The muffin man would be proud.
For a lot of folks, the only way to get that fruity, breakfast pastry fix is to head the nearest coffee shop or cafe and pick out something from the fresh bakery selection. While this is obviously a very legitimate option and something that we fully support you doing, it’s also possible to bring the joy of a freshly baked muffin right inside your home kitchen.
Yes, muffins from scratch are obviously delightful, but if you’re short on time or can’t seem to muster up the energy, don’t worry. Boxed mixes exist, and frankly, this is a fact of life that should be taken advantage of more often. In order to make your next boxed blueberry muffin mix experience the best one yet, we did the only thing that #serious #journalists would do, and tried all of them to see which brand makes the best one. Long story short, there was certainly a winner.
The Least Favorites
Betty Crocker Wild Blueberry ($2.59 per 16.9-ounce package)
One thing about boxed blueberry muffin mixes is that it’s pretty common for the final product to taste...artificial. For some, this flavor might bring back a wave of nostalgia, and if that’s you, we understand. However, the artificial flavor of these muffins in particular was borderline unbearable. One staffer said the baked good “tastes like the pre-packaged muffins you get at a gas station.” In other words, if you’re going to go through the trouble of making muffins at home, at least opt for something that doesn’t taste so fake.
Martha White Blueberry Mix ($0.99 per 7-ounce package)
As much as we want to cut this mix some slack because it’s a “just add milk” mix versus the others that require eggs, oil, and water, we just...can’t. Not only were these the most visually unappealing of the bunch, but there was something seriously off putting about the blueberries. One commenter referred to them as “blueberry pebbles,” and that about says it all. If you are planning on sharing a batch of these with anyone besides yourself, just be aware that it's highly unlikely anyone will ask you for the recipe.
Namaste “Sans Gluten” ($5.39 per 16-ounce package)
Admittedly, this was intended to be the outlier of the taste test. Not only is this mix gluten-free, but it also doesn’t include blueberries. Instead, we threw in some fresh blueberries to the plain mix and baked them according to the package instructions, in order to see if the fresh blueberries would take a boxed mix to the next level. The verdict? Not really. Although the fresh blueberries were much larger, juicier, and noticeably present in these muffins, versus the dehydrated berry varieties, the flavor of the mix itself was too upsetting to get past. An odd combination of bitter, gritty, and oddly corn-muffin like, this mix (which is the most expensive of all that we tried) is not a convenience product we would buy again, whether we have fresh fruit to add to it or not.
The Runners Up
Jiffy Blueberry Muffin Mix ($0.89 per 7-ounce package)
Don’t worry–we didn’t hate them all. In fact, we were pretty surprised by the lovely appearance of these muffins. Despite a somewhat cakey texture, the blueberry flavor that this mix offers was not offensively articifical. Overall, it was a pretty standard boxed blueberry muffin experience–they’re not going to change your life, but they’re also not going to leave guests asking why they were invited to the worst brunch ever (your friends can be your toughest critics, admit it).
Duncan Hines Simple Mornings ($2.99 per 20.5-ounce package)
I should clarify that this was not a runner up for everyone, but it was well-liked enough by most that we’re going to say it is. For someone who prefers a wheat-ier, whole-grain flavor, this is your best option by far. It’s not too dense or dull, yet still possesses a good level of sweetness and blueberry flavor. For some, the flavor was not their favorite because it felt too “healthy,” but if a nuttier, grainy taste is something you’re into, then these will be right up your alley.
The Clear Winner
Krusteaz Supreme Wild Blueberry ($2.29 per 17.1-ounce package)
Despite some mixed feelings about the muffins in the middle of the pack, everyone agreed that this was our winner. The tops of these muffins baked beautifully, acquiring a perfectly golden-brown dome that is tricky to achieve in a basic, from-scratch version. The texture was fluffy and tender, while the flavor was a healthy level of sweetness and enjoyably fruity. These are muffins that you could easily serve to others with confidence. Before you put your hands up and run out to the cafe, we think you should give these blueberry beauties a try.