Banana rhubarb muffins are perfection. Soft, moist, a crunchy top, a little sweet, a little tart. You couldn’t ask for more!
Two things in my home that I’m always trying to use up are overripe bananas, and in the spring, the plethora of rhubarb in my garden! I developed the most delicious banana muffin, so I thought that maybe I could add the rhubarb into that to create that tiny bit of tart to offset the sweet of the banana. I was right. It was delicious.
Banana rhubarb muffins are super fast and use 1 bowl!
One of the best things about these muffins is that you don’t need to use a mixer or a ton of fancy gadgets. One bowl is all you need to create the most delicious, super fast muffins. For some reason, when I don’t have to find beaters for my hand mixer, or drag out my Kitchenaid, I feel so free. Plus it all seems to go so much faster!
Once you get good at whipping these up, you can have them made and out of the oven in 30 minutes flat! When I was developing the recipe, I realized I had a friend coming over and I didn’t have anything to serve her. Within 30 minutes, she was walking in my door and I was pulling these out of the oven. It was amazing.
How do I make banana rhubarb muffins?
Harvest your rhubarb – or buy it!
When is rhubarb season?
I live in Northeast Ohio, so our rhubarb season is in full swing once the end of April hits, and goes through about June. It’s a sweet season to make all the old fashioned favorites. While you can get rhubarb at other times of the year, I always believe that eating in season tastes best!
If you don’t grow rhubarb, it’s so easy to find at the store, or farmer’s market. Oftentimes many people have friends who are bursting at the seams with rhubarb. As soon as you pick it, the stuff regrows for you to pick it all over again a week later! It’s sort of like the zucchini of spring.
I split my 3 rhubarb plants last year and ended up with a bumper crop from the 3 old plants + the 3 new plants.
How to harvest rhubarb
When you harvest rhubarb, grab the stalk near the ground and gently pull. I was shocked when I realized I didn’t need to cut my rhubarb stalks with a knife! It literally just pulls right out of the ground. It’s amazing. It also seems to help the plant to do it that way. When I used to harvest with a knife, the part I left in the ground ended up rotting. This way, the plant knows the stalk is gone and goes to work producing more.
Once you pull the stalk, cut off the leaves (they are poisonous for humans and animals too) and cut the bottom off. Wash it and chop it. I used 3 kind of skinny stalks for this recipe and it was perfect.
Brown and cool the butter
Browned butter is a secret ingredient in so many baked goods. Basically, you are toasting the milk solids that are in the butter. That gives it a nutty, richer flavor that adds complexity to your baked goods.
I go over how to brown butter in detail in my post on overnight sourdough chocolate chip cookies. So hop on over there to read the detailed description on how to do that. It also has a ton of pictures to show you all the stages of the butter browning.
After the butter is browned, just let it cool a little so it doesn’t cook the eggs when you pour it into the wet ingredients.
Mash the bananas
I absolutely love recipes where I can use 5 ripe bananas. How many times do you have a ton on hand, but don’t want to make multiple batches of a recipe that only calls for 2 bananas!?
The bananas I used for these muffins weren’t super overripe. I often let my bananas go until they are almost black because the darker they are, the sweeter the banana is. But these ones worked perfectly well!
When I have ripe bananas and I know I want to use them within a couple days, but don’t want them to attract fruit flies, I normally throw them in the fridge. If I know I want to keep them longer, I will peel them and freeze them in a zip top freezer bag. The best way to do it is to add the amount of bananas you’ll need for a specific recipe all into one bag. It makes it so easy to pull out that bag from the freezer and use it right away!
Just mash them up with a potato masher. This one was passed down from my grandma to my mom, and from my mom to me. I love it!!
Whisk wet ingredients + sugar
Add the sugar, vanilla, eggs, applesauce, and browned butter and whisk really well. (You can see that I take my browned butter pretty far. I was actually worried that this one was burned but it tasted amazing. Whew!). This is your chance to make sure it’s all super incorporated so mix, mix, mix.
Add dry ingredients
I was making these in a huge hurry because we had company coming over, so I completely forgot to sift! Normally, I’d put my metal strainer over the bowl and add my dry ingredients to that and use the whisk to push it all through. That way you make sure all the lumps are out of the dry ingredients.
If you live in a high humidity area like we do in Northeast Ohio, that’s especially important because the flour and baking soda and salt can begin to clump up if they have any humidity in the bag or container.
After you add the flour, you’ll want to whisk it as little as you can to get it all evenly mixed up. Flour contains gluten and when you make bread, you knead it because you want to develop the gluten.
However with cookies or muffins or pancakes, you don’t want that gluten developed because it leads to a tough product. So if you want tender muffins, mix until all the flour is incorporated but then stop as soon as you reach that point.
*As a side note, I often make these with 2c. all purpose flour and 1c. whole wheat flour and they don’t really taste wheaty at all!
Fold in rhubarb
After I took this photo, I grabbed my rubber spatula and folded in the rhubarb. Again, you want to do this until the rhubarb is throughout the batter, but gently fold it so that it doesn’t overmix the batter.
Put banana rhubarb muffin batter into muffin cups
I use a 24 hole muffin pan like this one and I absolutely love it!! I used to bake in every hole, so I could do 24 muffins or cupcakes all at once. You can totally do that. Or you can do what I did here and alternate the holes to get the higher dome on your muffins. They are so much fluffier and airier that way.
I tend to buy my muffin cups in bulk because we use them a lot around here. These are the cupcake liners I use. I like them in both white and Kraft color. They come in a pack of 500 so I don’t have to think about buying them very often!
My daughter owns a wedding cake and cupcake company, so she tends to use the Kraft color a lot. Isn’t that color of liner absolutely beautiful?
Line the muffin tins and fill the cups up about 2/3 full. I use a muffin scoop and it helps me to get them more evenly sized. This recipe makes about 22 muffins.
Sprinkle with raw sugar
I love turbinado sugar, or raw sugar sprinkled on top of cupcakes and muffins. It gives it that crunchy top that makes the muffins extra special. I don’t think it adds a ton of sweetness, but you can absolutely back down the sugar in the muffin batter if you’d like to offset the sugar on top.
I bake these muffins in a 350 degree oven for 19 minutes. Every oven bakes differently, and if you’re not alternating holes in between the muffins, you may have to bake them for a different amount of time. I’d say it will take 16-22 minutes so check them early and then let them go if they aren’t done yet.
Cool and serve your banana rhubarb muffins
Can you eat these hot? Yes. They’re super yummy that way. However, they tend to stick to the liners a TON when you eat them hot or warm. I find that when I cool them down, they come off the liners really easily.
Can I make the banana rhubarb muffins in a loaf pan?
Absolutely! Can I tell you a secret? This was originally my favorite banana bread recipe. Then I adapted it for muffins. Then I added the rhubarb. So you can certainly make it in a bread pan since that was the original recipe!
You can grease 2 loaf pans and divide the batter between the two. Sprinkle the tops with raw sugar. Bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Banana rhubarb bread!
What are some variations I can make?
Like I mentioned above, this original recipe is my banana bread recipe. So you can absolutely leave out the rhubarb and make it into banana bread or banana muffins. They are delicious.
You can also replace the rhubarb with 1c of mini chocolate chips. I can’t say that they are as healthy as the rhubarb version, but they taste spectacular! Like really, really good.
You could also replace the rhubarb with any berries you had on hand. Blueberries, raspberries, diced strawberries… Any of those would be so yummy.
How do I store banana rhubarb muffins?
I wait until the banana rhubarb muffins cool completely and then I store them in either a gallon zip top bag, or an airtight container. Since this recipe makes 22 muffins, if I’m not making them for company, I’ll take half of them and immediately freeze them for another breakfast or snack down the road. They store really well in the freezer and taste super fresh and delicious as long as they are airtight.
Can I use frozen rhubarb in these muffins?
I don’t see why not! If you do, I’d put the rhubarb in totally frozen because as it begins to thaw, it gets really watery. So put the rhubarb in frozen and then scoop out the batter and cook them right away. If you feel like the frozen rhubarb made them too moist, you can always omit the applesauce in the recipe the next time you make them. That probably would help to offset it.
Can I cut this recipe in half?
That would work just fine! I’d use 3 small bananas or 2 large bananas if I were to cut this recipe in half. Everything else is pretty easily divided.
That’s it! I hope you absolutely love these muffins as much as we do. I’d love to hear how you like them, and especially any variations you make to them!
Easy One Bowl Banana Rhubarb Muffins
Banana rhubarb muffins are perfection. Soft, moist, a crunchy top, a little sweet, a little tart. You couldn't ask for more!
- 5 very ripe bananas
Add & whisk together
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 stick of butter, browned
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
Add to wet ingredients
- 3 cups unbleached white flour (or 2 cups white, 1 cup wheat flour)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/8 tsp salt
Gently fold in
- 3 stalks rhubarb, finely diced
- sprinkle of raw sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Add a stick of butter to a pot that is at least 4x larger than the butter needs (it expands!). Heat the butter and allow it to begin to brown. Brown it for as long as you'd like, but take care that it doesn't burn.
If you'd like to skip this step, just melt the butter like normal and use it that way! The browned butter just imparts a deeper, nuttier flavor.
Allow the butter to cool a little while you begin the next steps.
In a mixing bowl, mash the 5 very ripe bananas with a fork, or a potato masher.
Add & Whisk together
Add sugar, browned butter, eggs, vanilla, and applesauce. Whisk together until combined. Whisk quickly so the warm browned butter doesn't begin to cook the eggs.
Add to wet ingredients
Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into the wet ingredients. Whisk until the flour is just combined. You don't want to overmix it because it will work the gluten in the flour and make your muffins tough.
Gently fold in
With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the diced rhubarb until combined.
Put cupcake liners in every other hole of the muffin tin. This allows the heat to surround the cup and give the muffins a more domed top.
Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full of batter. You should be able to make 21-24 muffins.
Sprinkle the muffins with raw sugar. This gives the muffins a delicious crunch after they are baked.
Bake at 350 degrees for 19 minutes. Muffins are done when a toothpick comes out of the center clean.
Cool muffins and enjoy. If you eat the muffins hot (like I often do!), you'll find that the muffin sticks to the bottom of the cupcake liner. Magically, when they cool down, you can peel the wrapper right off!