Blueberry muffins, we will argue, are the pinnacle of muffin-baking, and the standard by which all other muffins are judged. Bursting with luscious, sweet blueberries, held together by a light and fluffy crumb, they are a great breakfast treat or af…
ernoon snack. With this easy blueberry muffin recipe, you can turn out beautiful, golden brown, bakery-style muffins from your own kitchen!
The origins of the blueberry muffin
Today, blueberries are grown all over the world in every continent but Antarctica. But the blueberry muffin is a quintessentially American recipe. Food historians speculate that the blueberry muffin may have been developed by European immigrants to North America who were familiar with the bilberry, a small, dark-blue berry native to northern Europe that is somewhat similar to the blueberry. There were no bilberries to be found in the immigrants’ new land, but wild blueberries abounded. In the 19th century, the earliest form of what is today’s muffin was created, and American cooks likely began adding blueberries to it. Over time, the blueberry muffin became perhaps the country’s most popular muffin. Fun fact: Minnesota residents love blueberries so much that in 1988, the Minnesota state legislature declared the blueberry muffin the state’s official muffin.
To make these blueberry muffins an extra-sweet treat, sprinkle sugar over the top of the muffins (about 1 teaspoon per muffin) before putting them in the oven. Raw sugar, also called turbinado sugar, works especially well because it has large granules that result in a delightfully crunchy muffin top. Blueberry muffins are also nice with a crumb topping. If this sounds good to you, search Yummly for recipes for crumb or streusel topping.
Ingredients and substitutions
Sour cream is a great way to make muffins moist, and it adds just a hint of tang. But you can use the same amount of plain yogurt (or Greek yogurt) or crème fraiche instead.
If you are out of vanilla extract, use the same amount of maple syrup instead. Or substitute almond extract for the vanilla extract, but use half the amount (1/2 tsp instead of 1 tsp) because the almond extract has quite a strong flavor.
This recipe calls for baking powder and baking soda. If you only have baking soda, you can easily make your own baking powder by whisking together 1 Tbsp baking soda and 2 Tbsp cream of tartar. Measure out 1 tsp of the mixture and proceed with the recipe (store the rest in an airtight container for future use).
Here’s an easy hack to make your own brown sugar: mix 1 cup of white sugar with 1 Tbsp molasses, and work the two ingredients together until the sugar turns an even brown throughout. Then you can measure out the ¼ cup sugar called for in the recipe.
Don’t have fresh blueberries on hand? It’s not a problem—frozen blueberries will work just as well. You don’t even need to thaw them—just stir them into the batter straight from the freezer. Or replace the blueberries with an equal amount of another similarly-sized fruit, like blackberries or raspberries.
Say no to sinking blueberries and green muffins!
A common pitfall of blueberry muffins is that the blueberries often sink to the bottom of the muffin cups during baking, leading to muffins with soggy bottoms and dried-out tops. The reason for this is simple gravity: the blueberries are heavier than the batter that is holding them. If this happens to you, here’s a quick hack to avoid the problem next time.
Another thing that sometimes happens in blueberry-muffin baking is that the finished muffins take on an unappetizing green tinge. The green color is caused by the alkalinity of baking soda mixing with the acidity of the berries. These muffins still perfectly safe to eat, but if the color bothers you, there’s a simple fix: Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt) in a small bowl and stir them together well before adding to the wet ingredients in step 4. Mixing the dry ingredients should ensure that the baking soda is evenly dispersed throughout the batter, preventing any discoloration.
A few more tips for the best blueberry muffins
You’ll note the recipe says not to over-mix the muffin batter. This is for good reason: The more you stir or work a batter or dough containing all-purpose flour, the more the gluten in that flour is activated. This is a good thing for a recipe like bread, where repeated kneading develops the gluten structure that allows the bread to rise, and gives the finished product a pleasing chew. But this blueberry muffin recipe has baking soda and baking powder to help it rise, and we want a light, airy muffin, not a chewy one. So stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until everything is just combined.
Here’s a good rule of thumb for the right amount of batter per muffin: fill each muffin tin 2/3 of the way full. (A measuring cup or ice cream scoop is a good tool for the job.) If muffin tops are your favorite, fill the liners ¾ of the way full—that will result in muffins with big, domed tops and crunchy edges. Just don’t fill the liners all the way to the top. If you do, the batter will rise in the oven and collapse over the sides of the muffin pan, making a giant mess. And if you don’t have paper liners, you can spray the cavities of your muffin tin with cooking spray instead. Your finished muffins will look a little less professional, but they’ll taste just as good.
Storing blueberry muffins
As is the case with most baked goods, muffins are best on the day they are baked, but you can place any leftovers in an airtight container and store them for up to 3 to 4 days at room temperature. Once your muffins begin to stale, there are a couple delicious tricks for reviving them. Cut them in half and toast them in an oven set to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 5–7 minutes (or run them under the broiler for a minute). Spread them thickly with salted butter, and devour. Or make leftover blueberry muffins into breakfast parfaits by layering crumbled muffins in a bowl or glass with plain or flavored yogurt and fresh berries.
You can also freeze blueberry muffins if you know you’re not going to eat the whole batch right away. Wrap baked and cooled muffins in aluminum foil, then transfer to a freezer-safe zip-top plastic bag. Seal the bag, and place the muffins in the freezer for up to 2 months. To reheat frozen muffins, preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the muffins on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, and warm them for about 15 minutes (test them by inserting a knife into the center of one muffin—if the knife comes out warm to the touch, the muffins are ready.)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar (packed)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- Preheat the oven to 425° F.
- Line a 12-cavity muffin pan with muffin/cupcake liners.
- In large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to cream together the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract on medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes, or until smooth and combined. Add the eggs and beat for a minute longer, until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Add the sour cream and milk. Continue to beat until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the bowl. Beat the mixture on medium-low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, until just combined. Do not over-mix.
- Add the blueberries to the bowl. Use a rubber spatula to fold the berries into the batter until they are well-distributed.
- Spoon an even amount of batter into each muffin liner.
- Transfer the muffin pan to the preheated oven. Bake the muffins at 425° F for 5 minutes.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350° F. Continue baking for 14-16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
- Remove the muffin pan from the oven. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing.
|Calories230Calories from Fat100|
|% DAILY VALUE|
|Calories from Fat100|
|% DAILY VALUE|
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.