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Lemon Pistachio Cupcakes

Lemon Pistachio Cupcakes

These zesty Lemon Pistachio Muffins are as delightful and elegant as cupcakes are, but they come together as quickly as muffins do. They’re a sweet treat for any and all occasions, from weekend brunches to birthday parties!

Lemon Pistachio Muffins, from Oh Sweet Day! A Celebration Cookbook //

Recently, someone told me after tasting a dessert I’d just made, “You like using nuts in desserts a lot, don’t you?” She was the second person to remark on that within a short period of time. Yes, I love using nuts in desserts. An entire shelf of my fridge is dedicated to bulk-sized bags of nuts! I like the texture, flavor, and nutritional value they add. Nuts are so versatile, too: I’ve yet to encounter a dessert where nuts are not a welcome addition.

It was only natural, then, that as I was flipping through Fanny Lam’s gorgeous new dessert cookbook, Oh Sweet Day!, I’d be attracted to recipes that put nuts front and center. Among the recipes I bookmarked, there’s an Orange Almond Cake with Crème Fraîche I can imagine serving as a sweet ending to a holiday brunch; a Chocolate Cream Hazelnut Tart, which I need to make ASAP because chocolate and hazelnut is one of the sweetest flavor couples of the dessert world; and Lemon Pistachio Muffins, which combine ingredients I love to use the most in baking: citrus fruits and nuts. It had my name written all over it.

Lemon Pistachio Muffins, from Oh Sweet Day! A Celebration Cookbook //

Fanny called these cupcakes Lemon Pistachio “Muffins” and I love that, because it gives you permission to serve them anytime, from breakfast to dessert. It also means that the treat is as fast to prepare as muffins are: simply mix the dry and wet ingredients in separate bowls, fold together, and you’re done. But let’s be honest and name them what they are: these sweet treats are a delightful dessert.

If you know someone who says they don’t like cupcakes because they’re boring (I live with someone who likes to repeat that cupcakes are just “frosting stands”), you’ve got to serve them these Lemon Pistachio Cupcakes. They have a light, tender, cake-like crumb bursting with lemon flavor, thanks to a generous addition of lemon juice and zest, and they’re dotted with pistachios, which add a fun crunch and a pop of color.

Lemon Pistachio Muffins, from Oh Sweet Day! A Celebration Cookbook //

Fanny serves her Lemon Pistachio Muffins drizzled with a smart and elegant lemon glaze, but I wanted to assert the muffins’ dessert status, so I piped them with a fluffy lemon cream cheese buttercream. The buttercream and sprinkle of crushed pistachios make the muffins so festive, don’t you think? I’d serve them at a birthday party in a heartbeat.

I remember when I started following Fanny Lam on Instagram. I was obsessed with the perfection of her shortbread tartlets and cookies. She regularly shares pictures of these lovely treats, which she sells along with cakes and other sweet treats through her online shop and at farmers’ markets in Vancouver. She’s undoubtedly a shortbread expert: she’s said to roll out over ten thousand shortbread cookies every holiday season.

It had been gnawing at me to ask for her recipes, but I figured maybe she wanted to keep them secret. But lucky me! She has now shared her tips to make her picture-perfect tartlets and cookies in her cookbook, Oh Sweet Day! A Celebration Cookbook of Edible Gifts, Party Treats, Festive Desserts. I can’t wait to put those recipes to the test. I predict they’ll regularly grace my table for months, even years, to come.

Lemon Pistachio Muffins, from Oh Sweet Day! A Celebration Cookbook //

Fanny’s collection of sweets makes me smile at every page. You’ll surely find new favorites among the wide range of cakes, breads, breakfast treats, pies, tarts, cookies, donuts, and bars she has included in her cookbook. The recipes are creative and colorful, and the instructions straightforward and helpful. She even included step-by-step photos for trickier techniques, such as lattice pie. If you love baking, get your hands on a copy of Oh Sweet Day!—or, better yet, gift it to someone you love. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll bake you something sweet to say thank you.

Lemon Pistachio Muffins, from Oh Sweet Day! A Celebration Cookbook //


Lemon Pistachio Cupcakes

These zesty Lemon Pistachio Cupcakes have an elegant look and a sophisticated flavor, but come together as quickly as muffins do. They're a sweet treat for any and all occasions, from weekend brunches to birthday parties!
Prep Time:25 minutes
Cook Time:20 minutes
Total Time:45 minutes
Servings 15 cupcakes
Author Marie Asselin,


For the Lemon Pistachio Cupcakes

  • 2 cups 500 ml all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup 180 ml sugar
  • 1 tsp 5 ml baking powder
  • 1 tsp 5 ml baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp 2 ml kosher salt
  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • 1 cup 250 ml milk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup 125 ml unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 tbsp 15 ml finely grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup 60 ml freshly squeezed, strained lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 1/2 cup 125 ml shelled pistachios, roughly chopped

For the Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream

  • 1/2 cup 125 ml unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup 60 ml cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp 15 ml freshly squeezed, strained lemon juice
  • 3 cups 750 ml powdered sugar, sifted

To serve


  • For the Lemon Pistachio Cupcakes:
    Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line two
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In a second large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, melted butter, lemon zest, and juice.
  • Stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Fold in the pistachios.
  • Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool completely.
  • For the Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream: Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or a hand mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the lemon juice and beat to incorporate. Add the powdered sugar a third at a time, beating slowly first to incorporate, then increasing the speed once all the sugar is incorporated. Beat until the buttercream is light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.
    Use an
    to slather the lemon pistachio cupcakes with buttercream, or transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with the tip of your choice to decorate the cupcakes. Sprinkle the buttercream with pistachios.
    Serve the lemon pistachio cupcakes at room temperature, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days. You can also freeze the frosted cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
  • NOTE:
    You can also make these lemon pistachio cupcakes in a mini format by using a
    . Bake the mini-cupcakes for 10 to 12 minutes, or until done. The recipe should produce about 45 mini lemon pistachio cupcakes.
  • Recipe Credit: Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream recipe created by Marie Asselin.
  • Lemon Pistachio Muffins recipe adapted from Oh Sweet Day! The Celebration Cookbook, reprinted by permission of Front Table Book, an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc.

Did you make this?

Tell me how you liked it! Leave a comment or take a picture and tag it with @foodnouveau on Instagram.

Disclosure notice: I was offered a copy of Oh Sweet Day! A Celebration Cookbook of Edible Gifts, Party Treats, Festive Desserts for review purposes. As always, companies never dictate the content I create, or the opinions I express. I only use products I genuinely believe in or feature books I truly love.

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Author: Marie Asselin

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes


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  1. Thank you, Marie, for this lovely post! I’m so happy that I shared this new baby of mine with you! Now until we meet in person… :)