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!

Post Your Comment


Heidi, as I lie in bed sick as a dog in freezing cold London (UK), reading your recipe has given me an excuse to cheer up. Thank you, and love anything buttermilk! Yumboz! x lili


I just realized where I've heard of Josey before! A long-time friend's daughter (Erin Kunkel Photography) just shot pictures for Josey's new cook book! These muffins are right up my alley...love the ingredients.


These sound absolutely lovely! Such a prefect recipe for the coming spring :)

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

I have to laugh when you say 'gushing' about your latest cooking feat, as I do the same. It's like food isn't just food, it's a creation. A piece of art, that happens to smell great and satisfy basic needs. Hmm. Since I don't have those little huckleberries, I can use blue or blackberries. And, since I've never liked bananas from infancy, maybe applesauce? I love everything buttermilk...Muffins are so variable.


So many things to love about this post — muffins, paper wrappers, and Josey! Can't wait to try this out with some of our own local flour. Any suggestions for subbing out the bananas?

diary of a tomato

You should record your conversations Josey and transcribe them for us here. I can only imagine how many awesome things you guys are chatting about! It would be so so cool


These are STUNNING! The liners make a perfect little package for these delicious-sounding muffins!

Little Kitchie

If we ever make it to the cabin again, please, please bring these. Although I really want one now!


Heidi, These look absolutely delicious! My nana in India makes lot of stuff using rose petals..your recipe reminded me of her!


These look gorgeous. And delicious too!

Lauren | Sweet Splendor

I love your Super Natural Every Day cookbook. I made the Oatcakes last week and thought they were incredible! This recipe looks awesome too! Where can I find muffin papers like the ones in your picture? They really add something special.


Miam! That sounds absolutely divine and I love the idea of the rose sugar on top!


These sounded great until I saw "bananas"; my husband cannot stand bananas. Is there another fruit -or applesauce- that could substitute for the dreaded b's?


Apart from the recipe, I really like the muffin papers. Where did you get them from?


I love the touch of rose petals. Only you, Heidi, only you.

Shaheen [The Purple Foodie]

any clue as to where i can find huckleberries in nyc..? i think i've been to every farmer's market there is in this city. i know they don't typically grow in the northeast, and that i can replace huckleberries with other berries, but i'm so into the idea of using them! thanks.


    Lindsey - keep your eyes peeled in freezer sections. I actually buy them most often from my mushroom dealer. He has them fresh in bursts of and on during the year, but in the freezer most of the time. :)

    Heidi Swanson

Heidi! These look fabulous! I'm definitely going to make them. Where did you get your huckleberries from? I live in the East Bay, and know that they grow locally, but last year I had a hard time finding out where I could get/pick them...


What a lovely recipe. Love the rose & cinammon topping.

Mikey F.

What absolute beauties! PS: I loved your posts about Rome - I recently moved there for work and, thanks to you, discovered both MIA and MIA market (conveniently one is close to work and the other close to home) - what treasuretroves!


That rose cinnamon sugar sounds like a winner, such an inspired touch. I'd love me some of these muffins!

leaf (the indolent cook)

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