Gluten Free Blueberry Muffin Tops

Gluten Free Blueberry Muffin Tops

These gluten free blueberry muffin tops have all the best parts of a blueberry muffin, just without the “stump.” No special baking equipment needed for this easy one-bowl recipe.

Gluten free Blueberry Muffin Top closeup image showing inside of muffin top.

Tops and stumps

If you’ve ever watched Seinfeld, you might remember the episode where Elaine owns part of a bakery that sells only the tops of muffins. The muffin top is the best part, filled with the lumpy, craggy lightly browned bits.

They bake the whole muffin, though, and then discard the “stumps.” It’s actually not a particularly funny episode if you ask me. But it’s right about the tops. And of course here we just bake the tops.

No special equipment

The concept of muffin tops has become popular enough that there are “muffin top pans” that you can buy. I do not count such a purchase among my baking excesses. Instead, these gluten free blueberry muffin tops are made … on a baking sheet.

These muffin tops have the right balance of flour, fat, blueberries, and just a bit of liquid, so they puff up enough to make the craggy bits. But they don’t spread too much.

They really do just taste like the tops of the muffins. The outside of the muffin top is this thin, lightly sweet shell and the inside is moist, tender and satisfying.

Gluten free Blueberry Muffin Tops raw on baking tray

How to bake with (frozen) blueberries

Ideally, we’d all only eat the freshest, round and gorgeous blueberries. We’d only bake blueberry recipes like these muffin tops, our bakery-style blueberry muffins, or our blueberry muffin bread with the best of the best.


Back in the real world, if it’s not the middle of blueberry season, most of the blueberries I can find at my grocery store are tiny, tart, kind of chewy (?) and crazy expensive. That’s when I bake with frozen blueberries.

There are few tips for baking with frozen blueberries. First, be sure to buy the larger kind of berries, not what are usually sold as “wild blueberries,” which are delicious but tend to be quite small and are more likely to disappear into the batter.

Then, do not defrost the frozen berries.. Just rinse them with cold water before tossing in the dry ingredients. This will help keep the color of the blueberries from bleeding into the batter during baking.

Gluten free blueberry muffin tops on a baking tray, just out of the oven.

Ingredients and substitutions

Dairy: The dairy in this recipe is in the form of both butter and buttermilk. I haven’t tried replacing them, but you should be able to make these gluten free blueberry muffin tops dairy-free with a few tweaks.

In place of the butter, try using Melt brand or Miyoko’s Kitchen brand vegan butter, my favorite butter substitutes for baking. Either one should work in this recipe without any further adjustments.

If you can’t locate either brand of vegan butter, try using Earth Balance buttery sticks, but eliminate the salt in the recipe and don’t press down the mound of batter before baking. Earth Balance has a lot more moisture than butter, so the muffin tops with naturally spread more in the oven.

For a dairy-free alternative to buttermilk, I recommend trying half (1 1/2 tablespoons) plain nondairy yogurt and half (1 1/2 tablespoons) unsweetened nondairy milk. “Souring” plain nondairy milk with some vinegar will not replicate the thickness of true buttermilk.

Eggs: You can try replacing the single egg in this recipe with a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel). Since there’s only a single egg, it should work well.

Corn: In place of cornstarch, try using arrowroot or even potato starch. There are only two tablespoonfuls so it should work either way.

The purpose of the added starch is to lighten the all purpose gluten free flour blend a bit. If you’re already using a higher starch blend like Cup4Cup gluten free flour, just use 2 more tablespoons of that flour instead of the added starch.

Gluten Free Blueberry muffin tops overhead image in a wax paper bag.

These gluten free blueberry muffin tops have all the best parts of a blueberry muffin, just without the "stump."

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 7 muffin tops


1 1/4 cups (175 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)

3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

2 tablespoons (18 g) cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar

3/4 cup (about 125 g) whole blueberries (fresh or frozen)*

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 tablespoons (1 1/2 fluid ounces) buttermilk, at room temperature

Coarse sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

*If your blueberries are frozen, do not defrost them before adding them to the muffin top batter. Just rinse them in cold water before tossing in the dry ingredients as described in the recipe instructions below.


  • Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and granulated sugar, and whisk to combine well. Transfer 1 tablespoon of the dry ingredients to a small bowl, add the blueberries and toss to coat, then set the blueberries aside. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter, egg, vanilla, and buttermilk, and mix until just combined. Add the blueberries and reserved dry ingredients, and gently fold the berries into the batter just until they are evenly distributed throughout.

  • Scoop the dough into about 7 mounds, each about 3 tablespoons, and place about 1 1/2-inches apart from one another. With wet hands, press each mound down lightly to form a thick disk. Sprinkle each top lightly with coarse sugar.

  • Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake until puffed and set in the center, and just beginning to brown on the edges (about 14 minutes). Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the muffin tops to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


Comments are closed.

  • Esther
    March 4, 2020 at 9:05 AM

    Made them twice and love them. Second time added cinnamon and chopped walnuts which added more flavor, and upped the blueberries to 1 cup. Finished off the baking with a minute under the broiler to give them a nice crisp brown color . I will keep making these as they’re great with a cup of tea or coffee.

  • Franee
    March 2, 2020 at 12:34 AM

    Why kosher salt? Can you use regular salt?

    • Nicole Hunn
      March 2, 2020 at 8:15 AM

      Hi, Franee, kosher salt is very commonly used in baking (and cooking) largely because it’s much harder to overmeasure since the grains are so much larger. If you’d like to use table salt, please use half the amount.

  • Chris in VA
    February 27, 2020 at 9:01 PM

    Thank you Nicole! I actually ordered and already received today from Amazon two of your books! Gluten-Free on a Shoestring, second edition and Gluten-Free Small Bites and I can’t wait to make some of your recipes :). I bought fresh blueberries today and plan on making you muffin tops this weekend :). Thank you again for sharing all of your flavor tested recipes!
    The next thing I want to tackle is Gluten-free chocolate croissants as I make killer regular ones!

    • Nicole Hunn
      February 28, 2020 at 3:04 PM

      Thank you so much for your support, Chris, and I think you picked the two books I’ve been using most frequently in my own kitchen lately. Well done!

  • Chris in VA
    February 24, 2020 at 4:27 PM

    I recently discovered your website and am so excited to try a bunch of your recipes as they actually sound edible for gluten free! Thank you so much for sharing as I am new to this venture! Sincerely, Chris in VA

    • Nicole Hunn
      February 24, 2020 at 5:48 PM

      Welcome, Chris! We won’t tolerate just edible around here. And “good, for gluten free” is equally unacceptable. We demand great! :)

  • Carol
    February 23, 2020 at 8:54 AM

    Absolutely delicious! I usually add a bit of lemon zest, or even orange or lime zest to muffins, etc, depending on what I a making.In my house, all citrus for eating(oranges) ,or for serving with fish,etc. is naked! I zest them, wrap the zest in a bit of labeled plastic wrap and put this bits in a quart freezer bag. My husband is used to naked oranges and even tells me to zest them before he eats one……sort of silly to think about, but sure tastes good when he eats my creations.

  • Brenda
    February 23, 2020 at 8:42 AM

    Can I use milk instead of butter milk?

    • Nicole Hunn
      February 23, 2020 at 8:43 AM

      Please see the ingredients and substitutions section, Brenda!

  • Victoria Donaldson
    February 23, 2020 at 6:38 AM

    The one time “muffin tops” are a good thing! Can’t wait to try tomorrow

  • Carrie
    February 22, 2020 at 5:07 PM

    I made these today, and they are delicious! Thank you so much for another lovely recipe, and for all the work you do to make it possible to for us to create amazing food for our families!

    • Nicole Hunn
      February 23, 2020 at 8:23 AM

      I’m so glad you enjoyed them, Carrie. We should accept nothing but the best! ?

  • Kathleen Bender
    February 21, 2020 at 8:14 PM

    I do happen to own a muffin top pan…will they be the same if I use that?

    • Nicole Hunn
      February 22, 2020 at 11:37 AM

      Sure, Kathleen, I don’t see why not!

  • Sophia
    February 21, 2020 at 1:05 PM

    These look amazing! Now I have to go buy frozen blueberries!

    • Nicole Hunn
      February 21, 2020 at 3:26 PM

      It’s worth it for sure, Sophia!

Where should I send your free guide?

By entering your email, you're agreeing to our Privacy Policy. We respect your email privacy, and will never share your information.