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Lemon Raspberry Cream Cheese Muffins

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These lemon raspberry muffins are loaded with bright lemon zest, juicy raspberries, and pockets of tangy cream cheese. It's like your favorite muffin and cheesecake in one!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 24 minutes
Total Time: 39 minutes
Muffins on a vintage oval platter.

I’ve been making these lemon raspberry muffins with cream cheese for years. Along with my recipes for Nova Scotia seafood chowder and brown sugar shortbread cookies, they’ve become one of the most popular recipes on my site!

This recipe was inspired by muffins my Mum brought home from work at the local children’s hospital when I was younger. Mum would come home and hand me a small grease-spotted paper bag and I always knew what was inside—moist lemon muffins studded with chunks of tangy cream cheese just for me.

I started adding raspberries to my homemade version a few years ago. This addition not only compliments the richness of the cream cheese but also accentuates the bright citrus flavor. I’ve never looked back! Moist and tender with a cake-like crumb, these muffins make a lovely treat for breakfast or afternoon tea.

A tip for those looking to elevate the aesthetic of the muffins: consider sprinkling coarse sugar on top of the muffins before baking. While this step is optional, the coarse sugar gives a tasty crunch and sparkle to baked goods (like these date and orange scones with dark chocolate chunks). Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed!

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💞 Why You’ll Love This Recipe

✔️ You probably have most of the ingredients to make a batch right now.
✔️ Lemon and raspberry are a gorgeous flavor combination.
✔️ The cream cheese makes them taste almost like cheesecake.😋

📋 Ingredients

Ingredients to make lemon raspberry muffins.

Ingredient Notes

  • Raspberries—You can use fresh or frozen raspberries for this recipe, however, frozen berries will hold their structure better and not squish as easily when stirring. If using frozen, keep them in the freezer until it’s time to add them to the muffin batter.

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Lemon—Orange zest is a beautiful substitute for lemon and I actually think lime zest could be great too.
  • Whole Milk—I use 3.25% whole milk. If you use milk lower in fat, your muffins may turn out drier. That being said, any milk you like or have on hand should work.
  • Vegetable Oil—You can substitute any neutral-flavored oil. Canola or peanut oil would be fine.
  • Vanilla—Two teaspoons of almond extract is a delicious swap for the 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract.

Use the JUMP TO RECIPE button at the top of this post, or scroll to the bottom of the post, to see the PRINTABLE recipe card with ingredient measurements and complete instructions.

👩‍🍳 Step-By-Step Instructions

STEP 1—Use your hands or a knife to section the cream cheese into small pieces. Set aside. Grate the lemon zest into one bowl and squeeze the lemon juice into a second bowl.

STEP 2—Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt with the lemon zest.

Process shots one through four of how to make lemon raspberry muffins.

STEP 3—Mix the vegetable oil, eggs, milk, and vanilla with the lemon juice.

STEP 4—Add the flour mixture to the lemon juice mixture.

STEP 5—Stir the muffin batter about halfway.

STEP 6—Add the raspberries and cream cheese pieces.

Process shots five through eight of how to make lemon raspberry muffins.

STEP 7—Continue to stir until the berries and cream cheese are well distributed and the flour is just mixed in.

STEP 8—Spoon the batter evenly into a standard 12-cup muffin tin lined with paper wrappers. Sprinkle with coarse sugar and bake.

Baked muffins in a muffin tin with four of the muffins turned sideways to show the sides of each muffin.

🗣 Expert Tips

1. Using a digital kitchen scale and an oven thermometer will give you the most accurate and consistent results.
2. For a more cheesecake-like flavor, mix the cream cheese with powdered sugar to taste before adding it to the batter.
3. If you find the cream cheese too sticky, dip it in the flour to make it easier to handle.

📝 Recipe Notes

  • You can make this recipe by hand, or use an electric hand or stand mixer.
  • Starting the muffins off at a higher oven temperature encourages a higher rise but it can be inconsistent. Regardless of how tall your muffins are, they will be delicious.
  • Storage: Storing muffins at room temperature in plastic bags can lead to a soggy texture by the next day. Once the muffins have completely cooled, I find it best to place them in a zip-top freezer bag and store them in the freezer. This preserves both freshness and texture.
  • Serving Suggestion: When you’re ready to enjoy, either let the muffins thaw on the countertop for about 20-30 minutes or warm them up briefly in the microwave.

🙋‍♀️ Recipe FAQ

What is the difference between a muffin and a cupcake?

