Strawberry Oatmeal Muffins

The addition of black pepper to this recipe is important, but make sure you are using finely ground black pepper, not coarsely ground. If all you have is coarsely ground, skip it.

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 12 muffins


  • 1 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 pound strawberries
  • 2 teaspoons granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


1 Mix the oats and plain yogurt together in a large bowl.

2 Prep then macerate strawberries with sugar and balsamic: Rinse and core the strawberries. Roughly chop the strawberries (I cut them in quarters lengthwise and then make one or two crosswise cuts). You should have about 1 1/2 cups of chopped strawberries. Place in a small bowl.

Sprinkle with white sugar and balsamic vinegar. Gently stir to coat the strawberries with the sugar and vinegar.

3 Preheat oven, prep muffin tin: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare a 12-well muffin tin by coating with butter or lining with paper muffin cups.

4 Whisk together in a medium bowl the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, finely ground black pepper, and cinnamon.

5 Add the eggs, melted butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract to the oatmeal and yogurt mixture. Stir until just incorporated.

6 Stir flour mixture into oatmeal mixture: Use a wooden spoon to gently stir the flour mixture into the oatmeal. Stir until just incorporated and the flour is moistened. Do not over-mix! Or your muffins will end up rubbery. The batter should be rather lumpy, not smooth.

7 Gently fold in the strawberries, including any of the sugary vinegary liquid the strawberries have been sitting in.

8 Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin tin wells or cups.

9 Bake at 400°F until the tops are browned and the muffin bounces back when you gently press on the top with your finger tips, about 20 minutes. A bamboo or metal skewer inserted into the center should come out clean.

Let cool for a couple minutes in the muffin tin before removing to serve.

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  • Liz

    Could you substitute buttermilk for the yogurt?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Liz, yes though buttermilk is thinner than yogurt, so you may need to thicken the batter a bit with a little more flour.

  • Aggie

    I wonder if you can freeze them – I only cook for one and am afraid I won’t get through them before they go bad. Also, how long will they keep and what’s the best way to store them?

  • Alisha

    I’ve made these several times and they are really delicious! I noticed you converted one of your muffin recipes into zucchini bread. Would that work with this recipe too?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Alisha, these are one of my favorite recipes on the site, I’m so glad you like them! I haven’t tried converting the recipe into a loaf, but if you do, just make sure you let it cool down all the way before attempting to cut it. Otherwise it will likely be too crumbly.

      • Alisha

        Hi Elise, I tried this as a loaf last night and it came out pretty good! I adjusted the cook time and temp based on some of your other loaf recipes to 350 for an hour. And I also let it cool completely before cutting it so it didn’t crumble. A slice with some juice and coffee makes a great breakfast!

        • Elise Bauer

          Thanks for letting us know that it work in a loaf pan Alisha!

  • Moonvirgo

    These were the best new muffin recipe I’ve tried in 6 yrs. What a winner! I used oat flour instead of apf, and will use MORE strawberries and balsamic next time. These were super yummy and sweet – a crowd favorite with adults and kids alike. Truly a homerun. Thanks so much for sharing!!!


  • Jonnie

    I was so disappointed in this recipe! It tasted great but was very gooey. I even cooked it a bit longer than suggested, but was still not right. Any suggestions as to what went wrong?

    • Elise Bauer

      If it was gooey, sounds like you still needed to cook it longer for your oven.

  • KN

    i altered your recipe quite a bit due to what I had on hand (sorry!) so I thought others would like to know about the substitutions.
    I used vegetable oil instead of the butter, applesauce instead of yogurt, and doubled or tripled the strawberries (and doubled the vinegar and increased the sugar to two tablespoons for macerating). And omitted the cinnamon. Oh, and i used quick cook oats instead of old fashioned.
    The result was delicious. My two year old loves these muffins. Although I couldn’t taste the balsamic (perhaps I should’ve added a third teaspoon), I could taste the pepper and it’s very interestingly yummy. I’d like to try this recipe again soon in its original version. Thank you for sharing.

  • Monica

    Elise, these are simply fantastic. Thank you so much for featuring the recipe. The addition of black pepper and balsamic vinegar was a stroke of genius! We loved these. I posted about them on my blog, if you care to check it out! Love your website!

    So glad you liked them! ~Elise


  • Kathy

    I made these this morning and they are fabulous. Nicely moist, light texture, and flavorful. I had some light sour cream to use up so replaced the yogurt with that but otherwise followed the recipe as written using Quaker quick oats. I think this would be adaptable with other fruits as well. I’m new to this site and this is the first recipe I’ve tried but it won’t be the last! Thank you for such a wonderful treat.

    So glad you liked them! ~Elise


  • Geraldine Saucier

    These Strawberry muffins were delicious! I have a new family favorite for breakfast on the run:) Thanks.


  • Cindy

    I’ve made these two weekends in a row and my family really loves them. They are delicious and not too sweet, plus the oatmeal really gives them a nice flavor and texture. Thanks for all your great recipes – you are my go to website for recipes, and they usually end up being family favorites!

