These Lemon Blueberry Streusel Muffins are incredibly soft, tender, moist and fluffy. This is the quality you'd expect from your favorite bakery, except they are homemade with simple ingredients! These muffins are made with butter, yogurt, lots of lemon, fresh blueberries and a buttery streusel topping. They rise high with golden muffin tops and are easy to make. If you love muffins, check out my popular Double Chocolate Banana Muffins too!
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS RECIPE:
- Extra moist muffins - this recipe makes very tender and very most moist muffins with a delicate fine crumb texture.
- Soft and fluffy - the texture of these muffins is so soft and they stay soft even the days after they're made.
- Streusel topping - there's a generous pile of sweet buttery lemon streusel topping over each muffin.
- Lemon muffins - there is so much lemon flavor packed into the batter and there's a special technique to make sure you get the most lemon flavor possible out of your lemons. Make sure to read the tips below in the post to find out how.
- Fresh blueberry muffins - I love to use fresh blueberries to make muffins. They won't weigh down the batter and it helps to give you such a fluffy texture. Fresh berries also don't bleed into the batter like frozen berries do so that you maintain the bright crumb color.
- Easy to make - all you need is a whisk, a bowl and a spatula to make this recipe. It is so super simple!
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MUFFINS AND CUPCAKES?
The difference between muffins and cupcakes is the method! If you are creaming butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then you are making cupcakes my friend! Muffins are quick breads, NOT cake. Muffins have a soft, moist open, spongy texture instead of a fine, tight crumb structure like cake.
Quick breads are batters that are made by first mixing wet ingredients in one bowl. Then, mix dry ingredients separately in another bowl. Simply combine the two with minimal stirring to form the batter. It is a very simple method.
- All purpose flour - regular unbleached all-purpose flour works great for spongy-textured muffins. If you have bleached cake flour, then you can replace half of the unbleached all-purpose flour with cake flour and it will actually give you an even more exaggerated muffin top. That's because bleached flour absorbs moisture more readily and sets more quickly.
- Unsalted butter - the muffin batter uses a combination of butter and oil. Butter adds incredible flavor and I highly recommend that you follow this method for the best results, You can use unsalted or salted butter - it won't make much of a difference here. You'll also need butter for the streusel topping, and salted butter works really well for that.
- Oil - liquid oil will keep these muffins extra soft and helps with movement of leavening gases through the batter for a nice tall muffin top. I recommend sunflower for the cleanest taste, but you can use any neutral cooking oil.
- Granulated sugar - simple granulated sugar keeps these muffins moist and helps develop the golden crunchy top.
- Eggs - two large eggs will add nice structure and help with the moist spongy texture.
- Pure vanilla extract - vanilla will elevate and complement the lemon flavor. I like this Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla extract.
- Yogurt - use full fat plain yogurt to add tanginess to this recipe and complement the lemon.
- Lemon zest - you almost can't have too much! Use a full tablespoon of lemon zest which you can get from about 2 lemons. You don't need the lemon juice for this recipe, so you can save it for something else like lemon tea, lemonade or on your favorite pasta dish.
- Blueberries - I highly recommend fresh blueberries for this muffin recipe because frozen berries can bleed and cause the batter to turn grey. That's because the bright magenta color compounds (anthocyanins) in blueberries turn blue when they become more neutralized by the alkaline batter. They will also be more shriveled so you won't get a nice juicy pops of berries.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
- STEP 1). Make the streusel. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well until it resembles coarse crumbs.
- STEP 2). Infuse the sugar. Add sugar to a large bowl with the lemon zest and rub it together with your fingers or using the back of a large spoon until the sugar is fragrant and takes on a hint of yellow. This helps to release more essential oils from the zest.
- STEP 3). Combine dry ingredients. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl with the lemony sugar and whisk it to blend evenly.
- STEP 4). Combine wet ingredients. Whisk together eggs, melted butter, oil, yogurt, vanilla and milk in a medium bowl.
- STEP 5). Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the liquid mixture. Fold gently to combine the ingredients until mostly combined, but a few streaks of flour still remain (i.e. before completely combined).
- STEP 6). Add blueberries. Add the blueberries and fold them in gently. Do not over-mix. A few small lumps are just fine, but you don't want there to be dry patches of flour.
- STEP 7). Rest the batter. Cover the bowl and let the batter rest at room temperature for 30 minutes while you preheat the oven.
- STEP 8). Pile on the streusel. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups, filling them to the rim. Top each muffin with a generous amount of streusel topping.
- STEP 9). Bake. Bake for 10 minutes, then lower oven to 350°F and bake for another 10-15 minutes until golden brown and firm to the touch. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let muffins cool for 5 minutes before transferring individually to the rack to finish cooling.
EXPERT BAKING TIPS FOR BLUEBERRY STREUSEL MUFFINS
- Infuse the sugar with lemon flavor. To get the most out of your lemons, rub the sugar with the lemon zest first before mixing with the liquid ingredients. The friction will release the essential oils in the yellow zest and they will coat sugar crystals to carry all of that wonderful flavor through the batter!
- Sift the dry ingredients. This is optional, but it will minimize the amount of mixing needed to combine the ingredients evenly so that you do not over-mix the batter.
- Do not over-mix the batter. Once the flour is mostly combined (with a few light streaks), then the batter is ready for baking. Since muffin batter is more lean with less sugar than cake batter, it is more likely to develop gluten and result in a tougher texture.
