Trouble With Toast

Recipe: The Best Blueberry Muffins Ever, Period, End of Story | January 26, 2010

Last weekend was my last truly lazy one for a long time – my triathlon training starts this coming Saturday, so most of my mornings from here on out will involve getting up early to ride and run with the team.  So, taking full advantage of my lack of responsibilities, I spent the past Saturday morning lounging in my jammies and watching cooking shows on public television.

It just so happened that America’s Test Kitchen was focusing on breakfast items – specifically, French omelets and blueberry muffins.  I was particularly interested in their discussion of blueberry muffins, since they never seem to meet my lofty expectations.  They rarely have enough blueberry flavor, but the ATK pros asserted that simply adding more berries doesn’t solve the problem (since that just weighs the muffins down by adding too much moisture).  Texture-wise, most blueberry breakfast treats are either too dense or too crumbly; the ATK cooks talked a lot about overmixing, and how the formation of too much gluten can really muck up a muffin.  So what were the proposed solutions?  For mega-blueberry flavor without extra moisture or weight, they made a concentrated jam with half of the recipe’s berries and then swirled it into the batter at the end.  To avoid textural problems, the folks at ATK swore up and down that a) beating the egg/sugar mixture at a moderate pace for 80 strokes was the perfect amount of mixing, and b) that folding the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients JUST until the dry ingredients were moistened would avoid any excess gluten.  I was skeptical that these nitpicky suggestions would yield any tangible (or, tasteable) results, but I was determined to give it a go.

The end product?  The best. Blueberry. Muffin. EVER.

I know I can be prone to hyperbole, but that statement is no exaggeration.  The flavor was incredible – very berry-y, and not cloyingly sweet (the citrus kick from the topping was a really nice touch).  The texture was spot-on, with just the right amount of moistness and a perfect ratio of crusty top portion.  I don’t know what else to say, other than that these muffins were the BOMB DIGGITY, and they really only required one or two extra steps.  I guarantee that the minimal additional work will be WELL worth it when you bite into these delicious pastries.  Enjoy, and let me know what you think!

Lemon Sugar Topping

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Zest from one lemon (about 1 ½ teaspoons)


  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 1/8 cups sugar, plus one teaspoon
  • 2 ½ cups AP flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Stir the sugar and zest together until combined; set aside.

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees.  Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick spray.  Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat.  Cook, mashing berries with a spoon several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to ¼ cup, about 6-8 minutes.  Transfer to bowl and cool to room temperature, 10-15 minutes.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl.  Whisk remaining 1 1/8 cups sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds (remember, 80 strokes).  Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined.  Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined.  Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened.  The batter will be very lumpy with spots of dry flour; do not overmix!

Use an ice cream scoop or large spoon to divide batter equally among muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly).  Spoon teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound, pushing it below the surface.  Using chopstick or skewer, gently swirl berry filling into batter using figure eight motion.  Sprinkle lemon sugar evenly over muffins.

Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, about 17-19 minutes, rotating muffin tin (front to back) halfway through cooking time.  Cool muffins in tin for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool 5 more minutes before serving.


  1. I consider myself to be an above average baker and generally do not love blueberry muffins, but these muffins were some of the best I’ve ever eaten. I was happy to pick up a few more pints of blueberries so that another batch could be made. Fantastic!!!!! Thanks Betty!!

    Comment by Mom — January 29, 2010 @ 9:20 pm

    • Glad you enjoyed! I knew they must be good when YOU liked them, since I know blueberry muffins aren’t usually your fave.

      Comment by bettyjoan — February 3, 2010 @ 3:10 pm

  2. Hi! Thanks for the recipe!

    I just watched this episode, and I wanted to mention that the 80 strokes was for the French omelette, and NOT the muffins.

    Thanks again for the print recipe!

    Comment by Lou — April 17, 2010 @ 10:54 pm

    • Huh, I really thought the 80 strokes referred to the muffin. Whoops! Thanks for visiting!

      Comment by bettyjoan — April 18, 2010 @ 12:02 pm

  3. […] Test Kitchen/Cook’s Illustrated has a recipe for the best blueberry muffins ever. They are well worth the extra […]

    Pingback by In Season Now: Blueberries | Bakersfield Express — May 12, 2010 @ 7:32 pm

  4. That looks good… really good. The best? Well I’ll have to try it out and see 😉

    Comment by Blueberry Muffins Recipes — July 24, 2010 @ 3:06 pm

  5. Wow!!! These were so full of flavor. Thanks for posting the recipe 🙂

    Comment by JenShay — July 24, 2010 @ 7:46 pm

  6. I really, really need a muffin to impress, and I think yours will do the trick! I am baking them as I’m typing this, and i cannot wait to taste them!

