even more perfect blueberry muffins Notes

even more perfect blueberry muffins

[Get the recipe for Even More Perfect Blueberry Muffins right here]

Since we rolled out the redesign, I’ve been flagging recipes in the archives I can’t stand looking at the pictures of anymore with plans to reshoot them. The perfect blueberry muffins were on this list except on my way to prettying them up, I made four other recipes first. Why make four other batches of blueberry muffins when you already have a favorite, is a pretty reasonable question, only if you’ve never shopped for jeans before even while wearing the pair you like most… or ordered steak at a restaurant besides the place you think makes it best. What I mean is, when a lot of people say “but the steak/jeans/cake here are amazing!” it’s hard not to wonder if maybe they’re onto something. What if they were just my favorite blueberry muffins at the time and there’s better out there that I didn’t know about yet? It’s been six years. Maybe it was time for a re-review. [Note: The prospect of a re-review with outside sources every few years is not recommended to be applied to spouses, children or hairdressers.]


Needless to say, this was a fun side project. There were a couple duds, but from most recipes, I picked up something new and worthwhile. From Stella Parks at Serious Eats, I came to agree that a full teaspoon of coarse sugar on top of each muffin sounds crazy but actually makes a delightfully crunchy lid. If the muffin underneath it isn’t too sweet, it doesn’t put it over the top at all — it’s just right. I also found her combination of coriander (I know!) and nutmeg crazy good and worth trying if you’re curious, even if I’m still defaulting to my lemon zest only here. From Blythe Danner, I realized you could put an inordinate amount of berries in each muffin and still have a very good muffin. I ended up doubling the berries in my go-to in the last batch and regret not-a-thing. (Should you be hesitant, just an increase from 3/4 cups to 1 1/4 is excellent but not over-the-top improvement.) From my own muffin recipes over the years, I knew I could one-bowl this (yes, a verb, at least around here) and while I was at it ditching the creaming of the butter, sifting (sifting! to make muffins! NO.) and ftlog, who — in practice, not just ambitious recipe writing — measures zest in half-teaspoons? Finally, it had always bothered me that my recipe made 10 to 11 muffins only. A muffin recipe should make an even dozen! Did I make it happen? Nope, I went the other way. I found in other recipes that very full cups of batter, so long as it’s a thick one, didn’t spill over but grew into perfect bronzed domes in the oven. The batter here is very thick. It makes 9 much prettier muffins that it ever made 10 to 11 of.

But mostly, I found that my go-to was still going to be my go-to, but with a bunch of improvements, improvements that have led to more blueberry muffins in our lives, and I hope yours too. I think you know what needs to be done.

[Get the updated recipe for Even More Perfect Blueberry Muffins right here]

even more perfect blueberry muffins

Vacation Dispatch: Can you guess where I am right now? GUESS. GUESS! We’re in Portugal! Last week we dragged a very excited almost 7-year old and a 1 year-old who I’d expected to be the source of the next longform thinkpiece on “why do people have to bring kids on planes, whhhy” but ended up being perfectly wonderful. (They shall save the full extent of their true selves for the return flight, I expect.) We started in Lisbon and have now made it to the Algarve region; we plan a day in Sintra before we return in a week. If you’d like vacation dispatches, you should follow my personal Instagram @debperelman or on Snapchat @smittenkitchen for some outtakes. This is a beautiful country (and everyone is so nice to kids).

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50 comments on even more perfect blueberry muffins

  1. Ah! We’re going to Portugal at the end of September and I can’t wait. Let me know if you find must-visit restaurants in Lisbon. For now, this new and improved blueberry muffin recipe will do.

  2. Tina

    I clicked on your link for your even more perfect blueberry muffins and the link takes me to a recipe from 2010. Is this the updated recipe? I want to make these muffins this morning! Thanks!

    1. gardencatt

      I think it is the updated recipe as her comments above the actual recipe include the August 2016 items she mentions here. Enjoy!

