These Vegan Lemon Muffins are OMG-level good! With fluffy, lemon-scented insides, buttery, crumbly, streusel topping, and a drizzle of zippy, sweet lemon glaze to take them over the top. You're going to love every last crumb!
OMG-level good vegan lemon muffins. Not exaggerating. My vegan muffin game is strong of late. If you've been enjoying my vegan strawberry muffins or vegan apple muffins, and/or you love all things lemon, then you really need to be baking yourself up a batch of these vegan lemon muffins.
We're talking big, bakery-style lemon muffins with crumbly, buttery, vegan streusel-y tops and a drizzle of zippy lemon glaze.
Here's what we'll be needing to make this amazing vegan lemon muffin recipe, and in my usual style, a little bit about why too:
For the muffins
- Flour - You can use all-purpose flour, spelt flour or white wholewheat flour in this recipe. For the best flavour though I recommend all-purpose flour. If you are in the UK use plain flour.
- Baking soda & baking powder - To make these eggless lemon muffins rise high - We want big muffin tops! Baking soda is used in addition to baking powder, because it creates a chemical reaction between the alkaline baking soda and the lemon juice. This is important in an eggless muffin recipe because it creates lots of bubbles and lift and replaces the leavening you would otherwise get from eggs.
- Salt - So important for enhancing flavour in sweet as well as savoury recipes.
- Vegan butter - Provides fat that produces a soft, cake-y crumb. It also acts as a preservative. The flavour is way better with butter than it is with oil. For those of you who bake oil and butter-free, I have included an oil-free option. The streusel needs vegan butter to be successful.
- Sugar - Adds structure and sweetness. It must be white sugar or cane sugar. The flavour of darker sugars doesn't work as well with the lemon flavour and will affect the appearance of the muffins too. Don’t replace the sugar with a liquid sweetener as that will make the liquid to dry ratio off and create soggy muffins.
- Non-dairy milk - To bring everything together. Any is fine although I recommend an unsweetened one to avoid making the muffins too sweet. Don’t be tempted to use water instead of milk. The muffins will end up flat and heavy without it.
- Lemons- Zest and juice! The zest contains the most flavour so don't think about skipping it. And the juice provides the necessary acid (to react with the baking soda) and some flavour too.
For the streusel
- Flour - All purpose flour is best for optimium buttery flavour. If you are in the UK use plain flour. I haven't tested the recipe with gluten-free flour but it will probably be ok with a good all purpose gluten-free blend like Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 baking flour. I don't recommend using wholewheat flour or spelt flour because their stronger flavour detracts from the butteriness and luxury that is streusel.
- Vegan butter - Only butter will do. Streusel is all about that buttery flavour!
- Sugar - Brown and white or cane sugar. Just like a lot of cookie recipes, a mix of sugars is necessary for texture and flavour in this streusel. You can use brown sugar or coconut sugar, although brown sugar works a little better, keeping the streusel a little clumpier, so I recommend using it if you can. And for the granulated sugar you can use white or cane sugar.
For the super easy lemon glaze (which is totally optional but recommended):
- Powdered sugar & lemon juice - Super simple. Just combine the two.
How to make vegan lemon muffins
These vegan lemon muffins are easy to make. Here's how:
Step 1 - Mix the streusel together and refrigerate.
Step 2 - Mix the dry muffin ingredients together.
Step 3 - Mix the wet muffin ingredients together.
Step 4 - Mix the wet mixture with the dry mixture to make a thick batter.
Step 5 - Fill the muffin wells right to the top with batter.
Step 6 - Sprinkle over the streusel.
Step 7 - Bake
Step 8 - Drizzle with lemon glaze once cool
Take note of these tips for perfect vegan lemon muffins with dream-worthy muffin tops every time:
- For the best results weigh the ingredients with a digital scale. Cups are not an accurate way to measure, especially when baking and you won't get the best results if you use them.
- Be sure to use the lemon juice and zest. Zest for great lemon flavour, juice for the necessary acid to get a great rise.
