You will love these sweet and light lemony zucchini muffins for packing in lunches or quick mid-day snacks. Packed with fresh zucchini and made with greek yogurt.
Zucchini muffins are a nice change from fruity baked goods. And a great way to get some veggies into your fam - while they think it's just a sweet treat😉. Lemon is an awesome flavour with zucchini. Fresh and light.
I have to say though, a cup of coffee and one of these bright sunny muffins is just what I need when cold mornings are telling me summer is over.
I've kept the other spices light, but be sure to add vanilla. Vanilla and lemon! Yumm.
A healthy muffin recipe like this is great for grab and go breakfasts, after school snacks, or packing in school lunches. My hubs likes to take something like this with him to work so he can eat something on very busy days.
📋 Ingredient notes
Zucchini: I used a box grater to shred the zucchini. No need to peel the zucchini first! I actually love seeing the little green flecks in these zucchini muffins.
Zucchini holds a lot of moisture. Once grated, place the grated zucchini on a clean kitchen towel. Then bring the ends of the towel together so that the zucchini is gathered into a ball in the center of the towel. Twist the towel around the zucchini and gently squeeze to draw some of the moisture out of the flesh. Do this over a bowl or the kitchen sink.
No need to be aggressive with it! Squeeze just hard enough to draw some water out of the zucchini. It should be easy.
Unroll the towel and spread the zucchini out and fluff it up a bit before adding to the muffin batter so you don't get clumps.
Greek yogurt: Greek yogurt makes for rich and moist muffins. It is one of my favourite bases. Greek yogurt adds protein, keeps the fat in check and gives you a wonderful tang - honestly, I love it.
Don't use fat-free greek yogurt. It is just too low in fat to make a good muffin.
Avoid sweetened yogurts - it's far too sweet. I used plain 2% greek yogurt. 1% greek yogurt is good too.
Sour cream also works but will add fat and calories. I find these muffins really don't need the extra richness. But feel free to substitute sour cream for the Greek yogurt if that is what you have on hand.
- For more information about baking with greek yogurt, see this post.
Lemon: I love lemon! Use both some juice and some zest to really bring out that lemon flavour.
TIP: When grating lemon zest, just lightly take off the yellow skin of the lemon. None of the white underneath - the white flesh under the very outer yellow skin is bitter. This microplane grater is my favourite tool for zesting lemons.
First things first! A few steps you will want to do before you get too far into mixing the batter together:
I always start with grating the zucchini, removing the water as noted above and just setting that aside while I get the rest of the ingredients ready.
You will also want to melt the butter so it has some time to cool before you add it to the eggs.
And zest your lemon! Its much easier to zest a whole, intact lemon than it is to zest a piece. So get the zest off first before you extract some of the juice for the batter.
Dry ingredients in one bowl - flour, sugar, spices, baking powder and soda and salt. Use a dry whisk to mix well.
Wet ingredients go into a larger bowl - eggs, yogurt, melted and cooled butter, lemon juice and vanilla. Whisk well until creamy and smooth.
Then gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Just mix. It's okay if you leave some dry bits at this point.
TIP: I like to mix wet ingredients in the larger bowl. It's so much easier to add dry to wet (rather than adding wet to dry). It makes clean up easier too!
Gently fold the zucchini and lemon zest into the batter. Again, until just mixed. Don't over do it!
Divide between you muffin cups and sprinkle each muffin with a little bit of granulated sugar before baking.
Bake 20-22 minutes. The muffins will be golden brown around the edges and springy when tapped on the top. If your oven runs hot, you may want to check the muffins after 18 minutes.
🍴Serving and storage
I'm a weekend baker. I tend to make a batch on Sunday for lunches and snacks during the week. Usually, muffins don't last past Tuesday 🥰. Soooo normally, I don't worry about freezing or long term storage.
Storage These muffins will last in an airtight container for a couple day at room temperature. Or in the refrigerator for about a week.
Freezing If you wish to freeze these muffins, my usual technique is to place the muffins on a baking tray and place tray and all, flat, into the freezer until the muffins are hard and frozen. A few hours or overnight will do it. Once froze, move the muffins to a zipper-top freezer bag. This way you don't end up with squashed muffins.
Sugar on top! - I like to sprinkle sugar on top of these muffins before baking. It adds a tiny bit of crunch and extra sweetness. If you have it - a lemon or vanilla scented sugar is the bomb for the topping.
More muffin recipes you might like:
Lemony Zucchini Muffins
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2-½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly
- 1 cup 2% greek yogurt or sour cream, light or regular
- 3 tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed, approximately the juice from half a lemon
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp lemon zest freshly grated, about the zest from one lemon
- 1-½ to 2 cups shredded zucchini about 3 smallish zucchini, grated and lightly squeezed to remove moisture
For the topping:
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil baking cups.
- Melt the butter and allow to cool. Zest the lemon, then juice one half and set aside. Grate the zucchini, and squeeze out some of the excess moisture. I like to do this by laying the grated zucchini in a clean dish towel, gathering up the ends and squeezing out some of the liquid over the kitchen sink.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt and whisk to blend.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the greek yogurt, melted butter, eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla until smooth. Lightly stir the dry ingredients into the yogurt mixture with a spatula until the batter just comes together; do not overmix. Gently stir in the zucchini and lemon zest. This is a thick batter.
- Evenly divide the batter among the muffin cups. The batter should mound a bit higher than the tops of the cups.
- Sprinkle a generous ½ tsp granulated sugar over each muffin. Use your fingers to gently pat the topping into the tops of the muffins.
- Bake the muffins until they’re golden brown and a tooth pick comes inserted into the centre of the muffin comes out clean, about 20-22 minutes.
- Let muffins cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before moving them out of the pan to cool on a wire rack. Best served warm.