  3. Mel

    I can’t wait to make these as soon as the weather gets a bit cooler (no ovens in the summer here- too hot!) But this quote…this quote :) :) “Note: The prospect of a re-review with outside sources every few years is not recommended to be applied to spouses, children or hairdressers.”
    I love this Deb!!! :-)

  4. Nora

    Vacation! I’m also planning on Portugal in a month with a toddler. Any advice and suggestions is appreciated! This will be our first international travel with my 16 month old and I’m not sure how to adjust my normal traveling. How much moving around is too much in 8 days? Just stay in Lisbon and do day trips? Any advice on places to stay?

  5. Charlotte in Toronto

    I’ve made the 2010 version with blueberry /raspberry combo and love them. I’m looking forward to trying this new version. The sugar on top looks lovely

  6. Kate D.

    My niece and her hubby just returned from a vacation in Portugal and said it was amazing. And this is from someone who actually travels internationally for her work, so it must be fantastic!

    I’m heading to the farmers market for some blueberries.

  7. Sunday afternoon, made a batch of these muffins and I totally agree. These are perfect.
    One small note: I only had enough Turbinado sugar for two. I finished the rest with Demerara. I actually liked it better. The Demarara crystallized nicely and its golden color looks great.

  8. Lanie

    Delicious, as always! I made one small modification that turned out great. I did not have any turbinado sugar so i mixed together a small amount of local honey (~ 1tsp) with 1-2 T cinnamon sugar (saigon cinnamon and white sugar – I usually put cinnamon sugar in my coffee in the morning, so I had it on hand). I made a nice crunchy, but not dry top on the muffins.

  9. Rebecca

    I love the original recipe (have made many, many times)- and I think this one will be even better! I do usually make mine with some alterations, though. I’ve had excellent results in swapping out 1/2 of the total amount of AP flour for a mix of Whole Wheat flour and 1/4c flax meal. It keeps the muffins feeling more “healthy” and the flax meal keeps them moist.

  10. Rebecca

    Did you try the recipe from CI with the blueberry compote? It has the crunchy sugar lid and you get jamminess without sogginess. I one bowl it, and use blueberry jam instead of the compote to keep it breakfast-friendly. I live in Maine and have a slight obsession with all things blueberry, so from my extensive blueberry recipe testing: in cooked blueberry recipes cinnamon, coriander and/or lime zest are frequently used to add complexity- to restore some “fresh” taste to the cooked berries. Also, gin- best addition to blueberry jam ever. I think that came from Kevin West. Happy blueberry-ing!

    1. deb

      They were on my list to try when I decided I desperately didn’t want to make blueberry compote just to make a muffin. I am not surprised they were amazing. Perhaps next round of frenetic retesting. ;)

  11. roxlet

    Have you ever had the blueberry and/or corn muffins from Briermeir on the North Fork? Those are the ones my son dreams about. For years, I have made the ones from The Best Recipe and upped the blueberries because Briermeir has an inordinate amount in theirs. It’s like blueberries barely held together with batter. I will have to give yours a try.

  12. Connie

    OK, so I broke my right (dominant) arm and sprained my left wrist but I MUST make this. Can I use my Kitchenaid mixer? Please say yes!

    1. deb

      OMG. Are you okay? No, you may not. You need to get someone else to make you these muffins and deliver them because you need to rest. Okay, I mean, you of course can let the KA do everything, I just want you to rest because I’m a mom and stuff.

  13. Caitlin

    I made these yesterday and they were fantastic! I might make them again in a couple of days, since they’re going fast. The 1 tsp of sugar per muffin really was the perfect amount. I also went ahead and put in a whole lemon’s worth of zest and did not regret it! For people using frozen berries, I found that rinsing them a few times first (until the water ran mostly clear) and then drying them with a few paper towels really cut down on any bleeding/green batter issues.

  14. Susan

    I’m glad to know that you auditioned other recipes but found you had the best one all along. I do that, too. I allow that my tastes do change about many things over the years and feel the need to see what I might do to improve or update what I have. That said, I do love it when I find that my long time recipe is still ‘the one’. Your Perfect Blueberry Muffins fit the category of Gold Standard to which all others must match or surpass. None have.

