Mixed Berry Muffins with Lemon-Sugar Topping

These mixed berry muffins have to be one of the most comforting treats of all time. The crunchy lemon sugar topping with the moist cake-like center filled with sweet, juicy berries is just about all the tasty goodness I can stand.

baked mixed berry muffins on cooling rack
Have you ever seen such moist, crumbly goodness? A little butter makes them perfect.

Lemon blueberry muffins with sour cream are a classic treat. These muffins kick the flavor up a notch with a tasty mixture of berries: blueberries, huckleberries, blackberries, or the mixture of your choice.

Below I offer a few tips and tricks to ensure moist, flavorful muffins with the berries evenly distributed through the center.

How Do You Keep Muffins from Getting Dry? 

One of the challenges with baking muffins is to keep them from becoming dry and tasteless. However, there are a few tricks to keep your muffins tender, moist, and delicious.

muffins in tin with gooey berry filling
Sour cream is one key to keeping these mixed berry muffins moist.

I find that using oil and sour cream in muffins gives them just enough liquid and fat to keep them super moist. Many times, cooks will use butter for its  admittedly great flavor, but oil gives the muffins more moisture. Better to spread the butter on them after they’re baked!

Believe it or not, another common cause of dry muffins is over-mixing. That’s because too much mixing crushes the air bubbles. Mix your batter only enough to make sure that the flour is incorporated.

Don’t overbake the muffins. Start checking on these mixed berry muffins around the 12-minute mark, and don’t allow them to go beyond 20 minutes.

Don’t allow muffins to cool in the pan because that creates a tough exterior. It also can cause them to overcook because they will continue cooking in the hot pan. Instead, transfer the muffins to a cooling rack after removing them from the oven.

overhead view of berry muffins baked with sugar crumb topping

Why Use Sour Cream in Blueberry, Huckleberry, or Any Berry Muffin?

You may have noticed the large number of muffin recipes with sour cream as an ingredient. Here’s why sour cream is such a popular addition:

As mentioned above, sour cream helps keep the muffins moist.

It has a high fat content along with high acidity. This combo helps add a little extra tang of flavor that pairs perfectly with berries.

Sour cream also makes muffins moister than milk can. While milk thins out the batter, sour cream adds a creaminess to the final texture.

Besides controlling browning, sour cream activates the baking soda.

Finally, the sour cream helps to keeps the batter thick enough to hold the berries in the batter. It’s the answer the question, “How do you keep berries from sinking in muffins?” You’ve probably noticed that if your batter is too thin, the berries clump together at the bottom of the muffin.

closeup of fruit center of freshly baked muffin
Notice how the berries spread evenly throughout the muffin, not just on the bottom.

Lemon Sugar Muffin Topping

The lemon sugar topping for these mixed berry muffins is an absolute must. I like using turbinado sugar (like Sugar in the Raw®) for the sugar in this topping. The crystals in turbinado sugar are larger than white processed sugar, so they give your topping extra crunch.

If you find yourself without any turbinado sugar, you can always use light brown sugar. I like mixing my brown sugar with a little caster sugar. Brown sugar tends to be a little “wet,” so it needs the white to balance this out.

closeup of mixed berry muffin with moist center
Sugar crumb topping and gooey fruit are an unbeatable combination.

Can You Use Frozen Berries in Muffins?

Certainly you can! However, if you over-mix the berries, you will have pinkish muffins instead of berry dotted muffins, so be careful folding the frozen berries into the mix.

Make sure the berries are fairly dry. One way to do this is to toss them with a little flour before adding them to the batter. There’s no need to thaw the berries; they will cook just fine in the oven.

muffins in muffin tin, fresh from oven
Frozen berries work fine if you’re careful not to over-mix them.

How to Make Mixed Berry Muffins

Here’s the process step by step.

  1. In a bowl, add the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and mix well.
  2. In a separate bowl, add the wet ingredients: eggs, oil, and the juice of one lemon.
  3. Slowly mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients being careful not to over-mix.
  4. Fold in berries and divide into a lined or prepared cupcake baking pan.
  5. Add huckleberry or blueberry jam to the center of each muffin and top with the lemon sugar topping. Bake at 400°F until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean, about 15 minutes to 20 minutes.

What Can I Serve With Berry Muffins?

What do you serve with berry muffins? For breakfast, my family always enjoys vanilla yogurt with a drizzle of honey alongside their berry muffins and coffee. For extra berry goodness, try this luscious berry parfait recipe.

I hope your family enjoys these mixed berry muffins as much as we do. They are so simple but oh so delicious. Happy Eating!

p.s. For more about the incredible blueberry, check out my post Blueberries, Wild to Cultivated.

baked mixed berry muffins on cooling rack

Mixed Berry Muffins with Lemon-Sugar Topping

Course Bread, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 18 muffins


For the Lemon-Sugar Topping

  • 3 tablespoons turbinado cane sugar Sugar in the Raw
  • zest of one lemon

For the Muffins

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 lemon juice and zest
  • 1 1/2-2 cups fresh or thawed frozen huckleberries blackberries, or blueberries or a mixture of berries
  • 3/4 cup huckleberry or blueberry jam


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • In a small bowl, stir together turbinado sugar and lemon zest and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  • In a separate bowl or measuring cup, combine the eggs, sour cream, and oil.
  • Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Using a spatula, gently incorporate fresh berries into the batter. Don’t over mix.
  • Divide batter evenly into 18 greased or paper lined muffin cups. Batter should fill the cups.
  • Spoon one teaspoon of berry jam on top of each mound of batter and sprinkle the top with lemon-sugar topping.
  • Bake at 400*F for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Cool muffins in the pan for bout 5 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
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  1. Betty Wright says:

    I have made these muffins 3 times and they are wonderful.

    1. I am so glad. These are some of my favorites. Thank you so much for letting me know!!

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