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Breakfast/ Recipes/ Snacks/ vegetarian recipes

Chia Surprise Muffins

Chia Surprise Muffins Recipe

Chia Surprise Muffins
So what is the surprise in this recipe for chia muffins? Oh, I can’t keep a secret. The surprise is jam. Jam! There’s jam in the middle of these muffins.


I’ve been making these muffins every week or two for the past few months. I love them because they’re not too sweet (the older I get, the less I want super sweet food in the morning) and the jam is baked on the inside, so I don’t even have to get the jar out of the fridge. Convenient!

Jam & Orange ZestWhite Chia Seeds
These muffins are actually one of the first recipes I remember making. (Well, not these muffins, because back in the 80s, chia seeds were for sprouting on little ceramic heads, not for eating.) After finding my Aunt Darlene’s old copy of Betty Crocker’s New Boys and Girls Cookbook at my grandparents’ house, I relentlessly begged my Grandma to help me make something from it. Each time I visited, we’d make something different: a pie made with pudding and rainbow marshmallows (remember those?!), roses made from radishes, and Surprise Muffins. And then my Grandma let me keep the book. I’m not sure it was because I loved it so much (and I did) or because she was tired of me wanting to make recipes from it every time I visited.

Because a good 25 years have passed since then, I started doubting my memories as I wrote this post. Were these really from that book? Could they have been from someplace else? Were they even called Surprise Muffins? But with memories like this, it’s not really the specifics that matter, it’s more the impact they have. This cookbook wasn’t just my introduction to cooking and baking; it showed me that cooking can be fun, and all these years later, it still is. (Maybe it had the same impact on my Aunt Darlene—she’s going to be on CBS’s The American Baking Competition this summer!)

Chia Surprise Muffins
Since I’ve added chia seeds to this recipe (and chia seeds absorb moisture), you’ll notice that if you leave these muffins out, they’ll dry out more quickly than regular muffins. To prevent this, you’ll want to toss them in the freezer after they’ve cooled and heat them in the microwave for 25–30 seconds when you’re ready to eat them.


Chia Surprise Muffins

Chia Surprise Muffins Recipe

The surprise in these muffins? There’s jam in the middle! Chia seeds, Greek yogurt, and whole wheat flour help make them more filling too.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 muffins 1x


  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • zest and juice from 1 orange (about 2 tbsp of juice)
  • 6 oz 2% plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used the refrigerated coconut milk)
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup jam or fruit preserves (any flavor!)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place 12 muffin liners in tin.
  2. Whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Combine juice, zest, yogurt, sugar, oil, milk, and egg in small bowl. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in chia seeds.
  3. Spoon about 1/3 of batter into muffin liners. Place a scant teaspoon of jam in the center of each muffin, then top with remaining batter. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until muffins are golden in color and toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean.


  • Serving Size: 1 muffin

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  • Reply
    Anele @ Success Along the Weigh
    April 4, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Those look awesome! I’m starving so if you’d like to send a few over… 🙂

    • Reply
      April 7, 2013 at 8:38 pm

      You would love them! Because: CHIA!!!!

  • Reply
    Averie @ Averie Cooks
    April 4, 2013 at 8:52 am

    They look wonderful! And I happen to have chia just burning a hole in my pantry!

  • Reply
    Lisa @ Greek Vegetarian
    April 4, 2013 at 9:49 am

    I love surprises! And jam in a muffin is a very sweet one indeed 🙂 Especially hot, oozy jam…

  • Reply
    April 4, 2013 at 10:12 am

    You sound like my best friend! She can’t keep surprises to herself either. 🙂 She’ll give me a wrapped gift and say “I got you a present! It’s XXXX.”

    I’ll have to try your recipe soon!

    • Reply
      April 7, 2013 at 8:36 pm

      Oh yes, that is me. When I get my husband a birthday present, I’m always hinting to him what it is. And then I just end up telling him. 🙂

  • Reply
    April 4, 2013 at 10:25 am

    i love that you used to make these with your grandmother so long ago and that they’ve made a revival! the chia seeds are a great addition and i love the surprise jam center!

  • Reply
    Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell
    April 4, 2013 at 10:45 am

    I love them! I’d bake a batch and then freeze them. They’d be perfect to pop out one by one!

    • Reply
      April 7, 2013 at 8:34 pm

      I always do that with my muffins. Otherwise, I would eat them all in a day or two!

  • Reply
    April 4, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    go Aunt Darlene – that’s awesome!

    and Mmm… I love muffins and cupcakes with a surprise. these look perfect.

