Buttermilk Berry Muffins Recipe

Beautiful buttermilk muffins - berry-streaked with sugar-sparkled tops, big flavor, and buttermilk-tender texture.

Buttermilk Berry Muffins

The other morning I found myself gushing to this guy about some muffins I baked. Josey is my neighbor (ladies, don't hate), and he's super inspiring - fully geeked out on all things flour, seed, and grain. As a side note, when I get him to show me how to make his Dark Mountain Rye Bread, you'll be the first to know. I see Josey around a lot, and sometimes we chat about what we're baking. So, there I was, telling him about a batch of muffins I was particularly into, they were just GOOD. 
Sugar-topped Buttermilk Berry Muffin Recipe
Berry-streaked with sugar-sparkled tops, big flavor, buttermilk tender texture, I kept going on and on. On the way home it occurred to me that I should probably write them up. Here goes.
Sugar-topped Buttermilk Berry Muffin Recipe
I used whole wheat pastry flour, huckleberries from last summer (frozen), and topped them with crushed rose cinnamon sugar. They're not overly sweet, and they're nice and moist from a the buttermilk and a of couple bananas worked into the extra-thick batter. Although, it's worth noting that after baking the banana flavor didn't overwhelm the berries.
Sugar-topped Buttermilk Berry Muffin Recipe
You can use any berries you like, frozen or otherwise. Blueberries are always good, chopped strawberries are also a favorite in muffins.

Sugar-topped Buttermilk Berry Muffin RecipeSugar-topped Buttermilk Berry Muffin Recipe

Now, here's where the magic happens. To make these extra-special, I decided to top them. I love the combination of berry and rose, and that's part of what inspired the rose & spice sugar-dusted tops. The next time around I might even spritz the muffins, in the last few minutes of baking, with rose water (or rose sugar water), or something along those lines, to heighten the floral aspect.

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Buttermilk Berry Muffins

3.95 from 18 votes

I used frozen huckleberries here, but you can substitute blueberries, mixed berries, toasted seeds, dried fruit, etc, etc. I make a rose cinnamon sugar* for the topping, but you can do a straight-forward cinnamon sugar if dried rose petals are hard for you to come by.

  • 1 1/4 cups / 5 1/2 oz / 160 g whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 1/4 cups / 10 1/2 oz / 295 g unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup / 3 1/2 oz / 100 g firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 5 1/2 oz mashed, ripe banana (~2 med.)
  • 240 ml buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup / 4 oz / 115 g unsalted butter, barely melted
  • 1 cup / 4.5 oz / 125 g berries, plus more for topping
  • rose cinnamon sugar*
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F / 205C, with a rack in the center. Line a muffin tin with papers. I used baking cups here, with those you can skip the tin.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
  3. In another bowl combine the banana, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and butter. Stir until blended and uniform.
  4. Gently stir the berries into the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients over dry, and mix until just combined. For tender muffins, do your best to avoid over-blending.
  5. Fill the muffin tins 2/3 full (maybe a bit more than that), sprinkle with more berries and a generous dusting of cinnamon rose sugar.
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes (larger muffins on the long side), or until golden-topped, and a tester/toothpick comes out just clean.

Makes 1 - 1 1/2 dozen, depending on size.

*Make rose cinnamon sugar by combining 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon crushed, dried rose petals.

Adapted from Kerry Smith and the Nityananda Institute by way of Edward Espe Brown's The Complete Tassajara Cookbook and then How to Boil an Egg by Rose Carrarini.

Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Recipe Rating


Made this today, but substituted Bob’s 1:1 flour since I needed to make them gluten free. Used fresh blueberries. Worked great! Made 1 1/2 dozen easily. I have two of Heidi’s cookbooks, and they’re among my favorites.


    Thanks Carolyne!

    Heidi Swanson

Love how absolutely jam-packed these are with blueberries! Will definitely have to try!


