Great for breakfast, brunch, or even dessert, these tender lemon chia seed muffins are a heavenly combination of sweet and tart. The super soft texture and bold lemon flavor will have everyone as obsessed with these muffins as I am! No one will be able to tell they are gluten and dairy free.
This easy muffin recipe is a fun twist on traditional lemon poppy seed muffins. Since they are made with chia seeds, they offer a number of nutritional benefits. Packed full of fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants (to name a few), these muffins are the perfect healthy snack. The sweet, tangy lemon flavor, moist crumb, and slight crunch from the chia seeds make them irresistible.
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Table of contents
⭐Why this recipe is a must-make!
Besides being incredibly delicious and full of nutrients, these lemon chia seed muffins are super easy to prep. Since they are made with a gluten free flour mix, you don't have to worry about using multiple flours to get that perfect light and fluffy texture. Here’s what else you’ll love about this recipe:
- The batter is easy to make in just 20 minutes, similar to this cassava bread and these millet biscuits
- It’s gluten free, dairy free, and nut free as written (with a sugar free and egg free option)
- It uses lemon juice and lemon zest for a burst of lemon flavor
- The muffins can be frozen for long-term storage
Muffins are generally a fast and simple quick bread. However, just like with any gluten free baked good, there are a few extra steps that are important for the best outcome. Getting the right soft and fluffy texture for these tender lemon chia seed muffins is easy if you follow these baking tips.
1. Use room temperature ingredients (except for the butter)
You will get the best results if you use room temperature ingredients in these muffins. As one of the gluten free baking pro tips, this will ensure everything combines evenly when mixed, resulting in a smoother, more uniform batter. The only exception is the melted butter.
2. Measure the ingredients by weight as specified
Using weight measurement is the most accurate way to measure ingredients in baking. When it comes to gluten free baking, it can really make or break a recipe. For this muffin recipe, use a digital scale to measure the gluten free flour mix, chia seeds, and sugar by weight.
3. Let the batter rest for 30 minutes
As with this chia seed bread, these rice flour pancakes and even this spice cake, the muffin batter needs to rest for 30 minutes before baking. This allows the dry ingredients to fully absorb the liquid ingredients for the best light and fluffy texture.
4. Helpful tools
Here are a few tools that will help in prepping your tender lemon chia seed muffins:
- Digital scale
- Mixing bowls
- Sturdy spoon
- Standard muffin tin
- Wire cooling rack
🧾Ingredients & substitutions
- Gluten free flour mix - This recipe was tested using my gluten free flour mix. It works perfectly for these muffins.
- Baking powder - There is no alternative for the baking powder in this recipe.
- Baking soda - There is no substitute for the baking soda in this recipe.
- Salt - There is no alternative for the salt in this recipe.
- Chia seeds - There is no substitute for the chia seeds in these muffins.
- Granulated sugar - For a sugar free option, you can replace the granulated sugar with Swerve granular sweetener.
- Lemon zest - There is no replacement for the lemon zest in these muffins.
- Vegan butter - I use Earth Balance vegan butter in this recipe. You can substitute regular butter if needed.
- Lemon juice - I like to use freshly squeezed lemon juice for these muffins, but bottled lemon juice works just fine.
- Egg - The egg can be replaced with a chia egg or a flax egg. Just Egg brand egg alternative also works in these muffins.
- Dairy free sour cream - You can substitute dairy free plain or unsweetened vanilla yogurt. Regular sour cream can be used as well if desired. Make sure your sour cream is labeled gluten free as not every brand is!
- Pure vanilla extract - There is no substitute for the vanilla extract in these muffins.
🍋How to zest a lemon for baking
Fresh lemon zest is essential for gaining that delicious lemon flavor in the muffins. Follow these tips for the easiest way to zest a lemon:
- Start with a washed and dried lemon. This recipe will use one and a half larger lemons or two smaller ones.
- Using a small grater, rub sections of each lemon about three times back and forth on the grater. Any more than three and you'll get into the white part of the lemon.
- Zesting the lemon right before adding it to the recipe is best as grated zest dries out quickly.
This lemon chia seed muffin batter is super quick and easy to mix up. Start by ensuring all of your ingredients are at room temperature with the exception of the melted butter. Once you’ve prepped the ingredients, add the gluten free flour mix, baking powder, baking soda, salt, chia seeds, sugar, and lemon zest to a large mixing bowl (step 1 above). Whisk until the ingredients are combined and set aside. Then, in a medium bowl, add the melted butter, lemon juice, egg, sour cream, and vanilla extract (step 2). Mix until completely blended. Next, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients (step 3). Stir with a sturdy spoon until they are fully mixed (step 4). Finally, set the batter aside to rest for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F. Prepare a muffin tin by spraying it with non-stick cooking spray. When the batter is done resting, fill each muffin cup almost to the top of the cup with the batter. Bake the muffins for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. When they are done baking, remove the muffins from the pan and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.
The good thing about muffins is they store very well. And these are no exception! Any leftover muffins just need to be placed in a plastic bag and sealed well. They will stay fresh for up to 2 days at room temperature. Any longer than than and you'll want to freeze them for longer storage.
There are a few things you can do to make sure your muffins are light and fluffy. First, make sure you don't overmix the batter. Mix just until the ingredients are fully combined. Second, let your batter rest before baking. Third, measure the flour by weight to avoid adding too much or too little.
For this recipe, you do not need to soak the chia seeds before adding them to the batter. They add a nice crunch to these soft and fluffy muffins!
Because chia seeds have a very mild flavor, they tend to take on other flavors very well. Consequently, the chia seeds take on and intensify the lemon flavor in these muffins. For a milder flavor, the chia seeds can be ground into smaller pieces before adding them to the batter.
These muffins will stay fresh and moist for up to 2 days at room temperature. Be sure to store them in a well-sealed plastic bag. If you want to keep them fresh longer, store them in the freezer in a freezer-safe plastic bag or container. Let them thaw on the counter when you are ready to enjoy them again.
More amazing muffin recipes
Tender Lemon Chia Seed Muffins (Gluten & Dairy Free)
- 208 grams gluten free flour mix about 1 ¾ cup
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 14 grams chia seeds about 2 ½ Tablespoons
- 150 grams sugar about ¾ cup
- 2 Tablespoons lemon zest
- 7 Tablespoons vegan butter melted
- 1 ½ Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 egg
- 1 cup dairy free sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a large bowl, add the gluten free flour mix, baking powder, baking soda, salt, chia seeds, sugar and lemon zest. Whisk until combined.
- In a medium bowl, add the melted butter, lemon juice, egg, sour cream and vanilla extract. Mix until completely blended.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir with a sturdy spoon until fully mixed.
- Set the batter aside to rest for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.
- Fill each muffin cup almost to the top of the cup with batter.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Ingredients should be at room temperature.
- Measure by weight where weight is given.
- Bake time is between 18-20 minutes.
- Muffins store very well in a sealed bag, at room temperature for up to 2 days. Any longer and they can be frozen for longer storage.
- The flour mix used in the recipe is here.
- The sugar can be substituted with Swerve sugar.
- A flax or chia egg works well as an egg substitute or use JUST egg.
- The dairy free sour cream can be substituted with dairy free plain or unsweetened vanilla yogurt.