Brown Butter Ricotta Blueberry Muffins

May 5, 2022

Two universal truths about blueberry muffins: they must be served with a topping of streusel or sugar, and they taste better served out of a basket. I don’t make the rules. This batch of ricotta blueberry muffins are ultra-moist and have a delicious nutty flavor thanks to brown butter.

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I think muffins as a concept might actually be perfect. They are single-serve, so no need for slicing. They taste excellent warm or at room temperature, or with a pat of butter. And they are casual enough for a grab-and-go breakfast, but throw them in a towel-lined basket, and they are plenty fancy for a formal brunch.

When you think this highly of muffins, it’s only natural to add some favorite ingredients into the mix. I love baking with ricotta, for its unique tang and addition of moisture in the crumb of cakes and quick breads. And brown butter is like magic gold, adding a warm nuttiness to everything it touches.

What You Need to Get Started

You can easily find all of the ingredients for these brown butter and ricotta blueberry muffins at your grocery store:

Let’s Make Brown Butter & Ricotta Blueberry Muffins

My muffin obsession aside, let’s talk about the muffins you are about to bake and enjoy. Because you are browning butter for these, you’ll want to be sure to leave yourself an extra ten minutes or so to let that butter cool. While I have baked with hot brown butter before, it’s definitely not ideal.

How to Brown Butter

So let’s first get into how to get that lovely, nutty and toasty brown butter ready for your muffins. In a small saucepan (light colored, if you have one), add the butter and melt over medium heat.

Continue cooking the butter, occasionally giving the pan a swirl. As it melts, the butter will begin to boil and pop, which means the water is cooking off. This is exactly what you want. The water content prevents the butter from browning at first, so allowing it to release in the form of steam can help you get that higher temperature needed.

As the popping begins to subside, watch the butter carefully. You will see the milk solids sink to the bottom of the pot, and begin to turn a light golden brown. At this point, you may also notice a warm and nutty aroma, the telltale sign of brown butter.

Turn off the heat and immediately transfer the browned butter to a large heatproof bowl. There is a very fine line between brown butter and burnt butter, so getting it off the heat can keep you right in that sweet spot. Set the bowl aside to cool for at least ten minutes.

Brown Butter and Ricotta Muffin Batter

Meanwhile, while your brown butter is cooling, it’s a good time to preheat your oven and assure there is a rack in the center. You can also grease or line a standard muffin pan with paper liners. For muffins, I generally prefer to grease the pan and not use wrappers.

Begin making the batter by combining the dry ingredients. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium mixing bowl. Whisk these all together until they are thoroughly combined. Then set the bowl aside while you mix up the additional ingredients.

Once the butter has cooled slightly, you can add both brown and white sugar into the bowl with it. Stir to combine these all together, until the sugars are fully coated in butter. Then add in the eggs and ricotta. Whisk until the eggs are broken up and everything is nice and smooth.

Pour the flour mixture into the bowl with the wet ingredients, and use a flexible spatula to fold the dry ingredients in. This folding motion will help prevent the batter from over-mixing, which can cause tougher instead of springy muffins.

Use the spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and along the bottom to assure you are incorporating all the wet ingredients and all of the dry. Only mix until everything is just combined, and there are no large streaks of flour. Some lumps are definitely okay in muffin batter.

If your batter is especially difficult to combine, you may find that adding a small splash of milk can help it come together. Whether you will need milk at all and how much depends on a few different factors, like how you measure your flour and the humidity of the kitchen. I suggest starting with only about a tablespoon, but you can always add more.

Now it’s time to get your blueberries ready to add in. In the recipe, I suggest using a heaping cup of berries, but it’s pretty flexible. If you prefer to have mostly blueberries just held together by batter, add a few more. If you like just one or two pops of blue per muffin, cut it down to just a cup.

However many you decide to use, give them a good rinse and then dry them, but not too thoroughly. You will want to toss them with a little flour, which will help the berries be suspended in the muffin batter. This way, you’ll get berries throughout, and not just a pile at the bottom.

Add your flour-coated berries into the bowl with the batter. Again, you are going to use that folding motion to help incorporate them. This not only prevents over-mixing, but it also keeps you from crushing those precious juicy berries. Only fold until the berries are distributed throughout the batter.

