Gingerbread Muffins with Lemon Glaze

Sparkling gingerbread muffins have beautiful crackly tops, robust spice flavor, and are finished with zippy lemon glaze. The combination of ginger and lemon is totally underrated and works SO well in these festive holiday muffins.

gingerbread muffins

Today I’m bringing one of my favorite muffin recipes back into the spotlight. I spruced up the photos and switched an ingredient to make the muffins a little more moist. I know you’ll love them even more now!

Meet the wonderfully spiced and extra moist gingerbread muffins with lemon glaze. Have you ever had the combination of lemon and gingerbread before? Perhaps a gingersnap cookie with a lemon creme filling? Or a spiced gingerbread cupcake with a fluffy lemon buttercream? The pairing may seem odd, but this combination of flavors WORKS. Spicy sweet gingerbread paired with bright & fresh lemon make an unbeatable pair and if you haven’t tried the two together, you are in for a real treat today. Promise.

gingerbread muffins

These Gingerbread Muffins Are:

  • Festive for the holiday season
  • Like spiced gingerbread loaf in muffin form
  • Deep brown and rich in robust gingerbread flavor
  • Spiced with ginger, cloves, and cinnamon
  • Crackly on top, just like molasses cookies
  • Topped with sparkling sugar for crunch
  • Garnished with lemon glaze. YUM!

I love making muffins because they’re quicker than bread, cake, scones, cookies (if you need to chill the cookie dough), and basically easier than any other baked good. Prepare the batter, spoon into muffin liners and bake. No need to wait hours for them to cool, either. Just EAT them! Whenever I need a homemade treat for make ahead baking or bringing to a neighbor, friend, etc– I 99% of the time make muffins.

gingerbread muffins with lemon glaze

How to Make Gingerbread Muffins

  1. Warm molasses and butter together. This is an extra step, but takes about 1 minute in the microwave. We need melted butter for this muffin batter, so I always warm it with the molasses. Why warm the molasses, you ask? Because molasses is really thick and heavy right out of the bottle. We need to thin it out so it combines with the other ingredients. Same reason why I warm water and molasses together for my gingerbread snack cake. The warm molasses and butter need to slightly cool before adding the egg, so prep the dry ingredients next.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients together. Nothing weird here– just flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, and cloves.
  3. Mix in the other wet ingredients. Whisk brown sugar, 1 egg, milk, and yogurt into the butter/molasses. My original recipe called for 3/4 cup yogurt and 1/4 cup milk and, quite frankly, it made a pretty heavy muffin. Delicious, sure, but last year I began thinning out the batter with a higher ratio of milk. You need 1 cup total, so I use 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup yogurt. If you don’t have yogurt, use sour cream.
  4. Combine wet & dry ingredients. Smells good already!
  5. Spoon into muffin liners. If you don’t have muffin liners, grease the pan. Fill the cups all the way to the top– filling is easy because the batter is thick and spoon-able.
  6. Add crunchy sugar. Sparkling sugar is my favorite secret ingredient for topping scones and pies because it adds sparkle and crunch. Just as we coat molasses cookies with granulated sugar, coat the muffins with coarse sugar. Coarse Sugar in the Raw is a wonderful option, too!
  7. Bake: The muffins take a little over 20 minutes.
  8. Top with lemon icing: More on that below!

Baker’s Tip: The muffin batter is thick– this helps create a denser muffin-like texture. Gingerbread cupcakes batter, on the other hand, is a little thinner because we’re looking for a lighter cupcake texture.

gingerbread muffin batter

What Else Makes These Muffins So Special?

The muffins themselves aren’t overly sweet, so they’re perfect for breakfast, snack, or even a light dessert. We need 1/2 cup of brown sugar for the whole batter, plus 3/4 cup of molasses. Molasses isn’t nearly as sweet as regular sugar, so don’t expect a cloyingly sweet treat. Sometimes I skip the glaze and sparkling sugar on top– and guess what? The muffins are still perfectly flavorful and well-loved.

Use dark brown sugar if you have it. It has more molasses flavor than light brown sugar. Don’t make a special trip to the store if you don’t have it, though. Light (regular) brown sugar is totally fine in this recipe.

Need a snack as you bake Christmas cookies, open gifts, or sip coffee with your friends? These jolly gingerbread muffins fit literally any and all holiday occasions. πŸ˜‰

gingerbread muffins

Lemon Glaze

Let’s move on to that sweet and tangy lemon glaze– a drippy coating that pairs perfectly with the deep, dark, spiced muffin underneath.