- Fold the berries in gently. Mixing too vigorously will cause juices from the berries to bleed and can cause the batter to turn grey.
- Let the batter stand for 30 minutes before baking. This will give you such a nice fluffy texture and it will create those nice tall high muffin tops. This time allows the flour to fully hydrate to keep the moisture locked in so that they stay moist and fluffy.
- Be generous with the streusel. Make sure you use up all of the streusel even though it will seem like a lot. As the muffins bake, they will rise and push away the streusel to cover a greater surface area, so what seems like a lot will actually be the perfect amount after baking.
Yes, you can make this recipe using ½ cup total melted butter and omit the oil; however, the result will be a firmer texture. They will taste amazing though!
If you make this recipe using ½ cup total oil, the muffins will be very soft but the flavor will be a bit more bland. Also, the batter will be slightly more runny and it won't hold up the blueberries as well.
Muffins will be moist if you do not add too much flour and you bake them at a higher temperature so that they set quickly without drying out. The right amount of sugar is also important for moist muffins, and allowing time for the batter to rest will let the flour fully hydrate so the moisture is locked in.
If your muffins turn out dense, then it could be a couple of things: you over-mixed the batter, or your raising agents are not active. Make sure to use fresh baking powder and baking soda. Also, be very gentle with mixing and stop once the flour is just incorporated.
I really recommend using plain yogurt for this recipe (2-5% fat) because it gives the perfect amount of fat and acidity, however you can make these muffins with Greek yogurt or sour cream. The texture will just be slightly firmer from the higher protein content.
Fresh blueberries are ideal because their cell walls are still intact and the juices are kept inside until they are penetrated by heat. They also won't bleed into your batter like frozen berries would. Frozen blueberries still work though! Just make sure that you do not defrost them because all of the juice will leach out. You may need to add a few more minutes to the baking time since your batter will obviously be very cold. In these photos, I used fresh blueberries.
When using frozen blueberries it is important not mix too much after adding adding them because the reaction of baking soda (which is alkaline) with the antioxidants (the color compounds responsible for that vibrant purple/magenta color of blueberries) will actually cause the color compounds to turn more blue and make the batter look grey since baking soda will increase the pH of the batter. To prevent this, just scatter the berries evenly over the surface of the batter and fold them in with just a few strokes. Do not let them thaw before using them.
What causes muffins to be dry and dense?
Too much flour and not enough sugar is the main reason why muffins can turn out dry and dense. It is important to have the right proportions of liquid to dry ingredients in a muffin recipe. A lower and slower baking process will also dry them out so follow the baking instructions carefully. Do not over-mix, I repeat... do not over-mix! How can I achieve a domed muffin top?
Muffins with super tall pointed tops look nice but are often dry. That's because the batter needs to be quite dry and dense to get that way. A denser batter will dry out quickly on the surface and crack. Nice soft moist muffins will have a flatter top and be DELICIOUS! If you want a pointed top for these muffins, there are two things you can do:
- Rest the batter for 1 hour, covered, before baking. This will allow the flour to hydrate further so there is less evaporation through the surface during baking.
- Bake at a high temperature - bake at 400°F for the first 5-10 minutes. This will give the batter an initial bolt to kick-start that baking powder and set the surface quickly.
STORAGE AND FREEZING
How do I store lemon blueberry streusel muffins?
Store these muffins in an airtight container for up to 2 days. If you will store them longer than 2 days, then keep them in the refrigerator.
Can I freeze lemon blueberry streusel muffins?
Yes, you can certainly freeze these muffins. For best results, wrap them individually in plastic and then store in a resealable freezer bag, then store frozen for up to 3 months.
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Here are more recipes with blueberries:
Lemon Blueberry Streusel Muffins
- 2 cups plus 2 tbsp 305g all purpose flour, divided
- 2 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup 100g granulated sugar
- ½ cup 110g brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- ½ cup 120ml full fat yogurt
- 1 teaspoon 5ml pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup 60ml sunflower oil
- ¼ cup 56g unsalted butter, melted
- ⅔ cup 160ml milk, room temperature
- 2 cups 280g fresh blueberries
- ½ cup 71g all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon 30g light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon 12ggranulated sugar
- 3 tablespoon 42g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Make the muffin batter. Rub sugar with lemon zest in a large bowl until it is fragrant and takes on a yellow tint. Sift in 2 cups of flour, baking powder and salt and whisk until very well evenly blended.
- Combine eggs, yogurt, vanilla, oil, melted butter and milk in a medium bowl and whisk until completely smooth.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with dry ingredients and gently fold it all together being sure to get down to the bottom and bring up any dry pockets. Stop right when the batter is fully combined and be careful not to over mix. Sprinkle remaining tablespoon of flour over the raspberries and toss to coat them. Fold them into the batter.
- Cover the bowl and set aside to stand for 30 minutes while the oven preheats. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a standard muffin pan with 12 paper liners.
- Make the streusel topping. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well until it resembles coarse crumbs.
- Use an ice cream scoop or large spoon to divide the batter evenly among lined muffin cups, filling them right to the top. Don’t mix it around or bother it too much. Cover each muffin with streusel topping and bake at 400°F for 10 minutes. Then, with the oven door still closed, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for another 15 minutes until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Let muffins cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then transfer muffins to a cooling rack.