These gluten free chocolate chip muffins have that moist and tender cake-like crumb everyone loves, and just enough chips to tempt your pickiest eater. They’re just right for breakfast, or an afternoon snack.

What makes this recipe special

These gluten free chocolate chip muffins, like all muffins, have a slightly denser texture than cake. But the crumb is so tender and moist, it leans a bit closer to cake-like than is traditional.

I do have a very adaptable recipe for gluten free muffins, and it’s a great recipe. But like an all purpose gluten free flour is good for all purposes, but not ideal for certain more nuanced applications, this muffin recipe is what my dream of a chocolate chip muffin looks like.

To me, a really special chocolate chip muffin has a slightly more tender crumb. So it starts with a slightly softer batter. Here, the flour blend favors starch a bit, for softness, and of course there’s the buttermilk.

But the combination of melted butter and a neutral oil really helps keep the muffins moist, but still flavorful. And never, ever oily-tasting.

Pile of chocolate chip muffins in brown liners in a wire basket lined with blue and white striped towel

How to keep the chocolate chips from sinking

Mix-ins do have a habit of sinking to the bottom of muffins during baking. This is especially true of mix-ins that release moisture during baking, like blueberries in blueberry muffins.

It doesn’t happen much with chocolate chips, which soften during baking, but really don’t melt in the traditional sense. But if you’re concerned at all that your chips are going to sink, rather than being delightfully studded throughout these muffins, I have a couple tips.

Before you add the chips to the muffin batter, line the well of each muffin tin with a small dollop of plain, no-chip, muffin batter. Then, add the chips (you’ll probably want to stick with 4 ounces or less) to the remaining batter and divide it among the wells.

You can also try adding fewer chips, since they’re less likely to clump and sink together. Finally, reserve a few to sprinkle right on top of the muffin wells after you’ve already divided up the batter.

Just be sure to press those reserved chips into the muffins, or they’ll nearly fall off when the muffins are fully baked. The few chips on top also look pretty, and help the muffins fully occupy their true nature as chocolate chip muffins.

raw chocolate chip muffin batter in brown liners in 12-cup muffin tin

How to replace buttermilk when you’ve run out

If you knew me in life, you’d see that I’m not shy about expressing my opinions—although I do know when to stay silent. But since this is my very own recipe blog, on my own block of the Internet, there are a few cornerstone concepts that I will push and push.

I want you to have success, and that means not just that a recipe looks like it worked. I want it to actually taste great, too.

So it is in this tradition that I beg you, don’t try replacing buttermilk in a recipe with the “trick” most people seem to love of adding some acid (vinegar or lemon juice) to milk.

The same goes for (oddly) hydrating buttermilk powder. I do love buttermilk powder for baking, but I never use it in place of buttermilk.

Store-bought buttermilk is thick and rich. No doubt, it has additives that make and keep it that way, but that’s what we’re going for.

Adding a bit of acid to regular milk, dairy or nondairy, just makes slightly sour-tasting milk which is still watery.

But if you don’t have buttermilk in your refrigerator, but you want to make this recipe or any other that calls for buttermilk, you can still pretty easily replace it. Just use half milk and half plain unsweetened yogurt, by volume.

I have tested many of my recipes both ways, most of them in fact, and it always works just as buttermilk does. And it’s even equally applicable to nondairy substitutes.

Chocolate chip muffin with muffin liner partially peeled off on a small pewter plate and muffin basket in background

Ingredients and substitutions

Dairy

There’s a combination of a neutral oil and melted and cooled butter in these muffins. If you can’t have dairy, I don’t recommend trying to replace the melted butter with more oil.

When I tried making these muffins with all oil, the muffins looked fine, but tasted very oily to me. Instead, try using vegan butter or even Earth Balance buttery sticks (and then reduce the salt to a pinch).

In place of buttermilk, use half milk (nondairy is fine) and half plain unsweetened yogurt (again, nondairy is fine).

Eggs

There are two eggs in this recipe. I think you should be able to replace each of them with a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel).

Cornstarch

If you can’t have corn, try arrowroot or potato starch. If you’re using a high-starch blend, like (mock) Cup4Cup, replace the cornstarch with an equal amount, by weight, of that gluten free flour blend.

Half of a chocolate chip muffin on a small pewter plate

Words gluten free chocolate chip muffins with images of Chocolate Chip Muffins in a pile in a wire basket, in a muffin tin, and one muffin cut in half on a small pewter plate

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