The best healthy banana-lemon poppyseed muffins (GF, DF, naturally-sweetened, V)

JAN 21, 2021

There’s magic in these muffins. I’ll attempt to explain exactly why they’re so amazing, but you won’t really know until you try them yourself. I call these the “best” healthy muffins1 because their texture and flavor are truly immaculate.

The Preamble

It’s no mistake that this recipe is the lovechild of banana and lemon poppyseed. The natural sweetness of nearly-overripe bananas lends itself to the cult-classic standing of banana muffins, especially in the world of healthy eats where low-sugar alternatives are king. The acidity of the lemon juice gives the muffins a notable lift, activating the baking soda like no other. Thankfully, the flavors meld perfectly—like comfort-food banana with a zesty punch.

Much of developing this recipe can really be chalked up to conquering the gluten-free muffin without a curated gluten-free flour mix. Something about gluten-free muffins always seems a bit off. Often times, they’re a little too dense. They lack that quintessential muffin crumb and fluff. Maybe someday I’ll conduct a full-blown experiment investigating what exactly gives these muffins their spirited lift. For now, I just have some strong hunches.

The first thing that I’ve found is that oat flour tends to absorb a ton of water. Whenever you’re using oat flour to make muffins or bread, make sure it seems unreasonably dry. Like, “this seems like a pretty loose cookie dough” dry2. Therefore, pure oat flour goodies tend to come out dense and seemingly undercooked (and no matter how much additional time it spends in the oven, it doesn’t get better)3.

On the other hand, almond flour is much higher in fat concentration, and it often loses that starchy spring. If you don’t let it fully cool, it’s prone to falling apart. There are amazing tips online that dive deeper into this, but I found in the context of these specific muffins is that they created the crumb-like and flavorful texture to complement my oats. This unique combination of oat flour plus almond flour plus lemon juice somehow always results in the perfect muffin4.

My final tips: you can make your own oat flour! Just blend up rolled oats (not steel-cut oats, which haven’t been cooked) in a food processor. The finer, the better. Don’t skimp on the lemon zest—I’ve found that it brings out far more “lemony” flavor than lemon juice does. The lemon flavor in these isn’t too strong if you’re following the recipe strictly, so feel free to skip out on the poppy seeds and instead add some walnuts, raisins, chocolate chips, or other mix-ins.

The Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 bananas (or another sweetener)
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup oil (coconut, olive, etc.)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt (or ½ tsp coarse salt)
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1¼ cup oat flour
  • 1 Tbsp poppy seeds (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients and mix until just combined.
  2. Bake at 325˚F for 22-25 min.
Me and my newborn banana-lemon poppyseed muffins (approximate lifespan: two days).

The Farewell

Super simple, right? I’ve learned that the best recipes tend to be easy to whip up, since you’ll want to eat them every day. I’ll keep you updated with variations of this recipe that I deem worthy of sharing on the internet. For now, banana-lemon poppyseed trumps all. I’ll also learn to take better photos before I attain “food blogger” status.


  1. Note: although these muffins are “healthy,” healthy food doesn’t necessarily need to be low-carb, whole-30, vegan, or anything like that. This recipe is great for those who have celiac disease or certain allergies, and it really IS good for you! However, significant restriction of food groups is one of the hallmark indicators of orthorexia. It’s something I’ve struggled with since middle school, especially since it has been masked by media as self-discipline and self-care. This quick Instagram post as well as the recent shift in attitude toward media, body image, and dieting guided my realization. 

  2. My favorite pumpkin bread recipe works exactly like this. The batter looks SO dry—like it’s never going to come together—and then it emerges from the oven as a perfect loaf. Highly recommend! 

  3. I ran into this issue while testing a carrot cake variation of this recipe. The carrots may have provided too much moisture, or perhaps the lack of lemon juice left it awkwardly fudgy. Either way, “baking out” the moisture didn’t seem to improve the situation. 

  4. My favorite parts are definitely the muffin tops—like “edge” brownies, they’re slightly drier and a tad caramelized. Chef’s kiss!