⅔ to ¾ full. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25 minutes.
Makes 1 dozen regular-sized muffins or about 30 mini muffins.
*I can’t tolerate many of the healthier, gluten-free flours; e.g., sorghum, buckwheat. Therefore, my gluten-free flour mix is 3 parts Asian white rice flour and 2 parts cornstarch. I gently mix three one-lb bags of the Asian white rice flour and two one-lb boxes of cornstarch in a very large bowl and then store the mix in several airtight containers (like large glass jars). No refrigeration is needed. But feel free to use whichever flour mix you use most often for baking. If you’re not gluten free, you may use all-purpose flour. There’s always adaptability in recipes. The original recipe called for 2 tablespoons of sugar. Reducing it to 1 tablespoon was no problem. Next time, I’ll try it without sugar. Sometimes I forget the salt in this recipe; the muffins still taste great. In the second batch, I used ¼ cup of brown rice flour mixed with 1 ½ cups of my usual gluten-free flour mix. The muffins still were very good, but Son and I agreed that they tasted less “cheesy,” so stronger flours can overpower the cheese a bit. Plus, when the brown rice flour was added to the mix, the muffins were not quite as soft and tender. Again, they were still very good, but not quite as delicious as the ones made with the rice flour/cornstarch mix in our opinion. Last, I like making these with larger eggs; the little extra egg factor adds to the tenderness of the muffin I believe. Adapted from a Janet Filer’s submission to Southern Living

Not just gf, but gfe!

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35 Responses to “Marvelous Cheese Muffins for March Muffin Madness”

  1. Yvonne (in California) on March 29th, 2010 1:34 pm

    Thank you, thank you. I really enjoy your website and all the wonderful sharing. I am still a newby and object to all the “have to” cooking–but I am doing well and like all your recipes I have tried.

    Perhaps of interest to all: I have researched Coconut Oil and found it is one of the finest oils for our bodies. (I heard Bruce Fife,ND,Coconut doc; interviewed). I now use Coconut Oil,it is very subtle tasting, for buttering my toast in the morning and in all baking–the big bonus–it is not as greasy as butter or oil but does the job.
    Keep up the great work!!

    • Shirley on March 29th, 2010 9:46 pm

      Hi Yvonne–Welcome to gfe. :-) It’s always wonderful to hear such sweet, uplifting feedback … thanks for making my day! Try not to fight the cooking, Yvonne … soon you’ll be doing it without a thought. ;-) The more wonderful things you make that you can eat safely, the more you’ll like cooking!

      Thanks so much for mentioning the benefits of coconut oil. I know that info is new to many. I just made some muffins with coconut oil this evening. :-) I have not read Bruce Fife’s book yet, but I’ve heard wonderful things about it. I rarely eat bread, but I’ll have to try some coconut oil the next time I do–thanks. BTW, my doctor only recommends these fats: coconut oil, organic butter, grapeseed oil, and olive oil.

      Thanks again, Yvonne! Have a great week. :-)


  2. Pam on March 29th, 2010 3:11 pm

    Shirley….those look out of this world…so delish!


    • Shirley on March 29th, 2010 9:49 pm

      Thanks, dear Pam. :-)

      xo …


  3. Maggie on March 29th, 2010 8:06 pm

    Wow, these look so good. They would be a great addition to a brunch potluck too. I prefer your kind of March Madness! You can never have too many muffin recipes!

    • Shirley on March 29th, 2010 9:53 pm

      Hi Maggie–Thanks! :-) Yes, these would be good for a brunch! Glad to find a fellow muffin lover. Yes, so many muffin recipes, so little time. ;-)


    • Shirley on March 29th, 2010 10:01 pm

      Oh, Maggie, thanks so much for stopping by … welcome officially to gfe!


  4. Debbie on March 29th, 2010 10:07 pm

    These sound so good that I know I must try them. Thanks so much for sharing. Mister Linky is up for this week’s Crock Pot Wednesday. I figured with the busy week and weekend, that we should get an early start. I hope you will come on over and join me. There’s a giveaway going on.

    • Shirley on March 30th, 2010 7:01 am

      Hi Debbie–I think you’ll love these muffins when you try them! I told Son I was making muffins when he called last night. You’re making more cheese muffins? he asked. I think he was relieved when I said No, not cheese muffins. LOL

      I’m so glad you stopped by to let me know about Crockpot Wednesday being up! Loved your pudding cake—yum. Although I actually cooked a new dish in the crockpot yesterday, it wasn’t blog worthy yet. So I linked up an older recipe. It’s a good one though, jambalaya. So easy when made in the crockpot, and, of course, delish. :-) Great idea on getting started early with the busy weekend coming up!


  5. Chelsey on March 30th, 2010 12:46 am

    Muffins and cheese, I don’t beleive there is anything better to eat! These look amazing. I can see why son gobbled ‘em all up.

    Looking forward to your sweet muffins…

    • Shirley on March 30th, 2010 7:05 am

      Hi Chelsey–So good to see you! :-) I’m so glad you stopped by because it reminds me that I need to visit your blog. I saw that you had a post with a very intriguing title up, but then forgot to pop over. ;-)

      You’re right … muffins and cheese make for a pretty unbeatable combo! They go very quickly, especially when Son’s home. Thanks so much!

      The sweet muffins will be up later …


  6. Lauren on March 30th, 2010 12:54 am

    Lovely! Cheese muffins are a fabulous start to what I’m sure will be the fantastic March Muffin Madness! Can’t wait to see these sweet ones =D.

    Oh, and I’m not sure if I told you yet, but I got the agave nectar! It looks great and I’ll have to try something with it soon!

