Filed under: Breads / Muffins
May 12, 2023

Lemon Berry Muffins

Tender flavorful muffins made with lots of lemon and berries. The texture is incomparable, super soft and these come together in ten minutes. The muffins dome perfectly and do not dry out the next day.

5 from 13 votes
Yield: 12 standard size muffins
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Lemon Berry Muffin closeup

Here’s what makes these lemon berry muffins special

  • Tender & moist: There is something truly special about a muffin that doesn’t dry out the next day – I’d never met one until these! They are so tender inside, almost like a fluffy cake (without the extra sweetness) but then have the moisture level of a chocolate cake in their softness. 
  • Yummy: These are a bit low on sugar, not overly sweet – this was on purpose, I personally don’t like overly sweet things for breakfast (that’s for every other minute of the day tyvm) but there is lots of flavor from the burst of berries yes, but also the lemony muffin batter. 
  • Easy:  It’s all in one bowl, you only need a whisk (just use it right – make sure you mix well!) and can be made the night before so in the am all you need to do is pop them in the oven. 
  • Adaptable: I named these ‘berry’ because really you can use any berry you like, or chopped up rhubarb (you might want to poach it), or even peach! The lemon zest can be swapped with orange or lime. You do you! 

Recipe Ingredients 

 

Lemons:  we’re using freshly zested lemons, one or two large or more if they are small. 

 

Sugar: Granulated sugar. The sugar level here is lower than a lot of muffin recipes out there, so I would avoid reducing it here. If you wanted to ensure you had a sweet muffin, go ahead and add another ¼ cup. The sugar’s purpose here is to sweeten a bit, but also to provide structure and a good texture. 

 

Egg: one large egg plus a yolk. Save that egg white for some double chocolate cookies. 

 

Oil: Any flavorless oil; grapeseed, avocado or sunflower. You can use melted butter, the muffins will be slightly less moist. 


Kefir: or buttermilk. For these berry muffins I LOVE using a berry flavored kefir (trader joes has a strawberry kefir which is fabulous here) but plain is totally fine. 

 

Berries: As mentioned above, any berry. If it’s strawberry or something larger than a blueberry, you’ll want to dice them. See below if you are using frozen berries. 

 

Extract: some pure vanilla extract and lemon. It’s ok if you don’t have it, but lemon complements these very well if you do. 

How to make lemon berry muffins

Rub the sugar & zest: This helps release the lemony flavor from the zest. You’ll just get the mix between your forefingers and thumb and press to rub (see the video for a visual). 

 

Whisk well:  The sugar and eggs need to be whisked until it’s kind of foamy, and quite light in color, give it at least a full minute or even two. You can use a hand mixer if that’s easier. When you start pouring in the oil, have the mixer on (or keep your hand whisking) and do it slowly. Mix until it’s shiny, this is the emulsion step. 

 

Fold in the dry ingredients & the berries: Once the flour is half mixed, add the berries. We really don’t want to over mix either of these two. If you overmix the flour, the muffins become tough (gluten develops) if you overmix the berries they tend to break and burst. Stop as soon as you can’t see any flour bits. 

 

Chill the batter: This is to get a nice dome but also for the batter to develop some flavor. A few hours or up to overnight (don’t go any longer than 12 hours). 

 

Bake: First we’re filling the cups almost to the rim and we’ll bake them on a higher temperature to get a nice dome. Stop as soon as you can press the top of a muffin (avoid the berry it’ll burn you) and it springs back. 

Can I use frozen berries for the muffins? 

You can, with a caveat: most frozen berries have ice crystals all over them and when they soften or cook, all that water falls off. It can turn the batter too watery and negatively impact the texture. If you are using frozen, I’d say thaw them first and try to get rid of the excess water. 

Can I make the batter ahead of time? 

You can and you should! The batter rests for a couple of hours in the fridge and can stay in there overnight too. 

 

Topping the berry muffins 

You may either use an organic granulated sugar, turbinado sugar (both of these give a crunchy sparkly topping) or make a streusel which I have listed in the recipe. Or leave them bare – that’s fine too !

 

Getting muffins that dome like a bakery style muffin 

We’ve got a few tricks to getting nicely domed muffin: 

  1. Resting the batter: this helps relax the gluten, develop the flavor yes, but it also hydrates the flour 
  2. Baking in every other cup: in the video you’ll see I alternate muffin cups when filling. The air circulation allows for the muffins to rise quicker 
  3. Bake on high: unlike a cupcake these will bake at 400 F and quick. The shock of heat encourages the batter to rise up and quick! 

