rhubarb muffins with lemon streusel
Breakfast Recipes, Sweet Recipes

Scrumptious Sweet Rhubarb Muffins With Zesty Lemon Streusel.

Cooks in 30 Minutes Difficulty Easy 0 comments

Indulge in the delightful combination of sweet rhubarb and the tang of lemon with every bite of these irresistible muffins. These muffins are topped with a crunchy lemon streusel, offering a lovely tang and tart blend of perfectly-balanced flavors. These easy-to-make homemade muffins are a great way to use up fresh rhubarb in rhubarb season. They also make an excellent addition to any breakfast or spring brunch spread, promising a burst of freshness and a hint of zest to start your day on a delicious note.

I wanted to create a new rhubarb recipe that was different from something else that’s been done already. I did some research to find what would pair well with rhubarb that seemed springlike. That’s when I settled on lemon. I love lemon in any baking; honestly, it offers a unique tangy flavor that no other citrus comes close to mimicking. I was concerned that my basic muffin recipe didn’t have enough sugar to balance the rhubarb tart, so I upped the sugar in the muffin batter. What came out was nothing short of the best rhubarb streusel muffins. 

The bonus is that it’s that time of year when the rhubarb plants start to show themselves, so you can use your fresh rhubarb crop or use up some of the frozen rhubarb you saved from last year’s growing season. 

The lemon streusel, baked to the perfect amount of crunch, sits on top of the muffins. Below the tangy topping is nothing short of the fluffiest rhubarb muffin, with soft diced rhubarb baked right in. They keep so well that you can enjoy them all week long as tasty muffins anytime. 

Looking for more great rhubarb recipes this spring? Try this delicious rhubarb cake, which I’ve been making every spring for over twenty years!

rhubarb muffins with lemon streusel (1)

Why You Will Love This Muffin Recipe

This is a straightforward rhubarb muffin recipe. Apart from preparing the lemon streusel topping, making these delicious muffins is a breeze. 

Simple ingredients. This tasty treat uses pantry ingredients you likely already have on hand. You will need two cups of rhubarb and lemon. 

The tartness of the rhubarb. You may think that rhubarb is overly tart but these flavors pair so well that the tartness of the rhubarb is an excellent addition to the fluffy muffin base. Each mouthful is an irresistible treat. 

Let’s this delightful baked rhubarb muffin. 

The first step to making these muffins is ensuring you have enough chopped rhubarb on hand. The recipe takes two full cups of chopped rhubarb. You can use fresh when it’s in season or frozen from last year. I used frozen because I still had a bit tucked away in my freezer. 

This recipe uses a 12-cup muffin pan, so be sure to have it prepared and ready to fill. You can also preheat your oven to a high temperature of 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Baking your muffins at that high temperature for ten minutes and then reducing the oven temperature to 350F degrees ensures they do well. This muffin has such a light and fluffy base that the lemon crumb topping tends to weigh it down a bit while baking. So, you likely have a lower top than the typical bakery-style muffin. Plus, the added melted butter in the topping causes the tops to spread over the edges of the muffin cups. That’s why it’s essential to have your pan prepared. An ungreased pan may have those tops stuck to it, making it harder to remove them afterward. 

A side note about removing muffins. Did you know that removing them from the pan right from the oven stops them from continuing to cook? If you leave muffins to cool directly in the pan, they develop too much moisture in the muffin cup. Which is something you want to avoid in this recipe. Removing them from the pan while hot will not only not have them stick to the pan but will also prevent them from suffering soggy bottoms because there is added moisture from the cooked rhubarb. 

Okay, enough chit-chat; let’s get started. In a large bowl, measure and add the dry ingredients. Mix them together thoroughly and then create a well for the wet ingredients in the center of the flour mixture. Crack your egg, add the milk, and shorten it directly into the well. Mix the muffin mixture thoroughly and set aside. 

It’s time to get a small bowl to add the chopped rhubarb. We are going to dust it with three tablespoons of flour. Yes, that seems like a lot, but it’s okay. Once thoroughly coated, you can add the rhubarb and extra flour to the muffin batter. You will want to mix the batter only enough to have the chunks of rhubarb well distributed throughout. 

Now, you can fill the prepared muffin pan with the batter. I never shy away from making those cups almost completely full. So go ahead and fill. Avoid spillage on the muffin pan, as those bits will cook too fast and burn. A tip for filling muffin cups without a mess is to use a liquid measuring cup. You can pour the batter in. The only issue with filling the cups with this batter that way is those rhubarb pieces. You may prefer using a large spoon to plop it directly. If you get to the bottom of the muffin batter and discover, like I did, that there is more batter than rhubarb pieces, simply steal a few pieces from another muffin to add to the cup’s missing batter. Even all the batter out in the muffin pan so that each cup has the right amount. Set the pan aside. 

Let’s make the lemon streusel topping. Combine one cup of flour, one-quarter cup of salted butter, three tablespoons of lemon juice, and the zest from a lemon in a small bowl. Blend the first three ingredients until they form a smooth paste-like texture. Then, mix in the lemon zest. Using clean hands, generously crumble the lemon topping over the muffins. The topping recipe makes enough for all your muffins to have a generous amount. 

Then, it’s time to bake these tender muffins in the hot oven. Again, we only bake them at 425F for 10 minutes. You must then reduce the oven temperature to 350F for the rest of the baking time. In total, the muffins are baked in 25-30 minutes. Enjoy the great treat fresh from the oven or the next day with a cup of coffee. 


All-Purpose Flour:  Provides structure to the muffins, ensuring they hold their shape during baking. All-purpose flour is also a great economical choice for baking, keeping it budget-friendly.

Baking Powder: Aids in the muffins’ rise, resulting in a light and fluffy texture. 

Salt: Balances the muffins’ sweetness and enhances the flavor profile.

Granulated Sugar: First adds sweetness to the muffins, complementing the tartness of the rhubarb. It also helps to hold moisture and keeps the muffins crumb tender. 

Egg: This ingredient acts as a binder, helping to hold the ingredients together. Eggs also add moisture to these tender rhubarb muffins and a light yellow hue to the yolk. 

Milk: Contributes moisture to the batter, ensuring the muffins are soft and tender. It’s also economical compared to other dairy options. 

Neutral Oil: Adds richness and moisture to the muffins without imparting a strong flavor.

Rhubarb: Brings a tangy and slightly tart flavor, creating a complementary balance of flavors in each bite.

Brown Sugar: Adds a rich, caramel-like sweetness to the topping,  a delightful contrast to the tartness of the lemon.

Salted Butter: Provides richness and depth of flavor to the topping, while the saltiness helps balance the sweetness and enhance the overall taste.

Lemon Juice:  Infuses the topping with a bright, tangy flavor that complements the rhubarb in the muffins, adding a refreshing citrusy note to each bite.

Lemon Zest: Brightens the lemon flavor in the topping, providing aromatic oils that enhance the overall taste experience.

inside baked sweet rhubarb muffins with lemon streusel

Substitutions and Add-Ins For This Delicious Recipe:

All-Purpose Flour: Any regular white flour designed for general-purpose baking can be used to make these muffins. Flours like cake and pastry flour produce less gluten, meaning that they won’t rise the same way. 

Baking Powder: To replace the baking powder, use baking soda and an acid, such as cream of tartar, lemon juice, or vinegar. Use one-quarter teaspoon of baking soda plus one-half teaspoon of acid for every teaspoon of baking powder required in the recipe. 

Salt: Various salt substitutes are available on the market, such as potassium chloride-based substitutes. These can be used as a direct replacement for salt, but follow the manufacturer’s instructions for usage.

Granulated Sugar: This is the best choice for the tenderest crumb. However, if you would prefer to replace it with a natural sweetener like honey, you can do so. Remember that honey is sweeter, so you must reduce your honey. Honey will also change the muffin’s texture. 

Egg: If you live an egg-free life, you can replace the egg with one-quarter cup of unsweetened applesauce. The resulting muffin will differ from the original recipe because you will have added apple flavor, but it will still be tasty. 

Milk: Is one of the most forgiving of ingredients to replace in muffins. Try this recipe with a 1:1 ratio using sour cream, buttermilk, Greek yogurt, or non-dairy milk.

Neutral Oil: This means any oil without flavor. Vegetable, canola, or sunflower oils are great options. If you don’t have them, you can use melted butter or margarine. Note that the flavor will change subtly depending on the ingredient you choose. You can also use avocado oil as a direct substitute due to its milder flavor.

 Rhubarb: Although this may be the main ingredient in the original recipe, don’t be shy about replacing it with another fruit that’s in season. One good choice I would try is blackberry muffins because blackberry muffins with a lemon topping would be a wonderful flavor pairing.

 Brown Sugar: The best substitute for brown sugar in the topping would be coconut sugar, which is similar in color and flavor to brown sugar. (If you want to try another sugar in streusel toppings, try date sugar, which is made from dried ground dates and can be used as a natural sweetener.)

Salted Butter: Replace with unsalted butter. Remember to replace the salt by adding a pinch of salt to the streusel to make up for the missing salt. Alternatively, try using margarine. Remember, though, that margarine has different flavors and textures, which may mean adjusting the amount used to find the perfect balance. 

Lemon Juice: I used fresh-squeezed lemon juice for the best tangy juice. You can use ReaLemon shelf-stable juice if you prefer. Although ReaLemon provides the tartness and acidity of fresh lemon juice, it may lack some of the nuances and freshness of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Another alternative to lemon juice is lemon extract or emulsions. These products are generally highly concentrated, so you will only need a small amount in the streusel topping. 

Lemon Zest: Can be omitted. 

sweet rhubarb muffins with lemon streusel

Expert Tips, Serving And Storing Suggestions:

Tip #1: Flour the rhubarb before adding. Rhubarb releases moisture as it bakes, which can affect the texture of the baked goods. Coating the rhubarb in flour helps absorb some excess moisture, preventing it from making the batter too wet or soggy. The extra flour also helps to keep the rhubarb from sinking to the bottom of the muffin cups as they bake.

 Tip #2: Preheat the oven. Having the stove preheated ensures even baking and proper leavening and promotes the browning of the baked good.

 Tip #3: Remove hot muffins from pan. This is important to prevent them from overcooking and becoming dry or tough. Removing the hot muffins and putting them on a wire rack to cool also ensures that they don’t end up with soggy bottoms created by sitting in their own steam. 

Serve these freshly baked muffins while still warm for the ultimate indulgence. Enjoy them alongside a steaming cup of coffee or tea for a delightful morning treat or afternoon pick-me-up.

 To keep these baked muffins fresh, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days. After two days, put them in the fridge to keep them at their freshest and prevent mold growth. They will be kept in the refrigerator for up to five days if they last that long. For more extended storage, please place them in the refrigerator for up to one week or freeze them in a freezer-safe bag for up to three months.

Have you tried this tasty rhubarb muffin with lemon streusel topping? Please leave a comment below about how they turned out for you. I always love hearing from you, my readers.

rhubarb muffins with lemon streusel (1)

Easy Rhubarb Muffins With Lemon Streusel

Amber Bondar
This easy rhubarb muffins with tangy lemon streusel is the perfect springtime sweet breakfast or brunch. They have the fluffiest light texture with sweet tart rhubarb and crunchy lemon topping. Staying fresh for days they make a great make ahead sweet snack for school or work lunches.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American, Canadian
Servings 10


  • 1 Large Mixing Bowl
  • 2 Small Mixing Bowl
  • measuring cup
  • 1 Tablespoon
  • 1 Teaspoon
  • 12 Cup Muffin Pan


  • Cup All-purpose Flour
  • Tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ Cup White Sugar
  • ½ Tsp Salt
  • 1 Lrg Egg
  • Cup Milk
  • ¼ Cup Neutral Oil
  • 2 Cups Rhubarb Chopped Fresh or Frozen
  • 3 Tbsp Flour


Making the Rhubarb Muffin Batter

  • In a large mixing bowl measure the first four dry ingredients. Blend well.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.
  • Add the egg, milk and oil to the well and blend the muffin batter.
  • In a small bowl measure the rhubarb and add three tablespoons of flour.
  • Stir to coat the rhubarb completely with flour.
  • Add the flour and rhubarb to the muffin batter and mix in just enough to distribute the rhubarb and blend in the extra flour.
  • Fill prepared muffin pan to almost full. Be sure that each muffin has rhubarb pieces.

Making the Lemon Streusel Topping

  • In another small bowl add the brown sugar, butter, and lemon juice. Blend well until a paste like texture.
  • Zest the lemon into the streusel topping and blend well.

Assembly & Baking

  • Using your hands crumble the streusel topping onto each muffin top until all is used.
  • Bake in preheated oven at 450℉ for ten minutes.
  • Reduce temperature to 350℉ and continue to bake for 15-20 more minutes until muffins test for done.
  • Remove from oven and take muffins out of hot pan immediately. Transfer to cooling rack to cool.
  • Store two days covered on counter. Five days in fridge in airtight container. Three months in freezer.
Keyword fruit muffins, lemon, rhubarb, streusel

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