How to Make Maple Bacon Breakfast Muffins from Scratch or Pancake Mix by Cleo Coyle

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These delicious muffins deliver the taste of a pancake breakfast in one bite: maple syrup, bacon, and fluffy buttermilk flapjacks. I'll show you how to make them two ways: (1) from scratch or (2) with a pancake mix. 

So click here to quickly download the recipe in a free PDF that you can print, save, or share, or scroll down to read the entire post, see the step-by-step photos and eat with joy...

~ Cleo

Cleo Coyle has a partner in
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.

Cleo Coyle’s
Maple Bacon

Pancake Muffins

To create this treat, I started with my own favorite maple muffin recipe and swapped regular milk for buttermilk to mimic the richness of old-fashioned buttermilk pancake batter. Next I folded in caramelized bacon bits, made from a recipe that I first shared in my 9th Coffeehouse Mystery, Roast Mortem, a tribute to firefighters (with firehouse recipes). 

Finally, before baking these muffins, I topped them with a sprinkling of more candied bacon bits and a light drizzle of maple syrup. 

The muffin itself is a bonus recipe from A Brew to a Kill, which takes readers on a culinary odyssey through New York City after a food truck war between a “Kupcake Kween” and a coffeehouse manager turns deadly. My husband (and partner in crime writing) flipped for these muffins.

May you eat them with joy!  

~ Cleo

To download a PDF version 
of this recipe that you can 
print, save, or share, click here.

Maple Bacon 
Pancake Muffins 

From Scratch Version...

Makes 6 regular-size muffins (or 12 mini muffins) 


For the bacon:
Caramelized bacon bits will consist of…
  6 slices of bacon, smoked or maple
  + 6 teaspoons of light brown sugar

For the batter:
1 cup all-purpose flour 
1 Tablespoon light brown sugar 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt (if using table salt, use only a pinch) 
1 large egg, lightly beaten with fork 
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil 
1/3 cup + 1½ teaspoons pure maple syrup (not “pancake syrup," see note)*
1/2 cup buttermilk (I use light) 

*Note: “Pancake syrup” is not maple syrup. It consists of corn syrup flavored with maple extract. If you use pancake syrup instead of pure maple syrup in this recipe, be warned that your muffins will be dry. Use pure maple syrup for best results.


Step 1 – Make caramelized bacon bits: First preheat oven to 375° F. Muffins need a very hot oven to rise properly, so give the oven a good 20 minutes of pre-heating.  Meanwhile, cut 6 slices of bacon into small pieces. (Tip: I use kitchen shears.) 

Sauté over medium-high heat until half-cooked—still soft and flexible with fat just beginning to change color. Drain fat. Add your 6 teaspoons of light brown sugar. (This measure is the equivalent of 2 tablespoons; you want 1 teaspoon of brown sugar for each slice of bacon.) 

Stir and continue stirring over heat until bacon bits are cooked through but still flexible (do not cook until crisp and brittle). Transfer bacon bits to a plate, break up any clumps into a single layer. Set aside to cool.

Step 2 – One bowl mixing method: Combine flour, 1 Tablespoon brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk until well blended. Make a well in the center. Add fork-beaten egg, measure in oil, buttermilk, and 1/3 cup of the maple syrup (you will use the final 1½ teaspoons from the ingredient list later). Whisk the batter until well blended, but do not over-mix or you’ll develop the gluten in the flour and your muffins will be tough instead of tender. The batter will be loose. Fold in the bacon bits, reserving enough to sprinkle over the muffin tops before baking in the next step.

Step 3 – Sprinkle and Drizzle: Coat 6 muffin cups and top of muffin pan with non-stick spray. If using paper liners, coat the papers as well as the top of the pan. Divide batter among the 6 sprayed or lined muffin cups. Sprinkle the reserved caramelized bacon bits over the top of each cup’s batter and drizzle a small amount (¼ teaspoon, no more) of maple syrup on top of the bacon bits and batter.

Step 4 – Bake: If baking standard muffins, check them in 15 minutes for doneness. If baking mini-muffins check them in 8 minutes. Muffins may need a few more minutes than stated, depending on your oven. They’re done when a toothpick inserted comes out with no wet batter clinging to it. 

NOTE: The maple syrup drizzle will cause the muffin tops to stick a bit to the pan. Simply use a butter knife to gently free it before removing muffins from cups. FYI - I use the toothpick method to remove baked muffins from their pans. Stick two toothpicks into the muffin from opposite ends and gently lift.

"Pancake Mix" Version

For fun, I included this “pancake mix” option for making the batter in this recipe. The difference between the scratch recipe and this one is mainly texture. The scratch version has a more cake-like crumb while the texture of the pancake mix version is more like a cornmeal muffin, but it’s very good too, and worth a try if you’re curious—and have some pancake mix handy in your pantry! ~ Cleo

Makes 6 regular-size muffins (or 12 mini muffins)


For bacon:
Caramelized bacon bits consisting of… 
   6 slices of bacon, smoked or maple
   + 6 teaspoons of light brown sugar 

For batter:
1-½ cup dry buttermilk flavor pancake mix (What brand? See my note below.) 
1 Tablespoon light brown sugar 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1 large egg, lightly beaten with fork 
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil 
1/3 cup pure maple syrup (and not “pancake syrup”) 
½ cup whole milk (1% or 2% will work; but do not use skim milk) 

*Note on pancake mix: Do not use Bisquick. Do not use a “just add water” mix. Use a mix that requires the addition of milk, eggs, and oil or melted butter. I used Pearl Milling Company (previously "Aunt Jemima") Buttermilk flavor mix for this recipe. No matter what brand you choose, a buttermilk flavored mix will give you the best results. 

Directions: Follow the directions in the previous recipe with this exception. In Step 2, use this batter instead: Whisk together the pancake mix, 1 Tablespoon brown sugar, baking powder, fork-beaten egg, oil, maple syrup, and milk until well blended. Do not over-mix. Fold in the caramelized bacon bits, reserving enough to decorate each muffin top before baking. The batter will be loose. (Now move to Step 3 in the "from scratch" recipe.)

Eat (and read) with joy!

New York Times bestselling author
of The Coffeehouse Mysteries and
Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

Cleo (Alice) with her husband Marc

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