Panera Blueberry Muffins

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These jumbo blueberry muffins are bursting with blueberries and just a touch of lemon.

Panera (or St. Louis Bread Company for locals) makes my all-time favorite blueberry muffin. But, each muffin costs almost $3 and I always order a cafe latte which is another $4. That’s a pretty expensive breakfast. So I decided it was time to create my own copycat Panera Blueberry Muffin.

close up of blueberry muffin cut in half on a white plate

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Little did I know this was going to be the toughest recipe I have ever worked on. I made eight batches of muffins trying to perfect the recipe.

Most of the muffins tasted great but I struggled with creating a tall muffin top that didn’t spread too much. I know I’m not alone with my muffin top struggles.

Finally, on my eighth try, I was able to create a blueberry muffin recipe that has lots of blueberries, a subtle lemon flavor, a tall sweet crunchy top, and a soft moist center.

These muffins are so easy to make at home; no more running out to buy one when a craving strikes.

Can I use frozen blueberries in muffins?

When they are in season, there is nothing better than a fresh blueberry. But they can be expensive and hard to find in the middle of winter. Frozen blueberries are a great substitute when you are craving blueberry muffins in January.

Frozen blueberries can be added directly to the batter while they are still frozen.

Sometimes frozen blueberries can turn your batter an odd greenish-blue color. According to this article from King Arthur Baking, the best way to prevent this is to give them a quick rinse under cold water.

After rinsing the blueberries, dry them using a couple of paper towels.

When adding blueberries to the batter fold them in gently being careful to not squish and release any of the blueberry juice.

How do you stop blueberries from sinking to the bottom of muffins?

I hate biting into a blueberry muffin and not seeing any blueberries. I want a juicy blueberry in every bite. Otherwise, what is the point? There are a couple of different ways you can prevent blueberries from sinking to the bottom of your muffins.

  1. Coat the blueberries in flour before adding them to the batter. The flour coating will help them stick to the batter and keep them from sinking to the bottom.
  2. Thick muffin batter: Thick batter helps ensure the blueberries stay evenly distributed rather than concentrated at the bottom of the muffin. The batter for these muffins is almost as thick as cookie dough.
close up of blueberry muffin on a white plate with a stack of muffins in the background

Ingredients

  • Flour: This blueberry muffin recipe uses more than 3 cups of all-purpose flour. The batter is thick like cookie dough to keep the blueberries from sinking to the bottom.
  • Baking Powder Baking Soda: I really wanted a tall muffin top. So this recipe uses both types of leaveners.
  • Salt: Salt is a must even in sweet recipes. Salt helps to bring out the flavor of the other ingredients. 
  • Blueberries: Fresh or frozen blueberries are interchangeable in this recipe.
  • Sugar: Plain old granulated white sugar is used to sweeten these muffins.
  • Milk: Milk adds moisture and creates a tender crumb. I usually use whole milk, but other dairy milks should work just fine. I have not tested this recipe with non-dairy milks. If you give it a try please let me know how they turn out.
  • Oil: Oil produces moist tender muffins.
  • Eggs: Eggs add moisture and help bind everything together. The extra egg yolk provides additional fat which makes the muffins softer. It also produces muffins that are more golden in color.
  • Lemon Zest and Lemon Juice: Using both lemon juice and lemon zest helps to concentrate the lemon flavor. The lemon juice will also react with the baking soda giving the muffins more lift.
  • Coarse Sprinkling Sugar: For that crunchy, sparkly muffin top, add a sprinkle of coarse sugar. You can also use Sugar in the Raw or Demerara sugar.

Equipment

Jumbo 6 Cup Muffin Pan: Make these muffins extra special and more like the restaurant treat by baking them in a jumbo muffin pan.

Jumbo Muffin Paper Liners: Keep your pan and fingers clean by lining the muffin pan with these jumbo liners.

Microplane: Easily zest lemons and other citrus fruits with this microplane.

Mixing Bowls: These are some of my favorite mixing bowls. They come in a huge range of sizes, nest together for easy storage, and are easy to clean.

Rubber spatula: For folding batters together, I prefer a stiffer spatula like this one from OXO. It fits comfortable in my hand, is dishwasher safe, and is heat-resistant up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. Both the handle and head are silicone coated which makes it easy to clean and safe to use with my non-stick cookware and bake ware.

Kitchen scale: Kitchen scales make baking faster and neater. Accuracy matters in baking. Scales are more precise than measuring cups. Too much flour or not enough sugar can dramatically change a recipe. The most accurate way to bake is to measure your ingredients by weight rather than volume.

A kitchen scale also reduces the number of dishes you will need to wash because you are measuring each ingredient directly from the container into the mixing bowl without the use of measuring cups.

This scale from OXO is the one I use after it was recommended by Alton Brown. What makes this scale great is the display pulls out to make viewing measurements easier when using a large bowl.

dry ingredients in a metal bowl

Move the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease one jumbo 6-count muffin pans with nonstick spray or line with muffin papers. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

blueberries tossed in the dry ingredients

Toss the blueberries in the dry ingredients until they are well coated. This will prevent the blueberries from sinking to the bottom of the muffins. Set aside.

wet ingredients in a metal bowl

In a medium bowl whisk together the milk, oil, eggs, egg yolk, sugar, lemon juice, and zest.

blueberry muffin batter in a metal bowl

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold together gently with a spatula until just combined. Be careful to not crush the blueberries and do not over mix. The batter will be thick. Allow the batter to rest for 5 minutes which gives the leavening ingredients time to activate.

blueberry muffin batter in a muffin pan

Divide the batter between each muffin cup, filling all the way to the top. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.

close up of baked blueberry muffin in muffin pan

Bake the muffins at 425°F for 5 minutes, then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and continue to bake for 25-30 minutes until the tops are golden brown.

