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Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins | With Rice Flour

Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins | With Rice Flour

This recipe for gluten free blueberry muffins with rice flour is the simplest version you’ll find. You only need one single flour to make them moist, tender, and bursting with blueberry flavor.

One single gluten free blueberry muffin with rice flour pictured on a plate being served.

Baking gluten free with rice flour alone

For as long as I’ve been baking gluten free, I’ve been baking with gluten free flour blends. No single flour can do the work of conventional all purpose wheat flour, so wheat-free baking calls for flour blends.

All that is still true. But that didn’t stop me from being curious about what we could do with, say, just rice flour.

Especially when you’re new to gluten free baking, you don’t have a fully stocked gluten free pantry. It’s those sort of limitations that led me to produce recipes for flourless baking.

Since rice flour is the base flour for all of our all purpose gluten free flour blends, we learned to make our own flour from long grain white rice. Eliminating rice from all purpose gluten free flour blends is kind of like eliminating gluten from conventional baking.

We modify the ratios in basic baking recipes to suit the differences in all purpose gluten free flour blends. Despite marketing claims, a true 1 for 1 all purpose gluten free flour as a replacement for conventional flour is a myth.

So why not modify those ratios again to bake with only rice flour? Since you can make your own rice flour if you’re in a pinch, a rice flour only recipe can be a real pantry baked good.

It took a few tries, but it finally worked. And because blueberries add pectin and moisture, the greatest success was in making gluten free blueberry muffins with rice flour.

Raw batter for gluten free blueberry muffins with rice flour in a bowl, being mixed.

Make mine superfine

As always, our rice flour must be ground superfine. If your rice flour is not superfine, it won’t completely combine with other ingredients. Unless you’re soaking the flour before baking like you do with yeast bread, your baked goods will taste gritty.

Gritty gluten free baked goods are at best “good, for gluten free.” And that’s not good enough.

Gluten free blueberry muffins with rice flour raw batter in the muffin wells.

Baking with fresh or frozen blueberries

We’ve made blueberry muffins before. My favorite to date was our bakery style gluten free blueberry muffins, and they can be made with fresh or frozen blueberries.

The same holds true for these blueberry muffins. I’ve made them succesfully with both frozen and fresh berries.

When you bake with frozen blueberries, you shouldn’t defrost them at all. In fact, they should only be added after the batter is completely mixed and ready, and your muffin tin is waiting nearby.

Remove the berries from the freezer, and add them to the muffin batter. Stir quickly but gently, taking care not to break many of the berries, which will tend to turn the batter blue.

If you’re very rough with the berries and too many of them burst, your batter may have too much moisture. Too much moisture will create muffins that tend to sink when they come out of the oven, but it’s not a big risk.

Gluten free blueberry muffins with rice flour in a muffin tin, just out of the oven.

Ingredients and substitutions

Dairy

These muffins calls for buttermilk specifically. A mixture of lemon juice or mild vinegar and milk is just not buttermilk (it doesn’t come close to the proper consistency), so please don’t use that and expect similar results.

When I run out of buttermilk (which happens often) but I still need it for baking, I use half milk and half plain yogurt by volume. If you can’t have dairy, use plain nondairy yogurt.

If you can’t have dairy, in place of butter you can probably use any butter replacement (but not oil). Earth Balance buttery sticks would probably work just fine. So would one of my favorite vegan butters (Melt brand or Miyoko’s Kitchen brand).

Eggs

There are 2 whole eggs in this recipe that makes only 6 muffins. That’s indeed a lot of eggs, and accounts for their relatively yellow color.

In recipe testing, I made them with half as many eggs and a bit more baking powder to compensate for the lift that egg whites provide. They tasted bitter and were more fragile.

Cornstarch

I made such a big show of using only rice flour in these muffins, so why add cornstarch? Well, you don’t have to add cornstarch.

You can use another starch, like potato starch or arrowroot in its place. Or you can use all rice flour (a full cup). The cornstarch helps to soften and lighten the crumb a bit, but it’s entirely not necessary.

I’m kiiiind of inclined to offer that you try replacing each of the two eggs with one “chia egg” each. But I’m not sure.

The more I experiment with vegan baking, the less I like most of the egg replacements we usually turn to. I’m working on something better, but nothing to recommend just yet.

