Boston Brown Bread muffins recipe

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 Boston brown bread muffins are moist, light and flavourful

These are not bran muffins

I happen to be a fan of bran muffins but my husband is not.

He devours all things healthy but turns his nose up at bran muffins – finds them too dense.

Leave dark coloured muffins on the counter cooling and he’ll assume that they’re bran.

Boston brown bread muffins are moist, light and flavourful

These muffins are dark and flavourful but there is no bran in sight. Instead, they have a blend of regular flour, rye flour and cornmeal. They’re full of flavour and are light and moist.

Boston Brown bread, also known as Maritime Brown Bread to those of us who grew up on the East Coast of Canada, was traditionally steamed in a coffee can rather than baked in the oven. That’s why it’s so moist.

These muffins are an authentic way to get that Boston/Maritime brown bread taste and texture in under 20 minutes, rather than the two hours plus that the steamed bread usually takes to cook.

Boston brown bread muffins are moist, light and flavourful

The recipe comes from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham (she of the Fanny Farmer Cookbook, and Grand Dame of American cooking.) I have to thank The Wednesday Chef blog for putting me onto them.

Tip: The batter for these muffins is very runny but don’t be tempted to add more flour. Trust that Marion Cunningham knows how to make a feathery, moist muffin.

Boston Brown Bread Muffins recipe

Makes 12 muffins (the old fashioned size)

  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk or soured milk*
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup golden raisins, currants or dried cranberries

*To sour you milk add 1 Tbsp. of vinegar to the cup of milk. Let sit for 5 minutes.

  1. Butter a standard muffin pan.
  2. Mix together the flours, cornmeal, salt, and baking soda.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the egg, molasses, sugar, oil, buttermilk and vanilla.
  4. Blend well. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients, along with the fruit, mixing gently until just combined.
  5. Fill the prepared muffin tins 3/4 of the way
  6. Bake at 400 F for 15-20 minutes (until tester comes out clean.)

Nutritional information (per muffin):

Nutrition - brown bread muffins

These muffins are also a good source of:

Vitamin B-6, Vitamin E, iron, magnesium and manganese


If you love feathery muffins try Alan’s ginger muffinsGinger molasses muffins are light and healthy

One more thing…

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13 thoughts on “Boston Brown Bread muffins recipe

  1. debbie says:

    how do i sour the milk if not using buttermilk

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Debbie, To sour the milk just add a bit of vinegar to it. The ratio is 1 Tbsp. of vinegar per 1 cup of milk. I almost never have buttermilk on hand so usually use soured milk.

  2. Sherry Findlay says:

    When does the fruit go in? These sound wonderful!

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Sherry, Whoops, I forgot to add that step. Thanks for pointing it out. I add the fruit when I add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients.

  3. Hi Bridget! Thanks for sending me here to your wonderful blog!! There are so many recipes that look delicious! I can’t wait to try your recipe for Boston Brown Bread Muffins~ I love molasses and I have come to the right place:) Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Thanks Lynn – By the way, I love the name of your blog:)

  4. Barbara Bernard says:

    Going to make these mufins right away. Love Grandma Molasses Molasses! Grew up with it.

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Barbara, I hope you enjoy them. It’s been a while since I have come across a new muffin recipe that I loved this much.

  5. christine denney says:

    I never have rye flour. Can regular flour be used?

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Christine, You can easily mix and match the flour in this recipe. You could use regular, or whole wheat.

  6. Kathleen Higney says:

    These sound amazing! Is it alright to use light brown sugar instead of dark? I have it in my cupboard and don’t want to buy more sugar until that is used up.

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Kathleen — Yes, light brown sugar would work well too. Enjoy!

      1. Kathleen Higney says:

        > Thanks Grandma Molasses!

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