Those muffin papers are so cute! So much cuter than the standard muffin tin liners. Also, I really like the idea of mixing the mashed banana into the batter... I have a few overly ripe bananas on my counter right now that would be perfect for that!

Allie @ The Nutritional Epiphany

All these gorgeous pictures make me want to start painting and sketching pictures of food!


Could I use applesauce instead of the bananas? I already use bananas in another recipe and was wondering if anyone has tried with applesauce? Thanks for letting me know......

Heidi Komarek-Freysinet

I made these and they are just heavenly. Perfectly balanced, delightfully not too sweet. A new fav, thank you xo

Heidi - Apples Under My Bed

these look SO good, I'll have to try get my hands on some buttermilk from somewhere or try adding lemon juice to milk. Does any one know if that really works?

All that Glisters

LOVE the idea of using rose! Your flavor combinations are out of this world. So unique and creative.

Christina @ The Beautiful Balance

I made these and followed the instructions although my instincts told me the temp was too hot and the cooking time was too long. I took the muffins out after 20 minutes and they were baked dry and dark brown on top. What a waste of great ingredients. The standard time for cooking muffins is 350 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes. I will use these standards the next time I try this recipe.

HS: Hi K - if you're making larger muffins, you'll likely need the extra minutes (note reflected in the recipe). That said, I always try to make the recipe adaptable to the quirks across everyone's ovens - once you see the tops on whatever it is you're baking, keep a closer eye, and then test now and then until they're done. Particularly if your oven is running hot.

K Benson

These look beautiful! I'll have to make them this August, when the Huckleberries are in season here in Montana!


I have some buttermilk leftover from another recipe - this will be the perfect way to use it up! Such beautiful muffins!


Huckleberries! Yum! And the cinnamon rose sugar is such a fantastic, unique addition!

Kendra | Apartment 302

These were amazing! I ended up not having enough frozen bananas, and I intended to use applesauce, but I was out of that too. So I subbed oil for the rest of the bananas (and the butter too), a blend of olive and sunflower oil. I also subbed the buttermilk with some yogurt, regular milk, and a squeeze of lime. I used blackberries and raspberries. They rose so high in my 12 count muffin pan and turned out just gorgeous. Everyone loved them.

Sarah Le

I used a regular muffin tin, twice. Made 17 muffins, which were done faster than recipe indicates probably because they're smaller. No rose petals, but I substituted culinary lavender. For the berries, I used a mixture of blackberries and blueberries. This is a good solid muffin recipe--thanks, Heidi!


They look delicious. Do you really need to use sea salt??

Mary Anne Lewis

I made these right away and they were awesome!!!! I didn't have buttermilk in the fridge - which rarely happens as I love it. I used yoghurt thinned with milk to replace. Also, no rose petals. Mixed frozen berries. I also found the recipe to yield a lot of batter. So yummy! I'll be making more tomorrow. Thanks, Heidi!


Beautiful dreamy photos and absolutely love the idea of cinnamon rose sugar!


What a delicious combination. I had just two bananas at hand to make your wonderful Banana-Espresso-walnut-muffins (from 'Super Natural Cooking'), when you offered this new recipe. So I had to change my baking plan ;-). With this muffins I particularly like the crust of cinnamon-rose-sugar in contrast to the moist interior of the muffin.


I love the idea of a rose cinnamon sugar topping! Very classy. It deserves a recipe where those flavors or just that as a topping is highlighted, I think. Atop a simple scone? or a little lemon cookie? hmmmm. Thanks for the inspiration!


Bouchon Bakery thanks you for the sale of one blueberry muffin I purchased the morning I read this post. I couldn't help myself and ironically I'm not really a big muffin fan. Can't wait to try this recipe for Easter though!


i love the muffin wrappers - where do you get those?!

HS: Look for them at baking supply outlets/shops, or places like Sur la Table.


