Quick and Easy End-of-Summer Muffins

Given the abundance of certain types of summer produce, do you ever find yourself hanging on to a bit of one thing or another and having a hard time deciding what to do with these stragglers? In the case of cheap and plentiful zucchini and corn, I often seem to have a piece or two left over after the rest has long been consumed. One way of easily using up the excess is in a quick Tex-Mex-type sauté along with red onion, red bell pepper and black beans. Adding them to a vegetable soup or a cobb salad are two other quick fixes. For something more intentional, however, how about these vegetables into savory muffins?

Corn and zucchini muffins

During the hottest days of summer, the last thing you may want to do is turn on the oven. But having a fresh baked good to go along with your grilled steak or next to your morning scrambled eggs can be a nice treat that is worth the relatively short baking time. That’s where the following recipe comes in: an easy handheld hybrid of cornbread and zucchini bread. Individually portioned, these muffins are great for packing as a snack, bringing to a picnic or barbecue, sharing with the grandkids, or setting out for dinner when you’ve invited the entire family over. They also freeze well for eating later (just thaw in the refrigerator overnight and rewarm gently in the toaster or microwave).

These muffins incorporate cornmeal for flavor and texture, as well as a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat flours to strike a balance between healthfulness and a tender crumb. The end result is something with the more substantial texture of a cornbread, but with a moister texture (like zucchini bread) due to the addition of fresh corn kernels and shredded zucchini. A minimal amount of sugar along with the corn itself lends a hint of sweetness, while a handful of salty shredded cheddar cheese ensures that this muffin isn’t confused with a dessert. For that, there is still plenty of late summer fruit to choose from. 

Zucchini-Corn Muffins

Corn on the cob

This recipe can be made entirely with all-purpose flour. If fresh corn is no longer available, substitute with an equivalent amount of thawed frozen corn kernels.



1 medium zucchini

1 large ear corn

1 cup cornmeal

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 Tbs. granulated sugar

3/4 tsp. salt

6 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cup buttermilk

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cooking Instructions

Baking muffins

1. Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F. Line 16 wells of 2 standard-size muffin tins with paper liners.

2. Grate the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater (about 1 3/4 cups). Transfer to a medium bowl. Using a chef’s knife, cut the corn kernels off of the cob (about 1 1/2 cups). Add the corn to the zucchini and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt.

4. Add the butter, buttermilk, eggs and cheese to the zucchini-corn mixture and stir until blended. Transfer to the bowl with the dry ingredients and fold until just incorporated.

5. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin wells, filling each well nearly to the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 26 to 28 minutes. 

6. Let the muffins cool in the pan 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Makes 16 muffins.