These soft and fluffy lemon muffins are easy to make! Whip them up in 5 minutes and bake them in 23 minutes for a quick and tasty breakfast or as a snack.

Upgrade them to party status with a streusel or cream cheese topping; you won’t regret it.

Lemon muffins streusel

Check out our Best Easy Desserts

You can expect a soft crumb, fluffy, light, and with the right amount of moisture.

Their flavor is a little sweet and slightly tangy. If you like sweeter lemon muffins, feel free to add the streusel topping or a cream cheese topping (recipes below).

Also, you can easily make this recipe dairy-free by substituting your favorite non-dairy milk for dairy milk, and since we don’t put eggs in the batter, the recipe is easy to make vegan.

We developed this lemon muffin recipe so that it’s easy to make with simple ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.

Most important tip: to make light, airy, and soft muffins that are not gummy, don’t overmix the batter, but rather stir it until just barely combined (that’s literally 10 seconds); there should still be some lumps.

Lemon muffins with streusel

Ingredients

Ingredients lemon muffins

Lemon

Fresh ripe lemons with a fully developed yellow color are best. Under-ripe lemons with a pale yellow or green color will make your lemon muffins too sour.

We use both fresh lemon juice and grated lemon zest. They add plenty of lemon flavor; you won’t need lemon extract.

Since we are using the peel, you might want to get organically grown lemons.

Flour

All-purpose flour works great. Cake flour is also excellent.

To make the recipe more wholesome, you can use half-all-purpose and half-whole wheat flour.

Sugar

We use white sugar. Any sugar in granulated form works, including brown sugar, coconut sugar, and palm sugar.

Coconut and palm sugar might be less sweet, so we recommend adding 25% more.

Milk

You can use any milk. We use unsweetened soy milk. All non-dairy milks work well.

Vegetable oil

Go for canola oil or sunflower oil for the lightest, fluffiest muffins.

If you like heavier muffins, more cupcake-like, you can substitute butter or vegan butter for oil.

Vanilla extract

You can use vanilla extract or the seeds in a vanilla pod. Lemon muffins need the vanilla aroma to shine.

Baking powder

Baking powder makes the muffins rise, allowing air to be trapped in the crumb, making the muffins light and soft. There’s no need for baking soda in this recipe.

Tip: make sure your baking powder hasn’t been sitting in your pantry for too long, and always check the expiry date.

Salt

Salt is optional, and you can omit it if you are on a low-sodium diet. However, it does add flavor and depth to the lemon muffins.

Streusel Topping

Ingredients lemon muffins topping

Make it with all-purpose or whole-wheat flour, brown sugar, butter or vegan butter, salt, and rolled oats.

Cream Cheese Topping

Ingredients cheese frosting

Make it with cream cheese (or dairy-free cream cheese), vanilla, butter (or dairy-free butter), and powdered sugar.

Lemon Glaze

Ingredients lemon glaze

Make it with powdered sugar, vanilla, non-dairy milk, and lemon juice.

Instructions

Streusel Topping

To a small bowl, add softened butter (or dairy-free butter), sugar, flour, rolled oats, and salt.

Smash and mix with a fork until coarsely combined. Set aside.

streusel topping

Lemon Muffins Batter

Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C. Line a 12-muffin pan (or two 6-muffin pans) with muffin liners or twelve 5-inch squares of parchment paper.

To a large bowl, add grated lemon zest and lemon juice.

Tip: always zest before squeezing the lemon, as doing the opposite would be very hard. Grate only the yellow part of the peel, as the white pith underneath is bitter.

grated lemon

Add milk, sugar, oil, and vanilla, and whisk the wet ingredients until well combined.

muffin batter

Sift in the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and salt.

adding flour to batter

Whisk or stir until barely combined (about 10 seconds by hand). Lumps are ok.

Tip: don’t over-mix batter. This is really important for making soft and fluffy muffins.

mix muffin batter

Bake Lemon Muffins

Pour batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling the liners 3/4 to the top. Cover the top with the streusel.

Note: we tried with and without streusel. The left side picture is without streusel; the right one is with streusel crumb topping. We prefer lemon muffins with streusel.

muffin pan

Bake at 350°F or 180°C for 23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry.

muffins after baking

Let muffins cool down in the pan for 15 minutes, then take them out, cool down for 15 more minutes on a wire rack at room temperature, and enjoy.

Lemon muffins with streusel

Variations

Cream Cheese Topping

Beat the cream cheese ingredients together with a hand mixer until creamy. The butter (or dairy-free butter) should be softened.

Cream cheese topping

Cover the top of the lemon muffins with the frosting.

Lemon muffins with cream cheese topping

Make Ahead & Storage

Make ahead: lemon muffins are a great make-ahead recipe because they stay soft for up to 4 days.

Room temperature: up to 4 days, in a cool corner of your kitchen. Keep them in an airtight container or plastic bag to stay moist.

Refrigerator: up to 1 week, in an airtight container or plastic bag. You can also individually wrap them.

Freezer: let muffins cool down completely, then transfer them to a freezer-friendly bag and freeze for up to 3 months.

Thaw: we find the best way to thaw frozen muffins is in the microwave with the thawing function. The muffin will get slightly warm, soft, and moist again.

Reheat: we like to reheat our leftover muffins for 30 to 60 seconds in the microwave. They’ll regain moisture as they warm up.

Tips

Avoid over-mixing

Over-mixing is muffin enemy number one because it develops the gluten in the flour, which makes the muffins gummy and dryer.

Bake immediately

Preheat the oven and line your muffin pan in advance because you want to bake the batter as soon as possible to take full advantage of the baking powder’s rising power.

Don’t open the oven door

That’s baking rule number one. Don’t open the oven door while the muffins bake, or they’ll deflate.

Questions

Is butter or oil better for muffins?

It depends on your taste. We prefer muffins with oil (canola or sunflower) because they are lighter, moister, fluffier, taller, and softer.

You can substitute melted butter or vegan butter for oil if you prefer a shorter and denser muffin (more like a cupcake).

In general, we use oil for muffins and butter for cupcakes.

How can I make my muffins lighter and fluffy?

To make lighter and fluffy muffins, use neutrally flavored vegetable oil like canola oil or sunflower oil instead of butter.

Butter makes dense, heavier muffins. Oil makes tall, light, and fluffy muffins.

Also, avoid over-mixing the batter. Over-mixing develops the flour’s gluten, resulting in gummy, dry, and heavy muffins.

More Muffin Recipes

If you love easy muffins, get inspiration from these light and breakfast-friendly muffin recipes:

More lemon desserts

Get tangy and sweet ideas for your next dessert with these bright and yellow lemon desserts:

Lemon muffins on cutting board

Lemon Muffins

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 3 votes
These soft and fluffy lemon muffins are easy to make! Whip them up in 5 minutes and bake them in 23 minutes for a quick and tasty breakfast or as a snack.
Upgrade them to party status with a streusel or cream cheese topping; you won't regret it.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 23 minutes
Total Time: 38 minutes
Servings: 12 muffins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American

Equipment

  • 12-muffin tin (or two 6-muffin tins)

Ingredients

WET INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ripe lemons the grated zest
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup milk any, we use unsweetened soy milk
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

DRY INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour or half all-purpose and half whole-wheat
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

STREUSEL TOPPING

  • cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons rolled oats
  • 3 tablespoons butter or dairy-free butter
  • teaspoon salt

Instructions 

STREUSEL TOPPING

  • To a small bowl, add softened butter, sugar, flour, rolled oats, and salt.
    Smash and mix with a fork until coarsely combined.
    streusel topping

LEMON MUFFINS BATTER

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C. Line a 12-muffin pan (or two 6-muffin pans) with muffin liners or twelve 5-inch squares of parchment paper.
    To a large bowl add lemon zest, lemon juice, milk, sugar, oil, vanilla, and whisk until combined.
    muffin batter
  • Sift in flour, salt, and baking powder.
    adding flour to batter
  • Whisk or stir until barely combined (about 10 seconds by hand). Lumps are ok.

BAKE LEMON MUFFINS

  • Pour batter into muffin tin, filling the liners ¾ to the top. Cover the top with the streusel.
    muffin pan
  • Bake at 350°F or 180°C for 23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry.
    muffins after baking
  • Let muffins cool down in the pan for 15 minutes, then take them out, cool down for 15 more minutes on a wire rack at room temperature, and enjoy.
    Lemon muffins with streusel

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate for 1 lemon muffin out of 12, without the streusel topping.
One muffin with streusel topping is about 249Kcal.

Nutrition

Calories: 188kcal, Carbohydrates: 33g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 148mg, Dietary Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 13g, Vitamin A: 39IU, Vitamin B6: 0.04mg, Vitamin C: 3mg, Vitamin E: 1mg, Vitamin K: 8µg, Calcium: 61mg, Folate: 50µg, Iron: 1mg, Manganese: 0.2mg, Magnesium: 6mg, Zinc: 0.2mg
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If you liked these lemon muffins, you might also like:


Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe is so easy and fun to make! I used apple cinnamon instant oats for the streusel and my kitchen smells delicious ☺️ your recipes are so wonderful ❤️

    1. That’s fantastic, Nebula. I’m so happy you tried the streusel!
      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment ❤️. Louise

  2. Hello! I’m planning to make them with a lemon glaze but I couldn’t find the recipe of it here, only the list of the ingredients!

      1. Thank you for the fast reply! Just found your site and have already tried several of your recipes! Loved them all 🙂 Thank you for the help with learning how and what to cook 🙂
        I am a big fan of Italian cuisine, and though I’m not vegan myself I prefer cooking vegan food, so having your simple recipes with detailed instructions and videos has been very helpful 🙂

        All the best,
        Aleksandra

        1. I’m happy to hear, Aleksandra! Thanks so much for the kind feedback, veggie-packed and easy-to-follow recipes are exactly what we’re striving to do 🙂
          Have a wonderful rest of your day!
          Kindest, Louise