Rhubarb season is in full swing and these rhubarb muffins with streusel topping perfectly capture the tangy flavors of rhubarb in a sweet and satisfying treat. My moist and tender muffins, loaded with fresh or frozen rhubarb and topped with a crunchy cinnamon streusel, are sure to become a favorite in your home as well. Not only does today’s post include our favorite recipe, but I also have some tips for selecting and preparing rhubarb, variations to try, and storage recommendations. Let’s dig in.
Rhubarb: The Star Ingredient
By now, you know I love rhubarb. In fact, I have a complete rhubarb growing guide, rhubarb dessert sauce, rhubarb jam, rhubarb bars, and rhubarb lemonade slush. I have so many more recipes I am working on posting too. Suffice it to say, I have a thing for rhubarb.
So What is Rhubarb?
Rhubarb is a unique perennial vegetable that is often used in sweet dishes, but did you know that its past is actually quite interesting and was medicinal, (Silk Road and diarrhea are part of its history)?
Today, it’s very popular for desserts like pies, crisps, and muffins. It has a tart, tangy flavor that goes so well with sweet ingredients, which results in a nice contrast.
Choosing the Best Rhubarb
When selecting rhubarb for your muffins, look for firm, crisp stalks. Depending on the type of rhubarb you have, some may be red or green or a combination of both. No matter the color of rhubarb you have, avoid stalks that are limp or have brown spots. Remember, only the stalks of rhubarb are edible and the leaves are poisonous. I place my ripped-off leaves in the base of my rhubarb bed to act as mulch.
Preparing Fresh Rhubarb
To prepare fresh rhubarb for your muffins, follow these simple steps:
- Wash the stalks thoroughly under cold water.
- Trim off the leafy ends and the bottoms of the stalks and throw ends away.
- If your stalks are thicker, I recommend you slice them down length-wise until they are ¼ inch in diameter.
- Next, cut the stalk into small, evenly-sized pieces, about ¼ inch in thickness.
- You may use your fresh rhubarb in the muffins and freeze any remaining rhubarb in a resealable freezer bag.
Can You Use Frozen Rhubarb?
Yes, you can use frozen rhubarb in your muffins! My favorite way to use frozen rhubarb in this recipe is to take it out of the freezer at the start of preparing the muffins. If your rhubarb pieces are a little to big, this is a great time to cut them up smaller (roughly ¼ cube size).
The Importance of Streusel Topping
These muffins are good with or without the streusel topping. I recommend you make the muffins with it though, especially if you want to decorate the tops with a little piece of rhubarb. I find that the streusel topping helps hold the rhubarb chunk up to the top a little better. (this is purely aesthetic though) In my recipe, I go very scant on the streusel but you can double the topping and load up if you want more crunch and texture on top.
Variations to Try
Rhubarb muffins with streusel topping are versatile, and you can experiment with different add-ins and flavorings to suit your taste. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Make strawberry rhubarb muffins by substituting half of the rhubarb with chopped strawberries.
- Add ½ teaspoon of almond extract to the batter and sliced almonds to the streusel for a nutty twist.
- Incorporate other fruits like blueberries, raspberries, or peaches for a burst of additional flavor.
Tips for Perfect Muffins
To ensure your rhubarb muffins turn out perfectly, keep these tips in mind:
- Do not overmix the batter, as this can result in tough, dense muffins. The batter should be slightly lumpy.
- Be cautious not to overbake the muffins, as this can cause them to become dry and crumbly.
- Fill the muffin cups only ⅔ full to allow room for the muffins to rise properly. If you fill them too full, they will weep over the edges and be more difficult to remove from your muffin pans.
- Make sure the butter for your streusel topping is cold. My butter was a bit on the warm side and it was more difficult to sprinkle over my muffin tops.
How to Store Rhubarb Muffins
To maintain your rhubarb muffins’ freshness and quality, follow these guidelines for the best results:
Storing at Room Temperature or in the Fridge
Store the muffins in an airtight container or a cake carrier at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to a week. Ensure the muffins are entirely cooled before storing them to prevent the streusel topping from becoming soggy.
Freezing Rhubarb Muffins
These rhubarb muffins with streusel topping can be frozen for up to four months. To freeze them, place your completely cooled muffins in a freezer-safe resealable bag. To eat, thaw the muffins at room temperature or warm them in the microwave for 30 seconds.
Let’s get to the recipe!
Rhubarb Muffins with Streusel Topping
- 1 c. light brown sugar, firmly packed
- ½ c. butter, melted
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1 c. buttermilk
- 2½ c. all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1½ c. rhubarb, diced to ¼-inch plus more for garnish
- 1 tbsp butter, cold
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp light brown sugar, packed
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Prepare your muffin pan with paper liners, or grease it well with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, mix the brown sugar and butter until well combined.
- Mix in the vanilla, egg, & buttermilk until it is an even consistency.
- To the butter mixture, add the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix until everything is thoroughly incorporated.
- Stir in your diced rhubarb and fill your muffin cups ⅔ full.
- Mix the streusel ingredients and sprinkle them on top of the filled muffin cups.
- Garnish with a piece of rhubarb just before placing the muffins into the oven.
- Bake muffins in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Let the muffins cool for a few minutes before removing them from the muffin tin.
Final Thoughts on My Rhubarb Muffins with Streusel Topping
These muffins do not have loads of sugar like you’ll find in so many rhubarb treats. In fact, I think the tartness that is so quintessentially rhubarb shines through perfectly with these muffins. The buttermilk makes for a very fluffy, moist, and tender muffin. They are simply delicious.
So, grab your fresh or frozen rhubarb and get to baking!