Breakfast Muffins + Scones

Banana Espresso Muffins

banana muffin cut in half
Banana Espresso Muffins on wire rack

Sometimes, if I close my eyes very tight, I can recall a short period of my life where Saturday mornings were a leisurely affair. There was no alarm that sounded: not from bedside clock, or dated cellphone, or upstairs crib. I would dreamily drift into the morning, allowing myself to wake up in my own.good.time. Aimlessly I would reach for my nightstand, grabbing the book I had left open the night before, and would proceed to lose myself in someone else’s adventure, pausing only to steal sleepy kisses with my Adam.

The morning hours would then slip by and we would talk of breakfast, and coffee. Wandering down the street to a crowded cafe, we would indulge in something to fill our hungry bellies, something as simple and sweet as a muffin to take us to the afternoon. There, nestled together near a window, our respite seemed to stretch on for hours; our day seemed to be made just for young lovers to squander away.
But now it is getting late, and I must close this book of faded memories.

My eyes will open tomorrow before the sun rises high; I will awaken to little voices that run from sleep and warm cozy covers, that resist hours spent quietly engaged. You will find me, then, shuffling to the kitchen with eyes half shut, quickly gulping leftover coffee and stumbling to the counter for this little treat, a simple muffin, to take me to the afternoon.

banana coffee muffin on white plate

More Muffin Recipes:

Banana Espresso Muffins on wire rack

Espresso Banana Muffins

Servings: 12 muffins
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Sarah Kieffer
5 from 13 votes
Print Pin Rate


  • 4 tablespoons [57 g] unsalted butter melted
  • 1 cup [227 g] banana mashed
  • 3/4 cup [150 g] granulated sugar plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 cup [112 g] vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup [120 g] sour cream at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup [60 g] buttermilk at room temperature
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground espresso
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups [355 g] all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup [227 g] banana diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup [90 g] mini chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs chopped (optional)


  • Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375F [190C]. Grease two standard twelve-cup muffin tins.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, banana, sugar, oil, sour cream, buttermilk, egg, espresso, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until combined. Add the flour and gently mix until almost combined. Fold in the diced bananas, chocolate chips, and cacao nibs if using. Be careful not to overmix the batter. It should not be completely smooth; there should be some visible lumps and bumps.
  • Scoop a scant 1/3 cup of the batter into every other muffin cup. The batter should fill the cup and mound slightly (using a scoop helps the tops mound). Sprinkle 1 to 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar evenly over each muffin.
  • Bake until the muffins are light golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a hint of crumb, rotating the pans halfway through baking, 18 to 24 minutes. Let the muffins cool in the tin for about 5 minutes, then gently remove them and transfer to a wire rack to cool for a few more minutes before serving. Muffins are best eaten the day they are made, but they can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.


I like to use a combinations of granulated sugar and coarse sugar for sprinkling on the tops; I use half of each and whisk them to combine.
Standard muffin pans are surprisingly varied. I use Nordic Ware Naturals 12-cup aluminum commercial pans, with a 2 oz Vollrath scoop. If you are using different pans/scoops, you can always bake a test muffin to see how it performs in your pan.
If you are not using muffin liners, make sure to grease your pans! Pan spray works well on both the cavities of the pan and the top of the pan for ease of release.
*This recipe has been updated from when it was first posted in 2012. If you would like the original recipe, you can email me at [email protected] and I will send it to you! 

  • Reply
    Tuesday, January 30, 2024 at 11:36 pm

    5 stars
    These are great! I love how simple the recipe is (i.e. no need to mix a lot of ingredients separately). I had never thought to put cocoa nibs in muffins, and they’re very nice!
    I deviated slightly from the recipe and it still all turned out great:
    I did not melt the butter (out of laziness) and just used super soft butter, and I used cold sour cream–which gave me a little anxiety because it didn’t mix in smoothly. Next time I’ll try to be in less of a rush and will make sure all the ingredients are at room temp. I also used instant espresso powder (King Arthur Flour brand) and it worked out well–I’ll have to try it with ground espresso another time to compare. Also, since it is so little buttermilk in the recipe, I’ll probably just cheat next time and use a mix of milk and white vinegar, because now I have a quart of buttermilk to use up. Finally–as Sarah notes–muffin tins can vary a lot in size. I have Oxo gold nonstick brand muffin tin and I filled each up with batter (which domed nicely), but I had quite a bit of batter leftover, so had to scramble to prepare another baking vessel (in this case, I used a small loaf tin). Be prepared just in case!

  • Reply
    Monday, January 29, 2024 at 5:12 pm

    5 stars
    These muffins are delicious, soft & moist; my family loved them. The only minor change I made ingredient-wise was using labne instead of sour cream bc it’s what I had on hand. I used a touch more espresso to not waste the pod I opened. I used a 1/3 measuring cup to fill the tin bc I don’t have the size scooper mentioned and it worked for me; they puffed nicely. Will be making this again, maybe trying 1/2 cup buckwheat next time.