    • Reply
      April 7, 2013 at 8:34 pm

      I know, I am so excited for her! The show premieres at the end of May, so I’m going to be harassing everyone to watch it. 🙂

  • Reply
    angela @ another bite please
    April 4, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    i haven’t tried cooking with chia seeds yet…i’ve been wanting too…and I love a surprise 🙂

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    April 4, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Beautiful muffins, I love the jam surprise!

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    April 4, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    What a nice surprise! I would love these muffins too.

  • Reply
    April 4, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    haha I remember those commercials! Ch-ch-ch-chia! I never knew they were for eating until a couple years ago. Jam in muffins sounds really good, and I just love Greek yogurt in baked goods. And I love the story with your grandma!

    • Reply
      April 7, 2013 at 8:31 pm

      I always ended up killing my chia pets’ hair whenever I got them! So they weren’t so fun. I much prefer eating chia seeds. 🙂

  • Reply
    April 4, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    These look great! Growing up, I had that same Betty Crocker New Boys and Girls cookbook (well an updated ’80s version) and I loved it as well. I made the jam filled muffins once, for my mom one Mother’s Day, and I remember them being called surprise muffins too.

    • Reply
      April 7, 2013 at 8:30 pm

      Ahhh, I’m so glad you left this comment–THANK YOU for confirming that these muffins were in the book! It was one of those memories where the more I thought about it, the more I started to wonder if I was remembering correctly. 🙂

  • Reply
    April 4, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    My daughter would love something like this. She is so into little surprises right now!

  • Reply
    April 4, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    These look yummy! I love the middle too — a nice little extra treat 🙂

  • Reply
    April 4, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    I love the surprise jam center, they look so good!

  • Reply
    Natalie @ Once Upon a Cutting Board
    April 4, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    These are so cute .. I love the healthful tweaks you made to them and the surprise in the middle! It would be fun to use different types of jam and then it’s really a surprise which one you’ll get!

    • Reply
      April 7, 2013 at 8:27 pm

      I love that idea! Next time I need to do that. 🙂

  • Reply
    Stephanie @ henry happened
    April 4, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    I love a good baked good in the morning! And I’m with you on the non super sweet stuff now – Caroline likes oatmeal with brown sugar AND honey and I just don’t get it.

    • Reply
      April 7, 2013 at 8:27 pm

      I guess oatmeal with brown sugar and honey is still better than Frosted Flakes or Lucky Charms, right? 🙂

  • Reply
    Sonja / A Couple Cooks
    April 4, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    I’ve never had jam-filled muffins, but these sound so intriguing. I love the idea of chia seeds and Greek yogurt too. Thanks for the idea! And love your site! 🙂

  • Reply
    Julia |
    April 5, 2013 at 2:00 am

    These looks so good! What a wonderful secret! I usually don’t eat sweet things for breakfast, but I would eat something sweet TOGETHER with something savory, and I do love some jam in the morning!

  • Reply
    Anne - Mommy Has to Work
    April 5, 2013 at 10:01 am

    These look so tasty!

  • Reply
    Sarah @ Play 2 Learn with Sarah
    April 5, 2013 at 10:14 am

    That look awesome! My kids love muffins so I bet these will be a hit! Thanks!

  • Reply
    April 5, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Wow, those look so good. I love how the jam is so neatly tucked inside there.

  • Reply
    April 5, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    Anything that uses jam gets my attention! I love jam in and on just about anything! So if you’ve been making these every week or two, then they must be good. You’re right that they don’t seem to be extra sweet with only 1/2 cup sugar, but then with the jam – why use more. Gorgeous little muffins!

    • Reply
      April 7, 2013 at 8:22 pm

      Yes, they are very good–I can’t stop making them! 😀 I find a food I like and I stick to it!

  • Reply
    Jackie @ Domestic Fits
    April 5, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Those look awesome! I need to start baking with Chia seeds, I love the moisture tip!

  • Reply
    April 5, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Jam is a good surprise indeed! I tried making peanut butter muffins with a jam filling once but they were a bit of a disaster – the jam kind of exploded everywhere had an unpleasant texture in the baked muffin. Yours look so perfect the way the jam stayed in the center! I probably tried to add too much jam – sometimes more is not better! Did you use white chia seeds in your muffins? I was wondering why I couldn’t see them…the black ones would probably add a pretty effect too!

    • Reply
      April 7, 2013 at 8:19 pm

      Yes, that happened to me the first time I made these! The tops cracked and the jam oozed out. The next time I made them, I put only a small amount of batter in the muffin tin, then the jam, then the rest of the batter. By putting most of the batter on top of the jam, it keeps it from exploding out of the top. And yes, I used white chia seeds. 🙂

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