I made these last night - delightful! I bought a spritzer to spray the muffins with rose water a few minutes before taking them out, but when I first checked they seemed done. Too eager to use my contraption, I sprayed and let them cook a few minutes more. I ended up with them overcooked and not tasting the rose much anyway. I definitely want to try these again. Next time, I think I'll mix the rose cinnamon sugar with rose water, or diluted rose water, and brush on the top with a pastry brush before baking.


Also, I used Bob's Red Mill's Light Spelt Flour. I like to use it whenever your recipes call for a blend of whole and white flours. It makes a perfect substitute for people avoiding traditional wheat flours. Thanks for all the great recipes...I have tried and loved several of yours!


Just made these delicious muffins! I think it's worth noting that if you are using a standard-sized muffin tin then you will get nearly twice the yield (so you can be ready with a second pan). This recipe made a dozen overflowing muffins and an extra-tall 6" round "cake" for me (didn't have a second pan).


Do you think dried lavender would work in place of the rose petals? I happen to have some from a trip to Bellingham,WA. Thank you - Love your blog and shop.


Yummy! And it must be so nice to have a neighbor who inspires you :)

Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today

this sounds delicious. and cute neighbor! where do you buy the muffin cups? adorable!


Oh how delish! I am such a huge fan of your blog Heidi! I make a Red Rose Cognac Sugar that I will try with this recipe. My mouth is already watering yuumm. Thanks for the inspiration.

terri nacke

those muffins look so pretty and petite. can not wait till the weekend to make them. Yummy!!!


Gorgeous recipe~ Heidi, is it possible to sub yogurt for the buttermilk? Thank you!


These look like the best blueberry muffins EVER! I love that they have huckleberries in them, too. How cool!


Love to make these, Heidi. Can you tell us what 240ml is in cups? Thanks!


Gosh, these are just such lovely looking muffins!

Jade Sheldon

These look so yummy! I can't wait to bake them And thank you SOOOO much for putting the measurements in metric and imperial too! We English just can't cope with cup sizes alone.


These look so gorgeous! And delicious, of course :-)


Miam, sounds delicious. Will give this recipe a try. Thanks Heidi!! @ Andrea: If you don't have buttermilk, you can use regular milk with the juice of 1/4 of a lemon as a subtitute. This is what I use. ;)

Karine Keldany

You are awesome, and these look incredible! Rose, huckleberry and banana sound like a stunning combination. Glad to know where to get those lovely baking papers. I was just perusing Josey's blog for the first time an hour ago, when a friend sent me the link to his new bakery. Hope to make it over there soon soon soon! You are indeed a lucky neighbor! For those commenters looking for a GF substitute, I recently posted a GF banana muffin that I'd imagine would take well to these lovely add-ins (though I would swap out the buckwheat flour as I think it would overpower the rose): http://www.bojongourmet.com/2013/03/gluten-free-chocolate-buckwheat-banana.html

HS: Thanks for this Alanna - hope to run into you there (or elsewhere!) sometime soon.


I love that you added a topping. Topping always takes the muffin tops over the top. ;) Beautiful.

Katy @ Katyskitchen

The recipe sounds easy and a little special at the same time. And lovely link to the lovely Josey. You're pretty lucky in the neighbour department too!


These sound like the ideal breakfast on these early spring days--subtly sweet, floral and full of berries. I really like the sound of the topping, too; I've been into sprinkling bits of rose petals on various things myself lately. I wonder how these would be with some ground or finely chopped pistachios? Rose and pistachio are always a winning combination.


I have everything on hand to try these asap. But I'm most intrigued by the rose cinnamon sugar. I made lavender sugar around the holidays with my own dried lavender and it's so good. I must try the rose sugar, I know I'd love it. Thanks for your recipe awesomeness and sharing! ps. I have a batch of your bran muffins on my counter right now!


Whole grain berry muffins are my all time faves. For those who asked about subs - I use kefir for buttermilk, and silken tofu or mashed sweet potatoes for bananas. Super moist. I've even made them gluten free. ...And who doesn't love a guy named Josey?!


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