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Lemon Ricotta Muffins Recipe (step-by-step photos)

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.)

freshly baked lemon ricotta muffin on a plate

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.

Lemon ricotta muffins ingredients

single lemon muffin on a plate

To make lemon ricotta muffins, you’ll need:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder and baking soda
  • Salt
  • Granulated sugar
  • Unsalted butter
  • Lemon zest and fresh lemon juice
  • Egg
  • Ricotta cheese – I recommend buying full fat ricotta cheese. And if you know how to make your own, go for it.

Tools you need to make this lemon ricotta muffin recipe

As far as baking tools go, you’ll need:

  • A 12-cup muffin pan
  • Paper liners or muffin cups
  • Mixing bowls
  • Whisks, measuring cups and spoons

You don’t need a mixer to make this recipe. We’ll do everything by hand.

How to make lemon ricotta muffins

These lemon ricotta muffins are so easy to make! 

1 PREHEAT. Preheat your oven to 350F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.

2 DRY INGREDIENTS. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until combined. Set aside.

3 WET INGREDIENTS. In a large bowl, whisk sugar, melted butter and lemon zest until incorporated.

4 RICOTTA CHEESE. Add ricotta cheese until combined.

5 EGG. Add a large egg and fresh lemon juice. Stir until well blended. 

6 COMBINE. 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.

7 BAKE. Transfer your muffin batter into your prepared muffin cups and 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.

8 COOL. 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.

Lemon muffins baking tips and FAQs

It’s the easiest recipe, isn’t it? Simple, straightforward, a really quick way to get our lemon fix.

Here are some more tips to make baking muffins easier, as well as answers to some of your frequently asked questions.

How to ensure muffins have a domed top and a soft interior

freshly baked lemon muffins with ricotta cheese

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.

Can I use lemon sugar in this recipe

Lemon Sugar in a Jar

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.

Do I need to drain ricotta cheese before using

I don’t usually drain ricotta cheese before using it in my recipes, like lemon ricotta pancakes or strawberry ricotta cake. 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.

How long do these lemon muffins last

soft and fluffy interior of a lemon ricotta muffin

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. Enjoy!

Lemon Ricotta Muffins Recipe

Lemon Ricotta Muffins Recipe

Author: Jolina
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.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Brunch, Snack
Cuisine North American
Servings 12 muffins
Calories 246 kcal


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar plus more for sprinkling
  • ½ cup unsalted butter melted and slightly cooled
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 pc large egg room temperature
  • 4 tbsp fresh lemon juice


  • 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.
    flour mixture
  • In a large bowl, whisk 1 cup sugar, ½ cup melted butter and 2 tablespoons lemon zest until smooth and incorporated.
    wet ingredients for lemon muffins
  • Add 1 cup ricotta cheese and whisk until combined.
    wet ingredients for lemon muffins
  • Add the egg and 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice until well incorporated.
    ricotta cheese mixture
  • Add your flour mixture about a third at a time and stir until just blended (the batter will be thick and sticky).
    lemon muffins batter
  • Transfer and evenly divide your batter into your 12 muffin cups.
    lemon ricotta muffins batter on muffin pan
  • 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.
    lemon ricotta muffins batter with sugar
  • Cool in the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely (or you can serve them warm).



See post for baking and storage tips.


Calories: 246kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 5gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 162mgPotassium: 70mgFiber: 1gSugar: 17gVitamin A: 329IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 57mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional information are estimates only.

Keyword Afternoon Tea, Easy, Mother’s Day, Spring
Tried this recipe?Tag @iamtheunlikelybaker I’d love to see your creations!

Happy baking!

Did you make muffins with ricotta cheese? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below. 

Got leftover ricotta? Here’s a delicious recipe collection for what to do with leftover ricotta cheese.

Rate the Recipe

Heather Acosta

Tuesday 25th of January 2022

Help! I made the recipe per instructions, but the batter came out more like a dough. What did I do wrong?


Wednesday 26th of January 2022

Hi Heather, sorry I'm not understanding what you mean. But in the post, there's a photo of what the batter should look like as you're mixing it, and yes it is thick and sticky. For best results, weigh your ingredients and careful not to over mix the batter.

Elizabeth Pineda

Saturday 4th of December 2021

I made both your ricotta muffins. They turned out beautifully. Thank you for sharing this recipe with us.


Monday 6th of December 2021

Hi Elizabeth, you're most welcome! Glad you enjoyed them :)


Saturday 11th of May 2019

Hello, I've made this recipe and it was delicious. Thank you !


Thursday 30th of May 2019

Happy to hear that Natalia! Hope you're having a lovely spring/summer :)


Friday 16th of September 2016

These look super delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe! I'll add this in my fall favorite recipes!


Friday 16th of September 2016

I love your blog posts, again these cupcakes look incredible! I love the colour cases you have chosen as well, they really compliment the colour of the sponge.