Lemon Ginger Muffins

Light and fluffly lemon ginger muffins, with fresh ginger and lemon zest, and a lemon juice sugar glaze.

  • 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 Preheat oven: 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 Make paste with lemon zest, ginger, sugar: 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 Beat butter with sugar, add eggs, then zest ginger paste: In a large mixing bowl, beat the 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 Alternate adding dry ingredients with yogurt: 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 Fill muffin tin with dough: Use a standard 12-muffin muffin pan. Coat each muffin cup lightly with olive oil or a little melted butter using a pastry brush. Distribute the muffin dough equally among the cups.


7 Bake: Bake at 375°F 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.


8 Make glaze: 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.

9 Brush muffins with glaze: 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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  • Kim

    I made these for a brunch dessert and they were perfect. Not too sweet and more suitable than a cake, although they have a slightly cakey texture. I usually bake regular-sized muffins for 18-20 minutes and these were done at 18 and looked just like the picture; they would have been burnt at 25-30 minutes. I used Greek yogurt and they were a tiny bit dry so next time will use a regular (runnier) yogurt. I will definitely make these again.


  • Fp

    I didn’t have enough plain flour so half the recipe and it came out just perfect. Made exactly 6 muffins.


  • Nikki

    I made these on Sunday and LOVED them. They are not overly sweet and the texture is perfect. I want to play with the recipes to try other flavours without losing the texture. I hope these freeze well because the recipe made 22 muffins which is more than I can eat in a week so I froze 10 for a couple weeks or so from now.


  • Anne

    We made them gluten free substituting flour with Pamela’s Baking Mix. Also used 3 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1/2 cup of honey instead of white sugar. Put the lemon glaze on the side for those in our group who sweeten their food differently. Tasted great even baking with a wood burning stove! Everyone loved the flavors of ginger and lemon. Ginger did not overpower it at all. Yogurt kept the muffins moist! I will make again for sure!


  • Argo Naut Jason

    I quite like your recipe as written. Just now in the pre-assembly stage. Since I’m gluten intolerant I’m wondering about flour substitutions. Can I substitute Tapioca flour for the All Purpose & Whole Wheat?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Jason! We haven’t tested this recipe with gluten-free flour, so I can’t say for sure. If you want to experiment, I’d suggest substituting the flours with a gluten-free all-purpose flour mix, like, Bob’s 1-to-1 Gluten Free Flour. I don’t think tapioca flour alone will do the trick. Good luck and let us know how it works out!

  • Amanda

    My daughter and I made these this morning. We made one change, substituting half all purpose and half whole wheat flour, as we didn’t have enough all purpose flour on hand. Turned out fluffy and rose well. These are excellent! I am currently expecting our second child and have been craving the delicious lemon ginger muffins from a local bakery. These are just as good! Thank you for posting this recipe. We will be making them again!

  • Gabriela

    Hello I am from Mexico, and I just made this delicious recipe. Thank you very much. It it so well explained and it works perfectly. Great Recipe!!!


  • allison

    Hi, has anyone tried to bake these using the mini tins. If so how did they turn out. I know when you change the size of some baked items the texture is a bit different.

  • JAA

    Hello just made these muffins and the top was flattened completely? what could be the reason? thank you!

  • Laura

    These are absolutely amazing. The best muffins I have eaten in quite some time. I did add a splash of vanilla, but otherwise I prepared the recipe exactly as it was written. Definitely a keeper :) Thank you so much!


  • Paul

    I had leftover Meyer lemons and chose to use them with this recipe. I made friends. Real human ones. Now I must make more. The lemon sugar glaze kept them moist for a few days and the cake texture was perfect. I measured and weighed the ingredients and I would not change a thing…


  • Jo

    Made and loved….used nonfat Greek yogurt because thats what I had on hand and it seemed to work fine. Love the fresh lemon and ginger recipe!