- Once you mix the wet ingredients with the dry you need to move as fast as you can to get the streusel top sprinkled over and and the muffins in the oven. This is so that you can take full advantage of the chemical reaction between the baking soda and the lemon juice. The quicker you are the bigger your muffin tops will be ;O)
- If you don't have a really, really great muffin pan that you can totally trust, use good quality muffin liners.I highly recommend USA Pan muffin pans. They make incredible muffins that never stick. No liners required.
- My tip for perfect muffin tops? They need an initial, very hot blast in the oven. This creates steam that will raise those muffin tops right up from the inside out. Then you need to turn them down after 5 minutes so that the insides cook through more gently. That’s my temperature trick and it really works so don’t skip it!
- Do you know how most recipes and “muffin experts,” say to only fill the wells two-thirds or three-quarters full? Well, we are breaking all the rules and are going to fill them all the way to the top. This helps with the aforementioned muffin tops. And don't worry, the batter won't overflow because of the initial high temperature.
- Do not over-mix the batter. Just mix until you can’t see any dry flour. Resist the urge to stir or beat the batter until it is smooth and lump-free. Some small lumps are fine.
- Mixing the wet and dry ingredients separately as instructed, before adding them all together helps avoid accidentally over-mixing.
- Go easy on the lemon juice when making the glaze. You barely need any to create a thick, drippy glaze.
- How can you tell when muffins are cooked properly? Use the toothpick (or skewer or sharp knife) test. Stick one in the centre of a muffin and if it comes out clean then they are done.
Make this vegan lemon muffin recipe your own with these variation ideas:
- Add up to half a cup of shredded coconut to the batter. Lemon and coconut are great together!
- Add half a cup of fresh or frozen blueberries or blackberries to the batter.
- Add some vegan lemon curd to the centre of each muffin. Simply add a scoop of batter to the muffin pan, then add a tablespoon of lemon curd, then put another scoop of muffin batter over the top.
- Try adding a tablespoon of poppy seeds to your muffin batter. Lemon and poppy seeds go so well together!
- Use oranges or lime instead of lemons.
- Omit the streusel.
- Omit the lemon drizzle.
- Omit the streusel and top each muffin with some piped vegan cream cheese frosting.
To make oil-free
To make this lemon muffin recipe oil-free you will need to omit the streusel and use cashew butter instead of vegan butter for the muffin batter. Use the same quantity and blend it up into the milk before proceeding with the recipe. If it's not really drippy/runny nut butter, you will need to add an extra 2 tablespoons of milk. Cashew butter has a neutral buttery flavour and will provide the necessary fat to create a nice spongy, good textured muffin. Note that they will not be quite as light and fluffy as they would if you use vegan butter.
How to store
You went to the trouble of baking your own eggless lemon muffins, and if you have leftovers it’s important you know how to store them for optimum freshness.
The most important thing is to let them cool completely on a wire rack before storing them. If there is any warmth in them at all, as soon as they go into a sealed container condensation will happen, and that means damp muffins.
Once they are completely cool, you will need an airtight container and some paper towels. As muffins age, the moisture inside them rises to the surface and can make them wet. By packing them up with some paper towels laid out underneath and another layer on top, you can avoid this. Just keep an eye on them and if the paper towels get a little moist, replace them with fresh ones.
How to refresh muffins
In the unlikely event that this is necessary, you can refresh older vegan lemon muffins to fresh from the oven status very easily. Simply place on a baking tray in the oven at 350°F (175 °C) for about 7 minutes. They will come out good as new!
Need to store leftover vegan lemon muffins for more than a couple of days? Then the freezer is your best option. Muffins freeze extremely well for up to 3 months. Pop them into a freezer bag or a freezer-safe container and place them carefully in the freezer. When you want them, remove them from the freezer and let them defrost for a couple of hours at room temperature. You can make them taste oven-fresh again by warming them gently in the oven at 350°F (175 °C) for about 7 minutes.
I haven't tested the recipe gluten-free but a good GF all-purpose flour like Bob's Red Mill 1 for 1 should work just fine.
Yes, any citrus fruit will work including lime. If using large navel oranges, just use the zest of 2 and measure the juice as per the amount given in the recipe. If using limes I'd use the zest of at least 4, maybe 5 if they are small.
