Why Are My Muffins Sticky & Soggy On Top? Fix & Prevent

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While I love to bake muffins as much as I can, there were times were my muffins came out sticky and soggy on top. I quickly found out that this is a common problem amongst muffin bakers. I decided to learn everything that I could about fixing and preventing sticky and soggy muffins.

As a general rule, muffins are sticky and soggy on top because the sugar on top of the muffins absorbs the moisture in the air when they are left out for too long. Prevent this by completely cooling the muffins and placing them in an airtight container with paper towels inside.

I’m sure you’ve run into the problem of baking a tray of muffins or cupcakes only to find they’ve become sticky and soggy on top. Here are some of the reasons why your muffins or cupcakes may have ended up sticky, as well as how to fix them and prevent them from happening again.

Why is The Top Of My Muffins Sticky?

When the sugar on top of muffins is exposed to the air, a chemical process begins to occur where the sugar attracts moisture from the air. This chemical attraction causes the water molecules to settle on the sugar making the top of the muffins sticky and soggy.

Sticky muffins are a common baking problem that I am all too familiar with. Technically, the reason you end up with a sticky muffin is really all due to science.

These are the main reasons for sticky and soggy muffins:

  • The muffins were underbaked
  • The muffins were not cooled off before storage
  • The muffins were not properly stored
  • The oven temperature was set too low
  • The muffins rested in the baking tray for too long

Sugar and water are naturally attracted to each other, so this is one of the most common issues to run across when baking muffins.

Sticky & Soggy Muffins
Sticky & Soggy Muffin Tops!

During my search for the perfect muffin/cupcake, I came across a Great Nonstick 12-Cup Muffin Pan that will make my muffins/cupcakes the perfect size. Ever since I got it, my muffins came out looking better than ever before! You can find this Muffin Tin on Amazon!

Most muffins recipes call for quite a bit of sugar. Needless to say, if muffins are left in their baking tray too long and remain exposed to the air they’re likely to attract whatever moisture is hanging around.

Before you have a chance to enjoy your muffins, they will likely become sticky and wet on top.

Another reason why your muffins may be sticky could be due to the fact you didn’t follow the recipe’s instructions correctly. I always try to read through my recipes at least a few times before I start preparing my ingredients.

If you followed the recipe correctly and still ended up with sticky muffins, it could be because your oven was set too low. Be sure you’re setting it at the correct temperature prior to putting your muffins in the oven.

Make sure you’re storing your baked goods in an air-tight container and that they are completely cooled before placing them inside.

*By the way, I recently wrote an article about How to Store Muffins to Keep Them Fresh for Longer. This article talks about the proper ways to store muffins at room temperature, in the fridge, and in the freezer to keep them fresh. You can check out this article here!

If you noticed that your muffins became sticky after being stored away, that might be because they were improperly stored. Improperly stored baked goods can lead to all sorts of problems, including spoiling too quickly and becoming too sticky to be enjoyable.

How Do You Fix Muffins That Are Too Sticky?

As a general rule, you can fix sticky muffins by placing the muffins inside an airtight container with bread or crackers on top of them. Since bread is very porous, it would then absorb the excess moisture from the muffins by the process of diffusion.

There are a few easy ways to fix muffins that have become sticky on top. One of the best methods I’ve discovered to prevent sticky muffins is to stick a few crackers inside the container before resealing the lid.

Muffins become sticky on top due to sugar molecules attracting excess moisture in the air.

Adding some crackers inside your container will cause the moisture to bind to the cracker instead, leaving your muffins smooth and less sticky the next time you’re ready to enjoy one.

I sometimes use bread, crackers, or even put a few paper towels inside the container to absorb the excess moisture!

*Side Note: You might also want to know How To Stop Cupcake & Muffin Liners From Folding In and Sticking. I recently wrote an article that explains How To Keep The Liners Looking Good When Baking In Them, which you can check out here!

How To Keep Muffins From Getting Sticky?

To prevent muffins from getting sticky, allow the muffins to completely cool before storing. This will prevent condensation which makes the muffins sticky. Line the bottom of an airtight container with a towel before storing the muffins on top. This will absorb any excess moisture from the muffins.

As muffins begin to age they tend to push whatever moisture content that is inside upward and outward. This is another reason why you may notice your muffins become sticky after a few days in a storage container.

Remove Muffins From Baking Tray
Remove Muffins From Baking Tray Right After They’re Done Baking!

What I like to do before storing my muffins is line the container with extra absorbent paper towels. This will catch any excess moisture that might seep out from the bottom and lock it inside the towel.

This will keep the bottoms of your muffins nice and dry.

If you’d like to go a step further, you can always add a couple of towels on top of the muffins as well, but be careful not to crush them in the process! By catching excess moisture at the top and bottom, you’ll have drier, fluffier muffins and a more pleasant texture as well.