  • Angel

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I made them about 4 months ago with my kids, and they were not at all what I was looking for, but surprisingly AMAZING!!!! So amazing, I implored my brother across the country to make them too. He was also impressed. They are these huge cafe style, refreshing, moist,light,knock your taste buds out, kind of muffins. I am going to be making them again this weekend.


  • Greta

    WOW. Just made these muffins this morning. I ended up with enough batter for 12 muffins and a small-ish loaf – maybe my muffin tins are smaller? The glaze makes the flavor pop, and I did end up using my microplaner and “best guess” for how much fresh, unchopped ginger to use. I use about 4 – 5 inches, 1 inch thick (I think). AMAZING flavor. We are having the muffins with hash browns (from your site).

    Thanks so much for your great site – I use so many recipes from this site!


  • Terry

    Delish! I used half whole wheat pastry flour, which gave it a nice texture while still keeping them light & moist. BTW, I hand chopped the ginger – so you don’t necessarily need a food processor. Using another recipe’s suggestion, I cooked the ginger & 1/4 cup sugar in a small saucepan till the sugar melted, then added the lemon zest.

    I ran out of white sugar, so I used 3/4 cup brown sugar in the butter/sugar mix. I had some leftover buttermilk, so I used that instead of the yogurt. And lastly, I added about a cup of blueberries. I was a little concerned about substituting the buttermilk, but they came out great! Everyone loved them and this is definitely going into my “keeper” list. I, too, thought a half cup ginger seemed like an awful lot, but it was wonderful!

  • Zsuzsa

    I made these muffins the other day and they are amazing! I substituted the lemon with orange and it turned out delicious! Will definitely make them again as anything with ginger in it is a hit with my husband and he already asked for another batch!
    Thanks for the recipe.

  • Greta

    I figured out why I had too much batter – I didn’t fill the tins up enough. You really have to fill them fairly full – they rise beautifully and have a wonderful muffin top. I have made this recipe 4 times, 3 times as muffins and once as a bundt cake. I actually think I like the bundt cake best! Definitely worth using a food processor. I’ve also used sour cream, homemade buttermilk (1 tbsp lemon juice; add milk to make 1 cup), and plain yogurt, and they all worked great. This is a great recipe!!!

  • Greta

    I would like to make these muffins but I do not have a food processor. I am thinking of using my microplaner. I did see other comments regarding using one in place of a food processor, but I don’t know how much fresh ginger to grate. I’d rather not cut the ginger into lots of 1/2 inch chunks – do you know about how large a piece of fresh ginger this might be?

    No idea. Ginger is pretty inexpensive though. I would just start with a good sized piece, scrape the peel off of the part you are going to grate with the edge of a spoon, and start grating. ~Elise

  • sum

    Can we use this recipe for cake instead of muffins?

    I haven’t tried to make this into a cake, but if you do, please let us know how it turns out for you. ~Elise

  • Carol Basaez

    Elise: your blog is simply amazing and I just made the ginger lemon muffins and they taste really really delicious *____* omg this is my new favorite site to try new recipes :3 thanks for your wonderful work! ;)

  • Heather

    Can you estimate roughly how much ginger paste I could substitute for the chopped fresh garlic? I’m having trouble trying to visualize how much 1/2 cup of 1/2″ pieces might pulse down to. Perhaps a 1/4 cup?

    Your guess is as good as mine. ~Elise

  • catherine

    I just made these and they are sooooooooo good I can’t stand it.

  • Viji

    Hi Elise, I prepared this muffins and it was so delicious. I posted it here (http://vcuisine.blogspot.com/2007/04/lemon-ginger-muffins-again-one-more.html). Thanks for this wonderful recipe. Viji


  • Heather

    I had a friend of mine make these. They were good but the texture was very course. Seems there should be a better word but I can’t find it. She said that she wasn’t used to putting 1 tbs of baking powder in. That seemed odd to her. Is 1 tbsp correct? Perhaps she did something else wrong.

    Thanks, Heather

    Note from Elise: Don’t know about the texture problem. The recipe is correct in that it does call for 1 tablespoon of baking powder.