    Comment by Debbie — July 28, 2010 @ 5:14 pm

  7. Thanks to all who have visited and commented on this recipe. These muffins really are good, so I’m glad folks are giving them a shot!

    Comment by bettyjoan — July 29, 2010 @ 11:06 am

  8. When I watched the segment, Yvonne called for 2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder. I was wondering, did she mis-speak, and, does the written recipe called for only 1 1/2?

    Thanks for posting this!

    Comment by John — August 5, 2010 @ 4:56 pm

    • @john, thanks for pointing that out. i made these a 3rd time tonight. the first two times, i used the recipe i copied down from watching the video. this time i used this recipe because i couldn’t find my notes. i felt there was something different about the consistency of the batter when i was filling the muffin tins. the video and the 2009 recipe annual (which i didn’t realize had this recipe in it) both show 2 1/2 tsp of baking powder, not 1 1/2 tsp.

      Comment by carol Capper — February 26, 2011 @ 6:45 am

      • It is entirely possible that I incorrectly transcribed my notes from the episode. So, if the annual says 2 1/2, it’s probably 2 1/2! I will say, though, I’ve been following this recipe with the 1 1/2 teaspoons for some time now, and I haven’t noticed any problems.

        Comment by bettyjoan — February 26, 2011 @ 6:33 pm

  9. These muffins are STUNNING. I made them for a brunch and, honestly, everyone was humbled by their deliciousness. They are so tender and the lemon zest/sugar topping earned raves. I did make a change after a test batch: I filled the muffin tin halfway with batter, then spooned in the jam, then filled them the rest of the way. The muffins came out much prettier this way. Thank you so much for posting this!

    Comment by Jennifer — August 8, 2010 @ 3:21 pm

  10. I loved these muffins. They came out perfect and impressed my hard to please Mother-in-law. Thanks for posting the recipe!

    Comment by StephanieMarie — August 20, 2010 @ 12:33 am

  11. Yes! They are the best!
    I made them last week and they were abosolutely delicious . I also made a different version of it , and instead of 2 cups fresh blueberries I use 1 cup frozen ones + wild blueberry preserves . Equally delicious ! Thank you for sharing this recipe

    Comment by Asia — October 29, 2010 @ 1:56 am

  12. I have gone through many a muffin recipe, and as a cheap college student, I tend to bake everything myself from scratch! I still craved a bakery muffin though and mine never seemed to turn out right.
    Not anymore! these were absolutely fantastic. I make them weekly and everyone I know raves about them. I tend to load on the topping as well and to put more lemon zest into the jam and batter as well to make it all come together. I vary things with cinnamon as well. Keep up the great recipe ideas

    Comment by Sonora — November 2, 2010 @ 3:21 am

  13. […] didn’t TOTALLY bum out, though.  In January, I discovered some killer blueberry muffins, thanks to America’s Test Kitchen.  In February, my husband and I made friends with the […]

    Pingback by To make an end is to make a beginning « Trouble With Toast — December 30, 2010 @ 2:45 pm

  14. These were the best blueberry muffins ever. My entire family ate them up fast!

    Comment by AMY — January 20, 2011 @ 5:08 pm

  15. I am making these right now! I did substitute plain yogurt for buttermilk and threw in a few cranberries and raspberries (to make the flavors pop) to the cooked mixture. They are looking to be amazing!!!

    Comment by Leslie — February 5, 2011 @ 1:44 pm

    • Yum, sounds great!

      Comment by bettyjoan — April 6, 2011 @ 11:04 am

  16. LOVED IT

    Comment by Michelle — March 19, 2011 @ 2:28 am

  17. My 33 year old son has been diagnosed celiac (wheat and gluten intolerant). Gluten free and tasty are not usually synonomous. Has anyone tried a GF version of these muffins ? Can you substitute GF flour and add Xanthum gum ? Hope to hear from someone about this. I’ll also give it a go this weekend, and get back online with the results. Thanks.

    Comment by Christy K — March 22, 2011 @ 9:31 pm

    • Wow, great question – and sadly, I have no idea what the answer is. Do you have a gluten-free blueberry muffin recipe? If so, you could probably use the jam/swirling method and the lemon/sugar topping on whatever that GF muffin base is. Good luck, and definitely let us know about your results.

