Recipe Review

I Made Smitten Kitchen’s Famous Blueberry Muffins (They Have More than 800 Comments)

published Jul 11, 2019
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

Whenever I make a Smitten Kitchen recipe, I breathe a big sigh of relief knowing it will always turn out as promised. That’s because most of the beloved food blogger’s recipes are adapted from other trusted sources, so by the time she publishes them on her site, she’s taken an already popular recipe, worked out all the kinks, and simplified it for her readers to make it the best version possible.

For that very reason, I find Smitten Kitchen recipes to be great for when I’m entertaining; I can relax knowing I have a winning dish on my hands. Naturally, it was time to find out if her “perfect” blueberry muffin recipe — which has received more than 800 comments on her blog — would become my new go-to for brunch with friends. I took to the kitchen to find out.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

How to Make Smitten Kitchen’s Blueberry Muffins

This recipe began as an adaptation of Deb’s favorite Cook’s Illustrated recipe, but she’s made so many changes she says it no longer resembles the original. She replaced the buttermilk with yogurt or sour cream, reduced the amount of sugar, and made it a one-bowl recipe. She also incorporated Serious Eats‘ recommendation of topping each muffin with a full teaspoon of coarse sugar, and, thanks to a tip from Blythe Danner, doubled the amount of blueberries. The result is a simple, straightforward ingredient list and a mixing process that’s just as easy.

You’ll start by melting butter in a large bowl, then whisking in granulated sugar, lemon zest, plain yogurt or sour cream, and 1 large egg until combined. Then, you’ll add the baking powder, baking soda, and salt before folding in the flour and blueberries. The batter will be very thick, but that actually works to your advantage: The blueberries stay suspended and don’t sink to the bottom. Scoop the batter into a greased muffin tin and top with a generous sprinkling of turbinado sugar before baking until the tops are golden and a toothpick comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

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

My Honest Review of Smitten Kitchen’s Blueberry Muffins

I have to agree with Deb on these: They’re perfect in every way. They’re perfectly moist and fluffy, packed with the perfect amount of blueberries, and boast perfectly domed tops. Needless to say, my search for the perfect blueberry muffin is over.

I’ve actually made the Cook’s Illustrated recipe that these were adapted from, and I’m pleased to report that Smitten Kitchen’s version is much, much easier and just as delicious. The one-bowl mixing method means cleanup is almost nonexistent, and it also means you’ll have warm muffins on the table in 45 minutes, tops. (As one of Deb’s readers noted, they’re as easy as making pancake batter, but you get to pop ’em into the oven instead of standing over the stove). There’s also a good chance you already have all the ingredients on hand — especially because Deb gives you the option of using yogurt or sour cream, and fresh or frozen blueberries.

The very best part of these muffins, however, is the contrast in texture between the moist, tender muffin and the crunchy, sugar-y top. Sprinkling turbinado sugar onto each muffin is easier than making a streusel, but just as effective at adding interest, crunch, and sweetness. The muffin underneath is bursting with blueberries and a lovely hint of lemon flavor. I also appreciate that this recipe makes just nine muffins — after all, they’re best the day they’re made, so I prefer to have just the amount I need rather than a muffin overload. That said, if you’re serving a crowd, simply double the recipe to make 18.

Credit: Grace Elkus

If You Make Smitten Kitchen’s Blueberry Muffins, a Few Tips

1. Let the butter cool for a few minutes before adding the dairy or eggs. Giving the butter time to cool off will prevent the dairy from curdling. If you don’t have a microwave, you can melt the butter on the stovetop, then pour it into your mixing bowl.

2. Use the full teaspoon of turbinado sugar on top of each muffin. Even Deb admits this will seem like a lot — but trust me (and the many, many Smitten Kitchen commenters who have made these) when I say it’s just the right amount.

3. Store them uncovered to keep the tops crisp. This tip from Deb is smart — instead of wrapping them up, which will cause the tops to get damp, leave them uncovered at room temperature. Then split and toast any leftovers, either under the broiler or in a skillet with butter.

Overall rating: 10/10
These muffins truly could not be easier to make, and they feature everything I want in a blueberry muffin: a crunchy, sugary domed top, a tender inside, and tons of blueberries in every bite.

Have you ever made Smitten Kitchen’s blueberry muffins? Tell us what you thought!

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

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