Once upon a time, I spent approximately a whole summer making blueberry muffins, gripped with an obsession (that would be worrisome anywhere but this page) to make what I hoped would be the last blueberry muffin recipe we’d ever need. You’d think after all that that the path to these raspberry muffins would be simpler, but it took five raspberry seasons to get here.
A very logical question you’re about to ask is: Why not just swap the blueberries in your blueberry muffins with raspberries? And the answer is that while it works, they’re not bad at all, they’re just not the raspberry muffin I dreamed of. These are and they’re utterly perfect: hefty, moist, lemony, not too sweet, and absolutely tie-dyed with a constellation of raspberries inside. I think they might be the best muffins I have ever made. Here’s what I’ve learned along the way:
Raspberries: Let me just get this out of the way: The correct amount of raspberries for 6 muffins is half a pound, or about 1 2/3 to 1 3/4 cups. This is a higher berry concentration than the blueberry muffins. Raspberries are not blueberries; they spill less into the batter around them so you need more to get the right oomph.
Frozen raspberries: Because fresh raspberries can be particularly pricey, rather than tell you “go for it!” if you wanted to use frozen raspberries instead, I developed these with them. This was the surprise: Frozen raspberries work even better here. Because we stir them in still frozen, they don’t get juicy until they’re baked so you end up with a thicker muffin batter that domes higher and spreads less. “But I just went raspberry picking!” First, I’m jealous. Second, yes, you can still use them here, just keep in mind that the muffins can be flatter.
Size: On a rushed, distracted morning at the end of the school year, I realized that if you accidentally divide my Perfect Blueberry Muffin batter into 6 muffins instead of the intended 9, you get an even more towering, generous, bakery-like muffin that feels every bit like the gift I’d intended them to be for teachers*. In this recipe, that size is not an accident. It makes 6 and it’s easily doubled to make 12. The muffins clock in at 4 to 5 ounces each and more than one-third that weight is from raspberries, but they’re made in a standard-sized tin. I told you they were dreamy!
Streusel: I don’t make the rules of the universe; I cannot explain to you why raspberry muffins need streusel but blueberry muffins do not, but trust me that the streusel here is nonnegotiable. Yet I loathe making a muffin batter and scooping it out only to realize I have another step: making a “quick” streusel. In Smitten Kitchen Keepers’ Peach Crumb Muffins, I ran into this as well but it gnawed at me that streusel is just butter, sugar, and flour, right? And that’s already in the batter? A bit of math later, my solution is to work the streusel step into the early part of the batter, so when you’re done, you’re really done.
* Speaking of teachers! The Smitten Kitchen Classroom Wishlist Project 2023 is now live! In the US, a tremendous number of teachers don’t get the funding they need to set their classrooms up for success. Most will end up paying out of their own pockets to buy educational materials, which feels all wrong and makes me sad. I’ve asked teachers to send me their wishlists in hopes that we can help clear as many as possible, as we did last summer. Help out if you feel you’re able — you will unquestionably make a teacher’s (and their students’) day! [Project information. Direct link to spreadsheet.]
Raspberry Streusel Muffins
- 5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon plus one pinch kosher salt
- Slightly heaped 1/2 cup (105 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 2/3 cups (220 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
- Half a medium lemon
- 1 large egg
- 2/3 cup (150 grams) plain unsweetened yogurt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 8 ounces (225 grams) fresh or (ideally) frozen raspberries (1 2/3 to 1 3/4 cups; see Note)
Prepare pan: Very lightly coat the top surface of your muffin tin with nonstick spray or swipe it with butter. This ensures muffin spillover releases easily. Line 6 cups with muffin liners. If you’re using a 12-cup pan, space them out and pour about 1 tablespoon of water in each empty cup, which will keep the empty pockets from burning.
Make streusel: In a large bowl, mix the butter, sugar, pinch of salt, and 1 cup (130 grams) of the flour until it forms a clumpy mixture. Scoop out 1/4 cup (about 45 grams) and set it aside in a small bowl; this will be your streusel topping.
Make muffin batter: Finely grate the zest of your lemon half into the large bowl with the remaining streusel in it, then juice the lemon half over it too. Add yogurt and egg and whisk to combine as smoothly as you can, but it’s okay if the batter doesn’t fully even out. Sprinkle the surface of the batter with baking powder, baking soda, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and whisk to thoroughly combine, going several times more around the bowl than seems necessary. Add remaining 2/3 cup (90 grams) of flour and all of the berries and stir gently, just until the flour disappears.
Divide batter between six prepared muffin cups; go ahead and heap it as much as is needed. Divide reserved streusel between muffin tops and use your fingers to push any that lands on the muffin tin back to a nearby muffin.
Bake muffins: For 25 to 30 minutes, and until a toothpick inserted from the top to the center of the muffin comes out batter-free. Let cool completely in the pan.
Do ahead: These muffins keep phenomenally. I keep them either in their baking pan or on a plate uncovered (so they don’t get mushy on top) and they’ve been excellent even on day 3 and not bad at all on day 4.
- Raspberries by cup: Just a heads up that while technically every ingredient is more accurate when measured by weight, raspberries are particularly so. They’re hollow. When frozen, they take up more space in a cup per ounce. When defrosted or very ripe and fresh, they collapse and take up less space per ounce in a cup. For frozen raspberries, use the higher cup suggestion (1 3/4 cups); for very ripe fresh, use the lower amount (1 1/2 cups).
- Double this: Yes, you can absolutely double this recipe to make 12 muffins; no changes needed. When you double the sugar, simply measure 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon.
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