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Lightened Up – Lemon Ricotta Muffins

The bad part about deciding to bake at 9 pm?  No natural light.


And thinking about these things in my sleep.

If you were an early follower of my blog, you might remember how I get stressed about using up dairy products.  I made a whole slew of buttermilk recipes when I could only find buttermilk by the half gallon.  Since I bought lite ricotta cheese to make that fabulous roasted red pepper sauce, I had the majority of the pint left over.

What’s a girl to make?  

Muffins.  And pumpkin ricotta oats.  But I digress.

Lemon ricotta muffins.  I think they’re the perfect balance of sweet and citrus, but my husband thinks they don’t taste anything like cupcakes (FYI – they aren’t supposed to).


Lightened Up Lemon Ricotta Muffins [adapted from this recipe]

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp sugar (I resisted the urge to use an artificial sweetener)
  • 2 tsp grated lemon peel (or more if desired)
  • 1 cup lite ricotta cheese (I used Lamagna – it’s very creamy)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil (or any vegetable oil)
  • 2 Tbsp pumpkin (or applesauce)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 eggs, room temperature, beaten
  • 1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp almond milk (room temperature)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients and sift or stir with a whisk to mix well.
  3. Combine wet ingredients until well mixed.
  4. Make a “well” in the center of the dry ingredients and lightly fold in wet just until combined.  Do NOT overmix.
  5. Pour into sprayed or lined muffin tin, filling 2/3 full (I used a 1/2 cup ice cream scooper).  Top with turbinado sugar or a pinch of regular sugar, if desired.
  6. Bake 22-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into one of the center muffins comes out clean.
  7. Cool in tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.

Makes 12 muffins.

They were much lighter than most low-fat baked goods I’ve made – not at all chewy or rubbery.  The crumb was nice and delicate. 


Approximate nutrition information (per muffin, no sugar topping): 135 calories, 5 grams of fat, 16 grams carbs, 5 grams protein

You could definitely try substituting sour cream or greek yogurt for the ricotta, making them even lower in fat and calories.

The bad things about working the 7 am shift in the dead of winter in Pittsburgh? 

Too many to name.

The good thing?  Enjoying a toasted muffin while it’s still quiet in the office.


Glad I snagged that jar of jam from a hotel at some point in the past year – it came in handy!


Do you think a muffin has to be incredibly sweet to be enjoyable?  My husband thinks these need an icing!


28 responses to “Lightened Up – Lemon Ricotta Muffins

  1. Mattie @ Comfy and Confident January 19, 2012 at 9:02 am

    A Muffin with icing is pretty much a cupcake! I actually prefer to have my muffins less sweet. I love muffins with nuts or veggies. This one sounds very good as well!

  2. Katie @ Peace Love & Oats January 19, 2012 at 9:13 am

    I’ve never heard of cheese in muffins! Clearly I don’t get out much.

  3. sprint2thetable January 19, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Good to know they don’t taste like cupcakes. LOL! Men are so funny. 🙂

    I love using ricotta with lemon. And I really love the 5g of protein in these!

  4. Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean January 19, 2012 at 9:50 am

    yum! i’ve never used ricotta in muffins but i love lemon muffins 🙂

  5. Newly Wife Healthy Life January 19, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Oh yum! Those look so light and fresh tasting! Of course huge chocolate muffins, or those with icing or sugary crumble are delicious, but they can be too rich for breakfast. Most muffins should be on the dessert menu instead. It’s hard to recover the rest of the day after entering a sugar coma so early in the morning!

  6. Shanna, like Banana January 19, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    I love muffins that are more scone like (less sweet). I wonder if I could sub the pastry flour for regular flour? Thoughts?

  7. char on a mission January 19, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    I love coming here and always finding a lightened up recipe! Props to you for taking that jar of jam….I’d be all over it too!

  8. Melissa January 19, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Oh yum! Nope, I like my muffins plain–no icing!

    Speaking of using up ricotta, I do a twice baked sweet potato with ricotta–you should check it out! Just leave out the turkey bacon, of course! And maybe add some caramelized onions??? 😉

  9. Caitlin C. January 19, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    I love how your toasted muffin looks, mmm! I don’t think muffins need to be sweet. In fact, I like scones more than muffins BECAUSE they are less sweet! I eat an english muffin every day at some point and I love how hearty and wheaty they are.

  10. StoriesAndSweetPotatoes January 19, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Yum. I do have a whole tub of ricotta right now and someone just brought us a bunch of lemons from their tree. Fate? I think so!

  11. Paige @ Running Around Normal January 19, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Oooh, I have some ricotta that’s probably three days away from something growing in it. These are the perfect excuse to use it up!

  12. Matt @ The Athlete's Plate January 19, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    I love ricotta cheese! Totally making these 🙂

  13. honeywhatscooking January 20, 2012 at 12:11 am

    No, a muffin doesnt’ need to be incredibly sweet to be good. Muffins are usually healthier and I prefer mine with a cup of tea/coffee. It is understandable why people eat them with jam and a buttery crumbled topping. Now I know what I can make with my leftover ricotta cheese – it just won’t finish! 🙂

  14. Krissy {Krissy's Creations} January 20, 2012 at 2:08 am

    I would think about these in my sleep too! They sound delicious 🙂

  15. healthydivaeatskatie January 20, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Happy Weekend!

    These look awesome! You really do bake a lot for how busy you are! The cheese sticks from todays post look great too!

  16. Pingback: Pumpkin Ricotta Pancakes (Low Fat) « Live and Love to Eat

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