Does Tossing Blueberries in Flour Really Keep Them From Sinking?

We tested a LOT of muffins to find out. 

Split Blueberry Muffins
Photo: Grace Elkus

It's a cooking hack found all over the Internet, and advice written into the notes of many muffin recipes: Tossing blueberries in flour will keep the fruit from sinking to the bottom. But does it actually work?

In a new series called "Is It Worth It?" we're testing out the extra steps recipes call for to see if they're worth the additional effort. Think: peeling chickpea skins for creamier hummus, refrigerating cookie dough overnight for more flavorful results, and, in this case, tossing blueberries—or any fruit—in flour to keep them from sinking and/or bleeding.

I began by making two batches of our blueberry streusel muffin recipe. In the first batch, I removed two tablespoons of flour from the total amount the recipe called for. When it came time to fold in the blueberries, I first tossed them in the reserved flour. This kept the total amount of flour in the muffins the same (and avoided the possibility of dry muffins).

In the second batch, I folded the blueberries into the batter as-is. Before cutting into them, the muffins looked nearly identical.

Grace Elkus

When I sliced them in half, I expected the muffins on the right (the flour-tossed batch) to have a more even distribution of blueberries. In reality, I could barely tell a difference between the two batches. They both had blueberries in the top and bottom halves of the muffins and neither batch suffered significantly from bleeding blueberry juice (which I had read the flour also helps prevent).

Blueberry Muffins
Grace Elkus

My next thought was that perhaps the blueberries remained suspended due to the thickness of my muffin batter. To test this theory, I needed to make the muffins again with a thinner muffin batter (more pourable than scoopable). So I turned to a box mix—replacing the dried blueberries with fresh ones—and repeated my experiment. Once again, tossing the fruit in flour did not make a noticeable difference.

My conclusion? It's not worth it to toss your blueberries in flour before baking muffins. Use the extra time to make a streusel topping, instead.

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