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Satisfying my sweet tooth the healthier way with these Vanilla Chai Lemon Ricotta Muffins. Extra light and moist, these whole wheat muffins are made with fresh Meyer lemons, ricotta cheese, and hinted with warming chai spices. Lightly sweetened with a touch of honey, and kept moist with heart healthy extra-virgin olive oil. You’d never guess these delicious muffins are made on the healthier side. Every last crumb is SO GOOD. Enjoy for breakfast, or as an afternoon snack with a latte on the side and a good pat of lemon poppyseed butter.

side angle photo of Vanilla Chai Lemon Ricotta Muffins with honey being drizzled on

I’m not sure I’ve ever loved a muffin more than these. I know strawberry muffins are great, bakery style muffins are so delicious, and sure, pumpkin muffins are sin worthy. They all have their place in the muffin world, and are loved for very different reasons. BUT, I don’t know, these lemon ricotta muffins feel extra special.

And they taste just as special too.

These muffins are moist, light, fluffy, lemony, and hinted with the flavors of chai. I mean, these muffins are pretty healthy. See why I think I may just love these most. And yes, I’m being very dramatic here. Please forgive me. It’s been a long few days. And to be quite honest my brain is far, far past it’s ability to think straight.

Also, it’s currently the coziest situation outside my windows. The snow is making everything just that much better. That makes no sense, but basically what I’m saying is that I love writing about cozy muffins when it’s snowing. Apparently, it makes me over dramatic.

OK. And moving on now.

Vanilla Chai Lemon Ricotta Muffins batter before baking

These muffins encompass everything I love. They’re made using my favorite fresh ricotta cheese, which makes them light and fluffy. They’re scented with Meyer lemons (winter’s delicacy), and they have warming chai spices too.

They also couldn’t be easier to throw together. And while they could potentially be healthier, they’re healthy enough for me. I think you can tell that I’m pretty into them.

I used heart healthy extra virgin olive oil to keep the muffins moist. And while you might think you’d be able to taste the oil, you really can’t. It only leaves the muffins with a moist texture and not much else. To keep the muffins sweet, I used manuka honey And while I know some of you might argue that honey is sugar, and all sugar is the same. I’m looking past this, and instead focusing on that benefits manuka honey is said to have…

Vanilla Chai Lemon Ricotta Muffins after baking in pan

poppyseed butter

Go with me on this. Please.

PS. you can totally use regular honey too!

overhead photo of Vanilla Chai Lemon Ricotta Muffins

And then, as if these muffins weren’t cozy enough, I spiced them with my favorite winter flavor, chai.

So, a little cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and allspice. All spices known for fighting off winter colds. Especially ginger. It’s true.

Maybe we should really just be calling these, Cold Fighting Muffins? What do you think? Taking it too far? Yes, surely. But as you can see, my mind is all over the place tonight (it’s Sunday night as I type this).

side angle photo of Vanilla Chai Lemon Ricotta Muffins

And with that, I say we make this a muffin baking kind of Tuesday. Bonus points if you also make the poppyseed lemon butter. Which may sound a bit odd, but works really well. Especially when slathered onto a warm muffin. Oh yeah, it’s the BEST!

Enjoy everyone! Tomorrow, I should have a clearer mind. See you then!

side angle photo of Vanilla Chai Lemon Ricotta Muffins broken in half with butter on muffin

If you make these lemon ricotta muffins, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Watch the How To Video:

Vanilla Chai Lemon Ricotta Muffins

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings: 12 muffins
Calories Per Serving: 275 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

Lemon Poppyseed Butter

  • 4 tablespoons salted butter at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon poppyseeds
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest

Instructions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners.
    2. In a large bowl, mix together the olive oil, honey, and vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon zest, and juice, beat until smooth and creamy. Add the whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, all-spice, and salt. Mix on low-speed until just combined, being sure the batter is completely mixed.
    3. Divide the batter among the prepared pan. Transfer to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
    4. Meanwhile, make the honey butter. In a small bowl, combine the butter, honey, poppyseeds, and lemon zest. 
    5. Serve the muffins warm or at room temperature, smeared with chia butter. Enjoy! 

horizontal photo of Vanilla Chai Lemon Ricotta Muffins

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Comments

  1. Made these and they are really good. I made a few changes though based on comments here. Omitted the lemon entirely, used 3 tbsp of milk instead. I added 75g of sugar as I have a bit more of a sweet tooth. Increased the cardamom to 1/2 tsp, all spice to 1/2tsp, ginger and cinnamon to 3/4 tsp. They are really nicely spiced with the extra. I put a vanilla glaze on them instead of the butter. Absolutely delicious for a afternoon treat.

