Lemon muffins are one of my favourite muffins! This recipe is vegan and gluten-free, made completely without dairy or eggs. They are incredibly moist and soft yet wonderfully fluffy. It tastes extra delicious and lemony with a smooth lemon glaze on top. It’s like eating a slice of lemon cake but in a muffin form! They are great to have for breakfast or as a snack.
*This post was updated on the 15th of October 2021.
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Hello there! How are you doing today? Today I am introducing to you one of my beloved recipes, vegan lemon muffins. It’s vegan and also gluten-free! Sounds good? I thought so!
They are soft and fluffy, rich in lemon flavour and fragrant, one of the best things to have for breakfast or snack in the afternoon. If you like the sound of this recipe, you will also love my lemon blueberry loaf cake too. It also has a gluten-free option!
The gluten-free diet has been in the mainstream food movement for so long now. I don’t particularly follow a gluten-free diet but many of my friends are gluten-free so I thought I would make more gluten-free delicious recipes:)
So what is gluten?
You might be wondering, what is gluten? I hear it a lot but what is it exactly? Gluten is a type of protein that is found in grains such as wheat, spelt, rye, barley etc. So gluten is basically in every form of baking that uses flour made of those grains.
When you mix flour and water it develops and becomes sticky, remember when you knead bread dough? That stickiness is created by gluten. It gives a nice elastic texture to bread.
However, when baking something softer like cakes, developing too much gluten in cake batter can result in a tough, rubbery texture. This is why you don’t want to mix cake or muffin batter made with regular wheat flour too much as I say in my recipe directions.
Why some people avoid gluten?
Some people have a gluten intolerance that causes them to feel sick, bloated, headache, etc. which is something that you definitely don’t want to get. So if you have gluten intolerance, it is better to avoid those grains mentioned earlier like wheat.
What can I use instead of wheat?
If you have gluten intolerance or just decide to avoid gluten for a health reason, you can use flours that don’t contain gluten in your baking such as:
Wow! That is quite a selection of flour, isn’t it? I love using these flours in my baking, each of them has a unique character and is fun to experiment with in different recipes.
Main ingredients and substitutions
Rice flour: Rice flour is the base for this gluten-free recipe! Rice flour is a lot denser than regular flour so it tends to make baked goods a light denser texture. But with other ingredients used in this recipe, it is possible to make it soft and fluffy too.
If you want to substitute rice flour for something else, you can possibly use coconut flour or 1:1 gluten-free flour. When making the swap, be very sure to weigh the flour rather than measuring with cups. This is because the density of these flours is different and weighing with a scale is the best way to make the swap.
Organic cane sugar: I used organic cane sugar for this recipe to make it less processed. The sugar I used has a very similar texture to granulated sugar, so if you need to substitute you can use vegan granulated sugar here. If using other types of sugar like caster sugar or brown sugar, make sure to weigh rather than cup measuring.
Lemon juice and zest: Fresh lemons to flavour these delicious homemade lemon muffins! I used about 1/4 cup of lemon juice. This is about 1 and a half lemons worth. Make sure to use lemons that were grown without any pesticides or other chemicals! You don’t want that nasty stuff on your lemon zest. Going for organic lemon is your best bet.
You can use other citrus fruits instead to make your own citrusy muffins too. You can make orange muffins, lime muffins, etc.
Almond milk: I used almond milk for this recipe. Almond milk is lighter than soy milk in my opinion and pairs with the freshness of lemon very well. If you want to avoid nuts in this recipe, you can use other plant milk such as soy, coconut, oat, etc.
Vegetable oil: I used vegetable oil with no flavour as the fat element in this recipe as I didn’t want to interfere with the taste of lemon with other strong flavours. It also creates a lovely moist texture in this recipe.
If you want to make this recipe a little healthier, you can use refined coconut oil that has no coconut flavour too. Other vegetable oils such as olive oil work here too, but the taste may change in the final product.
You can also substitute melted vegan butter if you want to add a buttery flavour.
Must Read: The Ultimate Guide to Perfect Muffins – A complete guide to baking your perfect vegan muffins with easy and delicious muffin recipes!
How to make these vegan and gluten-free lemon muffins
Preheat the oven to 180℃. Let’s make our vegan buttermilk mixture first. Mix the almond milk, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice and set aside to curdle a little.
In a large bowl, mix the rice flour, sugar, cornflour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt with a whisk. Add the almond milk buttermilk mixture and vegetable oil and mix until smooth with a whisk. Usually I recommend mixing with a large wooden spoon or spatula, but because rice flour doesn’t contain gluten, you can use a whisk for mixing the batter for this recipe.
Add the lemon zest and stir lightly again. Pour the muffin batter into a muffin tray lined with muffin cups, filling almost to the top but leaving a little space for them to raise. If not using muffins cups, grease the bottom and side of your muffin tray to prevent the muffins from sticking. Bake for 25 mins.
While the muffins are in the oven, let’s make a lemon glaze! To make the lemon glaze, mix the powdered sugar and lemon juice together until it makes thick paste.
Take the muffins out of the oven and let them cool completely. Top the muffins with the lemon glaze followed by a little sprinkle of lemon zest on top. Enjoy!
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Q and A
Does food made with gluten-free flour taste differently?
Baked goods made with gluten-free flour such as rice flour tastes almost the same as the ones made with regular flour! The only difference I would say is the texture. If rice flour or oat flour is used in bread or cake in replacement of wheat flour, it gives a slightly denser texture.
Almond flour and coconut flour are also gluten-free and can be used in gluten-free no-bake recipes too and I love the texture of them.
My muffins are stuck to the bottom! Why?
If your muffins are stuck to the bottom, I’m assuming that you poured the muffin butter straight into the muffin tray. While it’s totally fine to bake without muffin cups, I recommend you grease the bottom and side of the muffin tray with either oil or vegan butter. By doing this you can prevent the muffins from sticking.
I like baking muffins in muffin cups because it makes it a lot easier to remove muffins but muffins also look pretty in muffin cups, just my opinion though!
How to store them
You can store your muffins in an airtight container for about 2-3 days at room temperature, and about 5-7 days in the fridge without the glaze topping. Also have in mind that the texture of muffins made with rice flour can go tough quite soon. But don’t worry, if it becomes tough you can put them in the microwave about 5-10 sec, depending on the power of your microwave and it’s all soft and fluffy again, yay:) Make your lemon glaze and top your muffins when you eat them.
If storing in the freezer, put them in an airtight container without the lemon glaze and it should last about 2-3 months without losing the quality of texture and taste. When eating, take them out of the freezer and put them in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds until it’s soft and fluffy again. Make your glaze and enjoy.
Want to master the basics of vegan baking?
Check out Vegan Baking 101 – the beginner’s guide to vegan baking for you to become an excellent vegan baker and familiar with the basics of vegan baking, ingredients, and techniques with useful tips!
You will LOVE these vegan lemon muffins because they are:
– Soft and fluffy
– Rich in lemony flavour and fragrant
– The colour of lovely lemon yellow will brighten up your day instantly!
Want more recipes like this?
Try my other delicious muffin/breakfast recipes you might enjoy!
Please leave a comment and rate this recipe in the comment section below if you like these gluten-free lemon muffins! Let me know and tag me @thechestnutbakery on Instagram too. Thank you for making my recipe friends!