Perfect Pear and Vanilla Muffins Recipe

How to make muffins with fresh pear and vanilla inspired by our trip to Paris, France. Jump to the Pear and Vanilla Muffins Recipe or read on to see our tips for making them.

During a stay in Paris, we opted to rent an apartment instead of staying in a hotel. We have gone this route in the past and have found it to be the best way to really experience the culture. Paris was no exception, outside our very small apartment (and I do mean small) were the bustling streets of the 4th district in Paris, where we could walk to wine and cheese shops, chocolate boutiques, bakeries and our favorite, a tiny little store front selling freshly made muffins.

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We would pass the window in the mornings as a tall young woman was measuring, mixing and filling baking trays and wait just a few hours to mosey on back past the same storefront to choose from her selections of the day.  Our favorite was the Poire et Vanille or Pear and Vanilla. Her muffins were wonderful. Soft, light, airy, absolutely packed with flavor and warm, not hot, but warm; just warm enough so that you could finish the whole muffin before it cooled down and just cool enough so you could start munching as soon as you stepped out of the store.

How to Make Muffins with Fresh Pear

Ever since Paris, we have craved these muffins. That applies pretty much applies to most of what we ate. This recipe is our attempt at recreating them in our kitchen.

How to Make Muffins with Fresh Pears

The batter for these muffins call for the usual suspects — flour, baking powder, baking soda, eggs and butter. In addition to that, we also add vanilla, lemon, applesauce and thinly sliced pears. Just before baking we press a few slices of pear into the tops of the muffins then sprinkle them with vanilla sugar. They are divine.

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How to Make Muffins with Fresh Pears

Recipe updated, originally posted February 2011. Since posting this in 2011, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne

Perfect Pear and Vanilla Muffins Recipe

  • PREP
  • COOK

These easy muffins were inspired by our trip to Paris. Everyday we would walk by a tiny bakery that only sold fresh made muffins. We tried lots of them, but our favorite combined vanilla, spices and fresh pear. This is our attempt at recreating them in our own kitchen.

Makes 12 muffins

You Will Need

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 large eggs

1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 cup lightly packed brown sugar

11 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 cup unsweetened applesauce or pear sauce

1 to 2 ripe pears, thinly sliced, for muffin tops

2 tablespoons vanilla sugar, for muffin tops


    1Position an oven rack in middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease muffin pan or line with paper cups.

    2Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, vanilla extract, lemon zest and brown sugar until blended. Stir in the melted butter, a little at a time, whisking until mixture is creamy.

    3Stir in the applesauce, then fold the wet ingredients into the flour mixture until just combined.

    4Divide batter among muffin cups then lightly push a few slices of pear into the top of each muffin. Sprinkle tops with a dusting of vanilla sugar.

    5Bake the muffins until risen and golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer the muffins to a cooling rack.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • You can buy vanilla sugar or make it yourself at home. To make it, split a whole vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into an airtight container. Add about 2 cups of sugar then bury the vanilla pod in sugar and seal tightly with lid. Let sit for 1 to 2 weeks. Use as regular, granulated sugar. To make it on the fly, rub a little vanilla extract into granulated sugar.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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17 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Julia Miller December 12, 2021, 5:29 pm

    I work at a breakfast club and make muffins for the kids. These muffins flew off the shelf, the kids devoured them and LOVED them! I’m whipping up another 4 dozen for them right now! I know the kids will be happy to see them tomorrow at breakfast club.

  • Julie Pahnke February 11, 2021, 12:50 pm

    Modified a bit. Used homemade cinnamon pearsauce and substituted pearsauce for 3T of butter. Added an additional 1/4 cup flour to offset the extra liquid. The flavor is delicious and they baked perfectly. Dense yet fluffy muffin with a lightly sweetened top. I store in the fridge.
    Will be making these again. Thank you

  • Kim June 10, 2020, 8:23 am

    Love pears so I was excited to try this recipe; it did not disappoint. These muffins are delicious and I’ll be making them again and again. Followed recipe as written except for putting vanilla sugar on top as last step ( I used a little plain white sugar). I’m vanilla next time and see.

  • Julie April 22, 2020, 4:31 am

    I came across this recipe and have made it 3 times in the last 2 week’s. They are wonderful! Definetly one of my favourite muffin recipes!!

  • rierie512 November 12, 2014, 4:37 pm

    I am about to make these muffins and I don’t have vanilla sugar. Can I make it with vanilla extract and white or brown sugar? P.S. After making your “Apple Crisp Recipe with Oats”, I am hooked on your website. And I am addicted to the Apple Crisp! WOW!

    • Joanne March 5, 2015, 10:36 am

      Yes — you can even add a 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of vanilla to white (or brown) sugar and work it in to make your own vanilla sugar.

  • Natalia November 8, 2014, 4:09 pm

    Hi! Recipe looks delicious as it is, but would it be ok to substitute half or all of flour with rolled oats?

    • Joanne March 5, 2015, 10:40 am

      We wouldn’t replace all of the flour, but some should be okay.

  • Jiri Dexter Hanc March 9, 2014, 5:24 pm

    I made these beauties with a few little changes and they were just sublime. Thank you for the recipe 🙂

  • Christine May 19, 2011, 8:40 am

    These muffins are truly delicious. Such a wonderful recipe, it’s going right into my files. 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Kristin @ The Pastry Affair April 28, 2011, 8:53 pm

    I made these muffins are they are so good I can barely stand it. The flavor combination is truly unique. Thank you for this recipe!

  • Lisa @ Sweet as Sugar Cookies February 13, 2011, 1:08 am

    You really know how to make muffins look extraordinary. These sound like a delicious way to use pears. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog called “Sweets for a Saturday” and I’d like to invite you to stop by and link your muffins up.

  • Esme February 12, 2011, 12:12 am

    Awe yes the cute sniffing dogs at the airport. I did not bring back any food I should not have but I did wonder if the dogs would sniff out my bags.

    I could bring back suitcases just full of food from France.

  • Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon February 10, 2011, 8:50 am

    Oh my, these are lovely. I love how you brought a bit of your trip home with you.

  • Jennifer (Delicieux) February 9, 2011, 6:50 pm

    I’d definitely agree a trip back is in order! Your muffins look divine. I love pear and vanilla and I can only imagine how wonderful the ones you had in Paris were.

  • UrMomCooks February 9, 2011, 4:47 pm

    A trip back, oh yes…but these look divine and very parisienne!

    • inspiredtaste February 10, 2011, 9:24 am

      UrMomCooks – don’t worry we are saving up to go back .. first stop… muffin store! Thanks for commenting!

      Jennifer – the pear and vanilla combo is wonderful, especially the aroma!

      Oh Wendi, if it weren’t for those cute little dogs at the airport sniffing our bags for food in the customs area, we would have brought a lot more back!
      The muffins in our recipe are delicious, but I wish we could get the airy/fluffy texture of the muffins in Paris!


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