Teff Breakfast Muffins

Ali Segersten Jan 29, 2009 36 comments

I have this recipe that I created a few months ago and I thought I would share it with you. It is one of those recipes that is so delicious and so perfect that you don't want to give it away, or share your secret. But here it is! A gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, sugar-free delicious and nutritious little muffin, the Teff Breakfast Muffin.

Do you know what teff is? It is a super tiny, gluten-free Ethiopian grain that is high minerals. Teff is probably most well-known for its appearance as the flour used to make the pancake-like fermented flatbread called injeraa staple food in Ethiopian cuisine. Teff is also high in protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber, making it a perfect breakfast food. Being very easy and quick to prepare, you can make your lunch or get ready for your day while the teff grain is simmering on the stove; it only takes about 15 minutes. 

Although teff originated in Ethiopia, it is now grown in the Snake River Valley of Idaho. The story goes, that the company's founder, Wayne Carlson, was in Ethiopia in the 1970's and spent some time as a guest at a local farm. The farmers were eager to show him their crop of teff, among other grains. Then, once back in the US, Wayne became fascinated with the geographic and climactic similarities of the Snake River region to Eastern Africa. He then decided to grow teff, asking Ethiopians living in the US to work on the farm, thereby reestablishing the relationship of these people to their native grain.

Whole grain teff, and its flour, comes in different varietiesbrown or ivory, and both are delicious! If you cannot find organic teff flour in your local co-op or health food store you can buy it online from http://www.teffco.com/ in 5 or 25 pound bags. Bob's Red Mill also sells it but theirs is not ground as finely making it slightly gritty.

Instead of using the typical non-stick pan for baking, I use a stone muffin pan that can be found here. It is so wonderful to bake with, the muffins never stick, everything cooks evenly, and it cleans up easily.


About the Author

Ali Segersten

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University and a Master’s of Science in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine from the University of Western States. She is a Functional Nutritionist, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Alissa is the founder and owner of Nourishing Meals®.

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Yum! I'm sugar free so decreased dried fruit, more than halved maple and used coconut milk instead of o.j and omitted nuts. So Yum!!! Thank you! My mission is to cut more of the dried fruit!

I have done this recipe twice and love it but it becomes so dry that I have to add a lot more juice... without the extra liquid it gets really crumbly, am I the only one who had this problem?

I'm making another triple batch of these today....such a terrific recipe! Love how versatile it is....you can change up the fruit, juice, nuts etc. I've even added oatmeal tossed with a bit of cocnut oil and brown sugar on top of each muffin for a little sweet crunch .....I make huge batches and freeze them...they're amazing warmed up in the microwave with a bit of butter spread on top! YUM!

Just made these muffins again, as they are a favorite of mine! I had to improvise due to a shortage of called-for ingredients, so I substituted unsweetened cranberry juice for the orange juice, sorghum flour for 1/2 of the teff, and dried cherries for the raisins/currants. As always, they are terrific, hearty and satisfying!

I cant believe teff is used raw instead of "teff flour", I am from Ethiopia and grow up eating enjera out of teff flour, with 3 days of preparation (mixing & rising) before baking the enjera for the next 3 days, and the cycle continue.
I hope raw would have more benefit than cooked. I would try it soon, since I am in Canada I would buy the real teff imported from Ethiopia and would let you know how it goes.

Hi Ali,

I've made these muffins twice, and both times I followed the recipe exactly. However they have a flour taste to them, which burns the throat!!
I'm very new to gluten free baking, so could you please help me figure this out?
Should I use other flours maybe instead of only teff?
I used the dark teff flour from Bobs red mill.
maybe I should increase the xantham gum?
Is there any link or book/article I could read to learn more on the different types of gluten free flours and their characteristics, how they work etc?
Thank you for your time

Enjoying these Teff muffins now, delightful! I came across your Whole Life Cookbook a few weeks ago from my ND office, and have been working my way though the recipes... they do not disappoint! Every one is delicious! Then, when doing a google search for gluten free substitutions last week, I came across this blog and was surprised to find out that these amazing recipes come from the same people that wrote my new favorite cookbook! Serendipitous! Thank you!