Grab your confectioners’ sugar, a touch of milk, and the juice of a lemon. You can control the lemon flavor and the thickness of it – use more/less lemon juice, more/less sugar, and more/less milk. If you’re not feeling the lemon/ginger combination, keep the muffins plain or use vanilla icing instead.

gingerbread muffins with lemon glaze

The Trick for Tall Muffin Tops

And one more thing before I leave you with the recipe! Fill your muffin tins all the way to the top. Bake the muffins for 5 minutes at 425Β°F degrees, then for about 15-16 minutes at 350Β°F degrees. This initial high oven temperature lifts the muffin top up quickly and creates a tall crust, which is why filling the muffin tins to the top is imperative.

Most muffins bake between 350Β°F – 375Β°F for the entire time. Setting the oven to 425Β°F initially and then lowering the temperature after 5 minutesΒ guarantees muffins with tall, sugar-crusted, crackly tops. I do this with all my muffin recipes!

gingerbread muffins

Gingerbread Muffins with Sweet Lemon Glaze

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 muffins
  • Category: Muffins
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


These gingerbread muffins have beautiful crackly tops, robust spice flavor, and are finished with zippy lemon glaze. Feel free to skip the glaze for plain gingerbread muffins. See last step for freezing instructions.


Gingerbread Muffins

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 115g) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup (234g) dark molasses*
  • 3 cups (375g) all purpose flourΒ (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120g) plain yogurt or sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) milk, at room temperature*
  • optional: coarse sugar for sprinkling

Lemon Glaze

  • 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar (or more, as needed)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon (15ml) milk


  1. Preheat oven to 425Β°F (218Β°C). Generously grease a muffin pan with butter or nonstick spray or line with muffin liners. Set aside.
  2. Cut the butter into smaller pieces so it melts easier. In a large microwave-safe bowl, heat the butter and molasses together in the microwave on high for about 1 minute. Stir until thoroughly mixed together. Set aside to slightly cool as you mix the dry ingredients together.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves together.
  4. Into the molasses/butter mixture, whisk the brown sugar, egg, yogurt, and milk until all wet ingredients are combined. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until *just* combined. Do not over-mix. Batter will be thick and a little lumpy.
  5. Divide batter among prepared muffin pan, filling all the way to the top. Sprinkle with coarse sugar (for added crunch, recommended!), if desired. Bake at 425Β°F for 5 minutes, then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350Β°F (177Β°C) and continue to bake for 15-16 minutes until the tops are cracked and centers are set. Use a toothpick to test.Β Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes in pan before glazing and serving.
  6. Make the glaze: As the muffins cool, prepare your lemon glaze by mixing all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl. If desired, add more confectioners’ sugar to thicken or more milk to thin out. Drizzle on top of warm muffins. Icing will set as the muffins cool, so these are great for storing and/or transporting.
  7. Cover leftover (iced or plain) muffins and store at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for 1 week. Muffins (iced or plain) freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or on the counter.


  1. Molasses: I prefer dark molasses, but you can also use a light or mild molasses. Blackstrap is very strong, so if you like its flavor, you can definitely use it here.
  2. Milk: I use whole milk in these muffins, but you can use lower fat milks or nondairy milk if needed.
  3. Jumbo Muffins or Mini Muffins: For 6-7 jumbo size muffins, bake in a 6-count jumbo muffin pan, increase baking time to 26-30 total minutes: 5 initial minutes at 425Β°F and 21-25 minutes at 350Β°F. For about 50 mini muffins, bake for 11-12 minutes at 350Β°F the entire time.
  4. Special Tools (affiliate links): Muffin Liners, Muffin Pan, Glass Mixing Bowls

Keywords: gingerbread, ginger, lemon, Christmas


  1. An absolute YES to the gingerbread lemon combo…a match made in heaven!! And I adore muffins for the simple reason that they don’t take much effort in the morning πŸ™‚

    1. I am just seeing your gingerbread trees with lemon glaze! Great minds must think alike Becca, we are SO on the same page here. πŸ™‚

  2. I have never heard of that combo but I totally trust you so I am going to do it! I am loving how ALL that glaze looks on top…that is also telling me to try this combo…and well now I have to make muffins to try your tips…did not know about cooking on higher temp than lowering the temp…we will see how I do and if I remember lol…

    1. Yes! Angela, try out some of those helpful “high-domed muffin top” tricks. You’ll be surprised how your muffins turn out. πŸ™‚ Thank you! And so glad spam isn’t catching these comments anymore!