Vegan Lemon MuffinsAuthor:
For the streusel
- ¼ cup (54 grams) vegan butter , melted & cooled
- packed ⅓ cup (64 grams) light or dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) granulated white or cane sugar ,
- ⅔ cup (84 grams) all-purpose flour , plain flour in the UK
For the muffins
- 3 cups (375 grams) all purpose flour , (plain flour in the UK)
- 2½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda , bicarbonate of soda in the UK
- ½ teapsoon fine salt
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons (130 grams) vegan butter , melted & cooled
- heaping ¾ cup (180 grams) white or cane sugar
- ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons (210 ml) non-dairy milk , unsweetened
- zest of 3 medium lemons
- 5 tablespoons (75 ml) lemon juice
For the frosting
- 1 cup (125 grams) powdered sugar
- 2 - 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 425°F (218 °C) with a shelf ready in the middle and grease or line a 12 hole muffin pan. The temp is not a mistake. We want the oven that high.
For the streusel
- First make the streusel - To a medium bowl add the cooled melted butter, brown sugar and white/cane sugar. Stir to combine. Add the flour to the butter mixture and using a fork (do not use a spoon or spatula), gently toss everything together to form a mix of sandy, small, medium and large clumps, making sure to incorporate all of the dry flour. Put it in the fridge while you make the muffin batter.
For the muffins
- To a large bowl add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine.
- To another bowl, add the melted vegan butter, sugar, milk, lemon zest and juice. Stir well to combine.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and gently fold together until you can't see any dry flour. Do not over-mix. Once the wet and dry ingredients are mixed together it is important to work as fast as you can. The quicker you are the more the muffins will rise.
- Fill the muffin wells to the top with the batter. All the way to the top. You should get 11 or 12 muffins depending on your pan. Don't worry, they won't overflow because of my high temperature trick ;O)
- Remove the streusel from the fridge and sprinkle a really generous amount on the top of each muffin. Press it in just a little with your fingers then get the muffins straight in the oven. Don't leave them hanging around.
- Bake for 5 mins then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (175 °C) and bake for about another 16 to 17 minutes or until the muffins look golden, well risen and a skewer, sharp knife or toothpick inserted into the middle of one comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and leave for 10 minutes in the pan before gently transferring to a wire rack.
For the glaze
- Once the muffins are cool, put the powdered sugar in a small bowl. Very gradually add the lemon juice a small drop at a time, mixing well as you go to work out lumps, until a thick, but drizzle-able glaze is formed. You will not need nearly as much lemon juice as you think you will. The amount is very, very small. No more than 4 tablespoons. I usually use about 3 to 3½ tablespoons. That's why it's important to add the juice very gradually. If you do accidentally add a little too much juice, add a few more tablespoons of powdered sugar to thicken it up again.
- Using a teaspoon, drizzle the glaze all over the top of the muffins allowing some to drip down the sides. The more rustic the better!
Beautiful and delicious! I added a little almond extract to the glaze, which gave it an amazing lemon/almond flavor.
This was the first recipe I tried from this site and it was a big hit! The batter is so fluffy and airy compared to any other vegan muffin recipe I have used. They came out beautiful, like a bakery muffin. I was shocked they looked so good. I don’t have a zester so I used some lemon extract. I will try more of your recipes after being so impressed with this one!
Melanie McDonald says
Love this! I'm so pleased you enjoyed the recipe. Thank you for taking the time to leave a review. It's much appreciated!
Fantastic recipe. Used many times and currently sharing with people. Have baked for non vegan friends who've loved them too and wouldn't have known they were vegan. The strusel topping is a huge hit.
Can you make them in mini muffin tins? How long would you bake them? We are having g a Mother's Day tea.
Melanie McDonald says
They will work in a mini muffin pan but I don't know how long they will take as I've never tried it.
This is my 3rd time making this recipe and I finally am happy with the outcome 🥰
I love these! I had leftovers of your lemon curd and put a spoonful of it in the middle instead of the streusel or frosting. I used white whole wheat flour and cashew milk and they are so fluffy and buttery. Even better with lemon curd on top!
Melanie McDonald says
So pleased you enjoyed them Lacey! I can just imagine how good they are with the lemon curd. Thanks for taking the time to leave a review. It's much appreciated!