 



Lemon Berry Muffins

Tender flavorful muffins made with lots of lemon and berries. The texture is incomparable,  super soft and these come together in ten minutes.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Yields: 12 standard size muffins
5 from 13 votes

Ingredients

Lemon Berry Muffins

  • Zest of 2 large lemons or 3 small
  • 165g or ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 yolk
  • 100g or ½ cup canola grapeseed or avocado oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp lemon extract
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 250g or 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 160g or ⅔ cup buttermilk, kefir strawberry kefir or strawberry yogurt thinned out with water
  • 1 cup of fresh berries, roughly diced strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries
  • Organic granulated sugar or turbinado sugar for topping or streusel from below

Lemony Muffin Streusel

  • 65 g or ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons butter

Method

  • In a bowl, rub together the lemon zest and sugar until it resembles wet sand.
  • Add the egg, and yolk and whisk until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
  • While whisking, pour in the oil and mix for a full minute or two until the batter is cohesive, shiny and fully emulsified.
  • Add the extracts and salt and whisk.
  • Add all of the dry ingredients, then, as you are whisking, add the kefir and mix until just combined.
  • Fold in the berries and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set in the fridge for at least two hours or overnight.
  • If you’d like to make the streusel: whisk together the dry ingredients then rub the butter into them until all the flour is covered with butter. It should clump when you squeeze it together.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line two muffin pans with muffin liners (recipe makes 10-11 muffins depending on how much you fill the cups).
  • Divide the batter between the cups. Sprinkle on the streusel or the granulated/turbinado sugar.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes, until you can press them in the center top and they spring back.
  • Let cool for 5 minutes then remove from pan.
  • Muffins keep great for 2-3 days. Store in an airtight container.

Notes

If you want a really good dome, us a tulip muffin liner and and fill the muffin cups quite full (you'll have closer to ten muffins). 

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Recipe Reviews




  1. 5 stars
    I’m about to make these for a third time… truly so delicious and perfect for breakfast. I skipped the lemon extract and used frozen mixed berries – crystals and all. Prep the batter the night before and bake in the morning… So easy! I didn’t do the streusel, but both sugar and plain are delish. The first time I accidentally filled every cup instead of leaving space, and the second time I made two separate batches so I could skip the cups and get more air flow like the recipe suggests. They came out exactly the same – so I’ll just stick with one batch from now on! I’d give this 10 stars if I could.

  2. 5 stars
    Made this recipe the other night and it was the most delightful thing to wake up, pop the batter in the oven, and within an hour of waking, have an exquisite loaf ready to eat. I took the loaf into the office and everyone really liked the flavor and the crumb was perfection. The streusel definitely takes the loaf to the next level – don’t miss it! Rather than muffins I did the same loaf instructions Sam has for her orange muffins, making a tea loaf cake, and it was fantastic. I already have plans to make another loaf this weekend.

  3. I made these muffins today…batter last night and bake off this morning. Unfortunately, I have to say I was super disappointed. I always find the recipes on this site to be very reliable and delicious but these were a dud. The texture was dense and gummy . I followed the directions exactly so I am not sure what happened. Perhaps I was supposed to let the batter come to room temp before baking? I am tempted to try again after reading the reviews but not are is I will.As I said, I usually love everything I try on this site…the oat flout PB cookies will be next.

    • Nancy, I’m sorry to hear it was gummy! No need to let the batter come to room temperature. Let’s see, do you use a scale to measure your flour? That’s always my first question when someone says ‘dense’ as sometimes cup measurements overdo the flour. Specifically a gummy texture could be related to the batter’s mixing: under or overmixed batter will mess things up for muffins. Also – check baking powder/soda, if either is expired the batter won’t rise properly.

  4. 5 stars
    These muffins have the perfect texture! So tender and moist. They also domed beautifully. I made these with blackberries and King Arthur GF flour. I’m not usually a huge lemon fan but I loved the lemon flavor with the berries. These were also easy to make which I appreciate 🙂

  5. Without any lemon extract on hand, I was thinking of using lemon juice. To keep liquid volumes consistent I’d reduce the juice down a bit, and displace some of the buttermilk. Any other issues I’d need to worry about?

    This recipe looks delicious and can’t wait to try it out!

    • the acidity might change a bit and could impact the rise/texture of the muffins. but if it’s not too much, I think it would be okay? You could do milk & lemon juice rather than buttermilk to be safe. I also think you will get some lemon from the zest so you might not need the extract, it’s an added flavor

  6. 5 stars
    yum! I made these with buttermilk, rasberries and skipped the strudel topping. I used about 1/2 cup of spelt flour with the wheat flour and worked lovely. I’ll be making these again (finally a muffin recipe I like!!)

  7. Hi! Is the batter baked cold as soon as it comes out of the fridge or does it have to come to room temp?