If you're wondering what a summer morning in Maine tastes like, these Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins with maple sugar are it!
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These delicious muffins are made with buttermilk, frozen blueberries (or fresh when in season), and a touch of lemon. The addition of the maple sugar topping creates a muffin top that is warm, caramelized, and crunchy. Absolute perfection.
With no mixer required and no need to soften butter, these muffins make your life simple and are the perfect New England touch to your fancy brunch or a deliciously easy breakfast for the family.
How To Make Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins
Full ingredient amounts and instructions can be found on the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Large mixing bowl
- Paper liners for muffin cups
- 12-cup muffin pan
- Cooking spray
Ingredients You'll Need
Blueberries: You can use frozen wild blueberries or fresh blueberries. I like using wild berries because they're smaller and distribute more evenly in the batter. They also help the muffins to bake up more evenly.
All-purpose flour: The flour holds everything together. I like all-purpose flour because it's strong enough to keep the muffins together, but creates tender muffins at the same time.
Baking powder and baking soda: The baking powder will give the muffins a high rise, while the baking soda tenderizes and helps with browning. Make sure that the baking powder and baking soda are fresh for best results.
Coarse kosher salt: Salt will balance out and enhance the sweetness in the muffin batter and the juicy blueberries.
Lemon zest and lemon juice: Lemon juice and zest adds flavor, lightness, and brightness to the muffins. The lemon also compliments and bumps up the flavor of the blueberries, keeping them bright and tart. Fresh lemon juice is recommended for this recipe.
Unsalted butter: The sweet butter adds richness and extra flavor to the muffins, while creating a moist texture. The butter is melted in this recipe, so no need to plan ahead and wait for the butter to soften.
Granulated sugar: Simple white sugar is perfect for this recipe to let the juicy berries and tart lemon shine.
Large egg: Holds everything together, and makes for nice fluffy muffins.
Buttermilk: Buttermilk makes a wonderfully moist muffin, with a tender crumb, and light texture. The tangy flavor of the buttermilk will also work perfectly with the combination of blueberries and lemon.
Vanilla extract: For added flavor and warmth.
Maine maple sugar (optional): This adds a sweet crunch to the tops of the muffins, and makes them taste like warm blueberry pancakes.
Preheat the oven to 400°.
Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper muffin liners and set it aside. *If topping with maple sugar, it's a good idea to spray the top of the muffin pan with a little cooking spray.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest until combined.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg and the sugar until well blended and pale yellow.
Pour in the melted butter and whisk to combine. Lastly, add the buttermilk, lemon juice, and vanilla to the sugar mixture. Whisk until fully incorporated. The buttermilk mixture will be very thin.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently mix the batter until almost fully combined. The batter should be lumpy with flour streaks showing still.
Add the blueberries to the lumpy batter. Quickly and gently, fold the berries into the batter until the berries are evenly distributed and no flour streaks remain.
Divide the muffin batter between the 12 muffin cups and sprinkle the muffin tops with maple sugar (if using).
Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes. The muffins are done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Set muffins on a wire rack until cool enough to handle.
Serve these with a strong cup of freshly brewed coffee, and a pat of salty butter.
Variations and Substitutions
- If you don't have buttermilk, you can make your own substitute with regular milk (see below)
- Instead of maple sugar, sprinkle the tops with coarse white sugar, cinnamon sugar, or turbinado sugar before baking.
- You can also sprinkle on some sliced almonds, chopped walnuts, or granola before popping into the oven.
- Dunk the tops of these muffins into a lemon glaze after baking, for a little extra sweetness and zing.
- After baking, dip the muffin tops in some melted butter and then some cinnamon sugar, for a donut muffin effect.
- Add a streusel topping (like the topping I use on my pumpkin muffins)
Homemade Buttermilk Substitute
One of the key ingredients for this blueberry muffin recipe is buttermilk.
If you don't have any on hand no worries! You can totally make your own buttermilk substitute with vinegar or lemon juice and regular milk.
In a liquid measuring cup, measure out 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or distilled white vinegar. Add enough milk to equal one cup. Let sit for 5 minutes until it starts to thicken and look curdled a little (don't worry, that's what you want!). Then proceed with the recipe.
- Do not overmix the batter. You'll want lumps of flour to be present when adding the blueberries. You'll finish mixing the batter when you're gently folding in the berries.
- When using frozen berries, make sure to keep the berries in the freezer until the last possible second. This will help prevent streaking.
- Fill the muffin cavities really full. It may look like you're putting too much batter in the muffin cups, but this is what you want. This will give you those glorious bakery style muffins with big tops and crispy edges.
- Make sure to give the top of the muffin pan a little spritz of cooking spray so the muffin tops won't stick too bad when you go to remove the muffins.
- Allow the muffins to cool before removing the muffin paper--or else the bottom of your muffin will stick.
Store your muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. These muffins are best fresh and the sugar on the tops will start to soften after a few days.
Buttermilk is fabulous for baking because it adds a little extra acidity to the batter. This helps to break down tough strands of gluten, resulting in a lighter, moister crumb and a better rise.
Buttermilk is ideal for things like muffins, pancakes, and biscuits.
The tang of buttermilk also adds a nice flavor contrast to baked goods--especially recipes that are rich in butter and flour.
In the instance of these buttermilk blueberry muffins, the buttermilk compliments the blueberries and helps to cut the starchiness of flour, all while making the muffin extremely fluffy and moist!
Yes, but you'll need to add lemon juice or white vinegar to the milk before mixing. See the instructions for homemade buttermilk above.
You can, you'll need about 11 oz of the big blueberries. I prefer the wild blueberries just because they're smaller and bake up more evenly in the muffin batter.
Other Muffin Recipes You Might Like:
Sources for Maple Sugar
You can grab maple sugar at some grocery stores, Whole Foods, or Amazon. Make sure to get Maine maple sugar--because it's the best.
- 2 cups of all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon of baking powder
- ½ teaspoon of baking soda
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon zest
- 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 ¼ cup of granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup of buttermilk*
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 2 cups of Maine wild blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- ⅓ cup of Maine maple sugar (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Line a muffin pan with paper liners and set it aside, if topping with maple sugar, it's also a good idea to spray the top of the muffin pan with a little cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest until combined.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg and the sugar until well blended and pale yellow.
- Pour in the melted butter and whisk to combine. Lastly, add the buttermilk, lemon juice, and vanilla to the sugar mixture. Whisk until fully incorporated. The mixture will be very thin.
- Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently mix the batter until almost fully combined. The batter should be lumpy with flour streaks showing still.
- Add the blueberries to the lumpy batter. Quickly and gently, fold the berries into the batter until the berries are evenly distributed and no flour streaks remain.
- Divide the batter between the 12 muffin cups and sprinkle the muffin tops with maple sugar (if using).
- Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes. The muffins are done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Serve these with a strong cup of coffee, and a pat of salty butter.
*Buttermilk substitute: In a liquid measuring cup, measure out 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar. Then just add enough milk to equal one cup. Let sit for 5 minutes until it starts to thicken and look curdled a little (don't worry!! That's what you want!). Then proceed with the recipe.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 242Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 310mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 2gSugar: 25gProtein: 3g