If you love a lemon muffin but just don't want loads of calories this recipe is perfect for you! These easy one bowl lemon muffins have no oil, no eggs, no artificial ingredients and just a faction of the calories in regular lemon muffins (only 90 calories each).
Calling lemon lovers and calorie watchers! You can have muffins for breakfast without breaking the calorie bank. These healthier lemon muffins are perfect for an easy breakfast, coffee break or as a healthy snack for school or work. This is a great recipe any time of the day!
Instead of fluffy lemon muffins this recipe makes a moist muffin with a denser satisfying texture. They have a very light lemon taste, not super tart lemon flavor. You can add our optional sweet lemon glaze that pumps up the bright flavor of lemon that you'll love!
The lemon muffins recipe is also vegan making it perfect for those who want to skip animal products too.
What makes this skinny?
To compare calories: these easy lemon muffins each have 90 calories. A bakery-style muffin recipe can have 350 or more calories per muffin. Along with lots of fat.
We've done a few things to slim these down. First, there is no sneaky business on the size. These are the size of regular muffins.
- No vegetable oil or butter. We replaced the oil with applesauce. If you recall from our Skinny Swaps email course, applesauce can be swapped in for oil or eggs. There is a significant calorie savings and it keeps the muffins moist.
- No eggs. Instead of eggs we used 'flax eggs'. This is a baking trick used in vegan baking to replace eggs. It's a mixture of ground flaxmeal and water that forms a gel texture. It adds structure in baking like eggs do. In addition 'flax eggs have about half the calories (of regular eggs) and are higher in fiber and omega-3 fats. They're a bit lower in protein, but they are also lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than regular eggs.' Flax eggs are great to know about because they can replace eggs in baking if you run out!
- No fatty dairy products. Sour cream and full fat yogurt add moisture to baked goods but lots of calories too. We have found applesauce mimics the moisture without the calories. We use unsweetened almond milk instead of dairy milk. It has 35 calories in 8 ounces versus 80 calories in fat-free (skim) milk. All other fat percentage dairy milks have even more.
Recipe Ingredients Notes
Ground flaxseed. You'll need 2 tablespoons to make the flax egg and it needs to be ground flaxmeal not whole flaxseed.
Unsweetened almond milk. This provides moisture for the muffin recipe and is lower calorie than dairy milk though dairy milk will work.
Unsweetened applesauce. Our swap in for oil!
Fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. Rinse and pat the lemon dry. Zest it before juicing it. We love this zester which effortlessly removes the outer layer of the lemon peel and none of the bitter pith underneath. Handheld juicers make getting all the juice from the lemon easy too.
All purpose flour. Regular or gluten-free measure-for-measure flour blend both work. For gluten-free baking we use Bob's Red Mill gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour.
How to make these Skinny Lemon Muffins
The wet ingredients and dry ingredients are combined in one mixing bowl for this easy recipe! Printable recipe card of the full recipe at the end of this post.
STEP 1. Preparation
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 12-cavity muffin pan with non-stick spray. Lining with muffin liners can also be done.
STEP 2. Make the batter
In a small bowl, whisk together ground flaxseed and water and set aside for about 5 minutes to allow it to gel (photo 1).
In a large bowl, whisk together almond milk, sugar, applesauce, lemon juice, vanilla extract, lemon zest and the flaxseed mixture until well combined. Add the baking powder and baking soda and stir until combined (photo 2). The mixture will be a little bubbly.
Stir in the flour just until combined (photo 3). Do not overmix.
STEP 3. Bake
Scoop into the prepared muffin tin filling each cavity about ¾ full (evenly divide the batter)(photo 4) Bake in the preheated oven for 18-19 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (photo 5).
STEP 4. Cool
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the muffin cups for a few minutes. Transfer to a cooling wire rack to fully cool before serving.
Use some lemon extract. These muffins have a very light lemon flavor. If you'd like more lemon flavor add 1 teaspoon of lemon extract to the batter.
Make lemon poppy seed muffins! Stir in 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds to make this favorite muffin.
Add our Lemon Glaze. This simple glaze adds a touch more sweetness and a bright lemon flavor to the moist lemon muffins.
- 6 tablespoons powdered sugar (¼ cup + 2 tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Zest from ½ a lemon
- Combine the ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk to fully combine.
- Place the muffins on a cooling rack over a sheet of foil or plastic wrap for easy clean up.
- Using a dining spoon to drizzle a small amount of glaze over the top of the muffins (it will not fully coat them; just drizzle as you move the spoon back and forth over each muffin to create lines of glaze).
- Allow the glaze to fully set before serving or storing.
Spoon the flour; no scooping! Spoon the flour into your measuring cup piling it above the top of the measuring cup, use the back of a dining knife to to scrape across the measuring cup to discard excess flour to make a cup. This ensures you won't have the flour densely packed which happens with scooping the measuring cup into the flour. Scooping risks too much flour making muffins dense and tough.
Use non-stick baking liners. We recommend using non-stick parchment liners, reuseable silocone baking cups and spraying the muffin tin without using liners to ensure the muffins do not stick to the liners.
Use a cookie scoop or ice cream scoop. Using a scoop to transfer the batter to the muffin tin ensures an even amount in every muffin cavity, is very fast and minimizes spills.
Don't refrigerate the muffins. Placing muffins in the refrigerator will change their texture and risks drying them out. If not planning to eat them within a few days follow instructions for freezing them.
How to Store
Once the muffins have fully cooled place (or glaze has set if using) store muffins in an airtight container lined with a paper towel. Store at room temperature for 2-4 days. Replace paper towels if they become moist.
Freezing: place fully cooled muffins in a freezer safe airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature.
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