    Thanks! I’m so glad you and your family likes them. :-) ~Elise


  • The Family Feed

    These were perfect! Thank you. Also used greek yogurt and wouldn’t think of any reason to change that in the future.


  • Jill

    These are great! My 4-yr-old and I picked strawberries from our garden to make them. My husband is requesting we add a banana next time. I guess I’ll experiment. Any suggestions?

    Sure, chop up a ripe banana (make sure it is very very ripe, like black skin ripe) and add to the mix! And then please let us know how it turns out. ~Elise


  • Ashby

    The 2-year old and I loved these muffins! So happy to see them packed with yummy, healthy ingredients (oats, yogurt, etc.).


  • Selena

    These were simply excellent! Made them today for my three boys and they did not disappoint.

    Read my review here

    Suggest cutting down the strawberries and spreading the mixture over 18 muffins instead of 12.

  • Julie

    Just made these with my four year old daughter and we are sitting here enjoying our “dessert”. So delicious, thank you!


  • Jennifer Kershner

    My husband took a bite and said “Umm, Good.” We both love good tasting food and I love using whole ingredients & these are GREAT. I think the balsamic vinegar in the strawberries and the black pepper are the two key ingredients in making these muffins stand apart. LOVE YOUR WEBSITE – my go-to place when I need a GOOD RECIPE. I always make our Tuna Salad now with cottage cheese!


  • Valerie

    I just took these out of the oven…they are FABULOUS! I used fresh strawberries from our garden.


  • Amy

    Just made these muffins tonight. I followed the recipe exactly and they were DELICIOUS!!! Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe.


  • Susan

    I just made these this morning and we loved them! All of the layers of flavor made for a super yummy, complex muffin. Another winner, Elise! Thanks for doing what you do.


  • SueDoc

    Just made these this morning and everyone in my family loved them! Thanks for the inspiration.


  • AnonymousMuggle

    I’m on a no-sugar diet right now but I would love to try these muffins out. Has anyone tried this recipe sugar-free? Or can anyone recommend any substitutes for the granulated and brown sugar in the ingredients?

  • Taryn

    So I made these gluten free… By switching out regular flour with a mix of coconut flour and gluten free pancake mix… I also added shredded coconut and coarse sugar mixture on top for a crust… DELICIOUS!!!

  • Su T.

    How much sugar and balsamic vinegar do you suggest for macerating the strawberries?

    You’ll find the amounts listed in the ingredients. ~Elise

  • Mariah

    What if, instead of using sugar and vinegar to prepare the strawberries, a bit of orange juice was added. It has sugar and plenty of acid, plus I know that when making shakes we use both milk and orange juice in order to make the flavor of the strawberries really pop!

  • Joanna

    Oh my god these look so good… I think I’m going to be baking tonight! (And I should have just enough berries in the fridge for a half batch. Perfect!)

    Also I just wanted to leave a quick note for Linda, who asked about peaches — one of my favorite combinations is peaches and ginger, so maybe replacing the black pepper with ground ginger would be a good substitution! In fact, once peach season hits NY, I may try it myself. ;)

  • Loema

    I made these last night and they turned out perfectly. Just had one for breakfast! Thanks for the recipe. Do you think this recipe would work if I substitute the same proportion of blueberries or raspberries for the strawberries? Thanks!

    Yes, but I would leave out the black pepper. With blueberries, cinnamon alone would work best. Raspberries, don’t know. ~Elise

    • Heidi G

      I bet a little ground cardamom would be great with raspberries.

  • Jayne

    I would love to try this out. The balsamic maceration intrigued me because I’ve always seen this pairing but never tried it. I’m thinking about doing a strawberry, balsamic icing to swirl on top. I can see it now… awesome. :-)

  • Pat

    Elise, these were great! I made a non-dairy version with soy yogurt and coconut oil. I also used whole wheat pastry flour and added 1/4 cup of wheat germ and 1/4 cup of chia seeds as nutritional boosters and a 1/4 tsp of cardamom because I thought it would go well with the cinnamon and black pepper.

    Great to know the recipe is so adaptable! ~Elise

  • Elinor

    Can I use dried cherries and how would I soften them so it would compliment this recipe? I also have dried strawberries. Please advise how I would incorporate these two dried fruits seperately into the muffins?

    No idea. Your guess is as good as mine. ~Elise

  • Christine

    I made these today and I like them, but they seem to have a bitter aftertaste. After googling a bit, the consensus seems to be that it might be because of the baking powder. Looking at the recipe and your comments again, I’m pretty sure I only used half a teaspoon of powder, and I have no idea how long that powder has been sitting in my cupboard. So I’m going to buy some new non aluminum baking powder and try again.

  • John

    Used strawberry Greek yogurt as did not have plain – turned out delicious. Thank you for taking the time to post these recipes.

  • Mominem

    Elise – can finely ground white pepper be substituted for the finely ground black pepper?

