It’s a fact that the vast majority of the recipes we love at home eventually make their way to the pages of this blog.  However, there are some recipes that I make time and time again and somehow never think to share them with you.  A few weeks ago I shared a photo on Instagram of some Saturday morning muffin baking and people were instantly asking for the recipe.

I don’t blame you. Who doesn’t love a good muffin?  In our house on busy weekday mornings, they are a breakfast staple.  It is so helpful to be able to pull one out of the freezer, thaw quickly in the microwave and serve with some fruit or a green smoothie.  Since these are an everyday sort of muffin as opposed to the dessert-for-breakfast variety that are more of an occasional splurge, I do what I can to make them a bit healthier.  As with so many baked goods, I swapped out the all-purpose flour for white whole wheat to make them whole grain.  I also cut down the sugar, replaced part of the butter with applesauce.  Thanks to these changes, these aren’t the sickly sweet, oversized calorie bombs you find in coffee shops, but rather a version we feel okay eating on a fairly regular basis.


2 cups white whole wheat flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
4 tbsp. (2 oz.) unsalted butter, melted*
½-¾ cup sugar*
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
2 large eggs
½ cup plus 2 tbsp. buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cups fresh (or frozen) blueberries
2 tbsp. coarse sugar such as turbinado for topping (optional) 


  • 01

    Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir briefly to blend, then set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar. Whisk until evenly combined. Whisk in the applesauce, then the eggs one at a time. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, vanilla and lemon juice.  Add half of the dry ingredients into the bowl with the egg mixture and whisk just until incorporated. Add in the buttermilk mixture and whisk again. Add in the remaining dry ingredients and stir gently just until evenly combined.  Very gently fold in the blueberries with a spatula.

  • 02

    Divide the batter between the prepared liners, filling each about 3/4 of the way full.  In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest and the coarse sugar (regular sugar is okay too).  Sprinkle a bit of the sugar mixture on top of the batter in each liner.

  • 03

    Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 24 minutes total.  Let cool in the pan a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • 04


    • I almost always make a double batch of these to keep in the freezer at all times.  For more info on freezing, see this post, specifically the section about baked goods. The gist – freeze after baking.
    • If desired, you can further reduce the amount of fat in the recipe and substitute an equal amount of applesauce. However, this will result in a chewier muffin and they stick to the liners more. I usually don’t go lower than 50/50, but that’s just personal preference.
    • The amount of sugar is also a bit flexible. Try both types to see what you prefer.

  • Ala Shih

    I love the changes, Annie! I also have go-to lightened-up recipes that I can make and eat all the time, like banana cookies or banana date “fudge,” and I love that it doesn’t make me feel sick afterwards like a full-sugar version might. I think I’ve fallen in love with this recipe. Thank you for sharing it!

  • CranberryJamFB

    Really great option for breakfast with a cup of coffee..

  • Mmm, these look delish! Wish I had one for breakfast this morning. :) I always love a variation on a classic recipe, I’ll have to try these soon.

  • Shari

    I truly love your site, a majority of your recipes are healthy (excluding desserts :-) ) but it is a place where I know the recipes are consistent and can be trusted. If I am ever confused as to what to make I surf through your index. Tomorrow I will be making your white fish tacos for dinner since I have never had fish tacos!

  • Rachel

    These look so yummy! Can I substitute lemon extract for the lemon zest/juice if I don’t have a lemon?

  • annieseats

    That should work fine. Enjoy!

  • annieseats

    I’m so glad to hear it! I hope you enjoy them. We love that meal!

  • annieseats

    Yes! That’s my favorite way to enjoy them :)

  • Ali @ Solano’s Kitchen

    The lemon blueberry cupcakes are my absolute favorite, so I’m willing to bet we’ll love these too!

  • Amelia

    I’m so bookmarking these for a baby shower that I’m throwing for a friend next month. Perfect and blueberries will be in season! :)

  • Cara

    So happy you posted this… was just looking for a lemon blueberry muffin recipe & its a healthy one! You rock!

  • Lindsey Farr

    Thank you for finally sharing! These look fabulous! I can’t wait to try them out!

  • Healthy muffins for breakfast with a flavor combination SO GOOOOD! Sign me up!!!! <3

  • Cbell

    Made these for breakfast yesterday and they are now the new favorite muffins for my kids and me. Usually we take a basket over for our neighbor, but this time, there weren’t any left over to share!

  • bunglik

    I’ve been waiting since the Instagram post. I will be trying these tomorrow (and filling the freezer before the 2nd bub arrives). They look perfect! Thanks Annie.

  • annieseats

    So glad they turned out well. Yay!

  • I’m on a mission to get the.boy to eat breakfast on the regular, and I feel like muffins are probably the way to go. Love that these are more of the healthy rather than dessert variety!

  • I`ve been experimenting with using applesauce in muffin recipes as well. Love how you lightened this up. :)

  • Amy

    Do you have a suggestion on replacing the buttermilk – we don’t have any – thanks!

  • annieseats

    Please see the FAQ page regarding substitutions. Thanks!

  • Courtney Barton-Eaton

    Just made these for the second time this week…they’ve come out gorgeous both times! Though, fair warning, if you can’t find your muffin tins ::ahem:: then they work wonderfully as a muffin “loaf” too, though they require a bit more time ;)

  • Melissa Brooker

    Just made these today! They are delicious!!