Xanthan gum

You don’t need to use xanthan gum in this recipe. The crumb of the muffins has a great texture either way.

But they do tend to crumble a bit without just that small amount of xanthan gum. And like most recipes made without xanthan gum, they don’t stay fresh quite as long without it.

 

Gluten free blueberry muffin with rice flour pictured with a bite taken and a blueberry falling out.

This recipe for gluten free blueberry muffins with rice flour is the simplest version you'll find. You only need one single flour to make them moist, tender, and bursting with blueberry flavor.

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 6 muffins

Ingredients

3/4 cup (120 g) superfine white rice flour

1/4 cup (36 g) cornstarch (or 1 full cup superfine white rice flour)

1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar

2 tablespoons (28 g) packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) buttermilk, at room temperature

2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

4 ounces blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Coarse sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease or line 6 standard-size wells of a muffin tin, and set the tin aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the rice flour (or rice flour and cornstarch), (optional) xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and granulated sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the brown sugar, and mix to combine, breaking up any lumps. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk, eggs, and butter, and mix to combine. The batter should be smooth and glossy (and rather yellow). Add most of the blueberries, reserving a few for placing on top of the batter in the wells.

  • Divide the batter among the prepared wells of the muffin tin, filling each well almost completely full. Add any reserved berries to any tops that look rather bare. Sprinkle the tops very lightly with the (optional) coarse sugar.

  • Place the tin in the center of the preheated oven and bake until domed, pale golden, and the top of each muffin springs back when pressed gently in the center (about 20 minutes). Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Love,
Nicole

  • cindy osborne
    May 18, 2020 at 1:13 PM

    Just curious…when your recipes call for unsalted butter is that a preference or does the salt change the batter a bit?

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 18, 2020 at 1:34 PM

      There’s only one recipe here that calls for salted butter, and it’s very high quality Irish butter. Otherwise, always use unsalted butter in baking since it allows you to control the amount of salt in a recipe.

  • Wendy Barker
    May 17, 2020 at 2:19 PM

    I made these for the second time this morning because my husband requested them after using up the 6 I made previously. This time I added the zest of a lemon to the batter and he declares it a good addition. Thanks for this recipe. Next time I’m going to make a dozen and he can freeze some of them.

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 17, 2020 at 4:21 PM

      I agree that that sounds like a very good addition, Wendy. They freeze great, so you’re on the right track! So glad he enjoyed them.

  • Betsy Taylor
    May 15, 2020 at 1:36 PM

    Absolutely delicious! And easy, too. Thanks, Nicole.

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 15, 2020 at 1:43 PM

      You’re so welcome, Betsy!

  • Shelley
    May 13, 2020 at 2:35 PM

    These ARE magical!! I’m typically not a fan of rice based baked goods, but these are fantastic!! Absolutely everything you want in a blueberry muffin!

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 13, 2020 at 3:29 PM

      It’s kind of strange, right, Shelley? Who would have thought it. But it’s true! So glad you had a great experience.

  • Regina
    May 13, 2020 at 9:16 AM

    These are delicious! I only added some lemon and vanilla flavour. German and Amrican muffin tins seem to be
    different, though, as the dough was enough for 12 muffins … ;-)

    Kind regards,
    Regina

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 13, 2020 at 4:41 PM

      Why am I not entirely surprised at that difference between German and American muffin well sizes, Regina? hahaha Lemon flavor is a great choice. And vanilla extract never hurts.

  • Judy Colbo
    May 12, 2020 at 7:11 PM

    I made these yesterday by weighing everything, then comparing the weighed items to cup measurements. I found that there wasf less than 1/2 gm difference. I used an old coffee grinder to regrind the rice flour I had on hand, it came out smooth. I must have used smaller muffin tins because I made 8 muffins. The only thing I changed was I added 1/2 tsp lemon flavor. They are nice.

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 12, 2020 at 7:38 PM

      Judy, there is no standardization of volumetric containers. That’s a large part of why it is essential to weigh ingredients rather than measure them by volume. It isn’t instructive to compare the two, since there is user error and variation, which we weigh to eliminate.

  • Radhika
    May 11, 2020 at 1:18 PM

    Hi could I please use Psyllium husk instead of xantham gum? Due to the lockdown xantham gum is not available!

