If you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain (cue the music from Rupert Holmes’ Escape, a.k.a the Piña Colada Song), you will love these pinapple and coconut-packed Piña Colada Muffins. The muffins have enough tropical flavor to transport you – if only for a few minutes – to a tropical beach somewhere, and it only takes a few minutes to mix up a batch of batter.
The muffins have a buttermilk-based batter that is laced with vanilla and loaded with both shredded coconut and chopped pineapple chunks. The batter is mixed using the “muffin method,” where the wet ingredients are poured into the dry ingredients, so no creaming is necessary. In fact, you don’t even need an electric mixer to prepare the batter!
You will need either fresh pineapple or canned pinapple for the fruit chunks in the batter, however. Fresh pineapple is my first choice, but canned pineapple that is packed in juice (not in syrup) and is well-drained before being added to the batter works just as well. While I do like fresh pineapple, I often use canned pineapple myself because I always have it on hand. Either way, the chunks should be no more than 1/2-inch square, as larger chunks will result in a very uneven distribution in the muffins.
Since this is a breakfast item, I have listed the rum as optional in the recipe. You aren’t going to get a lot of flavor from the rum because I included it as a nod to the cocktail that inspired these, rather than as an intentionally boozy breakfast item. The muffins will still be delicious if you want to omit it completely. To get the most rum flavor, if you want to play it up, use a dark Jamaican rum (like Meyer’s or Blackwell), which will bring a hint of molasses to the muffins.
The finished muffins have the perfect blend of pineapple and coconut in every bite. They’re tropical and fruity, but they’re not overly sweet. The batter is quite thick, so don’t be alarmed as you are mixing it up. The thicker batter results in a higher rise for the finished muffins, which have a slightly crisp top and a wonderfully soft interior. The muffins are the best on the day that they are baked, but will keep for a day or two in an airtight container if you can’t finish them all at once.
Piña Colada Muffins
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
5 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp dark rum (optional)
2/3 cup shredded coconut
1 1/4 cups finely chopped diced pineapple
approx. 2-3 tbsp shredded coconut, for topping
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.
In a small bowl, whisk together butter, buttermilk, egg, vanilla extract and rum (optional). Pour buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a spoon or spatula until a thick batter begins to come together. Add in coconut and pineapple and continue to mix until no streaks of dry ingredients remain and batter is uniform.
Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with approx 2 tsp shredded coconut.
Bake for 17-19 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs attached. Turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 12 muffins.