My Lemon Muffins are bright and cheery bundles of sunshine. They’re so soft and fluffy, and they’re topped with an easy sweet-tart two-ingredient glaze. Recipe includes a how-to video!
The Best & Brightest Lemon Muffins
Today I’m refreshing an old recipe on the blog. My original (previously streusel-laden) laden muffins get a makeover that allows the tart lemon flavor to really shine. Feel free to skip the glaze and use my easy streusel topping instead, if that is what you prefer, but I love the lemon glaze instead here!
These are super soft, tender, and fluffy lemon muffins. They’ve got tall muffin tops and a bright, fresh lemon flavor from real lemons. The glaze I mentioned earlier is beautifully tart and super simple (just two ingredients!), and it makes the perfect citrus crown.
Just as with my bakery-style chocolate chip muffins and banana muffins, we’ll start baking these muffins at a higher temperature and then reduce it about halfway through (without opening the oven!). This trick helps the muffins get those fluffy, sky high tops that bakery muffins have.
Why you’ll love my recipe:
- No mixer required: this batter needs to be mixed by hand.
- Comes together quickly: just 15 minutes of prep!
- Produces big, beautiful muffin tops: thanks to a two-temperature baking method.
- So soft and fluffy: I’ve updated my old recipe for even better results!
What You Need
Just a few simple ingredients come together to make these brightly flavored lemon muffins. Here are the stars of today’s recipe:
- Cornstarch. This keeps our muffins soft and tender without making them dense.
- Melted butter. Melted butter gives these muffins such a great flavor. I use unsalted butter and recommend you do the same for best results; however, if you only have salted on hand, you can use that and reduce the salt to ¼ teaspoon.
- Lemon juice. Fresh lemon juice is best, and remember to always zest your lemon before juicing it!
- Sour cream. A key ingredient in so many of my recipes (remember the difference it makes in the crumb of my sour cream pound cake?), this adds moisture, tenderness, and depth of flavor without making the our lemon muffins taste like sour cream. It compliments the lemon so well!
- Lemon extract. If you have lemon extract on hand, feel free to add it (it will give the muffins a more lemony flavor), but they’ll still taste great without it.
SAM’S TIP: Always zest your lemon before squeezing, and when zesting, don’t go into the papery white layer (pith) below the yellow exterior. That part is bitter (not sour/citrus-flavored) and could make your lemon muffins bitter.
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Lemon Muffins
- Whisk together the dry ingredients.
- Combine the wet ingredients in a separate bowl, then add them to the dry ingredients.
- Use a spatula to gently stir together the wet and dry ingredients; the batter will be thick.
- Portion the batter between 10-12 muffin liners (more on this odd-ish range of muffins below) and bake for 8 minutes before reducing the temperature and baking for an additional 5-6 minutes.
- Combine the glaze ingredients until it reaches the proper consistency.
- Dip or drizzle the glaze over the cooled muffins.
SAM’S TIP: You may notice that this recipe makes an odd number of cupcakes. While you can divide your batter between an entire standard muffin pan (12 liners), I’ve found that dividing the batter between just 10-11 liners yields much taller, prettier muffins. If that doesn’t matter to you, feel free to fill your pan entirely. Check out the photo below for a visual example.
Frequently Asked Questions
While this could be a result of over-baking, over-mixing is the most likely culprit. Muffins are a quick bread (like pancakes or chocolate banana bread), and they need a gentle hand when combining wet and dry ingredients. Don’t be too aggressive when mixing, and do NOT use an electric mixer for this recipe!
Yes! You can add about a cup of blueberries to your lemon muffins. You may use fresh or frozen berries (no need to thaw first if using frozen). To avoid overmixing, fold the berries in when your wet and dry ingredients are about 50% combined.
When followed correctly, my lemon muffin recipe should yield moist, flavorful muffins. Using sour cream helps, but my best tips for moist muffins are to measure your flour properly and avoid over-baking. Even a minute too long can dry out your muffins. Check them a few minutes before they should be done–some ovens run hotter than they say!
Don’t have cupcake liners? These lemon muffins would look so pretty in my parchment paper muffin liners!
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
- 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour (220g)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar (150g)
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- ¾ cup sour cream (180g)
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted (113g)
- 1 large egg
- 3 Tablespoons lemon zest
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon lemon extract optional, but will give your muffins a stronger lemon flavor
- 1 ¼ cup powdered sugar (160g)
- 1 ½ – 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
- Preheat your oven to 425F (220C) and line a 12-count muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together sour cream, melted butter, egg, lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon extract (if using) until well-combined.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and use a spatula to gently combine until you have a uniform batter (don’t over-mix or your muffins will be dense!). This is a very thick muffin batter.
- Evenly divide batter into prepared muffin tin – for larger, taller muffins only divide the batter into 10 cavities rather than all 12.
- Bake in center rack of 425F (220C) for 8 minutes, then, without opening the oven door, reduce temperature to 350F and continue to bake for another 5-6 minutes (may need a minute longer if only baking 10-12 muffins), unti a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
- Allow muffins to cool in their pan for about 5-10 minutes before carefully removing from pan and allowing to cool on cooling rack before adding glaze.
- Whisk together powdered sugar and 1 ½ Tbsp lemon juice. If glaze is too thick to whisk easily, add more lemon juice, a splash at a time, until a smooth consistency is reached that drizzles off the whisk in a ribbon.
- Drizzle over muffins or dip completely cooled muffin tops in the glaze.
- If you’re the patient type, allow glaze to sit and become firm before serving.
Muffin countYou can divide the batter into all 12 muffin cavities, but for large muffins with tall, fluffy muffin tops, I like to divide the batter into just 10 or 11 liners instead. See the photo in the post for a visual on the difference between baking as 10 or 12 muffins.
StoringThese muffins are best enjoyed fresh, but they may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. You may also tightly wrap them and freeze for several months.
Original RecipeI have updated this recipe from the original (which was published in 2017) and prefer this version. However, if you are looking for the original recipe, you can find my original lemon muffin recipe here.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.