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


I subbed ~ 1/2 cup of applesauce for the banana and added twice the amount of fruit--blueberries and cherries. I also brushed the muffin tin (a non-stick one) with butter rather than use muffin cups or liners. They turned out beautifully and made a few more than 12 regular-sized muffins--I just put the leftover batter in the fridge until my muffin pan cooled from the first batch and then baked the rest. Thanks, Heidi, for your lovely recipes. They have quickly taken a place among my favorites!


Yes, these look DEE-LISH! I can hardly wait to make them myself! Did you answer the other readers yet about those cups? Where did you get them??? Also, a note about substituting for the buttermilk, I wouldn't... so much of the supermarket milk is now Ultra Pasteurized (also known as Ultra High Temperature pasteurized). This milk is not as healthy because it's missing most of the cultures, and to my knowledge, the enzymes as well, making it very hard to digest and virtually of no benefit to the human body... It can't be made into cheese or yogurt... I imagine it behaves differently in baking as well. Heidi, if you have any comments on UHT milk, I'd love to hear them!


What an amazing recipe and they look so pretty. The rose-cinnamon sugar is something that I want to definitely try over a cake or muffin. Such a clever idea! Thank you, Heidi.


Rose cinnamon sugar...how do you come up with it?! I just love how you make something so simple become so unique.


I really love your receipes! I've just bought your book 'super natural every day' here in Germany. As I am coeliac, could you recomend any gluten-free flour, instead of the all purpose flour used here?


looks so yummy! i actually adapted your blackberry ricotta cream scones recipe to a buttermilk one and bake them like this. can't wait to try the banana sweetening/texture flair!

theresa k.

These look delicious & semi-healthy! I wonder if the buttermilk imparts any flavour/texture difference? I've always just squeezed lemon into milk ;)


I love the rose petals in this recipe! Can't wait to make it. I just made rose tea today :) What else do you use dried rose petals in? Suggestions much appreciated!


Oh, yeah! these are absolutely perfect for RIGHT NOW. Totally hit the spot, Heidi. Thank you.


These look wonderful... I live in Brazil, however, and we don't have buttermilk. Do you think it's possible to substitute for yogurt or half yogurt, half whole milk? Or would that compromise the flavor?


These really look just perfect. I love the colour and the crust, oh the crust :) May I ask you where you got those "Panetone-like"-muffin-tins?


I'd love to know more about the papers as well! I see them used in my local french bakery and they look so cute!


These remind me of some very delicious strawberry buttermilk muffins from Joan's on Third in Los Angeles. Can regular milk and vinegar be substituted for the buttermilk?


Will definitely be trying these. 2 questions. Where to find rose petals? I have rose water but don't think that will do. Also, loved the muffin holders/tins. Where can I find them? Thanks.


These look so good and I've got some fresh berries that seem to be asking to be used in a recipe that is so fabulous! Thanks for the story too!


Where can I find that beautiful muffin paper cups?

Char Hop

oh what a great, unique muffin recipe!

simply Life

Mhmmm...the combination of berry and rose looks like spring already :)!


Buttermilk can do no wrong! I always get great results with just about everything I make using it from banana bread to cinnamon rolls. Your little muffins are so pretty! I love the liners - rustic and perfect!

Averie @ Averie Cooks

I love everything about this recipe! Buttermilk just makes everything better, and the rose cinnamon sugar sounds divine! Also, the baking cups are so elegant! Much nicer than the white papers ones I have on hand. I'm making these right away, even if I can't find huckleberries. :)

Diane @ vintage Zest

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