  • Jill

    I just wanted to say that I think I found a new favorite muffin:-) I actually made this recipe the other night, and I was too tired to dig out the old muffin pan, so I used a 9×13 pan, added a bit more (maybe another 1/2 cup) of yogurt, and made a cake instead. Poked holes in the cake while it was cooling and poured the glaze on and it is absolutely to die for. My grocery has pre-minced ginger (among other things) in a tube in produce section that makes this cake super fast to put together. Yum!

  • Laura

    Just made your lemon ginger muffins…yummy!!! Light and fluffy. Also, the yogurt makes the muffins pop like you’d get at Dunkin Donuts. I think next time I’ll not do the glaze – it’s a little sour for my taste. I’ll be making these again.

  • Robyn

    Hi Elise

    Wet winter Sunday, & time to try your lemon ginger muffins. They’re delicious thank you. In return here is my favourite muffin recipe – delicious, quick, easy. Always get requests for the recipe. It’s one of Alison Holst’s – NZ’s doyenne of TV cooks.

    Orange Muffins

    Oven 375°F/190°C

    200 gram (about 8oz) whole orange
    1 cup sugar

    100 gram (about 4oz) melted butter
    1 egg
    125 ml (1/2cup) orange juice &/or milk

    1.5 cups flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp baking soda

    1/2 cup sultanas
    1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

    Chop whole oranges small enough for your food processor; remove any pips, but use everything else. Process with sugar until paste is formed.

    Add melted butter, egg and fluid and process to mix. ( I tend to use left over orange, after weighing 200g, to make juice and then make it up to a half cup with milk)

    Sift dry ingredients into large bowl, pour liquid from processor on top, don’t mix yet, add sultanas (and walnuts if using). Now mix gently to just wet dry ingredients.

    This amount makes 12 standard New Zealand muffins. I used half the quantities given for your lemon/ginger muffins to make 12 muffins, so that gives you an idea of size.

    Bake at 375°F/190°C for 15-20min (my oven takes 17 min)

    I must confess I also used this speedy method when making your lemon/ginger muffins, everything but the dry ingredients went in the food processor, after first processing lemon rind, ginger & all the sugar . They came out great.

    Cheers, Robyn

  • scotte

    I made these today. DELISH! I made them for a brunch I was going to, which is a good thing, otherwise I probably would have eaten them all! THANKS for the recipe. Really easy and wonderfully tasty. I sprinkled the tops of my muffins with some crystallized ginger!

    My write up here.

  • Maureen

    I discovered your lemon ginger muffin recipe this morning and cooked up a batch this evening. Baking in the evening heat was well worth the effort as this is fabulous muffin recipe that turned out beautifully. Thank you; I’ll definitely bake them again. By the way, yogurt, sour cream, and buttermilk would all be viable substitutions as each is the “acid” needed to make the “alkaline” baking powder react.

  • Christan = )

    Is there a possible way to make these wheat-free?? Can I substitute the yogurt with something else to make them dairy free?? I would love to make these, but still learning the substitutions and don’t want to mess them up!!

  • medicdave

    Here in NY, the heat finally gave us a reprieve today, so I fired up the oven tonight after a trip to the grocery store. The muffins came out perfect – but, alas, it’s nearly midnight and if I want to sleep tonight, I’m going to have to wait ’till morning to try one!

    I wasn’t sure quite when to stop beating the butter and sugar – it never quite reached a consistency I’d call “fluffy” (in the way one might call whipped-cream or egg whites “fluffy”). Maybe a better adjective would be “well-aerated”? :)

    Anyway, I can’t wait to try these for breakfast tomorrow, and for the pleasant surprise they promise to be for my wife when she arrives home! (she works nights)

  • Nicole

    These look great. Do you think I could substitute jarred minced ginger for fresh?

  • 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!

    • Mary McCreadie

      Was going to mention that! I use the base Bridge Creek recipe without lemon & ginger for blueberry muffina. Great recipe! Planning to try this one soon.

  • 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.

  • 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.