These incredibly moist and tender zucchini muffins are packed with blueberries, flavored with a hint of cinnamon and vanilla, and piled with almond and oatmeal streusel. Is there a better way to use up that extra zucchini in your garden or refrigerator? I can't think of one (she says with a mouthful of muffin).
"These are definitely the best use I’ve found for my abundance of zucchini! They’re easy and delicious." - Emily
It's zucchini season and if you don't have a garden full of the stuff, you probably know someone who does. The first time I ever planted a garden, I planted, like, 12 zucchini plants because I had NO idea what I was doing. By August, we were eating zucchini everything, and I couldn't give the stuff away fast enough.
That must be how zucchini muffins, zucchini bread, and zucchini cake became a thing in the first place. Thrifty gardeners with mouths to feed and armfuls of zucchini probably just started adding it to everything. Why not?
Also, if you happen to be reading this sometime between July and October, I just love the idea of a late summer lunch of zucchini muffins with several kinds of fresh-from-the-garden salads like Israeli salad with pomegranate vinaigrette, Tabbouleh salad, and maybe some marinated feta along with a jar of olives. Perfection.
Ingredients Needed to Prepare this Recipe
- Old-fashioned oats. Because the oats are ground in a food processor for these muffins, it's important to use oats labeled "old fashioned" not "quick cooking".
- Brown sugar. Light or dark brown sugar work equally well in this recipe.
- Almonds. Use roasted almonds, roasted and salted almonds, or raw almonds in this recipe. Or, if you don't want nuts in your streusel or are baking for someone with a nut allergy, just leave them out.
- Cinnamon. A touch of cinnamon in the streusel and in the batter adds warm flavor to these muffins that provides a delicious backdrop to the blueberries and zucchini.
- Baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Butter. I used salted butter for the streusel in these muffins but if you're sensitive to salt, use unsalted.
- Blueberries and Zucchini. Fresh zucchini and blueberries make these muffins the perfect summer treat, but you can also use frozen blueberries if you prefer.
- Honey. The batter for these muffins is sweetened with a combination of brown sugar and honey. This combo adds flavor and moisture, working with the zucchini and blueberries to keep the muffins incredibly moist for days.
- Vegetable Oil. Using oil in muffins helps ensure that they'll stay soft and fresh tasting for several days if kept in the refrigerator.
- Whole wheat and all-purpose flour. All-purpose flour creates a soft, tender crumb and keeps the muffins from being too dense while whole wheat flour adds flavor and a bit of fiber.
- Vanilla extract. Be sure to use pure vanilla extract in these muffins. Imitation vanilla can add a bitter aftertaste.
- Optional - almond extract. I love to add a bit of almond extract to the batter for these muffins but this is 100% optional.
Additions and Substitutions
Like most muffin recipes, this one can easily be adapted to your personal tastes and dietary requirements. Here are a few suggested additions and substitutions:
- Not a fan of cinnamon? Leave it out entirely or substitute a bit of nutmeg, ginger, or cardamom.
- To make these muffins nut-free, simply leave the almonds out of the streusel and don't add the almond extract to the muffin batter.
- Instead of almonds, use pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts.
- Instead of or in addition to blueberries, toss in some fresh raspberries, blackberries, or any other kind of berry you like in any combination. Aim for about 12-14 total ounces (2 ½ cups) of berries.
- To make carrot blueberry muffins instead of zucchini blueberry muffins, simply swap out the grated zucchini for the same amount of grated carrot. There's no need to squeeze out excess water from carrots.
Step-by-Step Photos and Instructions
Zucchini adds a tremendous amount of moisture to baked goods. Which is good... up to a point. If you don't sop up some of the water in shredded zucchini before adding it to the batter, your muffins will not hold together. They will also have a very distinct vegetable taste. And, yes, you are adding vegetables to muffins, but, you don't want them to actually taste like a salad.
So, before you get started mixing up the batter for these muffins, grate the zucchini and squeeze out the excess water.
- After shredding your zucchini, spread it all out onto a clean kitchen towel, roll it up and twist with all your might. You might want to do this over the sink because water will literally drip from the towel as you twist.
- You can also press another kitchen towel over the zucchini to sop up the moisture. Just make sure you press out as much water as you can.
Add all of the streusel ingredients except the butter to a medium size bowl and give it a stir. Pour in the melted butter and use a rubber spatula (or your fingers) to mix the butter into the dry ingredients. Cover the bowl and set it aside while you make the muffin batter.
Add brown sugar, honey, vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla, and almond extract to a medium size bowl and whisk until everything is combined.
In another bowl, add the all-purpose and whole wheat flour, ground oats, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and stir to mix everything up.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until all the dry ingredients are moistened.
Stir the shredded zucchini into the muffin batter.
Toss the blueberries with a bit of all-purpose flour and gently stir them into the batter.