      Comment by bettyjoan — March 24, 2011 @ 11:31 am

    • My family is gluten free also. I bake a lot, nearly all of our food is made from scratch. I tried several flours and found many to be subpar. I began using Jules gluten free flour and love it. It’s very versital and it can be substituted cup for cup for regular flour. It can only be purchased Jules website. Authentic foods flour is another one I’ve tried. It was okay, not gritty but just not versital.

      Comment by Jana — April 7, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

      • Thank you Jana – I truly appreciate your post. I have been researching gluten free flours and several gluten free bakers have said the same. I live in Canada (no Jules) but am heading out tomorrow to see my daughter in Portland OR. I understand from Jules website that her product is carried in a store in Redmond WA so am planning to make a day trip up there to buy some. I did end up making these muffins non gluten free and they are amazing, so can’t wait to bake with Jules.
        On another note, we’ve discovered UDI bread from Denver which seems to be by far the best gluten free bread out there. Again, being from Canada means can’t get it here. Have you had success baking white bread ? I bake regular bread all the time but consistently end up with bricks when baking gluten free bread. Tried the King Arthur GF flour and their bread recipe. Awful. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated !! Christy

        Comment by Christy K — April 8, 2011 @ 12:40 am

  18. I have been wanting to try this recipe for a few months now, finally got the ingredients and about to try it. Soooooooooooo excited!!!


    Comment by Brandi — April 14, 2011 @ 1:17 am

  19. I’ve baked this twice. The first time, I followed the recipe to a T, and it was very good. I do like the blueberry/lemon combo, but I like blueberry/cinnamon better! The second time, I substituted applesauce for the butter, and used the regular amount of vegetable oil. I also added a hefty dash of cinnamon to the batter, and since I didn’t have buttermilk on hand, I used a teeny bit less than a cup of milk with 1 tsp of vinegar to make my own. And for the topping, I mixed white sugar with cinnamon. This is the best blueberry muffin I’ve ever made, and I bake all the time. I will definitely be making this recipe (with my tweaks) over and over again!! Thank you so much for posting this! 🙂

    Comment by Toronto — May 17, 2011 @ 5:17 am

  20. Thanks so much for posting! I watched the episode online and will make these soon. They look fantastic.

    Comment by Jason — May 18, 2011 @ 8:54 pm

  21. I just tried this and no offence but I didn’t like it at all!
    They are not moist enough,or sweet enough..they are too chewy,and I followed the recipe step by step..just saying I tried(and made)better..liked the blueberry swirl thing though.

    Comment by Milica — May 31, 2011 @ 6:45 pm

    • Milica said hers were chewy…mine turned out I ate one with a spoon…OMG!!! I AM EATING ANO ONE AND I DON’T THINK I WILL
      TELL ANYONE I MADE THESE… OUTSTANDING! I didn’t melt my butter,just softened it,SO,that’s part of it. And I also didn’t have buttermilk,so put a dollop of sour cream and the milk. Probably just too wet. And should have used a little less of the jam. But the flavor is the absolute best ever!!

      Comment by Doris — February 13, 2013 @ 4:47 pm

    • OK This is Doris again, I forgot to mention…I substituted XYLO sweet for sugar,without problems. With the leftover batter I made a small
      coffeecake,and by then, the batter had thickended,so absolutly UNPARALLED!!! I USED THE XYLO SWEET in the topping also. I will use the lemon sugar in more recipies.
      AND,YA’LL, I used probably 3 T baking soda,cuz mine was a little expired…The muffins rose like
      bakery style. I guess long as u use 2 eggs,the baking soda amt is no issue.?

      GIRL, your the BEST!!

      Comment by Doris — February 13, 2013 @ 5:07 pm

  22. […] Test Kitchen’s recipe for the best blueberries muffins ever. Which I found on this blog. Perhaps a slighty more sophisticated version of my old friend the mini muffin; they are brimming […]

    Pingback by Make New Friends. But Keep The Old | TheDailyMuffin — June 17, 2011 @ 3:45 am

  23. I just bought 2 bite-size mini muffin pans… Do I have to change the recipe? Can I use regular salted butter and ommit the salt? I would LOVE an answer; THANKS!

