Big, fluffy, moist, bursting with blueberry flavor, and topped with crumbly streusel, these homemade muffins are better than you could buy. I call them The Best Bakery-Style Blueberry Muffins, and they pull out all of the tricks for perfect muffins, from how to get a perfectly domed top to how to prevent the blueberries from sinking to the bottom of the batter.
A few weeks ago, I was just about to make another batch of Blueberry Muffins Waffles with Cinnamon Streusel and Vanilla Glaze for friends who stayed the night, when I remembered that I broke my waffle maker (such a klutz) and never got a new one. “No worries,” I told myself, “I’ll just make regular blueberry muffins instead since I’ve got all of the ingredients.” And then I realized that, despite the fact that I could SWEAR that I’ve posted blueberry muffins on here before, I have never in my years and years of blogging written about ’em. You know what that means. Cue the obsession.
My approach with cooking dinners and such is a lot different than my approach with baking. With cooking, I like to get creative. Experiment with flavors. Simplify methods. Combine cuisines. But with baking? With baking I like to keep things (mostly) traditional, but find THE. MOST. AMAZING. way to do it. That means a whole lot of recipe testing, a whole lot of tasting, a whole lot of cookies or brownies, or in this case, muffins. I found that the best way, in the end, involved taking my favorite bits of all the best “best” muffin recipes out there and putting them together!
THE BEST BAKERY-STYLE BLUEBERRY MUFFINS
In the end, all of those batches and all of that testing did allow me to figure out how to make muffins truly were perfect in every way. They were:
- Big, with domed tops
- Moist, tender, and fine-crumbed
- Studded with evenly dispersed blueberries that didn’t all sink to the bottom
- Swirled with a blueberry syrup
- Covered in a sweet and buttery crumb topping
And if that doesn’t add up to the perfect blueberry muffin, I don’t know what does.
MAKING TRULY PERFECT MUFFINS
A GOOD BLUEBERRY MUFFIN CALLS FOR STREUSEL TOPPING
I’ve had many blueberry muffins that were smooth-topped, and some that were sprinkled with sparkling sugar. Those muffins are fine muffins, sure. Enjoyable muffins. But nothing compares to a blueberry muffin with streusel on top, where the sweet and crumbly texture elevates them to the next level.
Typically, streusel is made by cutting cold butter into a mixture of flour and sugar, but for this recipe I use melted butter, which will still create the pea-sized crumbles necessary to top the muffins, but has less of a sandy texture than traditional streusel topping. A little brown sugar deepens the flavor of the streusel and just a tiny, tiny hit of lemon zest adds brightness that amplifies the blueberry flavor. All-together, it’s a delicious topping that adds to the muffins without overwhelming them!
HOMEMADE BLUEBERRY SYRUP MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE
Because we want maximum blueberry flavor in our blueberry muffins (without simply throwing a thousand blueberries into the mix and hoping it all holds together), I incorporate the blueberries in three ways: whole throughout the base; boiled into a syrup for swirling on top; and then fresh berries pressed into the crumble after baking.
The syrup is a real game changer, and was inspired by America’s Test Kitchen’s version, which was the heaviest influence on this finished recipe.
All that you have to do to make the syrup is throw half of the blueberries into a saucepan with a tablespoon of sugar and heat until the blueberries burst and boil. Then mash them lightly and let the mixture cook until thickened. At that point, you can remove the mixture from heat, stir in a little lemon juice to once again boost that blueberry flavor (but don’t worry, these muffins aren’t lemony), and wait until the syrup has cooled.
I use a toothpick to swirl the blueberry syrup on the top of my muffins, which ensures that there’s plenty of blueberry flavor toward the top and helps to prevent the streusel from feeling overly dense. Plus, I love those little peeks of purple that come through at the top of the muffins!
HOW TO STOP THE BLUEBERRIES FROM SINKING
Anyone who has ever made fruit cakes or muffins before knows that the fruit often will sink and form a layer at the bottom of the bake, leaving no fruit pieces throughout the top. It’s just one of those things that happens– gravity does what it does. To prevent the fruit (in this case, blueberries) from sinking, many bakers will toss them with a little flour, which supposedly helps to suspend them in the batter.
It doesn’t really work like that.
The blueberries don’t magically float just because they’ve been tossed in flour. However, I have found that a quick toss in flour seems to make it less likely that the blueberry juices will leak and bleed to the very bottom of the batter, creating a dense layer of purple mush that simply won’t bake all the way through.
And to make sure there’s blueberry goodness on top, we’ve always got that blueberry syrup swirl!
HOW TO GET MUFFINS TO DOME
Recipes always tell you to fill muffin cups only 3/4 of the way to the top, but if you want a real big muffin with a nice dome on top, fill those suckers all the way up. Yes, they’ll spill over a bit and bake in a sort of mushroom-top-esque shape, but that’s the mark of a truly incredible, indulgent muffin, isn’t it?
