Lemon Muffins are a little mid winter treat from me to you. They’re my way of saying hang in there, there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and in the meantime, there are plenty of juicy ripe lemons just waiting to be baked up into these sunny streusel topped muffins.
just the thought of a lemon muffin fresh from the oven
gets my heart to pumping. It’s just about paradise. Luckily these muffins are a snap to whip up, and you can do it one bowl. They’re perfect for breakfast, brunch, or all day snacking. And if your diet doesn’t allow for cakes and cupcakes right now, a lemon streusel muffin is always acceptable 🙂
let’s make lemon muffins!
- 2 lemons ~ for the zest and the juice*
- all purpose flour
- granulated sugar
- unsalted butter
- large eggs
- vegetable oil
- baking powder, baking soda, and salt
- lemon extract ~ optional
*We know from science that one of the main ways we experience flavor in our food is through our nose, and these muffins don’t skimp in the aroma department. Lemons are famous for the heady oils in their peels, and we’re using lots of it in this recipe. While I do use the juice of those lemons (mostly not to waste it!) the real lemony punch comes from that zest. Take your time and get all you can off your 2 lemons, it will pay back in true lemon flavor.
How to zest a lemon for baking
- The zest of the lemon is the yellow part of the peel. The trick is to remove it without getting any of the white underneath part, which is bitter.
- Start with a clean, dry lemon. I wash mine, and then towel dry really well. It’s a bit of a no brainer, but remember to zest first, juice second!
- A microplane grater made for zesting citrus works best, and is much better and easier to use than the old knuckle buster box grater. A microplane grater will give you a fine zest, which works well for baking cakes, cookies, and muffins because it melts right into your batter.
- I usually give 3 quick back and forth motions to every little section of my lemon to insure I get all the good stuff.
- Plan to zest your fruit right before you need it for a recipe. It will dry out quickly and those essential oils won’t be as potent if you do it ahead of time.
- An alternative technique is to make lemon sugar, which is simply processing sugar and lemon peels together in a food processor. The resulting pale yellow aromatic sugar is amazing.
have you tried lemon extract?
When it comes to infusing lemon flavor into baked goods, I want to use every tool at my disposal. Lemon extract is just a little extra insurance that I’ll get a bright lemon flavor in my muffins, and I happen to have it in my pantry.
If you don’t have it, no worries, just skip it. (Make sure you use that zest!) But if you love lemon you might consider buying a bottle, it will keep a good long time
Look for actual lemon extract, not flavoring, for the best quality and truest lemon flavor. You want flavor from lemons, not a chemically synthesized product.
I’ve recently found a new product I love, lemon paste, which has a thicker consistency but does the same job.
some of you ask me ~
Sue, why do so many of your muffins recipes make 10 or 11 muffins instead of 12?
The answer is I like muffins on the bigger side, and so the batter that goes into that 11th or 12th muffin gets sacrificed for the greater good of the other 10. That’s just the way I roll. If you like, fill your cups a little lighter and you’ll get an even dozen.
What makes this lemon muffin recipe worth your time?
It’s a simple one bowl recipe.
They have a subtle, aromatic, real lemon flavor that you just don’t find in commercial baked goods.
The light streusel adds texture and makes these muffins even more tempting.
Muffins have healthy portion control built right in, and makes them an easy grab and go snack during the day.
You should take any chance you can get to bake with seasonal lemon in winter, it’s an instant burst of sunshine.
kind of obsessed with muffins these days…
- Double Chocolate Muffins
- Fresh Cranberry Muffins
- Perfect Blackberry Muffins
- Apple Cider Doughnut Muffins
- Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
Lemon Streusel Muffins
- 12 cup muffin pan
- muffins liners (optional)
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour (30 grams)
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil (125 ml)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar (150 grams)
- zest of 2 lemons
- 1 tsp lemon extract (optional)
- 1/2 cup buttermilk (125 ml)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (63)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups all purpose flour, using the fluff, scoop, and level method (250 grams)
- Preheat the oven to 375F Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
- Make the streusel first: combine the ingredients and rub together with your fingers until the butter is incorporated and the mixture has a dry crunmbly texture. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, oil, and sugar, and zest until well combined.
- Whisk in the extract, buttermilk and lemon juice.
- Whisk in the baking powder, baking soda, and salt, then fold in the flour. Mix just until combined and no dry flour remains, the batter will be somewhat lumpy.
- Fill 11-12 muffins cups nice and full with the batter, and then top with the streusel.
- Bake for 20-23 minutes (mine took 23 minutes) until risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out without wet batter on it. Muffins are small and cook fast, so keep alert.
- Let the muffins cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove to a cooling rack. I like to enjoy one warm with butter...yum!
- Be sure to store the cooled muffins in an airtight container to keep them fresh. They're best eaten the same day.
notes and variations
- for the perfect day old muffin, pop it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds, then enjoy with a pat of butter!