    Comment by Yaitza Rodriguez — July 12, 2011 @ 5:11 am

  24. Had a slow weekend and a new, dark haired and of course, pretty cook on America’s Test Kitchen performed this recipe. For the first time I was inspired to get up and try out the recipe. There’s never been a muffin as good as this one.
    This recipe wasn’t like the BB muffins at Safeway, which are caky and sweet. The BB flavor saturates the taste buds like none other. Well Done THanks

    Comment by Joann Sloan — July 13, 2011 @ 4:23 pm

  25. THANKS SO MUCH for sharing this recipe. I’ve LOVED baking muffins since my college days. I made my batch using the 1 1/2 t of baking powder and it turned out absolutely fine. This was great. THANKS!!!

    Comment by Victor Tam — July 18, 2011 @ 8:05 pm

  26. Made these muffins for my co-workers and they LOVED them. My muffins turned out exactly like your photos and in no way were they a disappointment. This recipe is my new blueberry muffin standard 🙂

    Comment by Colleen — August 9, 2011 @ 3:45 pm

  27. I too have been looking for a true Blueberry muffin and I do believe this is it! Oh happy days!! Thank you!! This will be passed on for years to come!

    Comment by Vania — August 17, 2011 @ 6:25 pm

  28. These were great. Made them at the end of the Michigan blueberry season with fresh berries. Love the sugar/lemon zest touch. Adds a lot! Also cuts down the sugar a bit. Make these muffins!

    Comment by KJohnson — September 13, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

  29. Hi, I was wondrin’ abt substituting a loaf pan in lieu of a muffin baking pan for this recipe? I tried it once & it was good ‘cept I used alot more blueberries

    Comment by Linda — December 10, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

  30. Made these last week following the directions exactly as posted. These are THE. BEST. BLUEBERRY. MUFFINS. EVER. PERIOD!!!! Wow!!! SOOOOOO good! Who would have thought the lemon zest would add such a great flavor. It looked like a lot of sugar on top, but it was the perfect amount to balance out the muffin. Fabulous! They were a hit with everyone who had one. Thanks for the recipe!

    Comment by Claire — January 24, 2012 @ 9:32 pm

  31. I’ve made these muffins several times, exactly as written and they’re fantastic! Blueberry muffins are my favourite, and I’ve tried other recipes but I’ve always come back to this one. Please never take this down! I’ll use it forever!

    Comment by canadianbaker — April 22, 2012 @ 7:44 pm

  32. Looking through the internet for a delicious BB muffin recipe read all the comments and I’m convinced, I will be trying the recipe this weekend. Wish me luck! I’m so excited! Let you know how they turn out!

    Comment by amanda — July 23, 2012 @ 11:33 pm

  33. These muffins tasted delicious. I did make a couple of adjustments because of what I happened to have, or should I say not have, in my kitchen. I used almond milk with a bit of vinegar in it as a replacement for the buttermilk and sugar flavored with lemon juice from concentrate for the topping. Since I used almond milk, I left out the vanilla flavoring and since blueberries and almonds go so well together anyway, it was just perfect. Next time I may add some slivered almonds to the topping. Thank you for a great recipe.

    Comment by Frances — August 5, 2012 @ 4:42 pm

  34. Its 2013 and these are getting new fans! Just tried them and OMG delicious! i have finally found my blueberry muffin recipe !! THANK YOU! 🙂

    Comment by Amanda Johnson — February 2, 2013 @ 1:48 pm

  35. I’m trying to find the best blueberry muffin recipe as ones I usually find are just okay. I have one question though, can I use frozen blueberries for the jam and if so do I need to thaw the blueberries or can I just put them on the stove frozen and let them thaw out in the pan?

    Comment by Gabrielle — March 16, 2013 @ 2:46 pm


      Comment by Doris — March 17, 2013 @ 2:14 am

  36. […] I’ll leave you with a picture of the AMAZING muffins I made. Here’s a link to the recipe. They were so so good! The secret is making a blueberry jam with a cup of blueberrys […]

    Pingback by BooYay! Saturday–late night edition. | rukristin papercrafts — June 30, 2013 @ 5:47 pm

  37. […] Because of the heat, the berry picking season was early this year. We were late for strawberries and could barely keep up with Milo, who’d yell “Yay, pick!” as he took one out of the bucket. But we hit the peak for blueberries and got six pints for $11! Good thing because Milo and Ben can each finish off a pint and blueberry muffins are my weakness (here’s my guilty and highly-recommended recipe). […]

    Pingback by Milostones: A One Man Show at 20 months | Meannie — July 11, 2013 @ 4:23 pm

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