The Single Ingredient That Turns Up The Blueberry Flavor In Muffins

Blueberry muffins are the perfect on-the-go breakfast, brunch side dish, or even easy dessert. They have just the right amount of sweet without giving you the feeling that you're starting the day (or ending it) with an inevitable sugar crash. Those juicy, sweet blueberries are the star of the show here, but if you want to get the most out of this tasty treat, you should probably start adding a little lemon. Lemon, whether it's a squeeze of juice or a pinch of zest, pairs perfectly with rich foods because its bright, acidic profile complements anything that's high in fat or sugar. It cuts the richness of blueberry muffins while also bringing out their sweet flavor. For a little less of that pucker-up flavor, you can use Meyer lemons, which are acidic but less tart.


To infuse a little lemon into your blueberry muffins, you'll want to use either lemon zest or lemon juice; you can also use both. Lemon juice has a stronger acidity and tangier flavor than zest, so you won't need much. Lemon zest, which comes from the lemon's peel, is full of citrusy oils that add balance and brightness without being too tart.

How to build flavor in your blueberry muffins

If you plan to use lemon zest in your muffin recipe, know that it isn't the same as the lemon peel. Lemon peels are tart and bitter, they won't bode well in your muffins. The zest, though, is only the bright, thin yellow exterior on the outside of the peel. You'll want to use a zester to remove it, and only add the yellow top layer into the dish. Once you start to see pale yellow or white (this is known as the pith), stop zesting and move the zester to another yellow part of the lemon.


The lemon flavor will breathe new life into your blueberry muffins, and when it comes to serving, it's hard to beat a warm muffin. A little secret: Cut the muffin in half, and place each half interior-side-up under a high broiler for two minutes (you can also pop it in the air fryer on 350 degrees Fahrenheit for two minutes). They'll get a little crispy, then spread a some salted butter on those crispy sides and you'll never eat a muffin the same way again. For storage, those blueberry muffins should be kept in an airtight container with a paper towel, which will remove moisture and keep them fresh. They'll last up to four days.