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Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins

I don’t like blueberry muffins at all. Yes, you heard me right — I do not like blueberry muffins. In fact, I damn near despise them. They taste so…artificial and I find them to be rather headache inducing. However, these mothersmuckers right here?? Oh my God…I love these. I still won’t eat any one else’s blueberry muffin, but these are from the heavens above. If you like lemony blueberry muffins, you have to make these — I swear you will be pleased.

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins

There are a few things we want to accomplish here, so read carefully…

We don’t want a muffin that is heavy and overstuffed with berries because their moisture will make the cake itself dense and heavy. So how do we combat that while keeping a strong blueberry flavor? We reduce some of them to make a concentrated “jam” so to speak, then we swirl that into the batter at the very end. How do we inject amazing lemon flavor into the cake to bring everything together? A quick soak of the lemon zest in fresh lemon juice makes the zest even zestier. We also don’t want a tough, desert-dry muffin. How do we combat that? We don’t overmix! A gentle folding motion helps reduce the amount of gluten formed, keeping our muffins super moist and tender with amazing structure. The lemon-sugar crust melts a little while being baked then hardens as it cools, giving you an awesome sweet crunch with every bite.

Again, I hated blueberry muffins until I made these. They’re too easy to put together and the outcome is incredible. I plan on forever altering this recipe to suit my random muffin needs. The only thing I’d do differently next time is maybe add some chopped pecans to the topping for just a little more bite — but believe me when I say that these are perfect as they are.

**Simply leave the lemon zest out of the batter if you don’t want a lot of lemon flavor.

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins
Toss 1 cup of the blueberries with 1 teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of lemon zest over medium heat in a small saucepan.

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins
Start mashing some of the berries with a fork or back of a spoon just to get the mixture going…as you can see, there’s a lot of liquid and we really need to reduce this down to about 1/4 cup.

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins
Still too wet…but we’re almost there

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins
See how it leaves a trail? It’s ready. Also, if you tilt the pan you should be able to eyeball the amount.

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins
Pour the concentrated blueberry jam mixture into a bowl and let it hang out until it’s room temperature. Alternately, you could place this in the fridge for a good 20 minutes — yes, this can be done beforehand.

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins
While your blueberry mixture is cooling off, soak about a teaspoon of lemon zest in 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. You will later strain this and add it to the egg/sugar mixture.

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins
Place a teaspoon and a half of lemon zest into 1/3 cup of sugar

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins
With a fork or spoon (or your fingers), mix the zest and sugar together until moist and evenly distributed. If your lemon zest is dry, add a tiny drop or two of lemon juice — just a tiny drop or two! If it’s too wet, it will begin to melt the sugar and we don’t want that.

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins
Mix the sugar and eggs together until thick and homogenous. Don’t let this mixture sit for too long because the sugar will actually start to cook the eggs…I know, I know…weird, but true lol.

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins
Strain the soaked lemon zest…

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins
Press the excess juice out with the back of a spoon. The zest should be very soft and a little moist, but not soaking wet.

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins
Toss the soaked lemon zest into the egg/sugar mixture.

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins
Slowly add the cooled off melted butter and vegetable oil and stir or whisk until completely combined and smooth. Add the buttermilk and vanilla to the egg/sugar/butter/oil/zest mixture and whisk until homogenous.

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins
Pour the wet mixture into the dry, then add the remaining cup of berries.

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins
GENTLY FOLD! Don’t stir it, don’t whisk it, just fold the mixture on top of itself until it’s combined and there are no crazy streaks of flour. You just want to combine everything and any tiny pockets of flour will get absorbed as it sits, so don’t panic if you see a few dustballs of flour lurking around in tiny areas. Also, you don’t want to bruise the berries and have them leak into the batter because it will cause that ugly grey-ish blue tint…and we don’t want that.

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins
Mixture should be thick and lumpy like this. If your mixture isn’t lumpy, you overmixed it.

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins
By the way, I used a rubber spatula to fold he mixture and a large cookie scoop to fill the muffin tins.

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins
Spray a nonstick muffin pan with cooking spray (I used PAM — the butter flavored one, you can use the regular kind as well). Scoop the muffin mixture evenly into the pan. Place 1 teaspoon of the concentrated blueberry jam on top of each muffin.

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins
With a toothpick, chopstick, or wooden skewer — swirl the blueberry jam into the muffin using a figure-8 motion. Be gentle with this step.

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins
Sprinkle the lemon-sugar mixture over each muffin evenly and gently press it into the muffin just so that it doesn’t completely fall off as it bakes. Bake for 15 to 19 minutes in a 425 degree oven and watch your blueberry making life change.

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins
Fresh out of the oven!

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins
Let them cool for 5 minutes in the pan. If the sugars have caused some of the edges to stick, just use a plastic knife to help loosen it. Then gently remove from the pan.

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins
Then place them on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes before eating.

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins
See how there’s no psychedelic grey-ish blue streaks going thru this muffin? It’s beautiful, well put together, crazy moist, tender and full of flavor. You’ll love these, even if you hated blueberry muffins like I initially did…well, maybe 😉

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins
Do you see how moist this muffin is??????

