These Savory Whole Wheat Ham and Cheese Muffins are filled with savory flavor. They're healthy and delicious, perfect for a snack or lunch box.
Do you ever feel like eating a delicious baked good that's savory, not sweet? While sweet baked goods like muffins and cakes seem to get all the attention, savory baking can be delicious too. And let's face it - some people just don't like sweets (I'm not one of those people though).
Like a lot of my recipes, the idea to make these Savory Whole Wheat Ham and Cheese Muffins came to me when I was looking to use up some ingredients that would have otherwise gone unused. I've never liked letting food go to waste, but I'm especially careful to avoid it now with food being so expensive.
I had a bunch of deli ham that was no longer being used for sandwiches, and a half bag of spinach that had seen better days. I have wanted to develop more 100% whole wheat muffins lately, so I figured why not make a savory muffin?
These muffins are loaded with smoky and savory flavors from the ham, cheese, and green onions. I froze most of them for quick grab & go breakfasts or snacks, or to put in the kids' lunchboxes.
How to make Whole Wheat Ham and Cheese Muffins:
Making these Ham and Cheese Muffins does require a little bit more effort than making most other (sweet) muffins. This is due to the extra ingredient prep that's required: chopping the ham, slicing the green onions, grating the cheese, and wilting the spinach.
To save time, you could use frozen chopped spinach, and/or pre-grated cheese.
After the ingredients are prepped, making the muffin batter is much like making any other muffins, except with this recipe, we'll be skipping the sugar.
We start by whisking together the "dry" ingredients (whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper), then whisking together the "wet" ingredients (buttermilk, ham, green onions, olive oil, and eggs). Then we mix the two mixtures together, and fold in the cheese.
Like all the other muffins I've been making lately, I let the batter rest before pouring it into a muffin pan and baking. I find that this helps the muffins to rise better and gives them a nice fluffy texture. I don't recommend skipping this rest time.
One thing I did notice about these muffins is that they did tend to stick to the pan. To combat this, make sure you grease your muffin pan generously or use silicone or paper muffin liners if you happen to have any on hand.
Ham and Cheese Muffins Ingredients and Substitutions:
- Olive oil or a neutral-flavored vegetable oil
- Baby spinach - you will be wilting it down if using fresh spinach. Using frozen spinach is also a time-saving option.
- Whole wheat flour - using whole wheat flavor gives these muffins a hearty, nutty flavor and fiber boost, but using some or all all-purpose flour is an option too.
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Salt - because these are savory muffins, I used MSG-Salt, but regular kosher salt is fine too
- Diced ham - I used pre-sliced deli ham that I chopped up, but you could also use leftover bone-in ham if that's what you have on hand
- Green onions
- Buttermilk - like with most baking recipes that call for buttermilk, you could also use dried buttermilk (follow the instructions on the package to determine how much to use, and how much water to add), plain yogurt, plain Greek yogurt mixed with milk, plain kefir, or milk mixed with 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar.
- Cheddar cheese or substitute with your favorite type of cheese (Parmesan, pepper jack, swiss, or provolone would all work well).
Want more Muffin recipes?
Whole Wheat Ham and Cheese Muffins Nutrition Notes:
The nutrition information in the recipe below is for one muffin. One muffin makes a great snack, but to turn it into a light meal, serve it with a green salad or some fruit, and a higher protein item like Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.
Savory Whole Wheat Ham and Cheese Muffins
- 2 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt (because these are savory muffins, I used MSG-Salt)
- 1 ¼ cup diced ham
- 2 green onions, sliced thin
- 1 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt, or a mixture of ½ cup plain Greek yogurt and ½ cup milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese or substitute with your favorite type of cheese
- Heat 1 ½ teaspoons of the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 2 cups baby spinach and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes. Remove the spinach from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Whisk together 2 cups whole wheat flour, 1 Tablespoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Coarsely chop the cooked spinach and add it to a medium bowl. Add 1 ¼ cup diced ham, 2 green onions,he sliced green onions, 1 cup buttermilk, 2 large eggs, and remaining 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and whisk to combine.
- Fold the ham mixture into the flour mixture. Gently fold in 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese. The batter will be thick. Let the batter sit for 10-20 minutes. While you're waiting, heat the oven to 350°F, and prepare a muffin pan by generously greasing all the muffin cups, or lining them with paper or silicone liners.
- After allowing the batter to rest, fill the muffin cups with batter using a spoon. Cook the muffins until a toothpick comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes in the muffin pan, then remove the muffins from the pan. Eat warm, or cool to room temperature and store in an airtight bag in the freezer.