    1. Hey Annie,
      Awesome! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed and appreciate you giving it a go! Thanks for sharing what worked well for you. Have a wonderful week:) xTieghan

    1. Hey Melissa,
      The muffins do not need to be refrigerated, you can keep in an airtight container on the counter. Please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  2. 4 stars
    Just made these, and they’re pretty tasty. I did use Manuka honey in mine, so perhaps that added more flavor. Froze most of them to eat later too!

    1. Hey Julie,
      Awesome! Love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for making it! Have the best weekend:) xTieghan

  3. 5 stars
    These are so delicious! I had some ricotta I needed to use up and this was the perfect recipe for it.

    1. Hey Jenn,
      Happy Wednesday! Love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks for giving it a try! xTieghan

    1. Hey Laney,
      I have not tried this, but I would probably add about 5-10 minutes onto your baking time depending on the size of the muffins. I hope the recipe turns out amazing for you. Please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  4. I wanted to love these so much. The texture of the muffins was wonderful; dense, but not too dense. However, the taste was just not what I was hoping for. As others said, they were quite bland, which wasn’t what I was expecting at all. For me personally, the lemon and chai just didn’t go together. As someone else stated, in the future, I would use this base, but stick with lemon (and more of it) or just chai spices (and more of those). I do love having another great muffin base recipe to add to my repertoire, but I would change the flavor profile.

    1. Hey Cassie,
      So sorry you did not enjoy this recipe, was there anything you may have adjusted? Let me know if I can help in anyway! xTieghan

    1. Hey Stef,
      You can use maple syrup in place of the honey. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  5. These are seriously amazing! Like, delectable, scrumptious, delicious. The bright notes of the lemon perfectly balance the chai spices. And the ricotta, olive oil, eggs and vanilla add a creamy richness so the muffins aren’t dry. These are my new “go to” for coffee and tea snacks. Love them!

    1. Hey Renee,
      I am so glad this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for giving it a try! Have the best week. xTieghan

  6. 5 stars
    I just made these this morning and I am in love! I did sub Greek yogurt for the ricotta, only because that’s what I had, but I’ll need to get ricotta at some point to try all your other ricotta baked goods. Thank you for all of your yummy creations!

  7. 5 stars
    Just made these and they are so tasty! I switched to a teaspoon of poppyseeds because the butter seemed a bit chunky and it was absolutely perfect! Thanks Tegan xo

    1. Hey Beatrice,
      Thanks so much for trying out this recipe, I am thrilled that you liked it! I hope you have a great week:) xTieghan

    1. Hey Beatrice,
      I used 1 tablespoon, but if you feel like that was too much you can always reduce that amount. I hope you love the recipe! xTieghan

  8. I wasn’t really a fan of these. I love so many of your recipes and have had a lot of successful meals, but this one missed the mark for us. It seems very bland and lacking any real flavor.

    1. Hey Caitlyn,
      I am so glad you enjoyed the recipe, thanks so much for giving it a try! Have a great week:) xTieghan

  9. I have a Penzey baking spice blend, do you think I could sub that for the other spices? Looks like cinnamon, cardamom, anise I think

    1. Hey Jess,
      I think that would work well! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  10. 5 stars
    Yum! These were subtle in flavor but so moist and delicious. I didn’t have supplies to make the butter, but I added some fresh blackberries to the mix for the second half of the batch. Both ways- so good!

  11. 3 stars
    First note, is MY error was upping salt to 1/2 tsp vs the 1/4 tsp called for. Since most of my muffin recipes call for 1 tsp, I was afraid that the 1/4 would just taste flat. So, it’s hard to judge how much the not great flavor is because they are truly too salty (didn’t’ think about 1/2c. honey isn’t much on the sweet side to balance the salt), or it’s the combo of the lemon with the other spices. The moisture level is nice, and they rose well (and I also did not make the special honey butter- since my Christmas extra fluff does not need it!) but the overall flavor is just weird, in a not great way. I also wondered if having both the baking soda and powder was too much and contributed to a bit of a metallic taste. If I tried it again, I’d probably try for lemon, or the chai flavors, but not both.

    1. Hey Kirsten,
      So sorry you did not enjoy the flavors, please let me know if I can help in anyway! Happy New Year! xTieghan

  12. 5 stars
    We have soooo many Meyer lemons so it is always great to get a new recipe to use them up! This one is a keeper. So easy! Took mine out after 17 minutes but my oven might be hotter than yours. Thanks for sharing this one. Can’t wait to try it with oranges.

  13. Delicious!! I made them exactly as written, including the butter and they were fantastic. I will definitely be making these again!

    1. Hey Jessica,
      Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try, I am so glad it was enjoyed! Happy New Year! xTieghan

  14. 5 stars
    Just made these and they are divine!!! I left out the lemon zest in the butter topping and they were still perfect!

  15. 3 stars
    I tried this recipe because I had some ricotta that i did not know what to do with. I had to make adjustments for the ingredients that I did not have. I skipped the lemon zest and used lemon juice (not fresh). I didn’t have any wheat flour so I used regular AP flour and I didn’t have cardamom so I skipped that. They came out pretty bland. I couldn’t really taste the lemon or the chai spices. It was probably because of the adjustments I made. I was expecting a lot of flavor but they were actual very bland. I hope to try it again with the correct ingredients.

    1. Hi Annette! I am really sorry this did not turn out well for you… Please let me know how it turns out if you are able to get all of the ingredients! If there is anything I can help with, please let me know! xTieghan

  16. 5 stars
    These light muffins are great! I skipped the ginger, as I’m not a fan, and doubled the cardamom. My husband found them a bit “too healthy” (I didn’t have poppyseeds) but I really enjoyed with a cup of coffee with no butter. Thanks! Will make again!!

  17. 5 stars
    I had leftover ricotta that I needed to figure out what to do with. This is brilliant! They are incredible and the poppyseed butter is a MUST!

    1. Hi Sierra, cottage cheese is chunkier than ricotta so I am not sure how the outcome would be. I am sure they will taste fine, but the texture could be off. Please let me know how it goes if you do tru it. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you!! xTieghan

  18. Hi, I was wondering if you had a suggestion for a dairy free ricotta cheese. I have a dairy allergy and I would love to try these. I just saw so many different options online I was afraid to get one that wouldn’t work for this recipe.

    1. Hi Jess! I have not tried any, so I would not know what is best try! I would look for one that is the best for baking! xTieghan

  19. 5 stars
    I rated ahead of time because we have made a recipe of yours every single weekend for more than 6 months and never went wrong. The party pooper, through no fault of his own, can’t have ricotta cheese. I love ricotta but have endure the hardship of cottage cheese in lasagna (gasp) and other substitutes so I suppose I can muster one for this recipe. Do you have a recommendation so I can make this recipe? Otherwise, I’m fine eating them all by myself 😉

    1. Hey Tracy!! I would use an equal amount of plain greek yogurt. I am sure that will be great! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan

  20. 5 stars
    These were sooo good. The spices came through best after completely cool. We couldn’t wait to eat them…yum.

  21. I have left over ricotta and was looking for recipes and this came up in my feed! Can’t wait to try it! Question tho, do you think it would do well in a loaf pan instead? Thank you!

    1. Hi Megan! A commenter above said she made it into a loaf just fine! “I also made this as a loaf instead of muffins. After 45 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees F, it turned out light and fluffy.” Let us know how it works out for you!

  22. 5 stars
    Made these last night and followed the recipe as almost as written (could not find Meyer lemons this time of summer). We had them for breakfast and thorough enjoyed them!!! Excellent texture – moist yet light and fluffy. Flavor was amazing, the honey and spices add a nice warmth and the butter was a nice touch!! Overall an excellent recipe!

  23. 5 stars
    I didn’t have cardamon or all spice, and I realized after I put them in the oven I used whole wheat regular flour, not pastry flour…they still turned out great, particularly smeared with that honey poppy seed butter. I had to stop myself from eating them all… Yum! Just discovered your website and can’t wait to try more recipes!

    1. Hi there! They can get a little dry if you use all WW flour, so I would recommend using half and half. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan

  24. 5 stars
    These were excellent! My 10 year old daughter was able to help gather & mix ingredients. The muffin itself is packed with Fall flavors while the butter gives it that perfect bright springy punch. Loved the balance & perfect combination. Thank you for all of your amazing recipes. I am never disappointed.

    1. You are so sweet! I am so glad these muffins turned out so well for you, Ashlie! Thank you! xTieghan

  25. I want to make this and looked at two stores. I am unable to find whole wheat pastry flour. Can I use regular wheat flour. I am dying to make this.

    1. Hi there! You can use regular flour or whole wheat flour, either is just fine! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan

    1. HI! I am not sure as I have not tested a flax egg. I think it will work, but I am not sure what the texture will be. I would imagine it would be just fine. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan

  26. I am a huge fan of your recipes and this recipe turned out delicious! I made a few changes based on availability of ingredients: I used unbleached all-purpose flour as opposed to pastry flour, regular lemon as opposed to Meyer, and juice from half a lemon as opposed to an entire lemon. I also made this as a loaf instead of muffins. After 45 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees F, it turned out light and fluffy. The only thing is that the chai and lemon flavors weren’t as bright. Perhaps this is due to using juice from only half a lemon?

    1. HI there! I would try doubling the chai spice mic and using the entire lemon. That will fix the issue for you! Please let me know if you have any other questions. So glad you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan

  27. Do you think substituting a regular lemon for a Meyer lemon would change the taste a lot? My grocery store doesn’t tend to have Meyer lemons in stock.