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 11, 2020 at 2:05 PM

      I’m afraid it will not work in my recipes, no, Radhika. Sorry!

  • Jennifer
    May 11, 2020 at 7:47 AM

    My grandson has a gluten allergy and rice allergy. Do you have any recipes for cakes, cupcakes and cookies that use tapioca or coconut flour? Thanks!

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 11, 2020 at 9:13 AM

      Please have a look at my Paleo recipes, Jennifer!

  • Mary T
    May 10, 2020 at 9:20 PM

    What about sweet rice flour? I don’t really know the difference. Bought some in my frenzy when my husband was first diagnosed with celiac.

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 11, 2020 at 9:13 AM

      I’m afraid not, Mary. Please see my explanation to Haley!

  • Haley
    May 10, 2020 at 7:56 PM

    Can I use sweet white rice flour?

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 10, 2020 at 7:59 PM

      I’m afraid that behaves quite differently in baking, Haley! Especially since this is just one single flour, you really must use this flour specifically.

  • Wendy Barker
    May 10, 2020 at 4:11 PM

    Have you tried doubling the recipe?

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 10, 2020 at 5:14 PM

      Yes! You can absolutely do that, Wendy. Just be sure to measure by weight and you can make 12 muffins for sure.

  • Anita
    May 10, 2020 at 12:58 PM

    I can’t have egg whites or corn due to allergies. Can I use a flax egg?

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 10, 2020 at 5:15 PM

      Please see the ingredients and substitutions section, Anita.

  • janet Leo
    May 10, 2020 at 11:31 AM

    Could I use brown rice flour?
    Janet

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 10, 2020 at 11:52 AM

      I’m afraid not, Janet. The difference between brown rice flour and white rice flour is like the difference between whole wheat flour and conventional all purpose flour. They just don’t behave the same at all.

  • Anupama Basu
    May 10, 2020 at 7:39 AM

    Hi Nicole… I love in Myanmar and I am unable to get fresh or frozen blueberries. I have found dehydrated cranberries only… how can I use them?

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 10, 2020 at 8:36 AM

      I’m afraid you can’t make these muffins with dried fruit, Anupama. You need the moisture from the berries. I have so many other muffins recipes, though. I’m sure you could find one to suit your needs.

  • Julie L
    May 6, 2020 at 7:09 PM

    Never run out of buttermilk again! Pour 1/4 to 1/2 cup buttermilk in the bottom of a quart jar. Fill the rest of the jar with your dairy milk of choice, cap tightly and shake gently to blend. Simply leave it on the counter overnight and when it’s thickened in the morning put it in the fridge. When our quarantine started mid-March I had a bunch of milk (like 5 gallons) that was dated within the week so I made a gallon of buttermilk and a gallon of yogurt. I’ve made a gallon more buttermilk since then, it’s good for everything!
    I’m sure we’ll be making these muffins soon as we’re about down to our last ten pounds of rice flour. (I’ll miss you, better batter!)
    As always, thank you so much Nicole! Your GFOAS Quick and Easy is to me now what Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook was to me in college. 💕

  • Lori Golly
    May 6, 2020 at 4:22 PM

    Have you experimented with any other fruit? Do you think raspberries or rhubarb would work ?

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 6, 2020 at 5:14 PM

      Hi, Lori, I actually haven’t tried the muffins with a different fruit, but I feel confident that any berries would work. I do not recommend using rhubarb, no. But I feel good about raspberries or even chopped strawberries. Think of chopping them to about the size of blueberries. 🙂

  • Betty Bingham
    May 6, 2020 at 11:12 AM

    can I use coconut sugar in place of the white and brown sugars?

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 6, 2020 at 11:45 AM

      I really don’t recommend that, Betty. Sugar is sugar, and these are not meant to be healthful. I tried the recipe with all brown, all granulated, and a mix of both was by far the best result. I don’t recommend making additional substitutions except where essential, and even then I can’t promise results.

  • Catherine
    May 6, 2020 at 9:47 AM

    Could you use cultured buttermilk powder? If so, how much would you recommend?

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 6, 2020 at 9:51 AM

      I love buttermilk powder, but not really hydrated as a buttermilk substitute, Catherine! It just doesn’t create that thickness that I find so useful in recipes like these.

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