Pro tip! My love of streusel is one of the many reasons why I love using tulip paper liners. The liners stick up much higher than your muffin pan, allowing you to add more muffin batter than regular liners and holding in a generous amount of streusel.
This recipe will make 12 large muffins if you use tulip liners or 24 smaller muffins if you use regular paper liners.
How to Store These Muffins
Store zucchini blueberry muffins in an airtight container, or individually wrapped, at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Be sure to allow them to cool completely before wrapping them up or popping them into a container.
I especially love to store these muffins in the refrigerator because they are just as good cold as they are warm from the oven. I might even like them a little bit better cold from the fridge, especially in the morning with a hot cup of coffee. There's so much zucchini and blueberries in there that they stay moist and tender when cold even though this is not true about most muffins.
Zucchini Blueberry Muffins can also be frozen for up to 3 months. I like to wrap them individually when freezing for two reasons:
- Individually wrapped muffins are less likely to get freezer burn
- It's super easy to pull an individually wrapped muffin from the freezer and toss it into your bag when rushing out the door in the morning and don't have time for breakfast now but know you'll want something later.
More Recipes for Blueberry Lovers
This delicious Blueberry Loaf Cake is one of the many flavor variations that begin with my favorite Vanilla Loaf Cake recipe. The loaf can be made with fresh or frozen blueberries and has a buttery, tender crumb that practically melts in your mouth.
My favorite homemade double-crust blueberry pie includes a rich blueberry filling that's thick enough to hold its shape when sliced as opposed to a fruit filling that runs all over the place the second you slice it.
Blueberry crumb cake is one of those treats that's just as perfect for breakfast as it is for dessert. The cake includes blueberry sauce swirled into tender butter cake that's topped with a generous layer of New York style crumbs. It's sweet and buttery, and so delicious.
And you simply must try these blueberry corn muffins and thick blueberry pancakes for breakfast at least once this summer. Although, around our house, we're more likely to eat blueberry pancakes and corn muffins for dinner than we are for breakfast because breakfast for dinner is one of my favorite things. ♥️
For the Streusel:
- ¾ cup packed (160 grams) light or dark brown sugar
- ¾ cup (90 grams) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon table salt, OR 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅓ cup (30 grams) of old-fashioned oats
- ⅓ cup (50 grams) chopped almonds, roasted or raw
- 6 tablespoons (85 grams/ 3 ounces) salted or unsalted butter, melted
For the Muffins:
- 1 pound zucchini (4 medium zucchini)
- 1 cup (213 grams) packed dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup (84 grams) honey
- ¼ cup (50 grams) vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract, optional
- ¾ cup (90 grams) plus 1 tablespoon (7.5 grams) of all-purpose flour, divided
- ¾ cup (85 grams) whole wheat flour
- ½ cup (45 grams) of old-fashioned oats, ground in a food processor (measure after grinding)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon table salt, OR 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 12-14 ounces (2 - 2 & ½ cups) fresh blueberries
Make the streusel:
- Add all ingredients except the butter to a medium size bowl and stir to combine and break up the brown sugar. Pour in the melted butter and use your hands or a rubber spatula to fully incorporate. Cover and set aside.
Make the muffins
- Heat your oven to 375 degrees and line a muffin pan(s) with 12 paper tulip liners (see link below) or 24 regular paper liners.
- Grate the zucchini and spread it out onto a clean kitchen towel. Twist the zucchini in the towel, squeezing and pressing to absorb as much liquid from the zucchini as possible.
- Add the brown sugar, honey, vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla, and almond extract to a medium size bowl and whisk to combine.
- In another large bowl, add the ¾ cup all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, ground oats, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir to combine.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until all the dry ingredients are moistened. Add the shredded zucchini and stir just until blended.
- In a small bowl, add 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour and blueberries. Toss to coat the blueberries in the flour. Pour the blueberries into the muffin batter and stir gently to incorporate.
- Distribute the batter amongst the paper-lined muffin pan(s). Top the batter with streusel, squeezing the streusel between your fingers to create clumps.
- If making 12 large muffins, bake for 35-45 minutes. If making 24 small muffins, bake for 25-35 minutes longer. Test for doneness with a toothpick: stick the toothpick into one or two of the muffins and remove it. Examine the toothpick for signs of raw batter. These are very moist muffins, so crumbs might cling to the toothpick, but no raw batter should be in evidence.
- Remove the muffin pan(s) to a wire rack and let cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan before removing the muffins from the pan.
- The instructions for these muffins include a fairly long range for the bake time because the amount of water content in the muffins can vary widely from baker to baker. Even after squeezing the water out of the zucchini, the amount that ends up in the muffin batter can vary. So, watch your muffins as they bake, and be patient if they take a bit longer than usual.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 large muffin
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 379Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 498mgCarbohydrates: 60gFiber: 3gSugar: 36gProtein: 6g