These light, fluffy, flavorful blueberry muffins are a family favorite. Made with simple ingredients you probably already have on hand, they’re sure to be a quick, easy, and delicious breakfast your family will love.
For years, I heard family members rave about the blueberry muffins my grandmother, Nana as she’s affectionally known, makes. You might remember her from her Chocolate Pound Cake or her Icebox Fruitcake. Somehow, though, for all those same years I was never fortunate enough to be around when she made them.
Now, truth be told, these are Aunt Peggy’s Blueberry Muffins – at least, according to Nana. She said the recipe came from her sister-in-law, Peggy. But isn’t that just the thing about the best recipes… they’re shared so much.
Well, regardless, of the particular lineage, I can say for sure… these muffins certainly lived up to the hype. No, Nana didn’t make them for me, but she did give me the recipe. And now, I’m sharing it with y’all…
These start with basic, simple ingredients you probably already have on hand. That in and of itself makes them pretty great.
Now, don’t tell Nana or Aunt Peggy, but I made a few minor tweaks that I think really take them over the top.
Let’s start by talking about how these come together…
In baking, you often hear about mixing methods. Those are just what you’d expect – the methods by which you mix ingredients together. You may have heard of some of them like the creaming method, the biscuit method, the laminated dough method, or the muffin method. That last one is what we’re going to focus on here.
What is the muffin method?
The muffin method, also know as the two bowl method, is where you mix all the dry ingredients together in one bowl and all the wet ingredients together in another. Then, you carefully fold the two together just until the dry ingredients are just moistened. We do not want to over mix when using the muffin method. Mixing flour with wet ingredients creates gluten. Gluten is what makes breads dense and chewy. We don’t want dense and chewy muffins, so we want to create as a little gluten as possible when mixing them. That means we want to stir the batter as little as possible. Even a few lumps are ok with this method. Just don’t over-mix.
Does coating the berries in flour actually help to keep them from sinking to the bottom of the muffin?
For years, I’ve been told that tossing berries like these blueberries in flour before adding them to the batter will keep them from sinking to the bottom of the muffin or cake. I’ve religiously done it as a result. But nearly always still had trouble with them sinking. My first batch of muffins for this post did the same thing.
So I decided to do a little research and found this article from Stella Parks over at Serious Eats. She tested the theory and found it to be, in her words, “total bunk.” She explains that, of course, coating berries in flour doesn’t allow them to escape the power of gravity. She does say that it seemed to keep the berries from bleeding into the muffin batter.
To keep berries from sinking to the bottom, she suggests instead, mixing the batter together without the berries first. Then put a spoonful of the berry-less batter into the bottom of each of the muffin liners/cups. Then gently fold the berries into to the batter and finish filling the muffin cups with the berry-filled batter. I tested her theory and it seemed to be pretty solid.
If you’re in a hurry or don’t care if your berries sink, you can certainly skip this step.
Honestly, if I’m just making these for the fam, I’ll do the same and skip the extra work. But if you’re jonesing for pretty muffins where those berries seem to defy the theory of physics and float beautifully in the muffin, this is the trick to use.
Take these to the next level…
When it comes to these muffins, they are incredibly delicious in their original form. But, y’all know me… and you know I can’t leave well enough alone.
So, I jazzed these up with a little almond extract to really make that blueberry flavor sing and added a generous sprinkle of turbinado sugar on the top of the batter to give the muffin tops a little extra crunch once baked. I didn’t find that the muffins tasted like almond, but just made them taste more blueberry-ey. But, I suppose the strength of the flavoring or extract you use might have an effect on that. So, if you’re sensitive to that flavor, you can always leave it out or just start with a smaller amount.
Nana’s Best Blueberry Muffins
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup blueberries
- turbinado sugar* (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake/muffin liners or spray the cups with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
- In another bowl, whisk together the oil, sour cream, eggs, vanilla, and almond.
- Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture and fold together until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Do not over-mix. A few lumps are ok. Fold in the blueberries.
- Divide the batter evenly between the 12 cups. Sprinkle the tops with a little turbinado sugar, if desired.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Allow to cool about 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool.