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Red currant muffins

These red currant muffins are lovely light, cake-y muffins full of tart little red currants, fresh from the market. This is the perfect recipe to throw together with any of the summer berries you can find. Bake it in a cake pan to cut and serve later, or in a muffin tin for summery breakfasts and snacks.Red currant muffins cooling on rack with glass of milk in background, one muffin open in front
 

Red currant berries, a welcome change from the usual

Red currants are definitely more common in European countries than they are in North America. The season is short and currants hit the market stands in July. Currants are tart and can vary in colour: there are white currants, red currants, and even black currants (known as cassis in French).

You can add currants to jams (like this strawberry red currant jam), muffins (like in the red currant muffin recipe below), and even cakes (like in this simple black currant cake).

A white bowl filled with red currants

Are currants the same fruit as dried currants?

Red currants (or white/black currants) are not the same as dried currants and if you dried a bunch of red currants, you would not have dried currants like what you buy in stores. Dried currants come from small grapes known as Corinthian grapes (raisins de Corinthe in French). And these tiny grapes are dried to form what is called dried currants, just like regular grapes are dried into raisins.
Ingredients measured out in small bowls and plates to make red currant muffins from scratch with a sugary crisp topping and sliced almonds
This recipe was adapted from Fine Cooking magazine, but I changed the mixing method significantly and I also added a crispy sugar topping . These are a lovely light, cake-y muffins full of tart little red currants, fresh from the market. This is the perfect recipe to throw together with any of the summer berries you can find. Bake it in a cake pan to cut and serve later, or in a muffin tin for summery breakfasts and snacks.

The mixing method I used for this muffin recipe is the reversed creaming method. All the dry ingredients and the sugar are whisked together, then the softened butter is worked into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles sand. At that point, you add the wet ingredients (which are already mixed together before adding them to the dry mixture).

   Making red currant muffins with a sugary crumble topping and sliced almonds on top    

I prefer this method over the muffin method or the two bowl method for two reasons:

  1. I like to bake my muffins with butter, but incorporating the melted butter with the cold wet ingredients makes it clump and then it doesn’t incorporate evenly into the muffin batter in the end.
  2. You could first incorporate wet and dry ingredients, then stir in the melted butter into the muffin batter, but for this I find that adds too many steps and it can be hard to incorporate a liquid fat properly in an already mixed batter, which leads to more mixing, which isn’t ideal!
  3. I don’t want to use any small electric appliance for muffins, so the creaming method is out: muffins should be easy! 

This is the easiest way I’ve found to bake muffins with butter and to incorporate the butter easily. This method works great! Try it!

Vintage muffin pan with big red currant muffins 3 of them on their side to show muffin paper and bottom

Crispy sugary muffin topping

I’ve made these red currants plain, garnished with just sliced almonds before baking, and I’ve baked them with a streusel topping (made of butter, sugar, flour, and ground almonds). Another interesting topping is a crispy sugar topping made from roughly equal parts, by weight, of butter, sugar, and flour. This sugar paste is broken up into pieces and scattered over the muffin tops before baking.

In the oven, the sugar paste melts quickly, forming a crispy sweet coating on the muffin top that is super tasty, adding a good amount of crunch.

Freshly baked red currant muffins

Since currants come in a variety of colours with varying levels of sweetness and tartness, you can bake with fresh currants interchangeably. But because fresh currants only grow in certain parts of the world, if you can’t find currants at all, wild blueberries (or other blueberries) are a good substitute for currants, though a little sweeter and less tart than red currants. You could also try raspberries, but you should freeze the raspberries before folding them in because they are very delicate.

Freshly baked red currant muffins in vintage muffin pan and pink linen

Helpful tools to make muffins

These red currant muffins are easy to make and I like to mix them by hand, which means you don’t need a special electric mixer or a stand mixer. Still, there are a few tools that will make your muffin-baking sessions a little easier:

  1. Muffin pans: for regular muffins, you can’t get away without a muffin pan. And if you can, please invest in two 6-cup muffin pans (like this Wilton pan on Amazon) or one bigger 12-cup muffin pan (like these Wilton pans on Amazon). This way you will be ready to make full batches of most recipes, which can yield anywhere from 8 to 12 muffins, depending on how much batter you scoop per cup. 
  2. Paper liners, parchment liners, silicone liners: we can debate over which is better for muffins, but personally, I like disposable paper liners (like these on Amazon that you would use for cupcakes too). For lower fat muffins or muffins with less sugar, these can stick to paper liners. In this case, use parchment liners (Amazon) or silicone liners (Amazon). Savoury muffins, for example, work best baked in either of these.
  3. Large cookie scoops: Some call them “dishers” and they are these are the most reliable scoops I’ve found on Amazon. They can handle firm doughs without breaking because the release mechanism is separate from the handle! This gives you a better, firm grip on the handle, without the risk of breaking the leaver. The handles are different colours according to the size. 
  4. Cake tester and/or instant-read thermometer: if you bake a lot, you can probably gently poke muffins with your fingertip and instinctively know when they are done baking. The rest of us have to use a cake tester or thermometer to check if muffins are done baking.

