Best Blueberry Muffin Recipe Explained — The Secret Ingredient For Blueberry Muffins

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Your standard blueberry muffin—the plastic-wrapped, purple-spotted, palm-sized treat that loiters in grocery aisles, coffee shops, and beside the register at your office cafeteria—usually maintains a straightforward ingredient list. Typically some combination of flour, eggs, sugar, salt, milk, and (of course) blueberries, these staples create a muffin that’s delicious, but often overly sweet.

But there’s another ingredient most of us never consider adding to the mix, introduced to Food52 in 2009, when Amanda Hesser’s sister Rhonda added their family blueberry muffin recipe to the site. It wowed readers at the time and over the years, for its unusual addition of…toasted coconut?

“They turned out light and fluffy, and the toasted coconut adds a surprising and delicious touch!” Lisa F. wrote after trying “Mom’s Blueberry-Coconut Muffins.”

To understand the muffin’s magic formula and culinary success (it won our muffin recipe contest in 2010 and has maintained a 4-star rating for over a decade), we teamed up with Amanda—one of the muffin’s original tasters—to highlight the recipe’s greatest strengths.

Choosing the Right Kind of Coconut

For Amanda (and many of the 90+ community members who’ve commented on the recipe), coconut makes the muffins more appealing. “Honestly, I’m not a big fruit muffin person,” she shared, “but I always liked these because the coconut added a deeper flavor and more interesting texture.” The coconut takes the uniform, cake-like crumb of a typical blueberry muffin and makes it chewier and lighter.

This textural transformation will happen regardless of if you use sweetened or unsweetened coconut. Although the recipe doesn’t specify a preferred option, Amanda knows which type of coconut her mother would’ve reached for. “I’m certain [my mother] used sweetened coconut when I was growing up because that was all that was available in our local grocery store,” Amanda said. “If I made them today, I’d use unsweetened coconut and lightly toast it before baking; and I might sprinkle some raw sugar on top before baking.”

Just Sweet Enough

If you like a muffin that tastes more like breakfast than dessert, these not-too-sweet muffins are made for your palate.

“I prefer less-sweet baked treats so that was just right for me!” Loretta B. wrote in 2019. “The texture was perfect, and the berries didn’t sink.”

The tartness of the blueberries shine through, but the muffins also incredibly adaptable, if you want to increase the sugar or add a streusel topping.

Fresh or Frozen Blueberries? You Decide

You can make these muffins with either fresh or frozen blueberries and still remain true to the recipe’s roots. “[My mother] would make them in the summer after we went blueberry picking, but she’d also freeze bags of blueberries so that she could make them in the dead of winter, which was always a nice surprise,” shared Amanda.

However, there is one non-negotiable blueberry requirement. Before folding your blueberries into the batter, you’ll toss the fruit in one tablespoon of flour. Although straightforward, this simple technique will ensure the blueberries won’t sink to the bottom of the muffins, thus avoiding the dreaded fruitless muffin top.

They Come Together in 30 Minutes (Yes, Really)

If you’ve got the ingredients (which you likely do), these coconut muffins need just 10 minutes of prep and 20 minutes of baking before they’re resting on your kitchen counter. The perfect way to start any Saturday, we suggest you serve them like you should any great muffin: split in half, and broiled or toasted with a pat of butter.

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