  • Reply
    Julie Mastropasqua Pasquale
    Monday, September 4, 2023 at 1:50 pm

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious!!!!

  • Reply
    Saturday, September 2, 2023 at 1:05 pm

    5 stars
    Sweet Jesus these are delightful. They come together fast in a single bowl, are flexible enough for minor substitutions and have a perfect, tender crumb to go with the slightly crackly top. I swapped 100g of whole wheat flour in and used coconut oil for canola because I was out of the latter. Dumped in a packet of Starbucks Via for the espresso and split the recipe between two mini loafs and 6 muffins. What a lovely throwback to quiet coffee shop mornings!

    • Reply
      Sarah Kieffer
      Monday, September 4, 2023 at 8:50 am

      Glad you enjoyed them! And great idea to use the packet of Via for the espresso.

  • Reply
    Friday, September 1, 2023 at 10:57 am

    5 stars
    So easy to make. Mashed banana keeps the muffins from feeling underbaked but bite-size chunks give a beautiful marbled look. The espresso does not make this taste like coffee but more a deep richness like there’s brown sugar in it. The sparkling sugar on top gives it a crackle to an otherwise pretty soft mouth feel. I appreciate the mini chips as it doesn’t overwhelm you with chocolate flavor or get particularly messy/melty when eating. I made four mini loaves instead of a dozen muffins… Kept the temperature at 375 but I would probably drop it to 350 next time to ensure the center bakes Before the exterior gets to brown. Even though there’s a ton of banana, it doesn’t get overly sweet like most banana bread recipes. This is a great recipe for people who aren’t huge banana fans or big sweet fans. Definitely a crowd pleaser..

  • Reply
    Tuesday, August 29, 2023 at 8:10 pm

    Can I substitute Greek yogurt for the sour cream?

  • Reply
    Monday, June 26, 2023 at 4:50 pm

    5 stars
    Delicious!! Love that these can be whipped up in one bowl and no mixer 😀

    • Reply
      Ginger Hackney
      Wednesday, August 30, 2023 at 8:49 am

      Question – recipe says 12 servings but notes say grease two pans???

      • Reply
        Wednesday, August 30, 2023 at 9:39 am

        5 stars
        What she does – and what some other bakers recommend – is to space muffins every other cup so they have better air circulation and rise taller in the pan. i do have two muffin pans so i split twelve muffins between the two pans. They bake up just fine in one pan – maybe not as tall, but just as tasty (and you only have to clean one pan).

  • Reply
    Wednesday, April 19, 2023 at 1:42 pm

    5 stars
    I suspect a lot of comments here are prior to the recipe update, but none the less, I wanted to leave a review on the updated version. As I pull together this review, I also realize I made many more modifications than I typically do with a recipe. That aside, this is a great banana muffin recipe and people shouldn’t be afraid to substitute in a pinch. I came to find out I was two bananas short (so didn’t add the banana chunks) and my canola oil was rancid – yuck!(so I substituted coconut oil). The muffins still came out delicious. I think the coconut oil did overtake the coffee flavor, but not a big deal. If you use coconut oil, the espresso powder likely isn’t necessary. I will make these again, knowing I need four, not two large bananas, and a more bland oil. Probably could have gotten away with more butter instead, but I still love these. Thank you! I will also be reaching out for the original recipe as mentioned above in the blog out of curiosity.

  • Reply
    Sunday, February 16, 2020 at 7:55 am

    I know this post is years old, but I wanted to let you know I’ve been making these muffins for probably 6 years, 7 maybe? And I love them dearly. Made them with my 3 yr old this morning! I love your recipe collection, too.

  • Reply
    Friday, December 16, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    I want to say that I made these vegan and they turned out great–moist and well risen and true to a muffin that I would know!
    I replaced the egg with a flax egg (1 T flax, 2.5 T water); the buttermilk with 3/4 c. almond milk + 1 t. apple cider vinegar. (though I think soy would work better, but only had almond on hand)
    I also think it would taste good to replace 1/4 -1/2 c. of flour with almond meal for texture, but I didn’t think of it until afterwards.
    Anyways just wanted to let you know they work as a vegan muffin as well with simple replacements!

  • Reply
    Monday, August 22, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    can i substitute the coffee with something else? perhaps milk?

    • Reply
      Tuesday, August 23, 2016 at 9:11 am

      Hi Loretta – Yes, use 1 1/4 cup buttermilk total and omit the coffee. Let me know how they turn out for you!

  • Reply
    Wednesday, July 13, 2016 at 12:51 am

    Do you think you can subsitute coconut flour? and just add an extra egg? has anyone tried this? and ill be subbing coconut oil for the olive oil which i saw another did yay cant wait to make these thanks!

    • Reply
      Thursday, July 14, 2016 at 9:49 pm

      Hi Lydia – I have never tried coconut flour here, so I’m honestly not sure how it will do. If you try it, please let me know how it goes! -Sarah

  • Reply
    Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    Should these be refrigerated??

