Healthy blueberry muffins, made with applesauce, yogurt, oats and big, beautiful fresh blueberries (or frozen!) and no added fat or refined sugars. All of the taste and texture, none of the guilt!
A truly good-for-you breakfast, the easy way
It’s easy to fool ourselves into thinking that muffins are better for you than cupcakes. They’re breakfast food, after all. But when they’re filled with refined flours and sugars and unhealthy fats, they’re really just, well, cake.
Please don’t misunderstand, because I love cake. But I don’t love giving my children cake for breakfast, especially on a school morning. So healthy muffins are really a sweet spot (haha pardon the pun).
And these healthy blueberry muffins are made with applesauce and plain Greek yogurt, not vegetable oil or butter, and the whole grain goodness of oats. I love the idea of making a fresh, homemade breakfast every day, but there’s just no way that’s happening every day.
Moist and tender, these insanely delicious muffins are only lightly sweet and positively bursting with the goodness of blueberries. They’re super special right out of the oven (warm berries!), but they also freeze and defrost perfectly.
The rule in my house is that you’re on your own for breakfast on the weekend, but during the school week I’ve got you covered. And make-ahead breakfasts like these muffins are always in the freezer, waiting for a quick defrosting in the microwave or toaster oven.
How to make these whole grain healthy blueberry muffins
When I first developed this recipe, I always made the batter by dumping all of the ingredients other than the blueberries in a blender. That method still works!
Simply add the wet ingredients (applesauce, yogurt, eggs, vanilla) first, then followed by the sugar and then the dry ingredients (oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt). Then, fold in the blueberries, portion among the muffin wells, and bake.
I’ve switched up the directions below, though, to call for grinding the oats first, alone (or with the sugar if using coconut palm sugar, which tends to have a coarse grain). That way, you don’t risk overprocessing the batter which can lead to tough muffins.
Plus, whenever I make a wet batter in a blender, I feel like I’m leaving a few tablespoons of the precious batter behind in the machine. It’s a lot easier to get dry ingredients out of a blender!
Simply blend the oats (with or without the sugar) into a powder and place them in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar (if not already added), then the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and whisk to combine.
Add the wet ingredients and mix just until combined. Add the berries, tossed with a tiny bit of starch to prevent them from sinking right to the bottom of the batter, place in the muffin wells and bake.
Fresh or frozen blueberries
As with any blueberry muffin, feel free to use either fresh or frozen berries for delicious results. If you choose to use frozen berries, do not defrost them, and keep in mind that they will likely bleed into the batter and turn it a bit purple.
Using frozen berries won’t affect the taste one bit, though. You can have truly nutritious, naturally gluten free blueberry muffins all year long!
Can you make the muffins without oats?
Oats are appropriate on a gluten free diet, but you have to decide what is appropriate for you and your family. Since they’re ground into a fine powder for use in this recipe, you should be able to replace the oats here with quinoa flakes.
I haven’t tried this particular recipe with quinoa flakes in place of the oats, but I think they’d work great. I was about to try making them just the other day and realized I was out of quinoa flakes so I just went ahead with another batch of the oat-based recipe. My 3 teenagers will plow through another dozen muffins in no time!
Ingredients and substitutions
In place of regular Greek-style yogurt, you can definitely use a nondairy plain yogurt or sour cream substitute. If you use plain yogurt, be sure to drain it until it’s of a similar consistency to Greek-style yogurt, and then measure the ingredient by weight.
Since this recipe contains 2 eggs, you should be able to replace them with some success using your favorite egg substitute. My favorite is one “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel) per standard egg.
The applesauce in this recipe provides structure, sweetness, and tenderness to the muffins. The muffins don’t taste at all like applesauce. If you’d prefer to use bananas, try my recipe for banana oatmeal muffins.
Please see the discussion above about oats!
If you prefer to use unrefined sugars, go with the coconut palm sugar. It does have a coarse grain, though, so be sure to blend it along with the oats into a fine powder.
You can use an equal amount by weight of light brown sugar (which is what I use in the video, since I couldn’t find my treasure trove of coconut sugar). You could probably also use a brown sugar alternative, like Truvia brown sugar replacement.
I haven’t tried that, though, so you’ll have to experiment and please comment below and let us know how it went.
Healthy Blueberry Muffins
2 1/4 cups (225 g) certified gluten free old fashioned rolled oats (or regular rolled oats if GF is not an issue)
1/2 cup (80 g) granulated coconut palm sugar (or light brown sugar)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (240 g) smooth applesauce, at room temperature
1/2 cup (114 g) plain Greek-style yogurt (1%, 2% or 0% fat—but I prefer 2%), at room temperature
2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 ounces fresh (or frozen) blueberries
2 teaspoons (6 g) cornstarch (or arrowroot)
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Grease or line the wells of a standard 12-cup muffin tin, and set it aside.
In a blender (or food processor fitted with the steel blade), place the oats and process into a fine powder. If you’re using coconut palm sugar, place that in the blender, too, and process it too. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the applesauce, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla, and mix until just combined. Add the blueberries tossed in cornstarch, and mix gently until the blueberries are evenly distributed throughout the batter. The batter will be thick but very soft. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared wells of the muffin tin. Shake the tin back and forth to evenly distribute the batter in the wells.
Place the tin in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the tops of the muffins are nicely domed and they spring back when pressed gently with a finger, about 18 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Adapted from my Healthy Banana Breakfast Muffins. Originally published on the blog in 2016. Some photos, video, some text new; recipe method changed for sake of simplicity and best results.