Citrus Olive Oil Muffins


Most of you have probably heard of the classic olive oil cake, which is tender and lovely with a prominent olive oil flavor and perhaps a hit of citrus.  But did you know that olive oil is an awesome substitute for vegetable oil or melted margarine or butter in many of your baked goods?  Using olive oil in place of other fats will drastically cut down the cholesterol and saturated fat content of your treats.

What does this do to the taste, though?  Well, that’s an important question, as some higher intensity olive oils will definitely interfere with the intended flavor of a baked item.  But check this out…


The folks over at Bertolli asked me to try their new extra light tasting olive oil, and I think the idea behind this product is pretty darn nifty.

At first glance, the label can be deceiving.  My husband came home from work and saw the bottle sitting on the counter.  ”Light olive oil? Gross!”  He said, thinking that it was actually a low fat/low calorie olive oil.  But a quick peek at the label will assure you that this is the same as any other olive oil, but with a much milder flavor.

So, if you’ve wanted to try baking with olive oil to reduce cholesterol and saturated fat, but have been put off by the idea of the taste it may add, this is the perfect solution!


I enjoy baking with olive oil – it seems to be less finicky than butter (but don’t get me wrong, I love baking with butter!) and I don’t think I’ve ever had a dry cake or muffin made with it.


These citrus olive oil muffins are not too sweet and have a dense, moist texture, making them perfect for breakfast!  They contain both orange and lemon zest, but again, the flavor is not overpowering.


So what if you wanted to use olive oil as a substitute for butter, margarine, or shortening in your other desserts?  Here’s a quick conversion chart you can use to help out.

Butter/Margarine/Shortening                          Olive Oil

1 teaspoon                                                                 3/4 teaspoon
1 tablespoon                                                             2 1/4 teaspoons
1/4 cup                                                                        3 tablespoons
1/3 cup                                                                        1/4 cup
1/2 cup                                                                        1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
2/3 cup                                                                        1/2 cup
3/4 cup                                                                        1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon
1 cup                                                                             3/4 cup

Simple as that!  This particular recipe will work well whether or not you use the lighter tasting olive oil, since these were designed to support the stronger flavor.  So if you want to give olive oil a try but would rather just use what you already have in the pantry, this would be a good place to start!


Citrus Olive Oil Muffins

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
  • 1¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 TBS orange juice
  • 2 TBS milk
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • ⅔ cup sliced almonds, broken into smaller pieces
  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Prepare a muffin tin with 12 paper liners.
  3. Mix together eggs, sugar, and zests until fully combined, 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the orange juice and milk.
  5. With mixer on low, drizzle in the olive oil and mix until combined
  6. In a separate bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  7. With mixer on low, add the dry ingredients in two additions, and mix until just combined.
  8. Use a spatula to fold in almond pieces.
  9. Fill muffin tins with batter, about ¾ of the way full.
  10. Bake on center rack until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs, about 18-22 minutes.



About Erin

Erin Browne and her husband Matt are the people behind the curtain here at Brownie Bites. Together, they blog about recipes they love, places they go, and things that they do. There are also cute dog pictures. Lots and lots of them. You can follow Erin on twitter @erinbrowne.
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  1. Bonus points for handy dandy conversion chart!

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