These are honestly the best muffins ever. Ever.

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Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins


modified from Cook’s Illustrated



Lemon-Sugar Topping

  • 1/3 cup sugar (2 1/3 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated zest from 1 lemon


  • 2 cups fresh blueberries (about 10 ounces), picked over
  • 1 1/8 cups sugar (8 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk (see note below)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


For the topping:

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

For the muffins:

  1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Bring 1 cup blueberries, 1 teaspoon sugar and ½ teaspoon of lemon zest 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 ¼ cup, about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes. Soak 1 teaspoon of lemon zest into 1 tablespoon of lemon juice while the berries cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk remaining 1 1/8 cups sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined. Strain the 1 teaspoon of lemon zest of most it’s moisture and add to the mixture — discard the lemon juice. 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.)
  3. Use ice cream scoop or large spoon to divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly). Spoon 1 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.
  4. Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 15 to 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.


If buttermilk is unavailable, substitute ¾ cup plain whole-milk or low-fat yogurt thinned with ¼ cup milk (buttermilk has the better taste though). Store leftover muffins in an air-tight container for up to 2 days.

  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
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Recipe rating

  1. Marty P. says:

    Best lemon blueberry muffins I’ve ever made! My husband took one bite and his eyes opened wide. He loved them! But I’m not surprised. Everyone of your recipes that I have tried have been amazing! And I’m really picky. Thank you Chef Resha.

  2. Daphne Pudenz says:

    This blueberry muffin recipe is a keeper! Simmering the blueberries concentrates the flavors and tastes so much better than dropping in blueberries I have never come across this step in any other recipe and makes all the difference. Made this am. Used low fat sour cream as I didn’t have buttermilk. The kids couldn’t stop eating. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Marie says:

    Loved it! I didn’t have any lemons, so I used lemon extract in place of the zest in the sugar for the batter. I definitely want to make these again with lemon zest and juice! I will add a bit more sugar in the batter for sweetness. I have been looking and looking for a blueberry muffin recipe that will knock my socks off, I’ve found it! This recipe is a keeper for the books. I love how you explained just about everything….I will be back for more recipes! Thank you<3

  4. Omg thank you so much for this wonderful recipe. These blow those icky grocery store blueberry muffins out of the water. They were so easy to make too!!! Instead of buttermilk I used fat-free milk w/ greek yogurt, and also used coconut oil instead. I will try them next with whole wheat flour. Love them and the vanilla + lemon just makes everything so much better!

  5. RaquelSeymone says:

    I made these Sunday evening and my goodness they were good. I think i slightly over baked them, i think my gas oven is a little hotter than normal, but they were soooooooooo good nonetheless. i had to tell myself only one a day to keep from being shaped like the muffin myself.

  6. Ari says:

    Made these muffins this past weekend and adore them! I went a little light on the sugar topping, but everything else was perfect. Can’t wait to eat one for breakfast. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Robyn says:

    Not sure if this is a silly question, does it matter if the flour isn’t unbleached?

  8. Kawai says:

    I made these last night for my family, and when I woke up today, there were only 5 left. I have a feeling these will be gone by the end of this day. These were delicious, and everyone in my family LOVES it. These are so good, I will never make another blueberry muffin recipe again.

  9. Chelsea says:

    I can’t thank you enough for this recipe. I thought I loved blueberry muffins before I tried these, but I now know that I’d never truly had a blueberry muffin UNTIL I tried these. They were absolutely perfect. Everyone loved them. Even my Mom & she HATES blueberries. You are the best ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Gabriel says:

    Last week I found out my boyfriend loves blueberry muffins ( after 2 yrs of living together and one kid later ) then this week I foumd this awsome recipe and thought to my self I will make him the muffins some day. And today I totally forgot his bday till after he left home for work ( bad girlfriend ). So I just made them and they are baking in. The oven as I comment I really do hope he loves them amd forgives me lol

  11. Nia says:

    yo….these muffins are soooooo frickin good and incredibly moist. Thank you! Kinda makes me want to sprinkle lemon sugar on everything now.

  12. Brittany says:

    So I made these last night and they are absolutely amazing! Not only does it taste delicious as fuck but the lemon sugar adds excellent texture and presentation to these stud muffins. I love ’em!

  13. Yes, yes, yes! I agree with you and almost all the commenters! I love blueberries, but blueberry muffins are often bland. The lemon is genius, and I will be making these for my next breakfast meeting. Thanks!

  14. Priscilla M says:

    I always love blueberries. Fresh, cooked, or mixed with something, I’m not picky. Your muffins look delicious. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Zindzi says:

    Omgomgomg. I used to hate blueberry muffins, too. I think it’s because I always had the artificial ones with “blue bits” and Blue #349343. These look absolutely amazing.

    • admin says:

      LMAO! exactly, same here! I was jus telling Eggs about my traumatic artificial blueberry muffin’laced childhood. all bad. but these??? omfggggggg these are everything, im so serious.