Lemon Muffins with Pudding Mix

Updated!  I’ve been working with this recipe over the years and have since updated it a bit.  The old version called for cake flour and a bit of  brown sugar, but this new version uses all-purpose flour, which makes the cupcakes a little bit sturdier.  I also omitted the brown sugar in favor of all granulated and used Boyajian lemon oil for extra lemon flavor.  Here’s a photo of the new muffins.  Unfortunately, the little  bit of a dome I had with the other muffins went away, but overall I like the texture of the new version better  because the muffins are a bit sturdier.

lemon pudding muffins

Here’s a photo of the old cake version which are delicious, but a little more delicate in structure.  I kept the old version in the notes in case you have cake flour and want to try a lighter muffin.


Lemon Muffins with Pudding Mix
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A recipe for lemon muffins with a secret ingredient -- instant pudding mix.
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12
  • 1 (4 serving size/3.4 oz) package instant lemon pudding mix
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (about 8 oz total)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds (more if desired)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1-2 tablespoon grated lemon zest (my friend taste tested and thought 1 was fine) or a teaspoon of good quality lemon oil.
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together pudding mix, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in poppy seeds.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and lemon juice. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and then pour in the melted butter. Using a wooden spoon, stir batter just until combined.
  4. Evenly divide batter between 12 muffin cups.
  5. Bake for 22 minutes or until a toothpick placed in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs attached. Remove and place pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan and let cool.
For cake flour muffins, use cake flour in place of all-purpose, substitute 1/4 cup of brown sugar for 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar, add 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice along with the lemon oil (or zest) and bake at 425 degrees F. for about 17 minutes. Also, I originally made only 10 muffins and filled the muffin cups almost to the top. You can do that, or you can go ahead and make 12 by putting slightly less batter in the cups.


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  1. mishquilt says

    I am eager to try this recipe and I have always been a big fan of flavored pudding mixes as an addition to baked goods. I think they make for a flavoful, moist product without a lot of fuss. I wanted to offer one great tip I discovered while reading Dorie Greenspan’s new baking book–regarding the use of citrus zest. She urges the home baker to go one step further and after zesting the fruit, to incorporate it with (clean) fingers into the sugar. She claims that if you “rub” the zest into the sugar, it will impart more flavor. I have done this several times for various recipes that included zest. I would have to agree with her that the citrus flavor is really more pronounced. Perhaps, in addition to adding more zest, this additional step would make the muffins more “lemony” as you suggested. I am also a big fan of lemon oil (food grade–used VERY sparingly). I should also mention that I did not get the same results with Dorie’s application to vanilla bean/seeds. I did incorporate the seeds directly from the VB into the sugar and used my fingers to incorporate it. However, in the recipes for which I wanted a strong vanilla flavor, I did not notice a pronounced difference.
    Can’t wait to make the muffins! What a great time of year for all things lemon!


  2. says

    Hi Mishquilt,

    Thanks for your comment. I am interested in hearing what you think of the muffins. My girlfriend liked them and so did her 5 year old son. They are definitely lighter and more cupcake-like than other muffins. This could be a positive or a negative to some.

    Thanks so much for the Dorie Greenspan tip. I am definitely going to try rubbing the zest with the sugar.

  3. Alison says

    Hi Anna,
    Do you have any lemon muffin recipes that
    do not use cake mix? I can’t get it here in
    Ireland and have been trying to find a lemon
    muffin recipe.

  4. says

    Hi Alison,

    This recipe uses cake flour, which is different than cake mix. Are you referring to the lemon pudding mix?

    At any rate, I will look through my files and see if I can find a good lemon muffin recipe. I don’t think I have one I especially love, but I’ll look.

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