Blueberry Muffins with Lemon and Ricotta

I have discovered something amazing.


Lemon Zested Sugar.


If y’all knew about this and didn’t share this with me… I think our relationship might be somewhat fractured :-).

When Tina announced that April’s Crazy Cooking Challenge was Blueberry Muffins, I knew that I wanted something different, something more, something tonguegasmic.

Maria is one of my favorite bloggers and I remembered bookmarking a muffin recipe of hers from last year, so I dove into my bookmarks (oh-dear-pinterest-I-am-so-grateful-for-you-now) and once I found it, I remembered why I had bookmarked it:

1) I’ve never used ricotta before

b) her photography is beyond amazing

c) Lemon Ricotta Blackberry Muffinsneed I say more?

The only difference was that I used blueberries instead of blackberries

Maria’s recipe needs no adaptation – it’s brilliant and perfect and wonderful as is.


I’ve never had blueberries and lemon together in a muffin before…

I can promise y’all right now.  This combination will be happening again.

Oh yes.  Yes, it will.

It’s from Maria that I learned about the Lemon Zest and Sugar trick – it’s honestly recipe-life changing – I’m going to re-make my Blackberry Lemon Coffee Cake using this trick – it subtly, but powerfully enhances the flavor of lemon in a brilliant way.

Okay — done raving about Maria (for now)

Back to the Crazy Cooking Challenge


I started out by setting some unsalted butter out so that it could reach room temperature, zesting two lemons and then mixing the lemon zest into 1 C of sugar with my fingers (it’s entirely possible that I spent an inordinate amount of time smelling my hands after this) and then pre-heating my oven to 350°F.
I’ve come to realize that my dark, tiny, yellow-y kitchen is simply abysmal for pictures – so due to the timing of the pictures – there aren’t any step by steps.
  • I whisked together all the dry ingredients:  flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In another bowl:  cream together, lemon sugar and butter.
  • Add in ricotta cheese (hello baking first!) and beat until smooth
  • Beat in egg, fresh squeezed lemon juice and vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract – it’s a 1:1)

Once the wet ingredients are combined and smooth, add in the dry ingredients and mix until just blended.

  • Line muffin tins with paper liners or spray with baking spray
  • Use an ice cream scoop or spoon to fill the muffin tins, press 3 to 5 blueberries (depending on size of the berries) into the batter and then swirl the batter with your finger (or a spoon, if you don’t like gettin’ your fingers dirty)
  • Top with turbinado sugar.  Maria suggests a sprinkle – I don’t think what I did qualifies as a sprinkle…

But it definitely  made for divinely crunchy topped muffins. 🙂
Pop the muffins in the oven and bake for 18 minutes.
Remove from the tins and allow to cool for as long as you possibly can, but not until actually cool, although these muffins are spectacularly delicious while burning the living tar out of the roof of your mouth -scalding the taste buds straight off your tongue or next day cold.
Seriously, y’all.
Make these.
Go to the Farmer’s Market and buy some fresh lemons and blueberries – stop and buy some ricotta (or if you’re wicked adventurous – make it at home) and then — make. these. muffins.
Do NOT pass Go.  Do NOT collect $200.  Just. Make. These. Muffins.
Whether you make them with blackberries, like my inspiration, Maria  – or you make them with blueberries and an overabundance of Turbinado sugar, like me — just do it. Make them.
They will forever change your blueberry muffin experience.
Make sure you go over to Maria’s original Lemon Ricotta Blackberry Muffin recipe and show her some appreciation and love.

Blueberry Muffins with Lemon and Ricotta

Inspired by Maria's Lemon Blackberry Ricotta Muffins
Print Recipe
Prep Time:10 mins
Cook Time:18 mins
Total Time:28 mins


  • 2 C all purpose flour no need to sift
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 C white granulated sugar
  • Zest from 2 lemons
  • 1/2 C unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 C ricotta cheese I used low fat
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract just throw out any imitation extract now, please
  • 1 C ish fresh blackberries
  • Turbinado Sugar - for topping


  • Zest two lemons and then, using your fingers, combine the lemon zest with 1 C sugar - set aside
  • Pre-heat oven to 350° F
  • Spray 12 muffin cup tin with baking spray or line with paper liners
  • In a medium bowl combine: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together, and set aside.
  • Using a mixer - beat room temperature butter and lemon zest sugar together until light and fluffy - roughly 2 minutes.
  • Add the ricotta cheese to the lemon-sugar/butter mixture and beat until smooth.
  • Add in the egg, fresh squeezed lemon juice and vanilla bean paste and beat until fully incorporated.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet, folding in with a wooden spoon and then beat until just blended and no loose dry mix is evident.
  • Using an ice cream scooper or a large spoon, fill each muffin tin about 3/4 full.
  • Press 3 to 5 blueberries into each cup and then swirl the batter (this is really thick, sticky batter) over the blueberries until they're immersed.
  • Top with a generous sprinkle (tsp-ish-ish) of turbinado sugar (for that extra oomph)
  • Bake about 18 minutes
  • Remove from oven and cool about 5 minutes in the tins and for as long as you can stand it on wire racks.


These muffins are worth the extra effort - they are light, delicious, moist and seriously bursting with flavor. You'll never go back to traditional blueberry muffins.
Servings: 1 dozen muffins
Author: Rachel

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    1. Thank you, Jen! And oh my word.. TOASTED COCONUT blueberry muffins??!!! those sound heavenly! Can’t wait to visit your blog and check out your recipe!

  1. I love lemon and blueberry together. One of the cakes at our wedding (we went very non-traditional) was lemon blueberry. Here’s another thing to do with the lemon zested sugar, stolen from Bella Luna restaurant in Knoxville: Use it on the rim of a small bowl or mug. Put a scoop of vanilla gelato in the bowl. Pour a shot of espresso over the gelato. Affogato to make your toes curl with glee.

  2. I have never heard of putting ricotta in muffins and normally I’d gross out at the thought but this looks SO delicious. I’ll definitely be making these asap. Thanks for the recipe.

  3. You can mix the zest of almost any citrus fruit with sugar. I do this all the time making Orange cakes, grapefruit and blood Orange chiffon cakes I make for my kids and Mother.

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