Lemon Cheesecake Muffins

Lemon Cheesecake Muffins

Lemon is so perky.

The scent and taste wakes up and refreshes the senses.

And, along with some cream cheese and sugar, lemon makes an incredible muffin.

Say “good morning” to Lemon Cheesecake Muffins.

Anne Byrn is the genius behind this recipe. Her Cupcakes: From the Cake Mix Doctor is loaded with great ideas and an entire chapter on muffins.

Her “Double Lemon Poppy Seed Cheesecake Muffins” recipe caught my attention right away. And, as expected, the muffins were the perfect indulgence for the moms in my kids’ morning play group. Talk about starting the day out right.

Now I make them whenever I can find an excuse. And, I’m thinking that maybe I don’t really need an excuse. Maybe “it’s Tuesday” will suffice.

While the original recipe is perfect “as is”, I must admit that I’ve successfully made these delicious muffins without lemon zest (I forgot to buy a lemon). And, I have  on occasion swapped in almond poppyseed muffin mix (it’s the closet thing Winco has to lemon poppyseed). I just add a little splash of lemon juice to the batter.

Ingredients List

Spray oil


  • 1 (8oz) cream cheese, softened (1/3 reduced fat is OK if you really need, too)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Muffin batter

  • 1 box lemon poppy seed muffin mix (or almond poppy seed plus a splash of lemon juice)
  • 1 cup milk (I used 1%)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
Preheat oven to 400ºF
Lightly spray the inside of the 12 muffin pan cups with oil.
In a mixing bowl, blend together the filling ingredients: cream cheese, egg, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla. It should be well-mixed and creamy.
In another large mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, vegetable oil and egg.
Add in the muffin mix and stir to combine. The batter will be lumpy but everything should be moist. If the poppyseed packet comes separately then add it and gently fold the poppy seeds into the batter. If you aren’t “gentle” then you’re batter will turn grey. That’s not as pretty, but just as tasty.
Evenly distribute the batter between the 12 muffin cups (about a 1/3 cup in each).  Then, evenly distribute the cream cheese mixture on top of the batter in the 12 muffin cups (about 1 heaping Tablespoon in each).
Bake for 20-22 minutes. The muffins should be golden and spring back lightly when you press your finger on them.
Place the muffin pan on a wire rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Then run a butter knife around the edges of the muffins and lift them up from the bottom. Place the muffins on a wire rack to cool for a few more minutes before eating…if you can stand the suspense.