  3. I want to sink my teeth into one of these! The fact that they’re a big ole puffy muffin version of your soft molasses cookies makes me want to make them even more – or just have you make them for me πŸ™‚

    And the lemon glaze is a fresh and unexpected POP, especially this time of year. That lemon/squeeze shot – reminds me of pics I took and wanted to use when I made my blueberry/lemon glazed cake recently & had massive lighting issues but I digress. Lemon is so fresh and bright against the dark brown sugar and dark molasses – Nice!

    1. Thank you Averie! I didn’t tell my friend what she was getting into when she took the first bite; the lemon glaze is a pleasant surprise and I am hooked on the combination of lemon + gingerbread now πŸ™‚

  4. Thanks to you, I now have the urge to make “a spiced gingerbread cupcake with a fluffy lemon buttercream”. Thankfully when I make buttercream, I do it in massive batches and there’s some in my fridge right now…

    Gah! I need to go to bed before I start whipping something up….I was up way too late last night doing nothing productive.

    Have a great rest of your week!

    1. I have to make those cupcakes too lol! I was up SO late last night doing nothing productive at all, but I am glad it’s the middle of the week and the weekend is only a couple short days away! Thanks Loretta and I hope you have a wonderful week as well!

  5. I really want to make these lovely looking muffins. The only problem is that my husband, who loves quick breads, does not like muffins. If I were to make this recipe, but bake it in a loaf pan, do you recommend using your oven temperature trick? Thanks!

    1. I don’t recommend using the same oven temperature trick for a quick bread – much too large to “flash-bake” the tops of quick breads. Try baking it as quick bread – it will be dense and very moist! OR try this recipe… I swear by this gingerbread loaf:

  6. These muffins look delicious! And I bet they smell amazing too! Thumbs up on the fast/easy in the AM part. I need an XXL coffee in the morning. And cannot operate heavy machinery πŸ™‚

    I like your non-stick spray trick for molasses…I don’t know I ever measured molasses before! It also works for corn syrup.

    1. Oh my goodness, I want to bottle the smell of these muffins baking! XXL coffee… yes, that is me practically every day! Yep, the non-stick spray trick works for all stick sweeteners: honey, molasses, corn syrup, maple syrup. So easy.

  7. Oh my gosh, I LOVE lemon and I’m sure I could come up with excuses to use that glaze on pretty much everything. πŸ˜‰ These muffins would go great with Bigelow Gingersnappish tea…have you had it? Also, I’m obsessed with that second picture of the lemon with the little dots of glaze around it. The focus is great, and I love seeing the actual juice sacs (or whatever they’re called) in the lemon and the cohesion of the glaze making the drops look so 3-D. Sorry to get all nerdy, but it’s a great photograph! πŸ˜€

    1. Caley, I can’t tell you how much this comment means to me. I adored that lemon shot as well – it didn’t even take a lot of editing. And the fact that you noticed it and wrote so many nice things about it – wow, that is truly amazing and SO appreciated. I have had that gingersnappish tea and I ADORE it! I also drink gingerbread coffee from dunkin donuts – amazing! Thanks so much for making my morning Caley!

  8. I love anything that has the word gingerbread in it. I’ve never had lemon with it, and I love lemon too, so I’ll have to definitely try these! Happy 1 year too….so exciting!

    1. Hey Liz! I agree with you – anything with “gingerbread” has my heart singing. I adore it. Thank you for the happy 1 year wishes πŸ™‚ and THANK YOU for following along.

  9. Yes, yes, YES! Gingerbread and lemon is such a divine combo that compliments each other perfectly. You know I’m such a lemon fan, I could have lemon with anything. That sharp refreshing taste pretty much goes with anything. I could certainly inhale the whole batch of these.

