Lemon Oat Muffins

lemon oat muffins with raspberries
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Oats are nutritious, affordable, and shelf-stable; what not to love? However, neither of my kids eats oatmeal, so I try to add them to baked goods. These lemon oat muffins are fluffy and sweet with a hint of tartness. Both of my kids gave thumbs up, and my husband devoured them every time I made a batch during recipe testing. Last time, he told me not to change a thing in the recipe and that it was perfect as is.

Don’t omit the lemon zest.

Zest is the outermost layer (yellow part) of the peel. You might be tempted to skip the lemon zest, but it contains so much flavor. These muffins without lemon zest are not the same.
Whenever I’m using zest, I make sure to wash the citrus fruit very well with vegetable/fruit wash. Then using a microplane, lightly grate the zest without going into the bitter white part. I highly recommend getting one if you don’t have a microplane in your kitchen! It’s great for zesting, grating parmesan cheese on pasta, mincing ginger, and so much more!

lemon oat muffins on a wire rack

Add-ins to these lemon oat muffins

These muffins go well with berries and poppy seeds. I like to use frozen berries since fresh berries can be pretty pricy. Toss the frozen berries with a tablespoon of flour to prevent the muffins from getting soggy. I add the berries to the batter without defrosting, and they turn out fine.

Add 2 tbsp of poppy seeds to the batter to make these muffins into lemon poppy seed muffins! To bring out the poppy seeds flavor, you should toast the seeds before adding them to your baked goods. When I get a new bottle of poppy seeds, I toast them in a dry pan for 2~3 minutes until fragrant. Then I store them in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge.

Also, check out Oat Cookies, the healthy way.

Lemon Oat Muffins

These lemon oat muffins are fluffy and sweet with a hint of tartness.

Course Snack
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Servings 12 muffins
Author whiteblankspace


  • 1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/3 cup neutral-tasting oil ex. avocado oil
  • 1 egg beaten
  • zest and juice from 1 large lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups whole-white-wheat or all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • optional 1 cup of frozen berries + 1 tbsp of flour


  1. Position rack in the middle and preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. In a bowl, mix oats, yogurt, sugar, honey, oil, egg, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla extract. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes for the oats to hydrate. When zesting a lemon, lightly zest the yellow part using a micro pane. The white part of the lemon can be bitter, so don’t go too deep.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour the dry mixture into the oat mixture and mix until just combined.
  4. (Optional) Mix 1 tbsp of flour with frozen berries. Add to the batter and gently combine.
  5. Line a muffin tin with paper cups. Distribute the batter to each cup.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 F. Then lower the temperature to 350 F and bake for additional 12 minutes.
  7. Let the muffins sit for 5 minutes in the tin to firm up a bit. Transfer to a wire rack and cool the muffins before serving. Muffins will continue to firm up while cooling.

Let’s Test Out This Recipe

I am happy to have an eager recipe tester, Kalya, on board, who tried out this recipe and shared her feedback. Kayla is a rookie home cook, understandably, still attending high school. I’m excited to have Kalya’s feedback, as I’m sure some of the readers here are also just learning to cook. I hope you find this section helpful and relatable.

Recipe tester's photo of the muffins
photos by Kalya

Kalya: “The first time I tried this, everything was going well until I forgot one important ingredient. The oil… I had already put my muffins in the oven before I added the oil. I scrambled to try to add the oil on top of the muffins and then mix it all together while still in the tin, but you can imagine how this would mess up the muffins. They ended up burnt at the bottom and all stiff. 

So I decided to try this recipe a second time without forgetting the oil, and also doing things in a little bit of a different order. I started by combining the dry ingredients first and then doing the wet ingredients. This made it easier to clean the measuring cups and took less time compared to the first time I made these. I also added the oats last when doing the wet ingredient mixture. This helped me measure all the ingredients without feeling rushed or worrying that the oats had soaked up too much liquid. For the yogurt, I also chose plain yogurt instead of Greek yogurt which may have helped with the consistency, which I used 2 yogurt cups. Next, I also zested and juiced the lemon beforehand to speed up the process as recommended. Initially, I did not add any fruits but I decided to add some raspberries the second time. I used fresh raspberries from my local grocery store but it’s convenient to use frozen berries. Fruits are a great source of nutrients so it’s always good to add fruits whenever you can. I was also curious as to what lemon and raspberry would taste like! 

While the muffins were cooking in the oven, I couldn’t help but love the citrus scent of lemon and raspberry. The pop of pink also looked very vibrant against the actual muffin, which added it how appetizing it looked! This muffin was very soft and had the best texture. Although, if you want a dominant lemon flavor and have decided to add raspberry, I suggest you use less than a cup of raspberry. But if you want a stronger raspberry flavor, 1 cup is just right! The raspberry also added a more soft texture which I enjoyed. I could, without a doubt, eat five of these in a row – they are that good. I can imagine these muffins tasting delicious with strawberries, blueberries, and pretty much any other fruit. I really can’t see this recipe going wrong with any other toppings! You could also try out almonds, chocolate chips, raisins, or even coconut flakes. I hope you guys can enjoy this recipe as much as I did!”

8 Responses

  1. Hi, what alternative can we use for 1/2 cup of sugar? I have 14 months old twins and a 3.5 year old toddler – so trying to minimize the sugar 🙂 thanks!

    1. Hello, When my kids were young, I used mashed ripe bananas for adding sweetness to recipes. Although, if you substitute banana for sugar in this recipe, the taste and texture of the muffins will also change from what was intended. Some recipes on my blog were developed when my kids were toddlers, and they have less sugar. Hope you check out “peach oat pancakes” and “oat cookies” on my blog.

    1. You can leave it in an airtight container on the counter for up to 3 days. If storing for longer, I like to freeze muffins instead of refrigerating. First freeze on a single layer for a couple of hours and then transfer to a bag.

    1. You can use milk instead, but you might need to slightly reduce the amount.The muffin batter should be soft but not runny.

  2. Would this recipe work with quick cook oats instead of old-fashioned rolled oats? I have a big tub I’m trying to use up

    1. Yes I tried it before when I ran out of rolled oats. The texture turns out just a little bit softer than I like but it works fine.

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