Blueberry Muffins from Cook’s Illustrated

An excellent muffin!

An excellent muffin!

Yesterday I made the blueberry muffin recipe from the May/June issue of Cook’s Illustrated. The recipe is by Yvonne Ruperti. As I was making them I felt they had a lot of unnecessary steps. Melting and cooling butter, making jam, letting it cool, and making a topping. Maybe I was a little out of sorts because yesterday I wasn’t sure the muffins were special enough to warrant all of that fiddling. They’re muffins after all. There are thousands of recipes for blueberry muffins, most of which don’t require much fuss and that’s what I’m used to.

Even so I noticed how much I liked the grated lemon zest and sugar topping. It gives the muffins a little tang, and a little crunch. I also noted that I liked the crumb of the muffins. They’re moist and the flavors are very clear. They don’t require any additional butter or jam or at the table. They’re excellent just the way they are.

By the time afternoon tea rolled around I had decided that these muffins were worth every little step detailed in the recipe and I was sorry for my bad attitude towards them in the morning.

This morning before heading over to the gym I had one for a pre-work out snack, and my affection for these muffins was confirmed. They’re everything I want from a blueberry muffin.

I have some research to do about muffin tins. I thought mine was  a standard size muffin tin, but it’s very old, so maybe standard size has gotten bigger over the years. I had more batter than I could comfortably fit into twelve muffin cups but I did it anyway and my muffins are not as attractive as they could have been.

Moist crumb with good blueberry flavor.

Moist crumb with good blueberry flavor.

My photographs represent the most attractive of the twelve, and the cross section doesn’t represent how many blueberries there are in each muffin. There are plenty of blueberries and even though I had to use frozen fruit the blueberry flavor is excellent. I’m going to ask for permission to post the recipe and if I receive permission I’ll update this post. If I don’t get permission please refer to page 21 of the May/June issue of Cook’s Illustrated.

This post has been edited to include the recipe with permission from Cook’s Illustrated !

Best Blueberry Muffins

Makes 12 Muffins

Lemon Sugar Topping

1/3 c. (2 1/3 ounces) sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest from 1 lemon


2 cups (about 10 ounces) fresh blueberries, picked over

1 1/8 cups (8 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon sugar

2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

1/4 c. vegetable oil

1 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. For the topping: Stir together sugar and lemon zest in small bowl until combined; set aside.

2. For the muffins: Adust oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in 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 remperature, 10-15 minutes.

3. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk remaining 1 1/8 c. sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. (Batter will be very lumpy with few spots of dry flour; do not overmix.)

4.Divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly). Spoon teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter. Using chopstick or skewer, gently swirl berry filling into batter using figure-eight motion. Sprinkle lemon sugar evenly over muffins.

5. Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17-19 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

To substitute frozen berries. Cook 1 cup as directed in Step 2. Rinse remaining berries under cold water and dry well. In step 3, toss dried berries into flour mixture before adding egg mixture. Proceed with recipe as directed.

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17 Responses to “Blueberry Muffins from Cook’s Illustrated”

  1. Steph Says:

    Thanks Sue for getting permission! I’m excited to try these.

  2. Elyse Says:

    These muffins sure do look delicious. Even though I’m a total chocolate girl, blueberry is my favorite type of muffin. I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  3. Monette Says:

    Hello! Greetings from a fan in Manila!
    I just wanted to ask, at what point do I add the buttermilk and vanilla extract? Thanks. Love your blog 🙂

    • basicallybaked Says:

      Hello Monette!
      Thank you for asking. The buttermilk and vanilla are added in step three after the butter and oil. I accidentally omitted that step in the directions so thank you for pointing it out. I have fixed my error.
      Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog. 🙂 Have a great day!

  4. » Blog Archive » Two Things I Do and Four Things I Do Not Understand Says:

    […] these may, in fact, be The Best Blueberry Muffins.  Family legend informs me that, as a small child, I’d always ask for a blueberry muffin at […]

  5. Ninette Says:

    Hi, I just mentioned your blog in my blog entry:

    Thanks for getting permission!

  6. kathy Says:

    You are the best…..i went to the library today and zeroxed this recipe and didn’t notice till i got home that the fold had not laid down and i hadn’t copied the amounts of anything………… saved the day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. basicallybaked Says:

    Thanks Kathy! I’m so glad I could be helpful!

  8. Kristie Says:

    I made these – SO GOOD! I thought the recipe would be same as the blueberry muffin recipe found in the Best Baking Cookbook (published by Cooks Illustrated), but it isn’t. Now I’m going to have to compare the two (the other one is made with sour cream). Thanks for posting!

  9. Lisa Says:

    I saw this on the TV program and wanted to try. Thanks for the recipe.

  10. Shannon Says:

    I know that this is an old post, but I just wanted to add that this recipe is amazing! I made the blueberry muffins a few months ago and my hubby and I devoured them withing a few days.

    This weekend I made them substituting diced peach for the blueberries and they were just as fabulous!

    • basicallybaked Says:

      Thanks for the feedback. Making these with peaches is a fabulous idea!! Thanks for sharing that idea!

  11. Christina B. Says:

    Thanks for posting this recipe so that I did not have to dig through my old issues of CI.

    I made these but substituted the white flour with sprouted whole wheat flour. I also substituted the vegetable oil for healthier fats — coconut oil and ghee. They came out light and delicious! I love CI recipes. My only complaint is that they always create so many dishes to clean up as they always require so many separate steps. Worth it, like you said, though.

  12. Chris Says:

    Love them. Didn’t have blueberries so I substituted raspberries and used orange zest instead of lemon. Yvonne has such tasty muffins.

  13. Loriann Says:

    These are awesome and definitely worth the extra effort. thanks for going out of your way to get permission to share.

  14. tracingshapes Says:

    I made these for a New Year’s Day Brunch this week, and they were great. Love Cook’s Illustrated! I’ve uploaded a photo of mine on my blog, too, though your photography is much better!

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