    1. Hey Kristen! Regular lemon will be just fine! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan

  28. 5 stars
    Just tried these on a rainy day and I am in love. Not too sweet, perfect amount of spice- and then the lemon butter takes it to another level. Absolutely delicious!!

  29. Could you make these into mini loaves? Would the recipe stay the same? Would love to gift these for Galentine’s! 🙂

    1. HI! I am sure mini loaves will be great! I would you could make 3-4 mini loaves. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan

  30. 5 stars
    Made these last night and my family of 3 has already pretty much polished them off. So good! Just a tip, sour cream or plain yogurt will substitute just fine for ricotta if you don’t have the fancy stuff around.

  31. 5 stars
    These are wonderful! I just had my first one after they cooled (it was still a little warm). Had to change the recipe a bit because I didn’t bother checking to make sure I had everything (white flour, instead of wheat and coconut oil instead of olive). It didn’t matter. They still taste so good and are very fluffy. The flavor is rich and delicious.

  32. 5 stars
    I made these gluten free with Bobs Red Mill 1 to 1. They turned out great. Love that they are only sweetened with honey. The butter is the perfect accompaniment to take them over the top

  33. 5 stars
    Hi Tieghan! I love this recipe, so moist and so yum, and I super love that it is on the healthier side – I make them on a Sunday so we have “grab and go” muffins throughout the workweek. Just a question – I’ve made 3 batches now, and although they taste amazing, the muffins always fall into themselves when I take them out of the oven? I don’t “peek” while they are baking and I let them sit for 10 minutes before attempting to eat them (which is sooo hard, lol) Is there anything I could do differently?

    1. Hey Kim! Hmm, I have no idea why your muffins would be sinking. Have you checked your baking soda and baking powder to see if they are fresh? That is the only thing that I can think would cause them to sink. If your rising agents are older that could be the issue. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope this helps! So glad you love the muffins! Thank you! xTieghan

  34. 4 stars
    These turned out great! They did not stick to the paper liners at all. I ended up using a lot of honey butter because they weren’t very sweet, which I was grateful for, since they were breakfast for the week.

  35. 4 stars
    These are awesome. I decided to leave out the cinammon and double all of the other spices. In the batter the cardamon dominated but once they were baked, the flavor was still totally subtle and awesome and the vanilla really came through. Thank you!

    1. I am sure yogurt will be great! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe. Thanks so much!! xTieghan

  36. These look amazing and I an now craving them! Do you think I could substitute creme fraiche for the ricotta? I have some on hand.

    1. I think creme fraiche will be great!! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe. Thanks so much!! xTieghan

    1. I am sure that will be great! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe. Thanks so much!! xTieghan

  37. 5 stars
    I just made this and ate 4 straight out of the pan. I didn’t have pastry flour so I subbed 1c all purpose and 3/4 cake flour. So incredibly light and moist.

  38. 5 stars
    I made a lemon loaf the other day with my wife and it was really good! I think we’d both love these muffins too haha thank you!

    1. HI! So sorry, that was a typo. All fixed. it is poppyseed butter. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe. Thanks so much!! xTieghan

  39. Checked the pantry and refrig, I’m ready to roll tomorrow morning and both H.H. (Hunky Husband) and I are looking forward to smelling them bake as we get ready for our day. Made the butter after dinner tonight, I might even dream about them tonight!

  40. this sounds like my dream muffin and even though I already went grocery shopping today I’m considering going back out so that I can make these…

    1. Haha I hope you do make these sometime! Maybe the next time you make the trip to the grocery store! Thank you so much Olivia!

  41. I so enjoy your healthy recipes because you always find ways to make them incredibly delicious!!! gonna make these!!!

  42. 5 stars
    These just came out of the oven – with the dollop of poppy seed honey butter they were Excellent! Great texture, mildly sweet, delicious. I think I may cut back a bit on the lemon zest next time, it masked the spices a little. Used Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour. Also, I made 6 jumbo muffins instead of the 12 smaller. Will definitely make again!

  43. 5 stars
    These look absolutely delicious! Your photography and styling is beautiful. I an definitely going to make these this week!

  44. Hello,
    All of your recipes are top of the charts wonderful, I’ve made loads of your recipes and they always come out 100% perfect. The latest item was the Persian Love Cake. OMG – have made it twice and it gets nothing but 100 stars from everyone, even the hard to please. Will be making these muffins asap. So thank you SO much for your time and effort and perfectionism (if that’s a word lol).

    1. Hi Colleen! I am so glad you have been loving my recipes and I hope you love these muffins as well! Thank you!

    1. Hi Laura! I have not tried it with gluten free flour, but I am sure it will taste amazing! Please let me know if you have any questions while making it!

  45. 5 stars
    Making this weekend! King Arthur sells all the warming spices in one jar – Chai Spice – 3 Oz – so so good – lasts a long time and perfect for this recipe.