Thanks so much for this recipe! They came out of the oven about half an hour ago, and they're fabulous! I was really surprised, because I haven't had much success with GF baking, despite multiple tries. This was my first try of a recipe from your blog or cookbooks, and it was great. I used Bob's Red Mill teff flour, maple syrup for the sweetener, high quality olive oil for the fat, currants instead of raisins, and the only addition I made was adding 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar (I've heard that the combination of vinegar and baking soda in equal quantities serves as a binder/rising agent). They are seriously good muffins, and very filling! Thanks!

Thank you for yet another tasty recipe. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed these. They were not grainy at all, which is nice considering many GF recipes tend to be less smooth than similar gluten recipes.

Ali or Tom,
Have you ever used the ivory teff from Teff Company? I have a bag of it and hear that it is a bit softer than the brown teff. We love all the teff recipes, especially the pancakes and these muffins! We have several of our own favorite teff recipes as well using brown teff. Just wondering if you have had any experience with the ivory teff and if you prefer one over the other? I am going to try out the ivory on pizza crust to see if I can create a crust that doesn't look like it is made with chocolate!

This recipe is DIVINE! My 1 yr. old and husband love them as well! I left out the nuts. I plan to try them again with apple juice in place of orange juice and add blueberries instead of apples. But the way it's written, these are SO AMAZING! Much better than any other muffin I've had (as far as healthy muffins go.) So allergen free. Thank you for sharing this!

I've enjoyed your teff bars so I'll definitely try this recipe.

I have general gluten free cooking question. My muffins usually come out looking like drop biscuits cooked in a muffin cup rather than nice muffins like yours. My dough doesn't seem to spread in the muffin cups while baking. I'm wondering if the dough is too thick (I understand altitude and humidity can influence gf flours), or if I'm missing some step in the process where you flatten the dough to it fills the cup. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

Can we replace flax seed with egg replacer? IS that the purpose in this recipe? My son can't tolerate chia , flax, seeds. I noticed you mentioned you could leave it out, just wondering if the egg replacer, would be reasonable.
Thanks for all your efforts.

These muffins are amazing! I make a batch every week and give them to my friends (otherwise I would eat all 12 of them). I don't use the xanthan gum and they come out fine. I also don't use currants or raisons rather I load them full of dates! These make going dairy and egg free so much easier! I've been GF for 6 yrs and have just discovered Teff - amazing grain! Thanks for this great recipe - it's my fav!

I just finished making these muffins for tomorrow's breakfast and had to do a taste test. These muffins are amazing!! I didn't have enough flax seeds so I used an egg white and then used a tiny bit less orange juice. These are going to be a staple in our house!

i didn't use the xanthan gum and didn't substitute anything for it and they turned out great! i also didn't have enough tapioca flour so i used amaranth as well.

Oops, read the recipe again and noticed you said teff flour - my eye missed it the first time I read it. Please disregard previous post. I need to continue my search for recipes using teff as a grain.

I'm not clear on whether teff flour or teff grain was used in this recipe. If the grain was used, wouldn't it be more like using poppy seeds, as one reader implies? Or was it teff grain that was cooked first, as the woman who sold it to me told me was necessary before baking with it? Thanks!

I googled around to find more info on teff flour and came across http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/10358/2.

This site laid the nutritional content of foods out very nicely, and it would be such a boon if the info was reliable. What is your take on it? Does it seem a good resource?

Off to make muffins!!

Jenna - Thanks! :)

Kim - I actually have made these before w/o xanthan just to see how they would turn out (I would rather not use any gums either). They were very crumbly and dry - and denser - not at all how they turn out with the xanthan. If you find a way to make them gum-free, let me know! I am very interested since I have had many requests for xanthan-free recipes.

Thanks! -Ali :)

Have you made these without xanthan gum? I don't use binders most of the time, and wondered if you've noticed any big difference in the way that the muffins turn out. These look wonderful; I just started using teff flour about a month ago, and really like how it behaves. I am gluten free, sugar free, soy free, egg free, and don't eat much dairy, so these muffins are right up my alley.

Thanks for sharing.

