Fresh Herb Muffins Recipe

A popular item at French picnics is the cake salé, our version of the American quick bread. While I like to bake and slice a loaf for a party buffet, I find the muffin shape better suited to picnic enjoyment.

These delicious fresh herb muffins are a fabulous picnic item, but will also work well in place of bread with a salad of young greens and fresh goat cheese, or with a summer soup!

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Fresh Herb Muffins Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Makes 8 muffins.

Fresh Herb Muffins Recipe


  • 1 small bunch fresh flat parsley, leaves only
  • 1 small bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 small bunch fresh chives
  • 3 large organic eggs
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) plain yogurt or buttermilk
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) pesto, homemade or store-bought
  • 25 grams (1/4 cup) freshly grated parmesan
  • 150 grams (1 1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F) and grease a medium-size muffin tin, or line it with muffin liners.
  2. Rinse and dry the herbs, and chop them roughly. Set aside.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt and pepper until frothy. Add in the buttermilk, pesto, and parmesan, and whisk again.
  4. In a small bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder.
  5. Pour the flour mixture into the egg mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until just incorporated. Don’t overmix the dough; it’s fine if a few lumps remain. Fold in the herbs.
  6. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling them to about two-thirds of their capacity. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake for 25 minutes, until golden. Transfer to rack to cool completely.
  • Hi Clotilde,

    With all the fresh herbs, your Herb Muffin is right down my ally – and if summer ever finds its way back to Munich, I’ll have it on the list for the next picnic.

  • Alisa

    That was a very nice read. Makes me wish I had indulged in picnicking this summer. Here’s hoping for a late summer heat wave!

  • fresh herb for muffins, what a great idea. so versatile and so healthy!

  • Rosemary

    I sure like the photo, maybe all food should be pictured in its “native habitat”, never mind china and chargers!

  • Patsy

    What serendipity! My son just returned my faithful old muffin tin. I will try this right away, with herbs from my garden and the market. A lovely summery treat. Thanks, Clotilde.

  • Clotilde, I’m a bit of a picnic fanatic and your ideas are inspiring. It looks like we’re going to get a small break from our summer fog here in San Francisco this week, so I can’t wait to pack up some of my favorite ideas from your list (sardines, of course; sandwich fixins, including anchovy paste and baba ghanoush; dessert sandwiches with raspberries and chocolate-hazelnut spread–yum!) and head out to Golden Gate Park. Thank you for the ideas!

  • Melinda

    these muffins sound great! however, my parsley has been taken hostage by no less than 6 future Black Swallowtail Butterflies… so i’ll have to find an alternative source for my parsley… i’ll be at the farmers market first thing on saturday!

  • Clotilde, you are always an inspiration. We have so many fresh herbs available in Seattle right now that farmers sell fistfuls at the market for one dollar. I’ll have to experiment with the gluten-free version of this, but I will prevail!

  • Clotilde,
    Could you enlighten me? What’s Cilantro? Is it known by another name (i.e. what is it in french?)
    We’re having a barbecue on Saturday if it doesn’t rain and I’d love to provide some of these muffins too. Thanks.

  • Kathie – Cilantro is the same as “coriander”, “coriandre” in French — here it is the fresh herb, not the seeds, that is called for. Note that you can substitute another blend of fresh herbs than the three mentioned in the recipe, depending on what you have on hand…

    • VBarkley

      “Cilantro is the same as “coriander” – who knew? You did, of course! Thanks for always teaching me something new.

  • Betsy

    I had most of the herbs in my garden so I decided to make this last night. I don’t have cilantro (too delicate to grow in the NE of the US and alot of work for little result) but I have lots of rosemary, thyme and sage so I added that plus the parsley and chives. the pesto makes the muffin very GREEN of course. and although it wasn’t a dry muffin it really needed a little somethin-somethin. with a cheese spread or a juicy garden tomato topping, it was quite nice.

    • VBarkley

      Really? I live in NW PA and have no problem growing cilantro, even in winter in the window. Perhaps it’s your soil.

  • Last night, I had a dinner party for dear friends and made all recipes I had read on my favorite food blogs. Of course, I just had to try these muffins. Oh, they are bliss. I made the pesto fresh, which explodes in the mouth in little increments. And even with gluten-free flour, they were spectacular.

    Thank you again.

  • Shauna and Betsy – Thanks so much for reporting back, I’m glad you liked them. My neighbors, Maxence and I could not stop eating them — and I had made a double batch!

    If you have any leftovers the next day, I recommend reheating them for a few minutes in the oven or toaster oven…

  • babette

    I’m a retired flight attendant and seriously miss flying to Paris. I can hardly wait to read your new book. Thank you for being you.

  • Clotilde,

    Just bought some fresh herbs this morning at our local co-op. Your picnic article with NPR is inspiring. Thank you for embracing the wonders of food. Kara

  • Latha

    This was my first attempt at a savoury muffin. It has such simple flavors, the kind that makes you visualise the rustic fields, small garden in a farm house…. i replaced the parsley with dill and yet was awesome. thanks for sharing a recipe from your picnic basket, Clotilde! I had one question, though… if i would like to top the muffin with a slice of goat cheese and then bake which type of cheese would you recommend? I’ve no clue about the baking qualities of a cheese and hence seeking your help…

  • Thanks for reporting back Latha! Any type of goat cheese (fresh, semi-dry or dry) should work as a topping. And if you want to try something different, you can fill your tins halfway up, plop a chunk of goat cheese in the center, and pour the rest of the batter to cover: your muffins will then have a gooey cheese center.

  • Liz

    Light and fluffy, these muffins are really wonderful. Plus, despite my living at high altitude, they rose without adjustment (which never, ever happens). Thanks for sharing!

  • Elli

    Hi Clotilde, is it possible to make this muffin with added bits of cooked chopped chicken, for the die-hard protein lovers? :-)

  • Raneen

    I can mix in the ingredients in any order?

  • Nathalie d’Abbadie

    Just made these with soy yoghurt and spelt flour. Also left out the cilantro and doubled up on the chives, yum. I added a cube of goat’s cheese in the middle of each muffin as suggested in the comments (10 years ago, wow!). The muffins are very moist and flavourful! Thanks Clotilde!

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