There are three main differences between muffins and cupcakes. First, cupcakes tend to be sweeter. Second, cupcakes are usually topped with frosting or icing. And lastly, cupcakes, as the name indicates, are more cake-like with a lighter, fluffier crumb, whereas muffins tend to be sturdy and dense.

What makes a muffin moist?

Fat, in the form of butter, oil, milk, and/or eggs, is the main factor that contributes to the moistness of baked goods. Too little fat yields dry muffins, cakes, and scones, whereas too much fat yields an oily, dense texture that has trouble rising in the oven.

Is it better to use fresh or frozen raspberries in muffins?

You can use fresh or frozen raspberries in muffin recipes, however, frozen raspberries are sturdier, will not break apart or smush as easily, or bleed as much juice into the batter as fresh raspberries will.

Did you make these lemon raspberry muffins? Please rate the recipe and tell me how it went in the comments below. Also, stay in touch with me on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to see more delicious food and recipes!

Printable Recipe Card

Lemon raspberry muffins on a platter.

Lemon Raspberry Muffins With Cream Cheese

Author: Kelly Neil
These lemon raspberry muffins are loaded with bright lemon zest, juicy raspberries, and pockets of tangy cream cheese. It's like your favorite muffin and cheesecake in one!
4.62 from 21 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 24 minutes
Total Time 39 minutes
Course Muffins & Scones
Cuisine Canadian / American
Servings 12 servings
Calories 215 kcal

Special Equipment

  • 1 12-cup standard muffin tin
  • Baking spray available in the baking aisle of most major grocery stores
  • Paper muffin / cupcake wrappers
  • 1 Medium mixing bowl
  • 1 Large mixing bowl
  • Citrus zester or Microplane
  • Measuring cups and spoons or digital kitchen scale
  • Whisk
  • Rubber spatula or wooden spoon
  • Spoon
  • Wire cooling rack
Need Metric Measurements?Use the button options below to toggle between US cups and Metric grams.

Ingredients
 
 

  • ½ cup cream cheese
  • 1 medium lemon, zested
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup milk , see recipe instructions
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups raspberries, frozen
  • coarse sugar, optional, for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly spray a standard 12-cup muffin tin with baking spray then place a paper muffin cup in each cavity. Set aside.
  • Use your hands or a knife to break the cream cheese into small chunks. Set aside.
  • Have one medium and one large mixing bowl ready. Wash the lemon and then use a citrus zester or Microplane to finely grate all of the zest into the medium bowl. Slice the lemon in half and squeeze out as much juice as you can into the large mixing bowl (approximately ¼ cup).
  • Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the medium-sized bowl with the lemon zest. Whisk well to combine and set aside.
  • Add the vegetable oil, eggs, milk, and vanilla to the bowl with the lemon juice. Whisk well to combine.
  • Add the dry flour mixture to the bowl of wet ingredients. Gently stir the mixture until it's about halfway mixed. Add the frozen raspberries and cream cheese chunks. Continue to stir until the berries and cream cheese are well distributed and the flour is just mixed in.
  • Spoon the muffin batter evenly between the 12 prepared muffin cups. Top each muffin with a sprinkle of coarse sugar if using.
  • Place the muffin tin in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for 14 to 16 minutes more. Transfer the muffin tin to a wire rack and cool the muffins for 10 minutes. Remove the muffins from the tin and place them directly on the rack to cool completely.

Recipe Notes

  • You can make this recipe by hand, or use a hand or stand mixer.
  • Starting the muffins off at a higher oven temperature encourages a higher rise but it doesn’t always work. Regardless of how tall your muffins are, they will be delicious.
  • I find baked muffins can turn soggy the second day when stored at room temperature in a plastic zip-top bag or container. To prevent this, I place fully cooled muffins in a large zip-top freezer bag and store them in the freezer right away. Thaw on the counter for 20-30 minutes or heat gently in the microwave to serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 80gCalories: 215kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 4gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.05gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 224mgPotassium: 89mgFiber: 2gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 195IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 50mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. If accurate data is important to you, please verify it independently.

Did you make this recipe?Let me know on Instagram @kellyneildotcom or tag #kellyneil!

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15 Comments

  1. I don’t usually get too excited about muffin recipes, as they tend to all blend together after a while – but these are a breath of fresh air! Not only are they gorgeous, but they really do bring something different to the table. They feel special enough to be dessert (especially with some extra pureed raspberry sauce), but they nicely overlap with a breakfast muffin too, which is no small feat. I absolutely love the way you’ve incorporated the cream cheese too. Fantastic idea, and wonderful execution!

4.62 from 21 votes (21 ratings without comment)

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