This small batch blueberry muffin recipe makes just 6 of the BEST blueberry muffins! Bursting with fresh berries and a hint of cinnamon - and topped with a simple cinnamon streusel - this easy, make ahead recipe is a must-have for all muffin lovers!
I consider myself something of a blueberry muffin connoisseur. I've tried a lot of different blueberry muffins over the years, and I lost track of how many batches of muffins I made while testing this recipe. I've tested recipes with buttermilk and recipes with sour cream, recipes with creamed butter and recipes with a mix of butter and oil, and I can definitively say that these blueberry muffins are the absolute best!
What Makes This Recipe the Best
I could go on forever about what makes these blueberry muffins the best, but I’ll keep it brief.
- Texture - These muffins are just the right amount of moist, with a perfectly tender crumb.
- Flavor - These muffins are literally bursting with fresh blueberry flavor, which is beautifully complemented by a hint of cinnamon. Their golden tops help to round out the buttery flavor in the batter. No pale, flavorless blueberry muffins here. (You know what I’m talking about. We’ve all had them, and we deserve better.)
- Cinnamon Streusel Topping - I love cinnamon streusel topping on my muffins, and after polling this community of bakers on Instagram I know that you do, too. But if you’re a crunchy-sugar-topped-muffins kind of person no worries… I have instructions for you in the recipe notes!
- Make Ahead - I love breakfasty baked goods, but I don’t love waking up early to make them. This muffin batter is actually best prepped the day before so that it can chill in the fridge overnight. In the morning just wake up, toss the streusel onto the muffins, and bake them!
- Small Batch - Since muffins are best the day they’re made, small batch just makes sense. This recipe makes just 6 muffins. That said, it can be easily doubled if you’re baking for a crowd or if you prefer to have a freezer stash of muffins (see instructions for freezing muffins in the recipe notes).
Butter - Butter adds fat and flavor to the muffin batter. I always recommend baking with unsalted butter so that you can control the amount of salt that's added to the recipe. We'll be melting the butter for these muffins, and you can feel free to brown the butter instead for even more flavor.
Vegetable Oil - Vegetable oil also adds a bit of necessary fat to the muffin batter. And while butter adds delicious flavor, vegetable oil provides tenderness.
Sour Cream - Sour cream adds moisture to the batter and also provides acidity to activate the baking soda. I prefer to bake with full-fat sour cream, though you can use lowfat sour cream if you prefer. You can also substitute and equal amount of Greek yogurt for sour cream in this recipe.
Fresh Blueberries - Blueberries are the star of the recipe, so I recommend using fresh berries for the best outcome. When purchasing blueberries, the smaller the better so that you’ll have a better distribution of blueberries throughout the muffin. If you’re able to get your hands on wild blueberries they will be amazing in this recipe thanks to their small size and incredible flavor.
Step-by-Step Recipe Instructions
MAKE THE MUFFIN BATTER
- Melt the butter in a medium bowl in the microwave or on the stove. Set the melted butter aside to cool slightly while you move on to the next step.
- In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt (A) and whisk to combine (B). Set aside.
- To the melted butter add vegetable oil and both sugars. Whisk to combine (A). Add egg and whisk to combine (B). Add sour cream, milk, and vanilla and whisk one more time until the mixture is well blended (C).
- Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture (A) and gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until blended (B). Do not over mix the batter.
- In a small bowl, use the tines of a fork to mash about a third of the blueberries. Add the mashed blueberries and the remaining whole blueberries to the muffin batter (A) and fold the berries into the batter (B).
CHILL THE MUFFIN BATTER
- Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate the batter overnight (or up to 18 hours).
MAKE THE STREUSEL TOPPING
- Make the streusel just before baking the muffins. In a small bowl, add flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt and whisk to combine. Add melted butter and whisk until a crumbly mixture forms. Set aside.
BAKE THE MUFFINS
- When you’re ready to bake the muffins, preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Line a muffin pan with six paper liners.
- Divide the muffin batter evenly into the prepared muffin pan so that the six paper liners are ¾ full. (I love to use a cookie scoop for portioning the batter into the muffin pan and find that two level scoops of batter using my 1 ½ Tablespoon cookie scoop is perfect for each muffin.)
- Use your fingers to crumble the streusel topping evenly over the muffins.
- Bake the muffins at 425°F (218°C) for 5 minutes, then turn down the oven temperature to 350°F (177°C), keeping the muffins in the oven and without opening the oven door. Continue to bake the muffins until the tops are golden and spring back when gently poked, 20 to 25 minutes more.
- Let the muffins cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Then carefully remove the still-warm muffins from the pan and transfer them to the wire rack to cool completely.
I highly recommend refrigerating the batter before baking. See ‘Why chill the muffin batter before baking?’ below for more information.
I love to use a cookie scoop for portioning the batter into the muffin pan and find that two level scoops of batter using my 1 ½ Tablespoon cookie scoop is perfect for each muffin.
If you prefer a sugary muffin top, replace the streusel with a sprinkling of turbinado (raw) sugar. Simply sprinkle about ½ teaspoon (about 1.5 to 2 grams) turbinado sugar over each muffin before baking.
This recipe calls for first baking the muffins for 5 minutes at 425°F (218°C) before turning the oven down to 350°F (177°C) and continuing to bake the muffins. Starting the bake in a very hot oven helps to create beautifully domed muffin tops, and turning the temperature down after 5 minutes ensures that the tops of the muffins don’t burn before the centers finish baking.
About 10 to 15 minutes after removing the muffins from the oven, carefully remove the still warm muffins from the muffin pan and transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. This will help to ensure that the muffin bottoms don’t become soggy.
Using both butter and oil in the muffin batter is the secret to baking muffins that are moist and tender and that don’t dry out too quickly. Though butter provides great flavor, oil provides more moisture and tenderness to the batter, which is why this recipe uses both fats. Brown sugar, sour cream, milk, and egg all help to provide moisture in this recipe.
I recommend vegetable oil for its neutral flavor, but canola oil would also be a great choice and can be used as a substitute for vegetable oil in this recipe. Unsweetened applesauce can also be used as an oil substitute in equal measure, though the resulting muffins won’t be quite as moist and tender.
The secret to beautiful streaks of blueberries in blueberry muffins is to mash some of the blueberries (about a third of the blueberries in the recipe) and to fold both mashed and whole blueberries into the batter. Using a mixture of mashed and whole blueberries creates a batter with swirls of color that’s bursting with berries.
Just like with my favorite chocolate chip cookie dough, chilling the muffin batter before baking gives the flour more time to hydrate, which leads to more tender muffins with taller domed tops. You can bake these muffins without letting the batter rest in the fridge overnight, but allowing the batter to chill first (even if for just an hour) will yield a better muffin.
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