Lemon Rosemary Muffins

April  8, 2016
3 Ratings
Photo by Posie Harwood
  • Makes 12 muffins
Author Notes

Exceptionally light and delicate, these muffins rely on olive oil and crème fraîche for a perfectly moist crumb. I've rarely found such an airy, ethereal texture in an olive oil cake or muffin. The flavor profile was inspired by an old back-of-the-Bisquick-box recipe: I use Meyer lemon zest for soft, more floral citrus flavor as well as plenty of fresh rosemary. Adding a little lemon extract is optional, but elevates the lemon flavor. (You can also add a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to the batter—optional but recommended.) —Posie (Harwood) Brien

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup crème fraîche
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Meyer lemon zest (or regular lemon zest)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan or line it with muffin papers.
  2. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the sugar with the eggs until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the crème fraîche and mix well.
  4. Add the olive oil and lemon extract and lemon juice (if using) and mix well.
  5. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine, but don't overmix.
  6. Fold the lemon zest and rosemary into the batter.
  7. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin tins. Fill each well about 2/3 of the way full. If you have extra batter, just fill up as much of another pan as you can.
  8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. The muffins should be JUST barely beginning to brown. As soon as they start to get even slightly golden, take them out. It's really key not to overbake these, or they won't be as nice and moist.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes in the pan before enjoying.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • susie1967
  • Alexandria
  • Posie (Harwood) Brien
    Posie (Harwood) Brien
  • Hina

13 Reviews

Hina January 16, 2017
Made a gluten-free version of these with 1 cup ground hazelnut flour and 1/2 cup g-f oat flour, and 1/2 cup sugar. Came out delicious, although still very sweet so cannot imagine them with 1 cup of sugar! Just as the author notes, they were light and delicate, with the rosemary coming out splendidly. Thank you for sharing!
sadenis April 28, 2016
Mine came out very flat too and based on the reply to a similar comment above, I now know that it is because I filled them too full. I wanted to use all the batter and thought it was designed for 12.
They are stil delicious. I reduced sugar from 7 oz to 6 oz, subbed thick yogurt for the crème fraiche, used half whole wheat pastry flour, and used dried rosemary. I measured out 2 tsp and ground it fine in a mortar and pestle.
Good flavour combination. I might add a touch more rosemary next time.
MaggieMaggieMae April 13, 2016
Could I add or substitute in some corn meal to add that slight grit that I love in corn muffins?
Posie (. April 13, 2016
Yes definitely! I'd try adding 1/4 cup of cornmeal.
susie1967 April 12, 2016
4 eggs seems like a lot for muffins. Is that correct?
Posie (. April 12, 2016
Yep! It makes a larger batch -- I often half this recipe which makes a more manageable amount of muffins for a two person household.
harriet April 11, 2016
Mine are so flat, what happened, my baking powder isn't old!
Posie (. April 11, 2016
Oh no! I'm sorry to hear that -- I'm not sure what could be the culprit, did you make any changes to the recipe at all? The only thing I can guess is perhaps you mixed the batter for too long? You should only mix until it comes together. And did you fill the muffin cups up to 2/3 height? Let me know!
Alexandria April 10, 2016
Can sour cream be substituted for the creme fraiche?
Posie (. April 10, 2016
Yes definitely! Or Greek yogurt would work nicely.
Deb T. April 10, 2016
Are these dessert cupcakes or muffins for dinner (or breakfast)? There is a lot of sugar in the recipe so i would think they are fairly sweet. Look very good - i will give them a try!
Posie (. April 10, 2016
They aren't as sweet as cupcakes but they are sweet like muffins! Sort of the sweetness level of a corn muffin, I'd say. If you spread some lemon curd on them they'd make a nice dessert -- or toast them and eat them with ice cream!
Deb T. April 10, 2016
Thank you - very helpful! Will let you know how they work!