Use a toothpick to test for doneness. Insert a toothpick into the center of a muffin, if it comes out clean, the muffins are done.

Allow the muffins to cool for several minutes in the muffin pan before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Do you need muffin liners for baking?

Muffins can be baked with or without liners. If baked with liners they will have a softer outside texture. Muffins baked without liners will be slightly crispier and darker on the outside.

I couldn’t find jumbo muffin liners at my local store, so I bought these muffin liners from Amazon.

How do you make moist blueberry muffins from scratch?

The most important thing to remember when making muffins is to not over mix the batter. Over mixing create gluten which results in tough, not tender muffins. Mixing by hand works great for muffins. You shouldn’t need an electric mixer.

Muffin batter doesn’t have to be completely smooth. A few lumps and streaks of flour are just fine.

What temperature is best to bake muffins?

To get a tall muffin top fill the muffin pan to the very top with batter and start baking your muffins at a higher temperature and then after about five minutes lower the temperature.

I start my muffins at 425°F and then lower the temperature to 350°F. Starting at a higher temperature gives the baking soda and baking powder a nice boost of heat that encourages leavening.

It also allows the outside of the muffin to set quickly giving the inside the structure it needs to keep rising. This trick will only work with really thick muffin batters that have enough structure to support a tall muffin top.

four blueberry muffins in a muffin tim with two of the cups filled with blueberries

How do you know when muffins are done?

Baking times for all recipes are only suggestions. The actual baking time will vary depending upon your oven. It is helpful to know your oven and worth purchasing an inexpensive oven thermometer. Oven temperatures can vary as much as 50 degrees plus or minus.

Insert a toothpick into the center of a muffin. If it comes out clean or with just a crumb or two sticking to it your muffins are done. If there is uncooked batter on the toothpick bake the muffins for a few minutes longer.

Alternatively, you can check your muffins with an instant-read thermometer. This one from ThermoWorks is my favorite. Once the center of the muffins has reached 200 – 205 degrees Fahrenheit they are done.

Watch this video from Food 52 to see more ways to tell when your baked goods are done.

How to store and freeze

These muffins will stay moist for a couple of days when stored at room temperature. Store them in an airtight container for 1-2 days. Any longer than that at room temperature and the blueberries will start tasting fermented especially on warm days.

For longer storage keep them in the refrigerator for up to a week.

They can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Wrap each muffin in plastic wrap and place them in a zip-top bag. Thaw muffins at room temperature.

Tips

  • When stirring be careful to not crush any of the berries to keep the muffins from turning a weird blue-green color.
  • If you use frozen berries, rinse them under cold water several times and pat dry. This will help prevent the color from bleeding into the muffin batter.
  • Don’t over-mix the batter. A few lumps are fine. Overmixing will create too much gluten causing your muffins to be tough.
  • The muffin batter will be very thick, almost like cookie dough. This prevents the blueberries from sinking to the bottom and helps to give the muffins a tall muffin top.

Variations

  • Loaf Pans: Muffins and quickbreads are very similar. 
    1. Pour the batter into the 2 greased 9×5 loaf pans and bake at 350°F for 60 to 65 minutes. The blueberry bread is done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
    2. Remove from the oven and allow the bread to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Standard Sized or Mini Muffins:
    • For standard size muffins baked at 425°F for 5 minutes and then lower the temperature to 350°F for 20 minutes. Yields about 12 standard muffins.
    • For mini muffins, bake at 350°F for 11-13 minutes. Yields about 24 mini muffins.
  • Fruit Variations: Swap the blueberries for your favorite fruit.
close up of a blueberry muffin on a white plate

Panera Blueberry Muffins

Yield: 6 Jumbo Muffins
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

These Panera Blueberry Muffins have a crunchy sugary top and moist center. They are bursting with blueberries and just a touch of lemon.

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups (420g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (220g) blueberries
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120g) milk, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (132g) vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • Coarse sugar for topping

Instructions

    1. Move the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease one jumbo 6-count muffin pans with nonstick spray or line with muffin papers. Set aside.
    2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Toss the blueberries in the dry ingredients until they are well coated. This will prevent the blueberries from sinking to the bottom of the muffins. Set aside.
    3. In a medium bowl whisk together the sugar, milk, oil, eggs, egg yolk, lemon juice, and zest.
    4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold together gently with a spatula until just combined. Be careful to not crush the blueberries and do not over mix. The batter will be thick. Allow the batter to rest for 5 minutes.
    5. Divide the batter between each muffin cup, filling all the way to the top. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
    6. Bake the muffins at 425°F for 5 minutes, then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and continue to bake for 25-30 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Use a toothpick to test for doneness. Insert a toothpick into the center of a muffin, if it comes out clean, the muffins are done.
    7. Allow the muffins to cool for several minutes in the muffin pan before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 316Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 93mgSodium: 657mgCarbohydrates: 57gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 10g

This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from an online calculator. Although raspberriesandkohlrabi.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

Other breakfast ideas:

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two photos collaged together. Top photo is raw muffin batter in muffin tin. bottom photo is cooked blueberry muffins in muffin tin

Jumbo Blueberry Muffins

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