Lemon Rosemary Muffins Inspired by Bisquick, Improved by Olive Oil

After writing about back-of-the-box recipes for some time, I find the grocery store an even more fascinating place than ever before. In addition to my regularly odd shopping habits (lingering in the cracker aisle to assess the new Cheez-It flavors, making friends with the cheesemonger, squeezing too many of the pears), I now compulsively check packages and jars for recipes. The guys at Fairway just love me.

Even when the recipe doesn’t look great, it can inspire. Case in point: the recipe for lemon rosemary muffins on the Bisquick package. The rosemary is dried and baking mix is required, but the flavor combination made me hungry.

I thought about what sort of muffin would best showcase bright, zesty lemon without overpowering the quietly sophisticated taste of rosemary and settled on an olive oil batter. Would it be too sweet?

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Would it taste too much like a dense olive oil cake? (To be clear: That would not be a bad thing, but I was aiming for ethereal.) To lighten it up, I folded in some crème fraiche and whipped the eggs with sugar.

Photo by Posie Harwood

The muffins turned out better than I’d imagined. They have a subtle sweetness that’s reminiscent of a very good cornbread. The interior is airy with an exceptionally delicate crumb. You could eat them toasted for breakfast, with a smear of butter and a sprinkling of sea salt, or plain for an afternoon snack. You could top them with a dollop of lemon curd and whipped cream for dessert.

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Top Comment:
“Do you think I could add 1/4 to 1/2 lemon zest to the recipe? I ask b/c I know zest has oil and baking is so exact. Thanks, looks wonderful!”
— Suzanne

If you can’t find Meyer lemons, regular lemons will work nicely as well. The lemon extract is very optional, and I’ve tried adding a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to the batter (along with the olive oil and the lemon extract), which is not necessary but not a bad idea either.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Trish
  • Lorraine
  • Suzanne
  • Smaug
  • cindy arora
    cindy arora
I like warm homemade bread slathered with fresh raw milk butter, ice cream in all seasons, the smell of garlic in olive oil, and sugar snap peas fresh off the vine.


Trish April 17, 2016
This sounds so yummy! Do you think it can be done gluten-free (substituting flour) with same results?
Posie (. April 18, 2016
Hm, you certainly can substitute GF flour but I can't promise the results will be the same! I think that'll really just depend on the blend you use, and likely won't be quite the same in texture but I think the flavor will be just as great!
Lorraine April 17, 2016
Any substitutes for crème fraiche? Slightly exotic ingredient.
Posie (. April 17, 2016
You can definitely sub Greek yogurt easily. Enjoy!
Suzanne April 11, 2016
Sorry, just read the end of the recipe that calls for zest!
Suzanne April 11, 2016
Do you think I could add 1/4 to 1/2 lemon zest to the recipe? I ask b/c I know zest has oil and baking is so exact. Thanks, looks wonderful!
Smaug April 11, 2016
Two phrases I never expected to hear- "inspired by Bisquik" and "the quietly sophisticated taste of rosemary".
cindy A. April 10, 2016
This sounds epic! Adding it to my recipe list for the week :)