    • Shirley on March 30th, 2010 7:07 am

      Hey Lauren–Oh, I’m so glad your Xagave package arrived! :-) I just can’t wait to see what you come up with … I know it will be fabulous. ;-)

      Thanks so much for the sweet (or should I say savory? LOL) words on the cheese muffins! Everyone is waiting for the sweet muffins … can’t say I blame them!


  7. Kay Guest on March 30th, 2010 7:57 am

    Hey Shirley! I was going to make these muffins last night but a friend gave me a big loaf of gluten free bread so I knew that meant that I had to make your Bread Pudding!(The bread had been frozen and was so crumbly that Richard told me it was drier than rice cakes…when life gives you crumbly bread…make Bread Pudding!) It was really, really good. And just like your son gobbled up your muffins, so did our son with the bread pudding. I halved your recipe and instead of nutmeg, I used a little more cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon ginger. I didn’t have evaporated milk, I just used regular milk. (Remember, I got this bread as an unexpected gift!) It was very good, and maybe not as heavily spiced as some like it, but it was perfect for us! So, I have made your Garlic Cheese Biscuits, your Perfect Poundcake, Coconut Pie, and now the Bread Pudding…you are making me into a good cook. It’s a miracle! Cheers! Kay And I WILL Make these cheese muffins too! :-)

    • Shirley on March 30th, 2010 6:13 pm

      Hi Kay–I’m so happy that you turned your gift of crumbly bread into some well-appreciated bread pudding! For years, I used regular milk, so I know it works. Neat that you came up with a spice combo that worked for your family, too. :-) Thank you for doing a little recap of the gfe recipes you’ve made thus far! Son was just “fussing” at me for not making the perfect pound cake lately for him. Maybe I’ll make it for Easter. Tomorrow, I’m making the coconut pie for a birthday luncheon. My co-workers love it, too. ;-) Okay, I’ll look forward to hearing what you think of the cheese muffin recipe in the near future.

      Thanks so much for sharing with us!


  8. Kim on March 31st, 2010 8:17 pm

    Cheese & muffin in the same sentence got my attention!! YUM!! I bet Jon would love these!!


    • Shirley on April 1st, 2010 6:33 am

      LOL Kim … yes, not your typical muffin. The males in my house love these muffins. In fact, both of them thought I had made more cheese muffins when they heard/saw I had made more muffins (this time corn muffins). Son was back at his apt and on the phone with me, so he was relieved I hadn’t made cheese muffins again. Didn’t want us to be enjoying them without him. Mr. GFE took a look at the muffins spread out and immediately said, “more cheese muffins!” ;-) Easy to make … let us know if you give them a try. :-)



  9. Alta on April 1st, 2010 11:28 am

    Mmmm, cheesy muffins. I’m so there!

    • Shirley on April 1st, 2010 6:34 pm

      Alta–This are such a perfect, easy “bread” to go with so many meals, especially soups. :-) Of course, everyone in my family will happily eat them any time. ;-)


  10. Mary on June 9th, 2011 7:55 pm

    Hi Shirley,

    I first saw your cheese muffin recipe about an hour ago, and my first batch is in the oven now! I just had to make them right away :). I used Earth Balance dairy-free/soy-free margarine, Daiya cheese, and coconut milk. Can’t wait to eat one – thanks for the great recipe.


    • Shirley on June 9th, 2011 11:54 pm

      Hi Mary–I’ll be thrilled to hear that you made these successfully dairy free. I haven’t tried that yet! I absolutely love the flavor in these muffins so again I’m hoping yours were a success. :-)


  11. Rebecca on September 27th, 2013 11:20 am

    These sound awesome! I’m going to try adapting them to my diet and make them dairy and egg free:-)

    • Shirley on September 27th, 2013 12:58 pm

      Hi Rebecca–Thanks! Others have made these dairy-free with no problems and egg free *should* work. Hope you have great success! :-)


  12. Sharon on September 27th, 2013 4:22 pm

    I am going to try these. My husband and I are on a no wheat diet and he misses his bread. I still haven’t come across a good recipe to use. But I definitely am going to try these muffins!!

    • Shirley on September 27th, 2013 9:52 pm

      Hi Sharon–Welcome to gfe! :-) I find that muffins/rolls/biscuits can be a great and easy way to enjoy a gluten-free bread. ;-) Hope you both enjoy these! You might also want to take a look at my ongoing Bountiful Bread series. Part 1 is Loaves. Part 2 is Basic Biscuits and Rolls. Part 3 should be up next week. Hope you find something else good in the series to make!


  13. Caro on February 19th, 2014 4:51 am

    I made these for the first time this morning. All I can say is YUM!!! I added 1 tsp of xanthan gum as it’s gives any gluten free baking a better texture, they came out beautifully moist and light. Thank you for sharing such a good recipe!

    • Shirley on February 20th, 2014 12:25 am

      Hi Caro–Welcome to gfe! :-) I’m so happy that you loved this recipe so much. :-) Yes, you can always use xanthan gum in recipes like this one. I tend to go without it when I can, but I’m glad it yielded great results for you with this recipe. Thanks so much for taking time to leave your review!


  14. Mollie Ahern on April 5th, 2014 1:32 pm

    thank you for this recipe!

    i am new to being gluten free and have struggled with finding good savoury alternatives as gf bread is not very appetising!

    thanks again, mollie x

    • Shirley on April 5th, 2014 4:41 pm

      Mollie–Welcome to both the gluten-free world and gfe! :-) I’m so happy that you found this recipe and enjoyed it. Be sure t check out my ongoing gf bread series. Check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. More will be coming. ;-)


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