Best Blueberry Muffins

The Best Blueberry Muffins recipe with your choice of a Lemon Sugar or Streusel Topping. These muffins are bakery style and have a fresh blueberry jam swirled into the batter. The perfect addition to a breakfast or brunch!

best blueberry muffins on a plate

This post was originally published on April 29, 2009. It has been update with new photos and commentary in August 2020.

Many years ago, I found this Best Blueberry Muffins recipe in a paper copy of Cook’s Illustrated. It includes two options for topping: a Lemon Sugar topping and a Streusel topping. I made the muffins for my labmates when we came in very early on a Saturday to do a big radioactivity experiment. I used the Lemon Sugar topping and had never tried the Streusel topping.

overhead shot of best blueberry muffins on white platters with a blue and white flowered table runner and a cup of coffee

This recipe has been buried in my blog archives, and I’m so glad I’ve rediscovered it. I made these recently for Bob and the girls, and they LOVED them! Bob said they were the best blueberry muffins he’s ever had! I even used gluten free flour.

overhead shot of lemon sugar topped muffin
Blueberry Muffins with Lemon Sugar Topping

I made half with the Lemon Sugar topping and half with the Streusel topping. We liked both, but I think the consensus for next time is Streusel.

streusel topped muffins on a white platter
Blueberry Muffins with Streusel Topping

Recipe Notes

The idea behind this recipe, according to the author, is to have a blueberry muffin recipe that works with any kind of blueberries, even the “watery supermarket kind.”

plate of best blueberry muffins broken open to show the inside

To do this, she came up with a simple homemade jam that you swirl into the batter before baking.

overhead shot of broken open muffin with a platter of best blueberry muffins next to it and a cup of coffee

The muffin batter is prepared, and fresh blueberries are folded into the batter. Once the batter has been added to the muffin cups, the homemade jam is swirled through, and then the topping of choice is added before baking.

up close of blueberry muffin

The result is a moist, bakery style muffin with lots of blueberry flavor!

Although I originally found this recipe in a paper copy of Cook’s Illustrated, it’s also in my Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook, which is my go to cookbook for most recipes!

Make the Muffin Topping

To make these muffins, you can choose between a Lemon Sugar topping or a Streusel topping. For this most recent time, I decided to do half of each. In the recipe card, I have the amount of topping listed for a full batch, so if you’d like to do half and half, you’ll need to cut the toppings down by half.

Lemon Sugar Topping

The Lemon Sugar topping is very simple. It’s just lemon zest mixed with granulated sugar.

Lemon Sugar Topping ingredients overhead shot

Streusel Topping

The Streusel topping is a little more involved than the Lemon Sugar topping (but well worth it!) Flour, salt, granulated sugar, and brown sugar are combined with melted butter until the topping is in large chunks.

streusel topping in a bowl

Making the Homemade Blueberry Jam

To make the jam, fresh blueberries are combined with a small amount of sugar in a saucepan and heated until the berries burst and release their juices. I use a small silicone spatula to press the blueberries against the bottom and sides of the pan.

Blueberries and sugar in a saucpan

The blueberry jam is then set aside to cool while you make the muffin batter.

homemade blueberry jam in a saucpan

Make the Muffin Batter

muffin batter ingredients overhead shot

For the batter, the dry ingredients are combined and set aside. The wet ingredients are whisked together in a separate bowl.

bowl of wet ingredients with a wire whisk inside

Then the wet ingredients are folded into the dry. I use a silicone spatula to do this.

bowl of batter after wet ingredients were added to dry ingredients

Now you’re left with the homemade blueberry jam, the muffin batter, and the remaining fresh blueberries.

overhead shot of saucepan with homemade blueberry jam, bowl of muffin batter, and cup of fresh blueberries

The fresh berries are folded into the batter.

bowl of muffin batter with fresh blueberries folded in

The batter is ready to be added to the muffin pan.

Assemble and Bake the Muffins

I like to use muffin liners when baking in a metal muffin pan. If you don’t use muffin liners, you’ll want to spray your muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray or grease each well to prevent the muffins from sticking. The batter is divided between the muffin cups.

muffin pan filled with muffin batter

Next, the homemade blueberry jam is scooped on top of each muffin.

muffin batter with a scoop of homemade blueberry jam on top

Then using a wooden skewer, swirl the jam into the batter.

a wooden skewer swirling jam into muffin batter

Repeat with all of the muffins.

all the muffins with the jam swirled into batter before baking

Add the Topping

Next you’ll add your choice of topping. I made 6 with Lemon Sugar topping and 6 with Streusel topping.

bowl of lemon sugar topping and bowl of streusel topping

The topping is divided evenly among the muffins.

muffin pan of best blueberry muffins with half topped with lemon sugar and half topped with streusel

Here’s the Lemon Sugar topped muffins.

muffin batter with lemon sugar topping before baking

And the Streusel topped muffins.

muffin batter with streusel topping before baking

Here are the muffins after baking, with Lemon Sugar topping on the left and Streusel topping on the right.

pan of baked muffins overhead shot

Close up of the Lemon Sugar Topping after baking.

baked blueberry muffins with lemon sugar topping

Close up of the Streusel topping after baking.

baked blueberry muffins with streusel topping

These muffins are ready to eat! Pour yourself a cup of coffee and dig in!

muffins on a cooling rack overhead shot

Blueberry Muffin Recipe FAQ

Can I use store bought jam instead of making my own?

Yes. Store bought jam should work fine and save you a bit of time.

Can I use frozen blueberries instead of fresh?

Yes. The frozen blueberries that go in the muffin batter will need to be rinsed and dried. These notes are included in the recipe card below.

