Recipe Review

We Tested 4 Famous Blueberry Muffins and Found a Clear Winner

updated Aug 18, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

I first fell in love with blueberry muffins via a box of Betty Crocker Wild Blueberry Muffin Mix, complete with a can of “real blueberries” (I’ve since learned they were packed in high-fructose corn syrup, but at the time I found them utterly delicious.) I have distinct memories of draining the can of tiny berries and, with my dad’s guidance, gently stirring them into the lumpy, sugary batter. We always ate the muffins at dinnertime — never for brunch — and by my sister’s request, they were always paired with mac and cheese.

Although that boxed mix is packed with nostalgia, I now prefer to make my blueberry muffins from scratch. I quickly realized, however, that it isn’t as easy as it sounds to make the perfect muffin. They need to be moist (but not soggy!) with a crisp top, flavorful, and just sweet enough — never veering into cupcake territory. The blueberries should be plentiful, evenly dispersed, and burst with every bite. And the muffins should be practically as easy to make as adding oil, an egg, and some milk to a store-bought mix.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

To end my search for the perfect blueberry muffin once and for all, I baked four of the most popular blueberry muffin recipes on the internet: Ina Garten’s, Martha Stewart’s, Smitten Kitchen’s, and Jordan Marsh’s. Having never made any of them before, I went in with no biases — but left with a lot of opinions (and a very full stomach).

For consistency’s sake, I used fresh blueberries for each, and baked all the muffins in paper liners (as opposed to greasing the tins). I baked them all in the same oven, on the same day, and patiently waited for them each to cool before taking a bite. Here’s what I thought of each one.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

Meet Our 4 Blueberry Muffin Contenders

1. The Wannabe Bakery Muffin: Martha Stewart’s Blueberry Muffins

Martha’s blueberry muffins boasted a golden finish and buttery crumb topping, but they dirtied way too many bowls and were disappointingly dry. They were my least favorite of the bunch.

2. The Muffins That Fell Flat: Ina Garten’s Blueberry Muffins

This wasn’t Ina’s finest performance. Although these muffins received points for their lovely lemon flavor and super-easy mixing method, they, most literally, fell flat. With their pale-yellow hue and no domed top in sight, these certainly weren’t the picture-perfect blueberry muffin I was searching for.

Overall Rating: 7/10
Full review:
I Tried Ina Garten’s Blueberry Muffins

3. The Blueberry-Lover’s Muffin: Jordan Marsh’s Blueberry Muffins

This cult-favorite department store muffin has a smart secret: You mash some of the blueberries before stirring them into the batter for extra blueberry flavor in every bite. The tops are also sprinkled with sugar for a super-satisfying crispy, crackly top. Ultimately, they lost a point because if I have the choice between a one-bowl recipe (like Smitten Kitchen’s below) and one where I have to cream butter and sugar (like Jordan Marsh’s), I’ll always choose the former.

Overall rating: 9/10
Full review: I Tried Jordan Marsh’s Blueberry Muffin Recipe

4. The Very Best Blueberry Muffin: Smitten Kitchen’s Blueberry Muffins

These muffins checked every single one of my boxes: one bowl, not too sweet, and a crunchy, sugar-y top. They’re flavored with lemon zest and have almost double the amount of blueberries than most recipes. Why would I ever make another blueberry muffin? My search is officially over.

Overall rating: 10/10
Full review: I Tried Smitten Kitchen’s Blueberry Muffin Recipe

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

Your turn! What’s your favorite blueberry muffin recipe? Let us know in the comments.