Muffin vs Cupcake : What is The Difference Between Them?

Muffin vs CupcakeTo most of us, the main difference between muffin vs cupcake is that cupcakes come with a yummy frosting on top, while muffins don’t.

But in reality, the differences run deeper than that. A lot of things, starting from the ingredients to the way they are prepared, are different.

You often have a muffin for breakfast, but not a cupcake. Why is that? There must be some sort of difference in the taste, making process, or ingredients, which makes us choose a muffin over a cupcake for our breakfast.

Let’s get to know the differences between these two food items in depth.

About Cupcakes

About Cupcakes

Cupcakes are basically like a smaller version of regular cakes. The recipes and ingredients are quite similar.

A cupcake is baked on cupcake lining papers or aluminum cups in the oven. After the cupcakes have been baked, they’re allowed to cool down and then slathered with frosting. Nowadays, people also add lots of edible decorations to cupcakes.

Cupcakes can be of any flavor. As they are mini versions of cakes, they can be altered to a lot of flavors.

Ingredients Needed To Make Cupcakes

The ingredients used to make cupcakes are quite similar to that of making regular cakes. Here is a list of all the items that you will need to bake a cupcake.

  • Softened Butter
  • Sugar (Brown, regular or golden, depending on the type of cupcake)
  • 2 large eggs
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Self Rising Flour
  • Frosting

About Muffins

About Muffins

Muffins look quite similar to cupcakes. They are often baked in the same aluminum cup and paper lining as cupcakes.

However, muffins are a bit tougher in texture and more bread-like than cake-like. Muffins often have fruits and other fun bits added to the batter.

You can also make savory muffins. Some muffins have cheese and vegetables added inside them. Muffins are not as sweet as a cupcake, and generally don’t have any frostings added.

Ingredients Needed To Make Muffins

Muffins have a similar texture to bread. Here are the ingredients that are required to make a muffin.

  • Medium-sized eggs
  • Vegetable oil
  • Skimmed milk, or regular milk, according to reference
  • Golden, brown, or regular sugar according to the type of muffin
  • Self-raising flour
  • Salt
  • Chocolate chips, fruits, raisins, nuts, or any other fun add-ons
  • Parchment paper or wax paper (For Packaging)

What’s The Difference Between Muffins And Cupcakes?

Difference Between Cupcakes vs Muffins

We’ve looked at the differences in ingredients required for making muffins and cupcakes. Now let’s get into the comparison between the two.

Type Of Food

Cupcakes are more of a dessert food item. Muffins on the other hand are breakfast food.

Muffins can be made to be savory, but cupcakes are always very sweet. Cupcakes usually have frosting or buttercream on top.

Cupcakes usually have frosting or buttercream on top.

Muffins are therefore consumed more frequently as breakfast food items. Some types of muffins also have add-ons such as nuts and dried fruits, which can be a great source of nutrition to add to your breakfast.

nuts and dried fruits

Making Process

Making Process

If you’re wondering what is the difference between a cupcake and a muffin, the main answer lies here. The main difference between the two food products is in the way they are made.

A cupcake batter is beaten for a longer time. This gives them a tighter form and even crumbs. Sometimes, people also add ingredients such as whipped eggs, or even mayonnaise to the batter.

Muffins are mixed together in a more complicated way. First, the dry and wet ingredients are prepared separately. Then they are mixed very slowly, and evenly. Muffin batters include way less sugar than cupcakes. While salt is sometimes added to cupcakes, it’s almost always added to muffin batters.


Cupcakes are baked to be a bit smaller than muffins. Since cupcakes get an added layer of frosting, it adds height to them.

Cupcakes are baked to be a bit smaller than muffins

Muffins, on the other hand, are served as they are, in their true size. There’s no frosting or buttercream added on top.


Cupcakes can be of any flavor. They’re a mini version of cakes. Cupcakes are always sweet.

Muffins are usually fruit and nut-based, and much denser. You can also get muffins that have cheese and vegetables in them. It can be made both sweet and savory.

Muffins are usually fruit and nut-based


Cupcakes have all sorts of decorations on them while muffins don’t. Muffins are served straight out of the oven, without any frostings.

Only cupcakes are decorated

Cupcakes often have edible pearls, sprinkles, frosting and other forms of decorations on them to make them look attractive.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are Muffins Healthier Or Cupcakes?

Muffins have way less sugar than cupcakes. They also do not have any frostings or buttercream added on top. As they don’t have any type of decorations or added toppings, you don’t risk getting any artificial colors or flavorings into your body.

Therefore, muffins are healthier than cupcakes. They are an ideal choice for a healthy breakfast.

2. What Can Make Cupcakes Taste Like Muffins After Baking?

If you have baked a batch of cupcakes, and it tastes quite like a muffin, you have probably overfilled the aluminum cup molds.

Because of the lower space provided, the cakes did not rise and got a dense bread-like texture similar to muffins.

4. How To Identify Between Cupcake and Muffin Just By Appearance?

You can differentiate a muffin from a cupcake just by looking at the decorations.

If you see frostings, buttercreams, or decorations on top of the item, it’s a cupcake. If there are no decorations, and you can see the fruits or nuts added in the batter popping through, it’s a muffin.

Also, cupcakes are generally a tiny bit smaller than muffins.

Final Verdict

Cupcakes and muffins look quite similar. Differentiating between the two can be a bit difficult at times. Both of these food products are baked and come in a paper holder.

But, the difference between cupcake vs muffin lies in the way they are made and presented. They have almost similar ingredients, but muffins use a little bit of salt. Muffins can be both sweet and savory, while cupcakes are always sweet.

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