Can I make both toppings for 1 batch of muffins?

Yes. The recipe card includes the amount of topping for 12 muffins. To make 6 of each, simply prepare half the amount of each topping listed in the recipe.

Gluten Free Best Blueberry Muffins

I have made these using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour as a substitute for all purpose flour with great results!

Best Blueberry Muffins PIN

Want more Muffins?

Check out these Allspice Crumb Muffins, Chocolate Banana Bread Muffins, and Monkey Bread Muffins. You may also like this Blueberry Boy Bait Coffee Cake.

Looking for More Breakfast Recipes?

Check out some of my favorite recipes for Breakfast:
Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes
Blue Cornmeal Pancakes
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes and Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes
Easy Blueberry Cheese Danish
Apple Cider Doughnuts
Ultimate Steel Cut Oatmeal
Baked Oatmeal
Breakfast Chicken Sausage Patties
Perfect Crispy Potatoes and Breakfast Skillets
Quiche Lorraine Florentine

best blueberry muffins with steusel topping on a white plate

Best Blueberry Muffins

The best basic Blueberry Muffin recipe. Your choice between a lemon sugar or a streusel topping!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Cool Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 12 muffins


For the Lemon Sugar Topping:

  • 1/2 cup sugar (2 1/3 ounces )
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest from 1 lemon

For the Streusel Topping:

  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • pinch of table salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour (3 1/2 ounces )
  • 5 tablespoons warm, melted unsalted butter

For the Jam:

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries, picked over, about 5 ounces (see note below if using frozen blueberries)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

For the Muffins:

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries, picked over, about 5 ounces (see note below if using frozen blueberries)
  • 1 1/8 cups sugar (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces )
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (1/2 stick )
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk (see note below)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Make the Topping:

  • For the Lemon Sugar Topping: stir together sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl until combined; set aside.
  • For the Streusel Topping: combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, a pinch of table salt, and 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour in a small bowl. Drizzle with 5 tablespoons warm, melted unsalted butter and toss with a fork until evenly moistened and mixture forms large chunks with some pea-sized pieces throughout.

Make the Jam:

  • Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with spoon several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to 1/4 cup, about 6 minutes.
  • Transfer to small bowl and cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make the muffin batter.

Make the Muffins:

  • Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat to 425 degrees F. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Use cupcake liners if desired.
  • Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl, set aside.
  • In a separate, medium-sized bowl, whisk remaining 1 1/8 cups sugar and eggs together until thick and homogenous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined.
  • Using a rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. Batter will be very lumpy with a few spots of dry flour; do not overmix.
  • Use an ice cream scoop or large spoon to divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups. Batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly.
  • Spoon a teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into the center of each mound of batter. Using a chopstick or skewer, gently swirl berry filling into batter using figure-eight motion.
  • Sprinkle lemon sugar or streusel topping evenly over muffins.
  • Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17 to 19 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin pan for 5 minutes, then transfer too wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.


To use frozen blueberries:  substitute 2 cups frozen blueberries for fresh.  Cook 1 cup berries as directed under “Make the Jam” section.  Rinse remaining 1 cup berries under cold water and dry well. In step 4 under “Make the Muffins” section, toss dried berries in flour mixture before adding egg mixture.
If buttermilk is unavailable, substitute 3/4 cup plain whole-milk or low-fat yogurt thinned with 1/4 cup milk.  Alternatively, make your own buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon white vinegar to 1 cup of milk.
Source:  Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
You’re Gonna Bake It After All
Keyword blueberry, breakfast, muffin

12 thoughts on “Best Blueberry Muffins”

  • I make a blueberry muffin w/ streusel topping-it’s my family’s fave. But, I love the combo of lemon and blueberry, so I’ll be trying the lemon sugar topping!

  • Awww, that was so sweet of you to bring in muffins for your lab! I love blueberries muffins and the addition of lemon-sugar topping sounds fantastic!

  • Will you marry me? Or, hrm, I mean, send me some muffins? I have a soft spot for blueberry muffins, they are my favorite kind. If this is what a mess up looks like, I’d love to see a success!

    Also, note that if one needs to improvise buttermilk, standard milk mixed with a tablespoon or so of plain white yogurt that is allowed to ripen at room temp. for a bit is a much closer substitute – it will have a very similar microbial makeup as yogurt contains the same bugs as cultured buttermilk. I often do this instead of buying a big old container of cultured buttermilk. I think the rule is 1 tbl per cup or so. Same thing goes for crème fraîche (mostly) excepting of course, for the use of cream instead of milk.

  • I agree with Nick…..what was wrong with these muffins???? They look fantastic, and you can make them for me anytime. 🙂 Even tho I am not a fan of too much lemon…I think it would complement the blueberries very well. I will try this recipe, for sure.

  • Thanks everyone 🙂

    Nick – thanks for the tips on making buttermilk and creme fraiche. I was scrambling that morning to google a buttermilk substitute since I realized the buttermilk I had was past its expiration date!

    MOM – I will have to tell you what I did with this recipe…big time airhead move 🙂

  • 5 stars
    I made these with crumb topping, and I made a couple of mistakes, like not using liners and not baking quite long enough; but, they were still the best! Actually, I like to underbake slightly, then when ready to eat, pop them in my toaster oven at 400 degrees for about 5-10 minutes before serving ….let cool a little and they get crunchy on the outside , but stay soft and moist on the inside. I didn’t think the melted butter in the topping would work, but that was the best!!
    Love these…well-worth the effort. (I did cheat and used jarred blueberry preserves, tho.)

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