  15. Victoria (aka zEmfIrKa)

    Made these last night. They turned out great – not too sweet, and the crunchy sugar top was a nice touch. I didn’t try the original recipe, but found there be a tad too many berries for my liking, I will probably have to decrease the amount next time or use Wild Blueberries that are smaller in size. I also used 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta + 1/4 cup sour cream instead of the yogurt – worked out great!

  16. My grandmother always topped her blueberry muffins with sugar for that sweet-crunchy top. I didn’t realize that wasn’t standard for many years, and after many disappointing (not sweet-crunchy topped) muffins. The best ones though were the ones she made with the blueberries we picked that morning, growing wild in the woods around their Cape Cod house. Oh the food memories… Now I must make blueberry muffins!

  17. Teresa

    Thank you Deb! I had blueberries that needed to be used Sunday and I was toying with a muffin recipe that involved the mixer (!!) and just couldn’t get motivated to make them. Then….your recipe popped up first thing in the morning and not only is this one bowl method so easy, they taste absolutely delicious! Didn’t modify at all and knew the teaspoon of sugar on top would be perfect, just like the topping on your pumpkin muffins which I make at least 3 times each fall/winter!

  18. Christine

    So I made the old recipe about a week ago and LOVED it…tried this one tonight and it just did not work. Even with the thicker batter, the berries all sunk down below an albino crown of sponge that tastes overwhelmingly like baking soda :( Could be user error, but the old recipe was tried and true for me. Maybe it’s because the butter was melted instead of softened? And the baking soda ratio did seem really high when I was making it. Please let me know if you have any idea why it may have gone wrong, or if you repost the old recipe because I adored it!

  19. Pdub

    The muffins look fabulous! I once spent so long trying to perfect a cookie recipe, my husband was actually _annoyed_ at having to eat so many cookies and then say whether or not he like it. Pfft! What a rough life it is for significant others of obsessive bakers.

  20. Made this today!!!!! I’m contemplating freezing them for work but am or rid the top won’t be as crunchy still. Oh well. I’ll just have to make more then.

    I ended up with 10 muffins. All delicious!

    The lemon is fabulous. I cannot stop raving about these muffins.

  21. yekcal

    These are SO good!! I made them yesterday. Doubled the batch, used vanilla grass fed yogurt, and left out the lemon zest because I was fresh out and didn’t want to wait. :)

    I used 12 large muffins and 24 mini muffins. My house smelled amazing!

    Thank you for sharing! :)

    1. deb

      I haven’t but I feel like it might be very good. Might need to double it to ensure you have any decent volume, though. Please let us know if you try it, so we can follow your notes!

  22. Thanks for sharing this! I have a go-to blueberry muffin recipe, but after reading about the extra helping of blueberries and seeing yogurt in a muffin recipe, I had to give this a shot. I made these for breakfast this morning, and my fiancĂ© said they were the best “from scratch” muffins anyone had ever made for him (which is a compliment from my Italian, food-pretentious partner who, lucky me, is a wonderful cook ;).

  23. Jaleen

    I visited Portugal years ago. It was beautiful & just getting to Sintea was stunning. I make these muffins often & can’t wait to try the improvements. Thanks!

  24. Suzanne

    I make the old version of these, with some modifications, almost every weekend, so I tried this version last weekend and they are definitely an improvement! I’ll be using this from now on. I love that they are now one bowl – not having to use a mixer is definitely nice. Love the even more blueberries too.
    My standard changes – use half white/half wheat flour, which makes them a little more solid; use whole plain Greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt since it’s what we have on hand, and again, makes them a little more solid; and I reduce the sugar to 80 grams because we like things less sweet. Also, I don’t usually use the lemon zest because it’s easier, but they are delicious when I do manage to get it together. I will have to try coriander and nutmeg!

    Thank you Deb!