    And dark brown sugar is a fave of mine too. It’s such a unique type of sugar, so moist and delicious. But your variety of molasses has me confused. We only get treacle here which I hear is very close to molasses but I’m not sure which variety. I’mma confused now. πŸ˜€

    1. sharp, refreshing taste = couldn’t have said it better myself. it pairs so wonderfully with the deep dark molasses in these muffins. Truly an incredible breakfast treat. Dark molasses is a little less intense than blackstrap molasses, the darkest variety. Treacle will work fine as the replacement here. πŸ™‚

  10. I have to thank you, miss Sally, for your reminders of dark brown sugar! I always skimmed past it at the grocery store, but since I started reading your blog, I HAVE to have it on hand. For someone who loves brown sugar so much (me! me! me!) I’m shocked I never picked up a bigger box of the darker stuff before! It’s SO good and makes my cookies (or these muffins!) super rich and perfect. I also need to try your muffin tip with raising the temp and then lowering it–it makes total sense in the ultimate quest for huge puffy muffin πŸ™‚ now the only problem is, whyyyy don’t I have any of these muffins for my breakfast right now?!

    1. THank you for all the kind things you say Hayley, everyday. They are appreciated! And I am so glad I’ve influeneced you and brought you on board the dark brown sugar wagon. So rich and lucious in my cookies and quite certainly in all of my gingerbread recipes. Try sprinkling it on top of a bagel with cream cheese – amazing. You’ll fall in love with it even more!

  11. I love the combo or gingerbread and lemon, fabulous! I like the sky high trick, great tip thanks! Also, muffins are fun and easy for breakfast.

  12. I’ve never tried the gingerbread + lemon combo, but reading this post, you’ve convinced me! I just have one minor complaint…all of your pictures are so pretty, I can never decide which one to pin! πŸ˜‰

  13. Congratulations on turning one!!! Yay!! These muffins look outrageous!! I LOVE the gingerbread-y color and the glaze drips – oh my! I am thinking Christmas Day breakfast πŸ™‚

    1. THANK YOU for the congrats Anna. How sweet you are. And the glaze is quite certianly a new favorite muffin topping! Dare I say I love htis glaze more than a streusel topping!

  14. Oh my goodness. What a great “dessert” option for breakfast! These look fabulous and perfect for the Christmas season πŸ™‚ Could I sub Greek yogurt for the plain or vanilla?

    1. yes! dessert for breakfast. I think I’ll be making these on Christmas morning for my family. πŸ™‚ I used 0% Chobani greek yogurt, so yes – it will definitely work. πŸ˜‰

  15. Oooh yum! I’ve never thought to try lemon and gingerbread before, but these look divine!! πŸ™‚ I adore gingerbread and lemons separately so I am going to have to make these over the holiday period!

    1. Hi Annie! If you love gingerbread, you have to try it with a sweet lemon glaze overtop – I truly think you will enjoy these!

    1. I just bought a gingerbread scented candle because I could not resist it in the store – now my kitchen can ALWAYS smell like it! Thanks Joy!

  16. Oh my goodness, Sally – I’m swooning over that photo with the dripping glaze. If I could have this for breakfast, waking up would never be a problem.

  17. Ok you got me! I’ve gotta make these muffins, they sounds so delicious and I’m a major fan of the ginger/lemon combo!Thanks for sharing.


    1. Hi Lynda, thanks so much! I think you’ll love these if you love lemon/ginger together. The combo is unbeatable, right? Love them together.

  18. I’ve been seeing gingerbread paired with lemon all over the blogosphere recently + I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never tried that combo! since I love lemon AND gingerbread, i sense that i’d looove these muffins. They look AMAZING!

    1. Amy, I really think you’d like the two together! Your soft molasses crinkle cookies with a smear of lemon buttercream. that would be AMAZING.

  19. These look truly amazing, Sally! Even without the glaze I would devour them. Molasses and dark brown sugar? I am IN! (But you probably knew that since we are flavor twins!!)

    1. Cassie you actually came to mind as I was making these last weekend! Knew you’d like them.. and you’ll love my next cookie recipe too! πŸ˜‰

  20. Dyyyyyyying. I really don’t think I’ve ever had lemon and gingerbread together, and I love them both so much. These look so perfect. I’m a sucker for drippy pictures–they just make me want to eat my screen. This could be bad for the macbook….

    1. HAHAHAHA Ari… yes! I felt the same way about your condensed coconut milk today – so creamy, so dreamy.. I want in my recipes now!

  21. I must say I have never tried lemon with gingerbread, but I can imagine that the flavors would compliment each other nicely! You certainly have shared a wonderful collection of muffins!

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally