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Vegan Blueberry Crumb Muffins


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These vegan blueberry crumb muffins have a fluffy, moist interior, pockets of juicy berries in the center, and a delicious streusel topping. Meal prep them for snacks or enjoy them with your favorite accompaniments for breakfast!

A vegan blueberry crumb muffin rests on a round, rimmed white plate.

Last summer, only weeks after I moved apartments, one of my yoga teachers offered a special rooftop class.

What a rooftop it was! It was perched high in the sky, at the top of a tall hotel in downtown Manhattan, and with a pool, to boot.

Practicing yoga up there with breeze all around me, sun on my cheeks, and the sight of the whole city below me, is one of my favorite memories of summer 2022.

Because this was a small and a special class, I thought it would be nice to share some treats with with my fellow yogis after our asana practice. These lovely vegan blueberry crumb muffins are what I brought.

That was a whole twelve months ago. I’ve thought about the texture of these muffins, with their juicy blueberry center and buttery crumb topping, ever since.

Today, finally, I’m sharing them.

What are crumb muffins?

Crumb muffins are simply muffins that have a crumb, or a streusel, topping.

Streusel topping is made from flour, sugar, and butter. In the case of these vegan crumb muffins, that butter is vegan butter.

Streusel topping can include nuts or spices. I’ve added chopped pecans and walnuts to streusel, though I tend to prefer a plain version. I nearly always add a pinch of cinnamon to mine.

Why add streusel? For flavor, first and foremost. Streusel topping adds a lovely, buttery, sweet flavor to the top of muffins.

Of equal importance is the texture that streusel topping adds to muffins or other baked goods, such as the strawberry rhubarb bars that you see below.

An overhead image of a plant-based strawberry rhubarb crumble bar, resting on a fluted white plate.
Vegan streusel is a crispy, buttery mixture of flour, vegan butter, and sugar.

Streusel got a bit of crunch, thanks to sugar and flour baking into gently caramel iced perfection.

Can crumb topping be added to any muffin?

Crumb topping can certainly work on many types of muffins.

I’ve added it to apple bran muffins, strawberry muffins, banana walnut muffins, banana chocolate chip muffins, gingerbread spice muffins, and pumpkin cranberry walnut muffins—and these are only some examples.

Crumb topping is also a great addition to homemade bars, buckles, pies, and tarts.

Blueberry crumb muffin ingredients

I tend to think that less is more when it comes to muffins. Simple and class combinations are the ones that I enjoy most.

Here are the principal ingredients that make these blueberry crumb muffins come to life.

Flour

For my baking projects, unbleached, all-purpose flour is my go-to.

If you’d like to substitute a flour that is whole grain, I’d recommend either white whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour.

These muffins can also be made gluten-free. I recommend a gluten-free, all-purpose flour blend. My favorite is the Measure for Measure flour from King Arthur.

Butter

Butter does some heavy lifting in this recipe!

First, butter is key to the crumbly streusel topping on the muffins.

I also use melted butter as the fat source in the recipe. While I often bake with avocado (typically avocado oil) as a fat source, melted butter contributes more flavor.

You can use your favorite vegan butter to make the muffins. For baking, I typically use Earth Balance sticks, but there’s an an array of options available today.

Sugar

Cane sugar provides sweetness to the muffins themselves.

Brown sugar sweetens the topping, and it helps to provide that lovely, caramelized crunch on top.

I’m often asked if the amount of sugar in a baking recipe can be reduced. The answer is that you can certainly try, if this suits your preferences.

However, sugar adds both sweetness and moisture to baked goods. Be aware that, if you modify the amount of sugar called for in any recipe, the texture of the finished product might change.

Blueberries

Blueberries give these muffins their beautiful pockets of color and moisture.

Blueberries often happen to be exceptionally nutrient-dense, with phytonutrients that are associated with cognitive health and anti-inflammatory effects. They bring that good nutrition to the recipe, too.

I think that the blueberry crumb muffins are most enjoyable when they’re prepared with fresh berries. Berry season doesn’t last forever, and it’s nice to celebrate it while it’s here.

However, you can make the muffins with frozen berries in the wintertime, too.

I keep a bag of frozen blueberries at home year-round, so that I can make my orange juice simmered berries. It’s quite easy to use some of those frozen ‘bloobs to make these muffins.

A glass jar of homemade vegan buttermilk rests on a white surface.

Vegan buttermilk

You may have noticed that a lot of muffin recipes call for buttermilk, rather than regular milk.

Why?

Because buttermilk contributes to leavening in quick breads, such as muffins, cakes, scones, and banana bread.

Quick breads use baking powder and baking soda, which are chemical leavening agents, to create rise and light texture.

Baking soda in particular becomes effective in the presence of an acid. In other words, acidic, sour buttermilk will make baking soda work more effectively, leading to lighter and more tender muffins.

Of course, traditional buttermilk isn’t vegan. Instead, I use homemade vegan buttermilk, which is a simple mixture of non-dairy milk and freshly squeezed lemon juice or vinegar.

A lemon is being squeezed into a mason jar full of milk. It rests on a white surface.
Freshly squeezed lemon juice and non-dairy milk create an easy, homemade vegan “buttermilk.”

That’s what you’ll see in this recipe.

How to make vegan blueberry crumb muffins

These muffins are easy to prepare. Here are the steps.

Step 1: make your crumb topping

You won’t need a food processor or any special equipment to make the crumb topping here. You can simply use your fingers, a fork, or a pastry cutter to cut flour and sugar into cold butter.