Red currant muffins cooling on a rack with a glass of milk and one half eaten

  • Tip #1: If you are experiencing particularly hot/humid weather, make sure you bake these muffins enough, until they are a deeper golden brown because otherwise they will be too moist to store for very long, especially if you add a lot of red currants to the recipe.
  • Tip #2: You can freeze these muffins and then defrost them in the microwave on high for about 30 seconds—your red currant will come out of the microwave warm and fluffy, just like freshly baked!

If you need more fruit muffin inspiration, try these honey blueberry muffins, rhubarb muffins, or these plum coffee cake muffins. And if it’s not summer, my go-to are these date bran muffins, which is my all-time favourite muffin, even if it’s not really cool.

Freshly baked red currant muffins cooling on a parchment-lined wire rack with one open in half and a pink glass of milk in the back

Freshly baked red currant muffins
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4.78 from 9 votes

Red currant muffins

Homemade red currant muffins made with fresh red currants. The berries are nice and tart, which makes a lovely flavor contrast to these sweet, buttery muffins. These muffins have a lovely light texture. 
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword Red currant muffins
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 323kcal
Author Janice

Equipment

Muffin pan
OXO whisk
Muffin scoop
Cake tester

Ingredients

Sugar paste

  • 42 grams (3 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 50 grams (¼ cup) granulated sugar
  • 40 grams ( cup) all-purpose flour

Red currant muffins

  • 250 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 250 grams ( cups) granulated sugar
  • 10 mL (2 tsp) baking powder
  • 2.5 mL (½ tsp) fine kosher salt
  • 115 grams (½ cup) unsalted butter room temperature, cut into rough chunks
  • 125 mL (½ cup) whole milk (3.25 % fat)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5 mL (1 tsp) pure vanilla extract
  • 250 grams ( cups) berries (I used red currants) tossed in 1 tablespoon of flour to evenly coat the berries
  • 30 grams (¼ cup) sliced almonds

Instructions

Sugar paste

  • In a small bowl, using a wooden spoon, combine the butter, sugar, and flour until it forms a thick paste. Set aside.

Red currant muffins

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prepare two 6-cup muffin pans by lining each well with a paper liner. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together all the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  • Add the butter to the bowl with the dry ingredients and work it in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and vanilla, then pour that mixture over the dry ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon just to combine.
  • Gently fold in the red currants.
  • Divide the batter between the 12 muffin cups.
  • Top each muffin with sliced almonds and chunks of the sugar paste. Bake them for 25 to 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  • Cool on a wire rack.

Notes

  • These are a lovely light, cake-y muffins full of tart little red currants, fresh from the market. This is the perfect recipe to throw together with any of the summer berries you can find. Bake it in a cake pan to cut and serve later, or in a muffin tin for summery breakfasts and snacks.
  • For this recipe, I used unsalted butter from Stirling Creamery
Tried this recipe?Mention @kitchenhealssoul or tag #kitchenhealssoul!

Nutrition

Calories: 323kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 99mg | Potassium: 209mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 392IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 2mg

Homemade red currant muffins baked in brown parchment liners and broken open to show the inside

Red currants come on long whispy branches, also known as gooseberries

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31 Responses to Red currant muffins

  1. L July 24, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    Beautiful recipe. If only my currants shrubs will cooperate and produce copious amount of berries! My white currants shrub is definitely doing better than the red….
    I also couldn’t agree with you more regarding the Food Channel! I liked the old Iron Chef Japan for it’s quirkiness and innovative use of ingredients. But enough of Chopped, Sweet Genius, Cake Boss or whatever. Bring back true cooking shows – Laura Calder, Michael Smith, Ming Tsai (remember East Meet West?), now only a handful showing on weekdays.

    • Janice Lawandi July 24, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

      I loved Ming Tsai! I discovered sambal olek because of him. I even made my own with his recipe!

