Whole Wheat Dinner Muffins

These whole wheat dinner muffins just might be the answer to every anticipated bread-with-dinner-woe.

Afraid of yeast? Don’t worry, no yeast in these babies.

Don’t have time? Ha! These muffins scoff at time…they are fast and easy. Plus, I’m guessing they freeze beautifully.

Avoiding carbs? Well, can’t really help you with that one, but count your lucky stars these are 100% whole wheat.

Seriously, these muffins are absolutely delicious with a hint of cornmeal to the whole wheat mix. I can see them pairing perfectly with everything from classic casseroles to pasta to a light dinner salad.

I’m thrilled to have stumbled upon these light, fluffy, delicious whole wheat muffins. Time doesn’t always lend itself to home-baked hot rolls from the oven, but I’m guessing I’ll be making the time to whip up these delectable muffins. Hearty enough to stand on their own, they are absolutely irresistible slathered with butter and jam.

P.S. Check out this BBQ Make-a-Menu post from the archives if you need a little Memorial Day Menu inspiration!

Whole Wheat Dinner Muffins

Whole Wheat Dinner Muffins

Yield: Makes 15-16 muffins

Whole Wheat Dinner Muffins

Note: I prefer to use white wheat flour but red wheat flour would work just as well, resulting in a slightly heartier, darker muffin.


  • 2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 4 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
  • 6 tablespoons firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted, or olive oil
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds for sprinkling


  1. Preheat your oven to 350ยฐF. Grease 16 standard muffin cups; fill the unused cups one-third full with water to prevent warping during baking.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl or a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together the egg yolks, butter, buttermilk, and sour cream until blended. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture just until evenly moistened. Donโ€™t overmix! The batter will be slightly lumpy.
  3. In a clean bowl, using a mixer with spotlessly clean beaters on medium speed, beat the egg whites just until they form soft peaks. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the batter until blended, again, taking care not to overmix because that will result in tough, dry muffins.
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each cup nearly level with the rim of the cup. Sprinkle the muffins with the sesame seeds. Bake the muffins until they are golden, dry and springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 18-20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the muffins cool for 5 minutes. Unmold the muffins and serve warm or at room temperature with butter and/or jam, if desired.

Recipe Source: slightly adapted from The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook

38 Responses to Whole Wheat Dinner Muffins

  1. Bonnie says:

    Hi Mel, Some of my kids and my husband are kind of freaky about refined sugar right now, so I subbed 3 T of honey for the sugar and added an extra 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to make up for the acidity of the honey. They were rad! Thanks for dependably delicious recipes. Haven’t had a fail yet! Good job!!

  2. Teri says:

    What are the nutritional breakdowns as I am a diabetics?

  3. Teri says:

    What are the nutritional breakdowns as I am a diabetics?

  4. Kristy says:

    This was just ok for me. I have so say though that it was up against your yummy cornbread recipe (which I sub at least half of the flour for white whole wheat) so it had high standards to measure up against! Here’s the link for Mel’s cornbread if anyone wants it! http://www.melskitchencafe.com/the-cornbread-and-fluffy-honey-butter/

  5. Nidhi says:

    Thanks a lot Mel ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Nidhi says:

    Hi Mel,

    lovely and very helpful blog ๐Ÿ™‚
    one query in general though, when you say ‘buttermilk’ do you mean whey residue from yogurt or cheese making or whipped curd (curd with water) like the ones available in India. Thanks a lot in advance ๐Ÿ™‚

    happy baking!!

    • Mel says:

      Nidhi – I’m referring to the buttermilk widely available in the United States – it is similar to the whey leftover from yogurt but it is milkier. It’s more like a sour milk (what you would get if you mixed a bit of lemon juice into a cup of regular milk).

  7. Katie says:

    I tried these tonight and they were fabulous! The texture was spot on and the flavor was great. My two year old called them “cupcapes” and ate two ๐Ÿ™‚ I was excited to try these because sour cream is my secret ingredient for moist cornbread, and beaten egg whites is my secret ingredient for fluffy waffles. It did not disappoint. Thanks for the great recipe!

  8. I just made these and they’re wonderful! I used honey instead of brown sugar and it wasn’t a problem. I thought I wouldn’t really like them because I’m not such a whole wheat flavor fan (although I always bake with it) but they’re awesome! I love the fluffy texture. I’m going to make these whenever I have buttermilk to use up and they’re perfect for breakfast too. I’ve tried making 100% whole wheat dinner rolls several times before and the texture and flavor was always off. I’d much rather have these and they’re so quick! Thanks for a new favorite. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. […] Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  10. Tanya says:

    I just made these and they turned out great, even though I accidentally used AP flour instead of whole wheat. Oh well. Just another excuse to make a new batch!

  11. Mel – I make these at least a couple times a month. We love them! Just wanted to let you know that I used 4 T of Agave (first time baking with it!) instead of the brown sugar. I think that it made the batter just a little more runny…but I couldn’t tell a difference in flavor. I thought it worked great!

  12. clothespin says:

    I always use almond milk with vinegar for buttermilk and it works great. Not so much with soy milk though.

    And, thanks so much for the recipe! It’s going into my file now! I can’t wait to try it at a family gathering this weekend.