    Perhaps. If you try it, please let us know how it turns out. ~Elise

  • jane

    I just made these with Pamela’s gluten free flour. I have a double problem as I need gluten free and also I am at a high altitude. Nevertheless they came out fine – very moist and delicious. I did make them smaller – got 23 small muffins – also I sprinkled the tops with turbinado sugar after baking. YUM!

  • Hera Massey

    Delicious! This is the first time I ever made muffins, and my husband and I just loved how moist and yummy they were. I used the brand “Raw” by BetterOats organic pomegranate oatmeal. The pomegranate complimented the strawberry flavor, did not overpower it at all. I also used the large muffin pan of 6 instead of 12. It made exactly 4 large muffins, it was perfect for our Sunday brunch at the Lake. I just love your recipes, Elise. They are always so tasty and I appreciate how easy your recipes are to follow. Look forward to your new concoctions anytime!

  • Wietje

    Hi Elise,

    This goes to my “must try” folder. One question: why can’t we use instant oat? I often see recipes that say not to use instant oat but never understand why. Thank you for a great site and for sharing your knowledge.

    Good question. I don’t exactly know why, all I know is that recipes that use old fashioned oats, like our oatmeal cookie recipe, really don’t work with instant oats. ~Elise

  • Bonnie

    I made these this morning and the only family loved them. They didn’t last long. I used vanilla greek yogurt instead of plain and 1/4 cup of brown sugar. They still tasted great. I’ll try leaving the strawberries to sit longer next time.

  • Cindi

    I just made these tonight for breakfast tomorrow and thought the flavor was fantastic; however, they did not rise AT ALL. Followed the recipe exactly; though the berry mix seemed pretty wet. Maybe that was the problem…

    The recipe requires an entire tablespoon of baking powder. Baking powder is a mix of a dry base and a dry acid, that over time reacts with itself and goes flat. So it sounds to me like you were using baking powder that was too old. Basically, baking powder over 6 months old is iffy. ~Elise

  • Heather

    I usually substitute oil for butter when I make muffins. Is there any reason you would recommend against the substitution?

    You could try it with oil, let us know how it turns out! ~Elise

  • Jennifer

    I have some rhubarb- could I add that to the muffins? Any idea how much? 1/4 lb strawberries and 1/4 lb rhubarb?

    Just as long as once chopped they all add up to no more than a cup and a half, I think you’re good. ~Elise

  • Cheryl Ross

    Have these in the oven right now, can’t wait til they are done. Followed recipe exactly this time. Found a great little store that makes infused olive oils & vinegar. Got the fig balsamic & thinking may try that next time. Also have some fig butter to try with.
    One question, notice that many baked goods recipes say to stir w/wooden spoon. Why? I don’t mind using one but just curious about this. Do most of my mixing w/silicone spatulas, does it really make a difference?

    Sometimes the batter or dough can be rather thick and a wooden spoon can handle it. Metal spoons can sometimes bend and plastic can sometimes break. Impossible to bend and hard to break a wooden spoon. I also find stirring with a wooden spoon much easier than with a rubber/silicone spatula. ~Elise

  • Christy

    I made these last night… yummy! The batter made for really big muffins (the cups were completely full which is probably my fault… think there were just a few too many strawberries), so I wasn’t sure if things would get messy, but while I had to sort of separate some of the edges of the muffins from their neighbors, things turned out well.

    I think next time I’ll boost some of the spices, because I like a muffin with big flavor. I like the idea of the black pepper in there, and maybe some more balsamic vinegar, because in the final product, you didn’t get much of that flavor.

  • sally

    Could I use frozen whole strawberries? I have left overs from last year, I would like to use up.

    I would defrost them first, drain them, chop them, then macerate them in sugar with balsamic. ~Elise

  • Linda

    I can’t wait to try this recipe as is but I’ve also been looking for a peach muffin
    recipe that actually has a good peachy taste. Do you think this recipe might work with fresh peaches?

    It might, if you use yellow peaches that are still on the tart side. White peaches are too sweet and delicate. With peaches I think I would skip the pepper, maybe use nutmeg instead. ~Elise

  • Natalie

    Do you use raw or cooked oatmeal?

    Raw, dry oats. ~Elise

  • Etty Barus

    Since I don’t have Strawberry and balsamic vinegar then I subtitute it with 1 Pear and Lemon Juice, and these muffins taste good and yummm… healthy foods! Thanks for the recipe, Elise…:)

  • jacquie

    those look great. do you have to add the sugar to the strawberry and vinager? i tend to find strawberries sweat enough as they are. also how do you think this would do in a loaf pan?

    Yes, the sugar draws out moisture from the strawberries, concentrating the strawberry flavor. I’ve made it without macerating the strawberries and it just doesn’t work nearly as well. As for a loaf pan, I think this recipe works better as a muffin. The result isn’t easily sliceable. ~Elise

  • Christina

    Old fashioned oats are not the same as quick cooking oats, correct? I’m a beginner! :)

    I used Quaker Old Fashioned Oats for this recipe, though I think you could probably use Quaker quick cooking oats too. Just not instant oats. ~Elise