      I have never had white currants before. I must try them 😉

    • Julies @ Redcurrant Cupcakes December 22, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

      I couldnt agree more with you. Ming Tsai and yes I remember East meet West. Maybe your blueberry bushes need a little more fertilzer to help them along. Blueberries like a higher acid soil. For this reason, you should be using a high acid fertilizer, especially in an area where you have had to amend the soil in order to lower the pH enough to grow your blueberries. When looking for a high acid blueberry bush fertilizer, look for fertilizers that contain ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulfate, or sulfur-coated urea. These tend to have a lower pH (higher acid). I hope this helps

  2. Linnet Tay August 19, 2013 at 2:11 am #

    Thanks for posting this! I’m looking forward to try this out even although red currants are not readily available where I live and extremely expensive.

    • Janice Lawandi August 21, 2013 at 3:51 am #

      I’m sad for you that currants are so expensive in your area, but you can always substitute your favorite berries and it will still work 🙂

  3. thosethingscalledwords August 22, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    I made these a few weeks ago (with a little less sugar and half wholemeal four) and they were really lovely. Thank you for posting this! My mum (who NEVER bakes) liked them so much that she wanted the recipe. I’m going to try making them again tonight with strawberries. – Emily

    • Janice Lawandi August 30, 2013 at 2:25 am #

      I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed this muffin recipe! Thanks for letting me know 🙂

  4. Terri Casey October 25, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    I bought red currants when they were in season and stuck them in the freezer hoping someday I’d find a use for them. Half have gone into this gorgeous recipe and the other half will make a sauce at Christmas! Amazing! Thanks for posting!

  5. Sandy Foster August 3, 2014 at 8:49 am #

    Can I freeze these?

    • Janice August 3, 2014 at 8:59 am #

      Hi Sandy,

      I honestly haven’t tried freezing these muffins, so I can’t say for sure. But I would think so, and perhaps gently defrosted in the fridge and warmed in the oven would work. If you do try and freeze them, please let me know how it goes!

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  6. Julie @ Recurrent Cupcakes December 13, 2014 at 1:45 am #

    I love cupcakes and red currants so the addition of these two foods is like pure heaven. I have also made these cupcakes many times but i used muscovado sugar

  7. Katherine December 21, 2014 at 7:28 pm #

    Thanks very much for this recipe! I made these muffins last year when our currants were in season, and made them again this week with this past summer’s currants pulled from the freezer. The muffins are absolutely delicious and they also freeze beautifully.

  8. Lynne in MI May 14, 2015 at 6:35 pm #

    These are great muffins. I use my pink currants and they are so pretty. Also works great with frozen currants, just bake a little longer.

  9. RJ September 7, 2015 at 9:50 am #

    Nice recipe. I added a little cinnamon to the dry ingredients for a twist

  10. Sarah June 30, 2016 at 2:03 pm #

    These came put wonderfully. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  11. Emily July 5, 2017 at 4:08 pm #

    These turned out wonderfully! I used fresh currants from my garden and sprinkled them with icing sugar once they came out of the oven. They looked great and tasted even better! Thanks for the recipe!

  12. Margot Brinn April 28, 2018 at 1:40 pm #

    They were delicious; I give it 5 stars; I substituted honey — and not much–I like my sweets not very sweet.

  13. Anne July 5, 2018 at 4:19 pm #

    Just a note from the UK
    Redcurrants and gooseberries are most definitely not the same on this side of the pond.
    Gooseberries are more often green (occasionally purple) and are the size of a grape but much tarter and require lots of sugar when cooking as the seeds add extra tannin dryness/tartness.
    Just looking forward to using up our redcurrants with these muffins though.
    Thanks
    A

    • Carly July 30, 2019 at 7:03 am #

      I’m a farmer and homesteader in Canada and wanted to say the same thing, its not just in the UK. Gooseberries are a different fruit in the same family!

  14. Jackie Mitchell July 5, 2019 at 10:01 pm #

    We moved about a year and a half ago and discovered a young red currant bush in the back yard—I had no idea what to do with the berries! So this year I was ready with a few recipes and this one is our favorite by far. The sweet-tangy taste really does it for me, and my husband loves how tender and moist the cake is. Thank you so much! I feel like because of our new favorite muffins recipe I’ll always be eagerly awaiting currant season in our garden!

  15. Lily October 25, 2019 at 8:33 am #

    These were absolutely delicious! I couldn’t fault them at all. The perfect amount of sweetness to balance out the acidity of the currants. Both of my sons devoured them (and they’re picky eaters). Thank you so much for the recipe, it’s a winner!

  16. Corinna July 23, 2020 at 10:19 am #

    Delicious! I didn’t have sliced almonds, so I grated some roasted whole almonds and mixed them in along with some Almond flavouring.

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