Wholesome, light and refreshing, whole wheat Meyer lemon ricotta muffins are the perfect treat for Mother’s Day brunch.

Wholesome, light and refreshing, whole wheat Meyer lemon ricotta muffins are the perfect treat for Mother's Day brunch. | @TheFoodieDietitian

This one’s for you, Ma.

Ever since moving away from Buffalo almost ten years ago, I haven’t had too many Mother’s Days spent with my momma. And even though a delivery of Georgetown Cupcakes to my Mom’s doorstep seems like a pretty great (delicious) replacement for me not being there, it’s just not the same.

mother's day

My Mom, sis, and I on Nantucket last summer 

Luckily, this year the whole fam will be together this on Mother’s Day. My little sis is graduating from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh this weekend and we’ll all be making the trek to the ‘burgh to reunite. SO looking forward to (finally) celebrating Mother’s Day in person.

Since I’ll be seeing her this year, I wanted to surprise bring (not a surprise anymore – hi, Ma!) her a homemade Mother’s Day treat. She loves sweet lemon anything, which is ironic because lemon is the last thing listed on my must-have sweets list. Guess ya didn’t pass that gene down.

I decided to make whole-wheat Meyer lemon ricotta muffins that are delicious (and healthy) enough for any Mother’s Day brunch. To make a healthier version, I swapped whole-wheat pastry flour for all-purpose and applesauce for butter and some of the sugar. The result? A guilt-free muffin for Momma. I love how these still turned out to be sweet but not overpoweringly sweet and the Meyer lemon zest brightens the flavor to another level. The ricotta cheese helps make these muffins lighter and fluffier.

Whole Wheat Meyer Lemon Ricotta Muffins | @TheFoodieDietitian

If you’ve never made muffins using only whole-wheat pastry flour before, I suggest starting off with using half whole-wheat pastry flour and half all-purpose flour to adjust your tastebuds to the difference in taste and texture. The whole-wheat flour lends a denser quality to the texture of these muffins. And beware of over-mixing the batter! I swear I always over-mix – blame it on my ambitious blood. Which is why from now on, Im no longer mixing. I’m folding. And I’ve adjusted the directions for this recipe accordingly. When you over-mix muffin batter, you get a denser, chewier texture and weird looking tunnels in your muffins.

Meyer Lemon Ricotta Muffins | @TheFoodieDietitian

Did I mention these are especially delicious served warm with a little spread of butter?

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Whole-Wheat Meyer Lemon Ricotta Muffins

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  • Yield: 12 muffins 1x


  • 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour*
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp Meyer lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Meyer lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Optional: 1/2 tsp raw turbinado sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugars.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, applesauce, egg, lemon juice and zest, and vanilla.
  4. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined (be careful not to over mix).
  5. Evenly distribute muffin batter to the paper-lined muffin tin. Optional: dust tops of muffins with raw sugar.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, or until golden-brown.**
  7. Let muffins cool in pan for 5 minutes and then remove muffins from pan and let continue to cool on a wire rack.


*If you’re not used to the texture of whole-wheat muffins, try starting with 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour.

**Insert a toothpick into the center of one of the muffins to check to see if they’re done. Toothpick should come out clean.

Whole Wheat Meyer Lemon Ricotta Muffins | @TheFoodieDietitian

To all the Moms out there, happy Mother’s Day.

To my Mom, can’t wait to see you Friday and give you these muffins!!


You May Also

For more delicious Mother’s Day brunch ideas, check out the recipes below:

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Chai Waffles with Sauteed Pears
Blood Orange Whole Wheat Ricotta Pancakes

Blood Orange Whole Wheat Ricotta Pancakes

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  1. Nora

    Do these muffins freeze well? Thanks.

    • Yes, muffins typically freeze well – store in an airtight container or bag in the freezer for up to three months.

  2. Rashida

    What is the best way to store these?

  3. Such a yummy combination! I can’t wait to try these Kara!

  4. These sound delish! My mom is a huge lemon fan so I could totally make these for her and maybe throw in some blueberries 🙂

  5. Lemon muffins are my fav, and I bet the ricotta makes these even fluffier! Will definitely be trying these for mother’s day 😉

  6. So exciting that you get to be back with your momma again on Mother’s Day! These muffins are a must try for me, I love anything lemon and ricotta cheese is such a great addition!

  7. These look so yummy! I’ve been looking for a fresh summer muffin recipe 🙂

  8. Made your muffins. They were delicious!!! 🙂

  9. Anonymous

    Not enough lemon flavor using 1 tbsp lemon juice

  10. I know what you mean! I’ve lived across the world from my sweet momma for the past 5 years, and mother’s day just isn’t the same. I do love a ricotta muffin, though. They’re so light and delicious – can’t wait to add this lemon version to my repertoire.

  11. Rachael@AvocadoADayNutrition

    Awww you look just like your mom! Both gorgeous! Same goes for the muffins 🙂 Yum!

  12. Have fun in Pittsburgh! Meat and Potatoes is the best brunch and check out Church Brew Works for a pre-ceremony beer flight 🙂 Oh and try to ride the incline or visit The Point if you have time!!

  13. I am a sucker for muffins and these look wonderful. Enjoy your weekend with your mom

  14. These look beautiful. Love the modifications you made to make them healthier. You’re mom is going to be so happy! Love the pic of you with your sis and mom!

  15. Yum! These look so fresh and flavorful. Can’t wait to try! See you tomorrow 🙂

  16. These look wonderful! I’m sure your mom is going to appreciate this sweet treat! Have a safe trip!