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Friday, June 14, 2019

Gluten-Free Strawberry Lemon Muffins (Wheat, Nut and Fish-Free, Can Be Egg, Milk and Soy-Free)



School is out, and summer is just around the corner (officially - I count June 1st as the beginning of summer, but it technically doesn't begin until June 21st).  For me, one of the best parts of summer is the abundance of fresh, local produce - especially the berries!  They are wonderful fresh, used as a topping for yogurt or ice cream, baked into pies, or baked into muffins like with this recipe.

My favorite summer combo is lemon and strawberry, and that's what inspired this recipe.  These muffins are tart and sweet, bright and fresh, and sure to please fans of strawberry and lemon alike!  It was an instant family favorite, so you'll definitely want to try it if lemon and strawberry are your thing!

This recipe is adapted from my Gluten-Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins recipe, and is wheat, nut and fish-free (if all your ingredients are), and can be egg, milk and soy-free (see variations).  This means these muffins can be extremely allergy-friendly, too!  And it requires only 8 ingredients!  Easy and delicious!

Note: The gluten-free baking mix I recommend does not technically contain soy, but it does contain xanthan gum (see "Soy-Free" under variations for more details) which can cause issues for people with soy sensitivities or allergies, and that is why I will not claim that this recipe is soy-free.


Gluten-Free Strawberry Lemon Muffins

3 Cups gluten-free baking mix 
(I always use King Arthur Flour's Gluten-Free Baking Mix, and yes, it has to be a baking mix, NOT a gluten-free flour or the recipe will not turn out right.)

1 Cup white sugar
(I always use cane sugar.)

1/2 Cup extra virgin olive oil
(My favorite brand to use is O-LIVE, but I also have used others, but I always use extra virgin olive oil.)

4 large eggs

1/2 Cup milk
(I always use whole milk.)

1/2 Cup lemon juice
(You can use fresh-squeezed or bottled.  Bottled is normally gluten-free, but always double check your labels!)

1 to 2 teaspoon gluten-free lemon extract
(I normally use McCormick brand.)
or
1 to 2 Tablespoon lemon zest

1 1/2 Cups fresh strawberries, diced into small pieces (smaller than bite-size)

white sugar (for topping) (optional)
(I use cane or turbinado sugar for the topping.) 

  1. Preheat oven to 350oF.
      
  2. Prepare muffin tins with 24 paper cups or grease tins well with fat of choice.
       
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the gluten-free baking mix and 1 Cup sugar until well blended and set aside.
      
  4. In another larger bowl, mix the oil, egg, milk, lemon juice and lemon extract or zest until well blended.  (Note: The amount of lemon extract, if you are using it, is up to you.  I like a lot of lemon flavor, so I use 2 teaspoons, but you can use 1 teaspoon.  If you use lemon zest instead of lemon extract, the amount is also based on preference.  You'll want to use the smaller amount for less intense lemon flavor, more for more intense lemon flavor.)
      
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until the  mixture is just blended.
      
  6. Fold in the strawberries until evenly distributed.  (Note: I find cutting the strawberries into smaller than bite-sized pieces works best to assure that each muffin gets a decent amount of strawberries in it.  I would say I cut the strawberries into no bigger than a 1/4-inch dice.)
      
  7. Evenly distribute the muffin mixture between the 24 muffin cups and top each one with extra sugar, if desired. (Note: The amount of sugar you put on top of each muffin is up to you, but I recommend about a teaspoon per muffin, but you could put as much as a Tablespoon per muffin.)
      
  8. Let the muffins rest about 10 minutes before baking.  (Note: This ensures the best results, so please don't skip this step!)
      
  9. Bake the muffins for about 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.
      
  10. Let the muffins sit in the pan for about 5 minutes before removing them from the pan and allowing them to finish cooling on the counter or a wire rack.
      
  11. Enjoy them warm or let them cool completely before enjoying - whichever you prefer!
Makes 24 muffins.



Variations (Please keep your individual dietary needs in mind when using variations):

  • Milk-Free: Use non-dairy milk of your choice in place of the milk, and use either paper cups to line the tins or a non-dairy fat to grease the pans in this recipe.  You could also substitute water or more lemon juice or another juice (see "Different Flavors" below for more ideas) for the milk.
      
  • Egg-Free: Use an egg replacer in place of the eggs.  For ideas on what to use in place of the eggs, check out my ingredient substitutions page.  The flax seed "egg" or applesauce replacement would be a good fit with these muffins.
     
  • Soy-Free: King Arthur Flour's Gluten-Free Baking Mix does not claim to contain soy, but it does contain xanthan gum, which can cause issues with people who have soy sensitivities and allergies, and hence the reason I won't claim this recipe is soy-free already.  You can use another soy-free baking mix (if you can have wheat/gluten) or soy-free, gluten-free baking mix of your choice.  Keep in mind that if your baking mix doesn't contain guar gum or xanthan gum, you may need to add between 3/4 to 3 teaspoons of ground flax seed, guar gum or xanthan gum to help with textural issues, too.  You'll have to make sure all your ingredients are soy-free, too.
             

  • Different Flavors: If you are not an strawberry fan, you can substitute dried cranberries, peach, blueberry, raspberry, or another fruit of choice (though I don't recommend pumpkin, banana or any other "mushy" fruit) that you like with lemon flavor.  You can use a combination of fruits, too, as long as you don't exceed  1 1/2 Cups of fruit.  I recommend using fresh fruit or dried fruit ONLY, as canned or frozen fruit will alter your texture greatly.  You can also top the muffins with plain sugar or nothing, if you so desire.  You could also play around with different juices for the milk and/or lemon juice like orange, lime, or pineapple, leave off the sugar topping (if desired), and pick a fruit or dried fruit of choice to mix in.  For example, for a Cranberry Orange Muffin, I would sub orange juice for the milk and lemon juice (so 1 Cup total) and stir in dried cranberries vs. strawberries and use orange extract/zest vs. lemon extract/zest.  That would be heavenly, I think!  You could also try stirring in chocolate chips vs. fruit if you like lemon and chocolate together.  You can also use another extract instead of lemon, if desired, or use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of lemon and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of another extract (like vanilla, almond, orange, etc.).  You could even add some chopped nuts or shaved almonds inside (I'd say no more than a Cup) or sprinkle some on top of the muffins, if desired and you can have them, before baking if that sounds good to you.  So many options!  Here's the links to my Gluten-Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins and my Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins, as well.
      
  • Sugar Substitutes: You could use any sugar substitute that is approved for baking for the sugar.  Make sure that you sub it according to the recommendations for that sweetener.  Not all sugar substitutes are subbed with a 1:1 ratio.  I also don't recommend using a liquid sugar substitute as it would greatly alter the moisture content. 
Don't they look delish?


Trust me - they are!