Let’s continue to use up that rhubarb harvest with these brown butter rhubarb muffins! If you’re already a fan of either brown butter or rhubarb, I probably don’t need to do a hard sell on these, but just in case: These are super easy to make. They’re perfectly soft and moist (ew, moist! but no other word is sufficient). They’re a little tart from the rhubarb, but the warmth of the brown butter and cinnamon, plus sweet streusel topping, balances it out perfectly. These make the IDEAL addition to a weekend brunch.
Tools & equipment for Brown Butter Rhubarb Muffins
- measuring cups and spoons
- Small skillet
- Cutting board & knife
- Liquid measuring cups
- Large & medium mixing bowls
- Muffin tin
- Muffin liners (I love these)
- Ice cream scoop or large cookie scoop
- Whisk or forks
- Pastry cutter
Ingredients for Brown Butter Rhubarb Muffins
For the muffin batter:
- All-purpose flour
- Granulated sugar
- Brown sugar
- Fine sea salt
- Baking powder
- Ground cinnamon
- Buttermilk: substitutions are possible but not recommended
- Unsalted butter
- Vanilla extract or paste (if desired)
- Fresh rhubarb: I recommend dicing very finely
For the streusel topping:
- All-purpose flour
- Brown sugar
- Ground cinnamon
- Unsalted butter (cold!)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit. Line a muffin tin with twelve liners and set aside. Let your eggs and buttermilk come to room temperature.
If not already done, finely dice your rhubarb: I like the pieces quite small, it keeps the muffins from sogging and the fruit from sinking, as well as dispersing the tartness.
Brown your butter: place the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Let it melt and continue to cook. It will begin popping and bubbling; stir gently with a spatula and keeping cooking. When the popping stops, it will start to brown. Continue to occasionally stir gently as brown bits begin to appear on the bottom. When a lot of brown bits have formed and butter is very aromatic, remove from the heat. If you turn your back on the butter after the browning has started, it could burn, and you will know from the smell!
Set butter aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, salt, baking powder and cinnamon until combined.
In a large liquid measuring cup, beat together buttermilk, butter, eggs and vanilla.
Pour wet ingredient mixture into dry ingredient mixture and use a spatula to mix well, but don’t overmix- stop combining when a few little flour streaks remain. Similar to pancake batter, the muffins will toughen if they are overmixed.
Add rhubarb and mix well.
Use an ice cream scoop or a large spring loaded cookie scoop to scoop batter into the prepared muffin tin.
Make the streusel topping:
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and cinnamon until well combined. I recommend a bigger bowl than you think you need: more space makes it easier to cut the butter in.
Cut the cold butter into small cubes and add to the dry mixture. Use a pastry cutter or two forks to cut the butter into the flour mixture until it forms coarse crumbs.
Sprinkle the streusel mixture on top of the muffin batter.
Place in oven and bake 16-19 minutes, until golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack. Enjoy warm or room temperature.
These are definitely best the day they’re baked, but they freeze well too if you can’t finish them.
Can I substitute buttermilk?
Buttermilk gives baked goods a tender texture and delicious flavor. I don’t recommend substituting it if you don’t have to, but if you do, you can try this: Place a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar in a liquid measuring cup, then add milk (whole or 2%) to equal one cup. Allow to sit at least 5 minutes, or for this recipe, until it comes to room temp.
You can also try just substituting it with plain whole milk: again, the flavor and texture may change somewhat, but they will probably still be pretty tasty!
The rhubarb is sinking to the bottom!
I haven’t had this problem with the rhubarb diced finely, but it can definitely be an issue in muffins if you’re using bigger or heavier fruit. If you encounter this, you can scoop a small amount of plain batter (prior to adding rhubarb) into each muffin liner, then stir rhubarb into the remaining batter and continue to fill the muffin tins.
- For the batter:
- 2 1/4 cup (286g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (50g) lightly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 1 stick (113g) unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- 1 1/2 cup finely diced rhubarb
- For the streusel topping:
- 1/2 cup (64g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (100g) lightly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 5 Tbsp cold unsalted butter
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.
- Line a muffin tin with twelve paper or silicone liners and set aside.
- Brown the butter: add unsalted butter to a small skillet (stainless steel works well) and place on the stove over medium-low heat. Allow to melt and cook; the butter will pop and froth. When the popping stops, stir gently with a spatula and watch for browning. Shortly after the popping stops, brown bits will begin to appear and the bottom. When a lot of brown bits begin to appear and butter darkens and is very aromatic, remove from heat and allow to cool
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon until combined.
- In a bowl or large liquid measuring cup, beat together buttermilk, butter, eggs and vanilla until combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredient mixture. Combine, but do not overmix! Stop when a couple small flour streaks remain.
- Add rhubarb and mix.
- Scoop batter into prepared muffin tin.
- Make the streusel topping: in a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and cinnamon.
- Cut cold butter into small cubes and add to dry ingredients. Use a fork or a pastry cutter to cut butter into flour mixture until mixture forms large coarse crumbs.
- Sprinkle streusel over muffin batter.
- Place pan in oven, bake for 16-19 minutes. Muffins will be golden brown. Remove pan to a cooling rack.
- Enjoy warm or room temperature. Muffins are best fresh, but they can be frozen for later!
1. I recommend dicing rhubarb quite finely for these- this will prevent sogging or sinking rhubarb.
2. You can substitute the buttermilk, though I can't promise it will be exactly the same: measure one Tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup. Add 2% or whole milk to the one cup line. Let sit 5 minutes, or until room temp
How did they turn out? Let me know in the comments!
Pin for later:
Need another rhubarb recipe?
For another quick & easy breakfast treat, try rye scones.