  • Reply
    Sunday, November 29, 2015 at 11:02 am

    I loved this recipe! Baked it as a cake with wholewheat flour and it was just incredible. Super moist! Thanks so much 🙂

  • Reply
    Diana Abreu
    Wednesday, August 19, 2015 at 7:28 am

    Hey there! I tried your recipe last night! Follow the quantities as described.
    Its important to say im from Brazil! Maybe our banana is smaller than yours – more bananas in the recipe would be nice!
    Matbe our coffee is stronger, so i believe the taste was a little to coffee-ee and the sugar could be doubled! As the nibs arent sweet either!

    I hope my experience can help others! 😀


  • Reply
    Heather (Delicious Not Gorgeous)
    Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    I made these today- subbed cinnamon for nutmeg, chocolate chips for cacao nibs- and they were so yummy and moist! I thought the banana chunks and coffee might not work out, but they definitely did. One of my new favorite banana muffin recipes for sure.

  • Reply
    Sunday, December 14, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    I’m allergic to cacao…any substitues in mind?

    • Reply
      Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      Are you allergic to nuts? Pecans or walnuts chopped small would work here, too, and also give a nice crunch. 🙂

  • Reply
    Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Love these! I used whole meal flour and added some chia seeds to make a tad healthier, also swapped the olive oil for coconut oil. Thanks for the great recipe!

  • Reply
    Monday, January 7, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    My brother gave to me a bottle of cacao nibs and I started thing what I suppose to do with that? Then, I start searching and saw your proposal, what can I tell, this is a perfect recipe. I used nutmeg because I found it comes perfect with coffee, and it came with a perfect touch.
    What I like so much is that the muffins are not too sweet, so it can be eaten with a cup of tea or coffee. Also very moist and soft.
    If you don’t mind I want to share it.

  • Reply
    Sunday, September 9, 2012 at 5:01 am

    I’ve just made the muffins and they are delicious, and something just a little different and special in the crowded muffin universe. Also love that I can make your recipe when I’m on the other side of the world – thanks for sharing and for your fabulous blog 🙂

  • Reply
    Monday, June 25, 2012 at 10:37 am

    These are just amazing!! This recipe was just what I was looking for. I just bought cacao nibs to try and didn’t much care for the flavour by themselves. But they taste great in this recipe. I added in walnuts and fresh raspberries to this too and the flavour was fantastic! Thanks for a great recipe 🙂

  • Reply
    Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 2:38 am

    These are in the oven, the batter itself tastes just so delicious! I can’t wait 16 minutes!

  • Reply
    Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    I’m new to your blog. I made these just as directed and I was skeptical because the batter is a little thinner than usual muffin batter but they are amazing. So good with coffee, a latte actually, and not overly sweet like most bakery muffins. A great recipe. Thanks!

    • Reply
      vanilla bean blog
      Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 3:37 am

      Barbara! This comment made my day. Thank you so much for stopping by and letting me know you liked them. Have a lovely day!

  • Reply
    Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Wow, these looks so sweet and hearty – a perfect breakfast if I do say so. I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog – it’s amazing and delicious!

  • Reply
    Ladies Holiday
    Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 2:12 am

    mmm…the picture you painted is a beautiful (if not wistful) accompaniment to such sweet little muffins.

  • Reply
    Monday, February 27, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    You can still steal those sleepy kisses…

  • Reply
    Monday, February 27, 2012 at 9:12 am

    I love those lazy Saturday mornings…and am lucky enough to still have them fairly often! I’m sure it will all change when we decide to have children 🙂 These muffins look beautiful and I love the crunch of cacao nibs – so dark and delicious and the perfect contrast to the sweet banana.

  • Reply
    my little celebration
    Saturday, February 25, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    OH my word. I WILL be trying these! They’re too beautiful not to! Your photos are lovely as always. You’re just a gem.

    • Reply
      vanilla bean blog
      Sunday, February 26, 2012 at 4:40 am

      You are so kind. And thank you, friend. I hope you like them.

  • Reply
    Saturday, February 25, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    I was just thinking about the banana-coffee combination when I saw a banana layer cake with coffee buttercream the other day. I think I would like these muffins even more, especially with the crunch of the cocoa nibs!

    • Reply
      vanilla bean blog
      Sunday, February 26, 2012 at 4:39 am

      Thanks Sacha! I really like banana and coffee together. I might have to experiment some more with it.

  • Reply
    london bakes
    Saturday, February 25, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Not to make you too jealous but I’ve had just such a leisurely Saturday morning today 😉 What wonderful muffins though, I love the addition of cocoa nibs and that oatmeal that makes me feel like I’m eating something just that bit healthier than a normal muffin.

    • Reply
      vanilla bean blog
      Sunday, February 26, 2012 at 4:37 am

      I was trying to make them a ‘little’ healthy. So I didn’t feel guilty eating them, ha. And I’m very jealous. But happy for you. 🙂

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