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Ricotta Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Yield: 8 bakery-style muffins
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
These muffins are the best! They're fluffy, tender, and bursting with lemony flavor. I love making them for breakfast, brunch, or just a simple weekend bake! *Please keep in mind that this is a high-altitude baking recipe. Please see recipe notes for sea-level recommendations.


  • 2 Tbs fresh lemon zest (about 3-4 large lemons)
  • 2/3 c sugar
  • 2 1/2 c all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder*
  • 3/4 tsp table salt
  • 3 Tbs poppy seeds
  • 2 large eggs, room-temperature
  • 1 c whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 2/3 c whole milk
  • 1/2 c neutral oil
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract
  • Demerara sugar, for sprinkling


  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line every other cavity of a muffin tin with jumbo muffin liners.**
  • In a large bowl, combine the lemon zest and sugar. Using your fingers, rub the lemon zest into the sugar until the mixture is pale yellow, very fragrant, and starting to clump together a bit. This should only take about 30-60 seconds. Let it sit for a couple of minutes.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds until combined. Set aside.
  • Add the eggs, ricotta, whole milk, oil, and vanilla extract to the lemon sugar. Whisk until smooth.
  • Add half of the flour to the wet ingredients. Stir with a whisk or rubber spatula, just until you have a couple streaks of flour left. Then, add the rest of the flour mixture and stir just until combined. The batter will be thick. A few lumps are ok!
  • Divide the batter evenly between the 8 muffin liners. Make sure to fill the liners to the very top with batter. Sprinkle each muffin generously with Demerara sugar.
  • Bake the muffins at 400°F for 5-6 minutes until the muffins have a good rise on them. Without opening the oven, reduce the heat to 350°F. Bake the muffins for 12-15 more minutes, turning the pan halfway through, until an inserted toothpick has just a few moist crumbs on it.
  • Remove the muffins from the oven and allow them to set in the pan for about 5 minutes. Then, transfer the muffins to a rack to cool completely. Enjoy fresh with hot coffee or tea!


*This is a high-altitude recipe at 5,000ft. If you live at sea-level, you can try increasing the baking powder to 1 Tablespoon. The muffins also may take 1-2 minutes longer to bake. I have not yet tested this recipe at sea-level yet but in my experience, doubling the leavening agents usually works.
**If you do not have tall bakery-style muffin liners, you can use regular muffin liners. You will end up with 12-16 muffins instead of 8. Reduce the cook time by a couple of minutes to prevent over-baking.
Cuisine: American
Course: Bread & Dough, Breakfast, Brunch
Serving: 1muffin, Calories: 422kcal, Carbohydrates: 50.8g, Protein: 10.4g, Fat: 19.9g, Saturated Fat: 5.2g, Cholesterol: 58mg, Sodium: 284mg, Potassium: 251mg, Fiber: 1.5g, Sugar: 18.8g, Calcium: 209mg, Iron: 3mg
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