Lemon ricotta muffins are crunchy outside, soft and tender inside. They’re light, lemony and a breeze to make. Perfect for breakfast, brunch, Easter, Mother’s Day, any day, everyday.
(Looking for lemon ricotta cake? Try this Meyer lemon ricotta pound cake. Light, lemony, delicious. And if it’s cookies you’re craving, try these lemon ricotta cookies from Lisa over at Little Bit Recipes.)
Ricotta cheese is usually used in savoury recipes like lasagna but works really well in sweets and baked goods too. It makes them soft, light and so tender.
Bon Appetit actually calls ricotta cheese the “fluffiest cheese in the land”. And they couldn’t be more true!
This recipe is based on Giada De Laurentiis’ lemon muffins (which she calls Lemon Ricotta Biscuits) but through the years, I’ve tweaked her recipe here and there to suit my lemony palette, and made it that much easier to make.
The muffins remain gloriously lemony, best lemon muffins ever. Let’s get to it.
Why you’ll love this recipe
If you haven’t baked with ricotta cheese before, this is a great recipe to try.
- Easy and straightforward steps. This is a tried and tested recipe with simple steps. You’ll master it in no time!
- Deliciously tender. And it always results to moist, tender, delicious muffins, perfect for breakfast, brunch, afternoon tea, and more!
- Easy to customize. The recipe is also easy to customize if you want to mix things up. You can add blueberries, make a lemon glaze, serve as is or top with butter and jam.
- Perfect for leftover ricotta. More importantly, it’s a great recipe to use up your leftover ricotta cheese!
How to make
Ingredient notes and baking tools
To make these lemon ricotta muffins, you’ll need simple ingredients and pantry staples like all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and unsalted butter.
A few things to keep in mind:
- Ricotta cheese — I recommend using full fat ricotta cheese for best results. And if you know how to make your own, go for it.
- Lemons — this recipe calls for regular lemons however, if it’s Meyer lemon season, I usually use those because I’m a fan. Note that Meyer lemons are sweeter and less tangy so your muffins will reflect that.
As far as tools go, you’ll need a 12-cavity muffin pan or cupcake pan and paper liners.
You don’t need a mixer to make this recipe. We’ll do everything by hand.
These lemon ricotta muffins are so easy to make!
Start by preheating your oven to 350F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until combined.
In a large bowl, whisk sugar, melted butter and lemon zest.
Whisk until incorporated.
Add ricotta cheese.
Continue to whisk until combined.
Add a large egg and fresh lemon juice.
Stir until well blended.
Add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients a third at a time and stir until just blended.
Careful not to over mix the batter. It will be thick and sticky.
Transfer your muffin batter into your prepared muffin cups.
Sprinkle the top with sugar
Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops turn a light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of a few muffins comes out with minimal dry crumbs.
Allow the lemon muffins to cool in the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. We like to serve these muffins a little warm.
Expert baking tips
It’s the easiest recipe, isn’t it? Simple, straightforward, a really quick way to get our lemon fix.
Though have you ever had your muffins sink in the centre?
I’ve had that happen to me a few times so here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way to make sure muffins always have that lovely domed top:
- Do not over mix the batter. If you’ve been mixing it for 30 seconds, that’s already too long. As long as you don’t have massive patches of flour in your bowl, you’re good.
- Also, stir gently. Avoid doing any vigorous stirring because this will make your muffins tough.
- Stir by hand as much as possible. There’s less chance of overworking the batter vs when using an electric mixer.
- Do not over bake. Over baking results to hard muffins so you’ll want to watch your baking time. Minimal dry crumbs on your tester is perfect.
Remember that you’re not looking for a smooth batter but a really lumpy one so that when you scoop it onto your muffin liners they plop onto the liners like a blob and don’t flow like cupcake batters usually do.
You can definitely use lemon sugar in this recipe; I often do.
Simply rub lemon zest and granulated sugar together with your fingers until slightly moist and thoroughly fragrant.
Doing this before adding them in the batter releases all of that lemony goodness in the lemon zest for a wonderful burst of lemon flavour.
Interested to make a batch of lemon sugar for future use? Check out this lemon sugar recipe with tips and tricks.
I don’t usually drain ricotta cheese before using it in my recipes.
The ricotta cheese that I get is moist but not excessively so.
However, if you notice a ridiculous amount of liquid in the tub of your cheese, best to strain it before using.
Lemon ricotta muffins are best eaten the day they are baked but they will keep in an airtight container on the counter for up to 3 days.
They will lose that crunchy exterior but will still be soft and fluffy inside.
We like to warm them in the microwave for 15-20s wrapped loosely with a damp paper towel.
These lemon ricotta muffins are delightfully crunchy outside, and soft and moist inside. They’re also full of lemon flavour that lemon lovers will appreciate.
They’ll make a great addition to your brunch spread, you can serve them to guests at a baby or bridal shower, you can bring them on your spring and summer picnics.
Leftover ricotta recipes
Looking for recipes for your leftover ricotta cheese? Check these out:
And explore this collection of more than 70 recipes of leftover ricotta recipes!
Lemon Ricotta Muffins
- Preheat your oven to 350F. Prep a muffin pan by lining with paper liners.
- In a medium bowl, whisk 2 cups flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda and ½ teaspoon salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk 1 cup sugar, ½ cup melted butter and 2 tablespoons lemon zest until smooth and incorporated.
- Add 1 cup ricotta cheese and whisk until combined.
- Add the egg and 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice until well incorporated.
- Add your flour mixture about a third at a time and stir until just blended (the batter will be thick and sticky).
- Transfer and evenly divide your batter into your 12 muffin cups.
- Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the muffins turn a light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre of a few muffins comes out with minimal dry crumbs.
- Cool in the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely (or you can serve them warm).
- If your muffins are getting too brown too quickly, loosely cover with aluminum foil and continue baking.
- For a more pronounced lemon flavor, you can add another tablespoon of lemon zest or make a simple lemon glaze.
- See post for more baking tips, FAQs and step-by-step photos.
Nutritional information are estimates only.