Best Blueberry Muffin Recipe
Over twenty years ago I came across a little book called Muffins by Elizabeth Alston. It's chock full of great recipes for all sorts of muffins - sweet, savory, plain, fancy - but by far my favorite is one simply called "The Best Blueberry Muffins." The name doesn't lie: I've never come across another recipe (or commercial muffins) that matches up to this version.
Despite having gone through multiple reprints, the book seems to be out of print, but it's readily available used, and I'm sure many local libraries have it on their shelves. The author also has several other cookbooks worth checking out, including one with some fantastic recipes for scones.
They come together quite easily. If you do a little prep work the night before such as mashing the berries, you can bring everything together and have the muffins in the oven in 10 minutes, baking while you take your shower. By the way, that half cup of mashed blueberries plays a big part in developing the flavor and texture of the muffins. Don't skip it!
Frozen blueberries work great in the recipe - I actually prefer them to fresh. So stock up at the farmer's market when they're in season and load your freezer for the winter months.
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The only piece of special equipment you'll need is a standard muffin tin. The recipe makes 12 muffins, so you'll need either two 6-cup pans or one 12-cup.
I highly recommend muffin liners and thorough greasing of the muffin tin, even if it's supposed to be non-stick. The blueberries can leak a fair amount of juice that can make removal and clean up really tough without both measures. The muffins can also be a bit messy to handle without the liners because of all the blueberries.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar, reduce slightly if the blueberries aren't very tart or you prefer a less-sweet muffin
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons baking powder, (check for freshness)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2.5 cups blueberries, mash 1/2 cup with fork
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Heat oven to 375°F. Thoroughly grease muffin tins for 12 muffins, including the areas between the cups, and line with paper muffin cups.
- Beat butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla, baking powder, and salt.
- If you haven't done so already, mash 1/2 cup of the blueberries with a fork. If using frozen berries, thaw or microwave the portion for mashing. Add to batter.
- Fold in half the flour with a spatula then half the milk. Repeat with the remaining flour and milk. Mix in the rest of the blueberries (2 cups).
- Spoon the batter into muffin tins. In my experience, there is plenty of batter: the cups will be generously filled. If using frozen berries, you might find the batter getting stiff. It won't flow readily into the bottom edges of the muffin cups, so try gently working the batter down with a spoon to eliminate air pockets.
- Mix the the ground nutmeg and remaining tablespoon of sugar in a small bowl or teacup. Sprinkle on top of the muffin batter.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Let cool in the tin at least 30 minutes before removing (they need to set a bit so the bottoms and sides don't get all smooshed when trying to remove from the tin). Because of the blueberry juice, I sometimes find I need to gently use a knife to break the seal.
I've found that these muffins are great without any additions (not to say a little dab of unsalted butter isn't sublime). There's a lot of butter in the recipe, and the berries provide plenty of moisture and flavor.
The muffins freeze well in plastic freezer bags after fully cooled. Microwave briefly to serve after taking them out of the freezer.