  13. I made these last night to take to my grandma’s for dinner. Everyone loved them! I think that my husband ate 4 by himself. It’s great to have a healthy muffin recipe when you just don’t have time for yeast! I used Whole Wheat Pastry flour, and it worked great. Super light and fluffy! Thank you Mel!

  14. Lucy says:

    Wow, these were really, really good. I admit I was a bit skeptical at the idea of a dinner muffin, but I needed something quick to go with our spinach salad tonight. Thanks for posting!
    Oh, and just as a note for others, I found that mine were done at 15 minutes. I know all ovens are different.

  15. Logan says:

    Yum!! Made these with dinner tonight alongside your Skillet Squash Medley! The muffins were easy to make and I think they would be difficult to mess up. I didn’t have buttermilk so I used milk and lemon juice and plain yogurt to compensate and they still tasted great:)

  16. Kelley says:

    I made these last night, and they were the softest, lightest, moistest whole wheat recipe I’ve ever tasted. I’m going to print this one out! Thanks for sharing it.

  17. Cinda says:

    Oops! Forgot to mention that one of the best things about these light, airy, and moist muffins is that it only takes 6 tablespoons of olive oil–can’t beat that!

  18. Cinda says:

    Made these tonight for company–took the risk of making something for guests before trying it out on just the family–and they were great. Can’t wait to have them for breakfast tomorrow.

  19. Kate says:

    I’m so happy you shared this with us. I’m not the least bit afraid of yeast, but one doesn’t always have the time to bake from yeast based recipes. What I am afraid of, is boredom and heavy oily muffins. I get so bored with most sweet muffins…always the same. Banana, apple, blueberry, corn, yawwwwn. I’d like a basic whole wheat muffin not only for dinner bread, but for savory lunches and breakfast. This would be good with eggs and bacon, or soup for lunch! This is just perfect and I’m going to go make them right now.

  20. Love how these have no yeast! I’ve been having the worst time getting my yeast to rise and have been avoiding it at all costs!

  21. YUM! My boys love fresh bread with dinner! This will be perfect for the days that I have not planned ahead for yeast bread! Thanks Mel!!

  22. Leanne says:

    love your site and ALL the recipes I’ve tried! you are amazing. just one quick question, we just recently moved and I’m having to adjust my recipes for high altitude- do these muffins have any adjustments that i need to make? I’m so new at this high altitude thing- i have NO CLUE what i’m doing! thanks for the advice!!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Leanne – to be honest, I’m not exactly sure what adjustments you would have to make. My guess is you might need an extra tablespoon of flour but it’s really hard to know without making them first and seeing how they fare. I lived at a really high altitude (around 6,000 feet) before moving out here to nearly sea level and surprisingly most of my baked goods did fine at high altitude when I made them according to the recipes. It’s kind of hit and miss!

  23. Megan H. says:

    love love. these will be appearing at my house tomorrow for sure ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Lauren at Keep It Sweet says:

    These look fabulous! I love that they are healthy and easy.

  25. Holly says:

    Do you usually use buttermilk in your recipes, it is something you keep on hand. I usually just sour the milk with lemon juice or vinegar and was wondering your thoughts on that? ๐Ÿ™‚ Love your site!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Holly – I always have real buttermilk on hand because I use it in so many things (namely this oatmeal pancake mix ever morning). I haven’t had great experience with the milk/vinegar/lemon juice substitutions so I love using the real thing but if your baked goods still turn out well using the sub, then it’s probably fine. A last word in favor of buttermilk – it lasts forever in the refrigerator. I always use it at least a month past it’s “use by” date and it is still fine.

  26. April says:

    These look yummy! Do you have a good whole wheat dinner roll recipe as well?

    • Mel says:

      Hi April – I sub whole wheat flour in all of my dinner roll recipes (see here for a list). I use hard white wheat flour and have had great results using whole wheat in all of the roll recipes on my site.

  27. Jennifer says:

    Made these tonight, as I was in a bind for a bread of some sort for dinner. These are fantastic!!!! I halved the recipe, and didn’t have any buttermilk, so I used the milk with vinegar trick. They rose beautifully, were light and fluffy and everyone loved them! And not to mention, they were easy!! Thanks for saving me tonight, otherwise it would have been boring old loaf bread and butter again. ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. momstarr says:

    These look very good and worth trying. I have a question about the whole wheat bread tutorial. I just made some bread and again faced the same problem….the loaves only rose slightly and then while cooking they drop and almost dip down on top some. WHAT AM I DOING WRONG???? I do not know if I am adding too much or too little flour. I know it takes practice but am still not sure what I am doing wrong. Thanks so much for posting that tutorial!!!

  29. mmmmmmm! Wow, do these look fabulous! I’d love a few right now, warm with a drizzle of honey. Thanks, Chris

  30. Shauntel says:

    I’d be lying if I said I didn’t do cartwheels when I saw this recipe this morning. (Totally did, at 31 weeks pregnant. Ha ha.) Whole wheat AND I don’t have to use yeast (pretty much my life’s fear)?


  31. Kim in MD says:

    These dinner muffins look delicious, Melanie! I love the sprinkle of sesame seeds on top! Thank you for linking the BBQ recipes…I DO need a little inspiration this weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a great weekend!

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