Blueberry-Barley Muffins

My name is Jennifer and I have a muffin problem.

When Adarsh (hubby/designer/business manager/taste-tester extraordinaire) gave Foodess a facelift last year, we carried on a long discussion about what we both envisioned for this space. For example, he agreed with my decision to really turn the focus to photography, opting for quality rather than quantity if necessary in terms of how many posts I could crank out.

We agreed on that, and all other points, except one: he specifically requested NO MORE MUFFINS.

Blueberry Barley Muffins on

Okay, so maybe I went through a muffin-heavy phase. Or maybe he was just sick of eating them, hmm…

In any case, I just can’t stop. They’re perfect grab-and-go breakfast food, they freeze beautifully meaning I can have a few kinds at the ready, and little peanut bolts them down like they’re going out of style.

Because of my tiny double-fisting muffin-muncher, I make a concerted effort to incorporate healthier ingredients. Like the rolled barley flakes and whole wheat flour in these.

Yes to whole grains but also yes to butter and sugar; I like my health food to taste good, too. They aren’t overly sweet, however. Definitely not cupcakes in disguise, like some.

Blueberry Barley Muffins on

This recipe makes a double batch – 24 muffins. I let them cool completely then pack them into large freezer bags. Microwave about 20 seconds right-side-up and 20 seconds upside-down and they’ll be heated through and taste freshly baked.

Be sure to hone your proper flour-measuring skills – first you fluff the flour up in the bag using a fork, then you take a soup spoon and gently spoon it into the measuring cup, overfilling it then levelling it off with a knife. It’s an extra bit of work, but when measuring this much flour, simply scooping from the bag means you’ll wind up with too much (it packs), and dry muffins will be the result.

Or better yet, weigh it.

Blueberry-Barley Muffins
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
  • 2 cups rolled barley flakes + more for topping, if desired (you may substitute oats or any other rolled grain)
  • 1⅔ cups buttermilk
  • 4 cups (17 oz, 454 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups blueberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Combine the barley flakes and buttermilk in a medium bowl and set aside to soak for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Line two muffin tins with paper liners, or grease well.
  3. Add the melted butter, eggs and vanilla extract into the barley-buttermilk mixture; whisk with a fork until well blended.
  4. With a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, scrape the barley-buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture. With a light touch, fold everything together until just a few floury streaks remain, then fold in the blueberries. Divide batter between muffin tins and sprinkle with a few more barley flakes (if desired); bake for 20-22 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and springy.


  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    A muffin problem is the best kind of problem!! These sound great!

    • Jennifer Pallian

      Haha, I know right? Don’t you want my problems?!

  • La Torontoise

    Love these pictures, and love blueberry muffins: -)
    I however would not use butter to keep the cal number lower.
    I like that they are not sweet: -)
    Thank you and have a great weekend!!

    • Jennifer Pallian

      Thanks @ Torontoise! However, omit the butter and they’ll be rubbery pucks. ;)

  • Jessica @ Jessiker Bakes

    These muffins look sooooo good! They look very chewy and you can never go wrong with blueberries in my book.

    • Jennifer Pallian

      Thanks Jessica!

  • Pixy

    Wow, I would never have thought to use barley in muffins! I’ll be on the lookout for barley flakes now. :)

  • Melanie

    These look gorgeous!

  • corinne

    hello from Richibucto NB! I just discovered your blog. Amazing pictures.. cant wait to try so many of these recipes. So great to find out you are from NB! which parts are you from?

    • Jennifer Pallian

      Nice to meet you, Corinne from Richibucto! Thank you for your kind words. I’m from Quispamsis, outside of Saint John :)

  • ami@naivecookcooks

    Never heard of barley in muffins! They look delicious!

  • Alanna

    No more muffins?! I’m glad you didn’t listen! These look perfect – whole grains and tons of berries. I love this: “Yes to whole grains but also yes to butter and sugar; I like my health food to taste good, too.” YES.

    • Jennifer Pallian

      Hahaha glad you agree :)

  • Julie

    I’ve just discovered your blog and am so happy I did. Have already bookmarked several recipes that I must try.
    Am also very glad that you didn’t give up muffin recipes. I love muffins too. I think they are the perfect food: great tasting, filling and portable. What more could one ask?

    • Jennifer Pallian

      Thank you, Julie! So happy you discovered me, too!!! ;)

  • Carol at Wild Goose Tea

    No more muffins—-wow that sounds pretty harsh—laughing here. Hey I am glad you decided
    to most these. You are totally right about the grab and go. Plus for snacks they taste great, but you don’t feel guilty eating all the frosting of a cupcake.

    • Jennifer Pallian

      Hahah exactly! :)

  • Sierra

    I LOVE MUFFINS. never stop.

    • Jennifer Pallian

      Ok, I won’t!! :)

  • Carlie

    Jennifer, just pulled a dozen out of the oven and enjoying with a cup of tea. Not to sweet, nice and crunchy on top, and good flavour from all the healthy ingredients. Used frozen mixed berries, canola, and was 2T shy of the oats needed so topped up with oat bran. Keep the healthy baking recipes coming please :-)

    • Jennifer Pallian

      So glad you like them, Carlie!!!

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