Using a thick batter (spreadable and scoopable, NOT pourable) is also key. You need some density to get good lift at the top! Luckily, this recipe fits the bill.
And lastly, don’t listen to the recipes that insist that you should bake your muffins at 350 degrees. If you want a good dome on your muffins, you need to crank the heat up– at least to start! In order to get a good rise, a golden brown crust, and a moist muffin bake, I start my muffins at 425 and lower the temperature to 375 for the last 10 minutes of cooking.
MORE BREAKFAST BAKED GOODS TO LOVE
WATCH THE VIDEO
The Best Bakery-Style Blueberry Muffins
- Total Time: 45 mins
- Yield: 12 muffins 1x
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
For the topping:
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- Pinch of salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
For the muffins:
- 2 cups fresh blueberries, divided, plus more to top
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon all purpose flour, divided
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- To start, make the streusel topping. Combine 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, 1/8 teaspoon lemon zest, and a pinch of salt. Whisk to combine. Pour in 4 tablespoons of melted butter. Mix until crumbs the size of peas are formed, then set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Spray a muffin tin lightly with nonstick spray and line with muffin liners.
- In a saucepan, heat 1 cup of the blueberries and 1 tablespoon of sugar over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and break the blueberries apart with a fork or masher as they cook. Continue to cook until mixture is thickened and reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Let cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, combine 2 1/2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1 teaspoon salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 cup sugar, the eggs, vegetable oil, melted butter, buttermilk, and vanilla extract until well-combined.
- Gently use a spatula to fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, being careful not to over-mix. It’s okay to have some small clumps of flour.
- In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with the remaining tablespoon of flour until lightly coated. Fold into the muffin batter. Use an ice cream scoop to evenly divide the batter between 12 muffin cups (the mixture should fill all the way to the tops). Spoon the blueberry syrup mixture on top of each mound of muffin batter, then use a toothpick to swirl into the batter.
- Top generously with the streusel mixture. You might have more than you need.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375°F (but don’t open the oven to check!) and continue to bake for 10 more minutes, or until golden. While the muffins are still warm, press additional blueberries onto the tops, if desired. Let cool in the muffin tin.
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 25 mins
Yasss to streusel topping! It makes everything better!
These muffins are blowing my mind! I will eat these for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
Ashley @ Sweetpea Lifestyle says
Oh, my!!! Don’t these look heavenly?! Definitely trying these at my next brunch.
The best blueberry muffin I have had in a long time!
Sara Welch says
Oh my goodness! These look like something in the bakery window! Can’t wait to enjoy one of these with my morning cup of coffee!
Julie G says
Morgan, these are gorgeous! Exactly the way a muffin should look. I’m giving these a try.
Julie G says
These were the best muffins I ever made! Even though there’s a few steps involved, they’re quite easy. They baked beautifully with a perfect dome. Don’t be afraid to fill them to the top…you just have to spray your pan with nonstick spray. The came right out of the pan with no issues. They tasted wonderful and looked store bought.
Very easy, the blueberry syrup was the key! Muffins came out moist and flavorful. Will be making again!
Error on scaling recipe! When you scale the recipe times 2, the scaling does not update the amounts in the directions. I just ruined a whole batch by doubing all but the flour because step 3 says 2 1/2 cups instead of 5. My mistake, but easy to do if following the steps.
Hi Valerie, I’m so sorry to hear that! I didn’t realize that this was an issue, so thank you for bringing it to my attention. I’m going to message the developers of the recipe card and see how we can get that fixed!
Instead of muffins can I bake in cake pan?
I think that would work fine!
What can I use as a substitute if I don’t have buttermilk?
In a pinch, mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice with 1 cup of milk, let it sit for 5 minutes, and use it in place of buttermilk. Not exactly the same, but a pretty good substitute!
Can these be frozen for later use, and if so, do you have any tips?
These muffins are soooo good! They didn’t take too long as I originally thought they would and I had them on the table by 9am this morning. This is now my Go To blueberry muffin recipe. If you want to do the optional step of pressing extra blueberries on top after they get out of the oven, the tops do go a little flat as I had to really push down, to get them to not roll off. Nonetheless, these look and taste just like a professional bakery! Thank you Morgan – I find your stories hilarious (and identifiable) and recipes delicious!
I’ve made so many different recipes for blueberry muffins. I’m a culinary school graduate so its safe to say I’m passionate about food. This is by far the BEST blueberry muffin!!! I was worried that it wouldn’t dome properly or ooze all over the place, it did neither. I got 18 regular sized muffins from the batch. The blueberry swirl is legit and overall absolute berry perfection!!!
Just made these and love them! I think the struesel topping is what I’ve been missing in other blueberry muffin recipes.
Question: for the blueberry syrup – I take it you do it without any water at all? I had never made syrup before and being dumb saw “boil” and added a lot of water. I realize for 1 I did way too much water and for 2 I probably didn’t need any. Still tastes fine but probably not as potent.