Kim // affairsofliving.blogspot.com

Ali this bread sounds yummee! I really appreciate all the tips on where to find the gluten free goods. I can not wait to try hemp dream :)

Thanks for mentioning this Michelle. The last load of ivory and brown teff flour I got was through my friend who bought it from Azure. The bags are still sitting right next to me becasue I have not found enough empty glass jars to put the 20 pounds of each she gave to me. I paid about $60.00 for 40 pounds of flour this time, much less than buying direct from teffco.com. Thanks for pointing this out! -Ali :)

I just want to mention that if you get it from Azure Standard and find a local coop the flour is only $37 for 25 lbs vs $63 from Teff co. And its the exact same brand. :o)

I also forgot to mention that if you purchase the 25 pound bag of teff flour from www.teffco.com you save money per pound. My friends and I do this and then split up the bag and share the cost.

Amy - So glad you and your husband enjoyed them!

Hi Bonnie! You could just leave out the flax. Another option is chia seeds, ground and whipped up with 2 tablespoons hot water. Let me know how they turn out.

Daphne - Happy to hear you have a new family favorite!

The Rogers - Your version sounds good. Glad to hear that and extra egg with its extra amount of moisture works - I really appreciate hearing of everyone's adaptions to my recipes - I learn a lot!

-Ali :)

YUMMMMYYYY!! These were so good.
I didn't have flax so I subbed almond meal. I used kefir in place of orange juice since we can have dairy and I put an egg in there too since we can have that. They are SOOOO tasty. I wish Teff wasn't so expensive it is my favorite GF flour and grain. This recipe ROCKS!!!!!
Now I am going to order your cook book. It was what did it for me. :o)

I made these this weekend and they are AWESOME!!! This will definately become a staple recipe for me and my family. Thanks so much for all your recipes, advice, and insight.

I can't have eat flax seed, what would i use in place of this.
I have ordered the teff flour from the web site you submitted, can't wait to try these muffins they sound so healthy and delicious

Oh these muffins are amazing! They just came out of the oven and my husband and I can't stop at just one! They are so richly flavored. All I had on hand was Bob's teff flour so I used that, but I am going to order the other brand, thanks for the link. Amzing recipe Ali Thank you Thank YOU!

Shakti - What a great idea to use the teff grain in place of poppy seeds, thanks for sharing that baking tip!

Shirley - Glad to share a healthy recipe with you, let me know how you like it. :)

CG - You do not need to rinse teff before cooking it, just cook as is. Rumford baking powder is GF. We also have a recipe for an allergen free baking powder in our cookbook.

Jenna - Happy Baking!

Jennifer - I have tried making flour from the whole grain teff in the vita-mix with no such luck. I have also tried blending it up for the babies after I cooked the grain and it has a hard time breaking down.

I introduced teff to the babies when they were 8 months old by simmering a few tablespoons of the flour with vegetables like carrots, peas, and cauliflower - then I blended this up into baby food - they loved it. So somewhere between 8 and 9 months can teff be introduced. Not sure why we didn't include that on our list. Now, we make banana teff pancakes which they love.

The teff muffins can be made toddler friendly by using rice milk or apple juice in place of the o.j. and of course leave out the nuts.

Happy Baking!

These sound yummy. Can you make teff flour by grinding Bob's Red Mill teff grain in the VitaMix? I've been making millet "flour" using our porridge mix after washing, toasting and then grinding it. We might go ahead and try to find some teff flour since we're coming up with more creative recipes to use it in.

Do you have an idea of when you'd introduce teff to toddlers? Since it's not a more common food, it's hard to find age-of-introduction information about it.

These Teff Breakfast Muffins Sound Fantastic-can't wait to make them tomorrow morning! I love the grated carrots and zante currants-YUM!

These look divine, thank you for this recipe! I just bought teff grain about 2 weeks ago at the co op but haven't opened it yet because I cannot figure out hwo on earth to rinse it before cooking without it falling through the strainer. Any suggestions?
What brand baking powder do you use? I know some are not gluten free so I want to make sure to get a safe one.

What a terrific-looking and healthy muffin! How awesome that is so allergen-free. I have not used teff yet. Very interesting to hear about how it's being grown in Idaho. Thanks for the link for ordering!

I love that muffin pan. I am putting that on my wish list!

I like to make muffins using teff seeds instead of poppy seeds. You can use them just as you would poppy seeds in a recipe. So if you were making lemon poppy seed muffins, just replace one for one with the teff seeds. It adds more nutrition.


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