I recommend preparing the crumb topping initially, then leaving it in the freezer as you finish making the blueberry crumb muffins.

An ideal texture for crumb topping is to have butter in pieces that are about the size of peas. You want a mixture that has big, distinct crumbs, rather than something with the texture of sand.

Step 2: mix dry ingredients

Next, you’ll mix flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl.

Step 3: mix wet ingredients

In another, smaller mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, sugar, and vanilla.

A muffin batter is being mixed in a large, white mixing bowl.
Add wet ingredients, including vegan buttermilk, to dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Step 4: add wet ingredients to dry and mix

Next, you’ll mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and combine them.

When you mix this batter, you’re aiming for something that’s fully incorporated, but not necessarily silky smooth.

In other words, you don’t want to see streaks of unmixed flour in the batter. However, a few small clumps of flour are OK.

Step 5: fold in the blueberries

Next, you’ll gently fold your blueberries into the muffin batter. I do this with a spatula, trying not to burst or mush any of the berries as I work.

Muffin batter has just had fresh blueberries folded into it, in a white mixing bowl.
Fold fresh blueberries into your muffin batter gently and evenly for best results.

Step 6: fill your muffin tin

A great tip for all muffin-baking is to not overfill muffin liners. When muffin liners are overly full, the muffins actually tend not to rise very well. You won’t achieve a nice, domed shape.

Instead, aim to fill the liners about halfway, or two thirds of the way, full.

Step 7: add the crumb topping

Distributing crumb topping over muffins doesn’t have to be neat or pretty. I usually do this by hand, dropping about two heaping tablespoons of the topping over each muffin.

An image of the top of a muffin that has been piled with crumb topping.
A few heaping tablespoons of crumb topping transform these blueberry muffins into something special.

Step 8: bake

Finally, it’ll be time to bake your muffins. I recommend about 25 minutes at 350°F, or until the tops of the muffins are puffy and set and the crumble topping is turning golden.

If you have to choose between baking the muffins a minute longer than is necessary and a minute under, I recommend going a minute over.

In other words, err on the side of more oven time, if you’re unsure. Undercooked muffins will be gooey in the center, which is a bummer.

Meal prep & storage

These muffins can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.

If you need to store them for longer than three days, then I recommend freezing the muffins. Blueberry crumb muffins can be frozen for up to 6 weeks.

I love making the muffins part of my meal prep routine in the summer months. They’re a fantastic snack, and you can also combine them with plant-based yogurt, fruit, and other accompaniments for a tasty breakfast.

Vegan blueberry crumb muffins are resting on a white surface against a white tile backdrop.
Bakery worthy vegan blueberry crumb muffins.

Can I use other berries or fruits?

Yes, you absolutely can!

These muffins can be prepared with one of the following in place of blueberries:

  • Chopped strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Chopped, peeled peaches
  • Blackberries
  • Quartered cherries
  • Chopped, peeled apples or pears
A vegan blueberry crumb muffin is broken apart, resting on a small, round white plate.
The fresh blueberries in this recipe can be replaced with a number of other seasonal fruits.

More recipes for blueberry season

It’s peak blueberry season where I am, and I’m excited to soak up every moment. If you love blueberry recipes as much as I do, here are some other ideas:

  • Blueberry ginger ice cream (banana-based and super easy to make!)
  • Blueberry corn muffins
  • Vegan blueberry buckle
  • Blueberry banana oat bake
  • Whole wheat blueberry pancakes

And here’s a sweet, tender new muffin to savor.

Ingredients

Crumb topping

  • 1/3 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour (45g)
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar (50g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold vegan butter, cubed (56g)

Muffins

  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour (255g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup vegan buttermilk (1 cup non-dairy milk + 1 tablespoon lemon juice, allowed to sit and mingle for 5 minutes or longer; 240mL)
  • 6 tablespoons vegan butter, melted (85g)
  • 2/3 cup cane sugar (130g)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh blueberries (175g)

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F / 175°C and oil or line a muffin baking pan with liners.
  • To prepare the crumb topping, stir together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the butter and use a pastry cutter or your hands or pulse with a food processor to incorporate the butter into the flour, until the butter is in small pieces (the size of peas). Pop the crumble topping into the freezer while you prepare the muffins.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.In another, medium mixing bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, melted butter, cane sugar, and vanilla extract.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in the wet mixture. Use a spatula to fold the ingredients together, until you have a batter and no visible streaks of flours remain in the bowl. It’s OK if the batter has small lumps—don’t over-mix! Gently fold the blueberries into the batter with a spatula.
  • Use a muffin scoop or 1/2 cup measure to fill the muffin pan (each muffin container should be about 2/3 or 3/4 of the way full). Evenly distribute the crumb topping over the muffins. 
  • Bake for 25 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins are puffy and set and the crumble topping is turning golden. Remove the muffins from the oven and allow them to cool for 10-15 minutes. As soon as the muffins are cool enough to handle, remove them from the pan and transfer them to a cooling rack. Cool for 10-15 more minutes before enjoying.

Publishing a blueberry muffin recipe may be a very insignificant act, in the grand scheme of things.

But, since I’ve been struggling to keep on top of everything lately, sharing this sweet treat does feel like…something.

And something is better than nothing.

More thoughts on that this coming weekend, when I hope to actually publish a weekend reading post (I missed that on Sunday).

For today, I hope you’ll find some joy in these summery baked goods. Enjoy!

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