Lemon Ginger Muffins

I’ve been experimenting lately with lemon ginger muffins, looking for just the right recipe. Unfortunately, with all the heat we’ve been having around here lately, my experiments took a hiatus for a couple of weeks. Who wants to turn on the oven when the AC is struggling to keep the house below 80°F?

In California we’ve finally had a break in the hot weather (my apologies to those of you on the East Coast who are getting it now) and I got up early this morning to bake these muffins.

So good! The yogurt in the batter helps create an especially light and fluffy cupcake.

Lemon Ginger Muffins

Lemon Ginger Muffins Recipe

  • Yield: Makes 12 muffins


  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup 1/2-inch cubes of peeled, fresh ginger
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 cup sugar -divided into 1/4 cup and 3/4 cup
  • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 1/4 stick), softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup plain yogurt


  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)


1 Adjust the oven rack to the middle-lower part of the oven. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2 Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

3 Using a vegetable peeler, peel off the lemon zest from one large lemon (avoid the white pith). Coarsely chop the zest. You should have approximately 1/4 cup of chopped lemon zest. Add this zest, the cubed fresh ginger, and 1/4 cup of sugar to a food processor. Pulse until a paste forms.

4 In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and remaining 3/4 cup of sugar together, beating until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated after each one. Beat in the lemon zest and ginger paste.

5 Beat in one half of the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Beat in one third of the yogurt. Beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients. Beat in a second third of the yogurt. Beat in the remaining dry ingredients and then the remaining yogurt. Again be careful to beat until just incorporated. Do not over beat.

6 Use a standard 12-muffin muffin pan. Coat each muffin cup lightly with olive oil, grapeseed oil, or a little melted butter using a pastry brush. Distribute the muffin dough equally among the cups. Bake until muffins are golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Test with a long toothpick (we use a thin bamboo skewer) to make sure the center of the muffins are done. Set on wire rack to cool.

lemon-ginger-muffins-method-1 lemon-ginger-muffins-method-2

7 While the muffins are cooling, in a bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice for the glaze. Add more lemon juice if necessary. While the muffins are still a bit warm, use a pastry brush to brush the glaze over each muffin. The muffins will absorb some of the glaze, so you add more glaze to each muffin if you like.


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Lemon Ginger Muffins

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Showing 4 of 32 Comments

  • Nikki

    These look yummy and once the East Coast cools a little, I’ll definitely give them a go. If I use my Microplane grater to get the zest rather than a veggie peeler, do you think it would make a difference?

    Note from Elise: Depending on the kind of microplane grater you are using (a grater or a zester) your lemon zest could be very fine from using it. I don’t think it will make much of a difference, but if you hand chop you will get bigger pieces which may give you more bursts of lemon flavor.

  • Teresa

    Question on the fresh ginger: The ingredients list calls for a half cup of 1/2″ cubes of fresh ginger. The recipe then mentions “chopped ginger.”

    1. Do you really use a half cup of fresh ginger? Seems like a lot, but I trust your judgment!

    2. Do the 1/2″ cubes get chopped into smaller pieces before incorporating into the batter?


    Note from Elise: Yes, use a half cup of cubed ginger. And yes, the ginger gets cut into smaller pieces before it goes into the batter.

  • Jim

    Marion Cunningham’s The Breakfast Book has an excellent ginger muffin recipe that calls for a lot of fresh, unpeeled ginger – odd but good.

  • Nancy Friedman

    This recipe is similar to the Bridge Creek Fresh Ginger Muffins in Marion Cunningham’s indispensable “Breakfast Book.” In her recipe, you leave the ginger unpeeled (yep!), process it, and cook it briefly with the sugar. She specifies 1/4 cup fresh ginger, but adds “It is better to have too much ginger than too little,” and I second that opinion! She uses buttermilk rather than yogurt (I believe they are more or less interchangeable). I plan to try Elise’s version now; it’s only about 70 degrees here in the Bay Area–great baking weather!

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