*Side Note: You might also want to know Why Your Muffins Didn’t Rise the way they were supposed to. I recently wrote an article talking about Tips For Preventing Flat Muffins, you can check it out here!

Why Are My Muffins Wet And Soggy On Top?

Muffins and cupcakes will become wet and soggy on top if they were not baked correctly, the oven temperature was set too low, they rested in the baking tray for too long, or because they were stored before completely cooling off. Fixing these reasons will help prevent soggy muffins.

More often than not, if your cupcakes or muffins are wet and soggy on top, you likely did not wait for them to completely cool before storing them. While sometimes the issue lies in the baking process itself, storing your cupcakes or muffins while still warm is usually the culprit.

You may not think it’s a huge deal to store your muffins while they’re still a little warm, but it is the reason why they end up sticky and soggy when you go to enjoy them later.

Allowing them to have enough time to cool will allow that excess moisture to evaporate and decrease your chances of ending up with ruined muffins.

What I like to do before storing my muffins is place them on an oven rack in order to allow airflow throughout the top, bottom, and sides. This allows for a more even cooling process and also helps to ensure that you’ve eliminated any excess water or moisture prior to storing them.

*Side Note: You might also want to know why your Muffins Are Crumbly as well as Dry. I recently wrote an article that talks about Fixing and Preventing Crumbly Muffins, which you can check out here!

How Do You Fix Over Moist Muffins?

Over moist muffins can be fixed by gently patting them with paper towels and allowing them to sit on a layer of paper towels to draw excess moisture from the bottom. Line the bottom of an airtight container with paper towels before storing the soggy muffins inside for a couple of hours.

Muffins are an interesting baked good. While you want to have some moisture to allow for a light and fluffy muffin, you don’t want to saturate them either. There is a perfect point at which your muffins are balanced in texture and moisture.

The simplest way you can prevent overly moist muffins is to not let them sit in their baking tins for too long. Muffins require even exposure to air in order to allow some of the excess moisture to evaporate and dry out.

This is nearly impossible if more than half of your muffin is resting inside your muffin tin!

Take your muffins out of your tin as soon as they are cool enough to pull out. Once you’ve removed your muffins, allow them to sit and ventilate for at least fifteen or twenty minutes. This will allow the bottoms of your muffins to firm up and reduce any sogginess around the edges.

Muffins Getting Cooled On A Cooling Rack
Make Sure To Spread The Muffins Out Evenly For Proper Cooling!

When I bake muffins in the air fryer I have to use these Silicone Muffin Liners which are super easy to clean and use! They make it very easy to remove the muffins out of the muffin pan without getting stuck. Check out the link on Amazon!

Now, if you notice that your muffins are excessively soggy, or they seem particularly squishy in certain areas, they may actually be undercooked. In this case, set your oven back to the temperature your recipe called for, and pop them back in for about three to five extra minutes.

Take your muffins back out and they should be fully baked by this point. Then follow the aforementioned steps to prevent your muffins from becoming overly moist while being stored.

How To Keep Muffins From Getting Too Moist?

You can prevent muffins from getting too moist by managing the moisture content within them while they are being stored. This can be done by placing dry bread or saltine crackers in the storage container to absorb excess moisture as it is being developed in the muffins over time.

The best way to prevent your muffins from becoming too moist is a simple, two-step process:

  • Make sure the muffins are completely cooled
  • Place dry paper towels on top of the muffins

First, allow them to completely cool down after baking. Giving them as much time as possible to rest and dry out will help reduce problematic moisture during the storage process. Remove them from their tray to allow them to dry as thoroughly as possible.

The second important step to prevent your muffins from becoming too moist is to line your food storage container with napkins or thin sheets of cardboard to soak up the excess moisture.

This prevents the muffins from becoming soggy due to excess moisture that gathers at the bottom of them.

Consider adding a couple of saltine crackers or other types of crackers inside the containers as well. This will help contend with moisture issues since the water molecules will attract themselves to the crackers.

Since muffins continue to push moisture out towards the top as they age, consider placing an absorbent paper towel lightly on top of your muffins as well.

Follow these steps correctly and you’ll prevent moisture issues from ruining your baked goods and be able to enjoy your muffins (or cupcakes) for as long as possible!

*By the way, I recently wrote an article talking about If You Can Freeze Muffins in Liners. This article discusses in-depth how to properly store muffins in the freezer. You can check out this article here!

To Summarize…

Muffins are one of my favorite items to bake. Not only do they make a quick and convenient breakfast when you’re running short on time, but they’re also light, fluffy, and great alongside a warm cup of tea. Making sure that they remain the right consistency is key for great-tasting muffins every time!

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My name is Fainna! I've been baking desserts ever since I was 10 years old with my grandma passing her baking wisdom down to me with every passing day. I hope you find these tips and tricks helpful here at my little Baking Nook!

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