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 that 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 simply folded the blueberries into the batter as-is. Before cutting into them, the muffins looked nearly identical.
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).
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.