Now grab your prepared muffin pan that you set aside earlier. This recipe makes a dozen muffins, so you will be using all the cups. Fill each about three-quarters full. I like to use a cookie scoop or ice cream scoop to make this process go a little bit faster.

Finally, sprinkle each muffin with a couple pinches of sparkling sugar. Blueberry muffins just aren’t the same without this little bit of magic.

Bake Blueberry Muffins

Bake the muffins for right around twenty minutes, but start checking them at eighteen. You will know that they are done baking when the edges of the domed tops are a light golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of each comes out clean.

I also like to gently press on the top of each muffin. If it springs back, the muffins are ready. But if it makes a dent that doesn’t bounce back to its original shape, they need a little bit more time.

After removing the muffins from the oven, allow them to cool in the pan for about five or ten minutes, until the pan is cool enough for you to handle it. Then, you should be able to gently dump the muffins out of the pan easily. Place them on a wire rack to cool completely.

If you would like to make these muffins in advance, good news! They taste delicious both fresh out of the oven and after being stored. Fully cooked and cooled muffins can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for a couple days, in the fridge for a few more days, or in the freezer for a month or so.

If frozen, defrost your muffins in the fridge overnight. And then you will probably want to warm up any chilled muffins in the microwave before serving. Muffins stored at room temperature can be enjoyed as-is or warmed up. Try them plain, or cut in half with a thick pat of butter and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Blueberry muffin lovers, here’s a fun upgrade: try using ricotta and brown butter in the batter for a super delicious treat!

How to Serve Ricotta Blueberry Muffins

Muffins aren’t just the epitome of breakfast and brunch foods, but they are also delicious literally every other time of the day. I love having a warm muffin as a mid-morning or afternoon snack with a mug of raspberry white hot chocolate.

If you are more of a traditionalist and want to enjoy your brown butter ricotta blueberry muffins as part of breakfast or brunch, try pairing them with something savory like a tomato and avocado omelet, or another egg dish. And don’t forget to serve some blueberry basil moscow mules!

Use Up Leftover Ingredients

More Blueberry Recipes

More Ricotta Recipes

Brown Butter & Ricotta Blueberry Muffins

Classic blueberry muffins are upgraded with the nutty flavor of brown butter and the tangy moisture of ricotta, for an irresistible breakfast treat.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 muffins
Calories: 167kcal

Ingredients

  • 10 Tbsp Unsalted butter
  • 1 ¾ Cups All-purpose flour +1tsp for blueberries
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ¼ Cup Brown sugar
  • ½ Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • ½ Cup Ricotta
  • 1-2 Tbsp Milk if needed
  • 1 Cup Blueberries heaping, tossed with 1tsp flour
  • 1 tsp Sparkling Sugar

Instructions

  • Brown the butter:
    In a small saucepan (light colored, if you have one), add the butter and melt over medium heat. Continue cooking, swirling the pan occasionally, as the butter boils and pops.
    Once the popping mostly subsides, watch the butter carefully until the solids sink to the bottom of the pot and begin to turn a light golden brown.
    Turn off the heat and transfer the browned butter to a large heatproof bowl. Set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center, and grease or line a standard 12-muffin pan with paper liners.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, and salt until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
  • Add the sugars to the bowl with the butter, and stir to combined. Then add in the eggs and ricotta. Whisk until the eggs are broken up and everything is combined smoothly.
  • Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with a silicone spatula, until just combined and there are no obvious pockets of flour. Then, fold in the flour-coated blueberries.
  • Fill the prepared muffin cups about ¾ of the way full with the batter, and top each with a few pinches of sparkling sugar. Bake for 18-22 minutes until they are slightly browned on edges and toothpick inserted into the center of each comes out clean.
  • Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for about 5-10 min until cool enough to handle. Then cool fully on a wire rack. Enjoy fresh or store for later.

Notes

Make ahead tips: Store the fully cooked and cooled muffins in a sealed container at room temperature for 2-3 days, in the fridge for 3-4 days, or in the freezer for 1-2 months. Defrost frozen muffins in the fridge overnight, and warm cool muffins in the microwave before eating.
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