These Dairy-Free Vegan Lemon Cupcakes Are Tangy and Moist

Lemon cupcake
Brian Hagiwara/Stockbyte/Getty Images
  • 30 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes (12 servings)
Ratings (112)

Vegan sweets are getting easier and easier to find, but sometimes the taste and texture are sacrificed when eggs and butter are taken out—especially from a cupcake recipe. But not with these little lemon cakey treats; the olive oil, soy milk, and lemon juice add moisture, so, if you were a cupcake connoisseur before going vegan, you won't be disappointed.

These cupcakes are delicious any time of year but are especially appropriate for a spring and summer dessert. They are infused with flavors of extra-virgin olive oil and lemon, making for a fresh-tasting baked good that will be both kid-friendly as well as a hit with adults who have had to cut out dairy to stave off issues with digestion.

What You'll Need

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup soy oralmond milk
  • 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup and 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon, finely chopped​

How to Make It

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In another large mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, soy milk (or almond milk, if using), sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing until just combined.
  3. Fill each cupcake liner about 3/4 full and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes emerges clean about 18 to 20 minutes. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting with vegan lemon buttercream or whatever dairy-free frosting suits the occasion.

    Storing Vegan Lemon Cupcakes 

    These cupcakes can be kept up to 2 days at room temperature in a covered air-tight container. Thereafter they should be kept in the refrigerator for up to 7 days unless frozen, which will last up to 3 months.

    Baking Vegan Cupcake Tips

    Because vegan cupcakes are made without dairy, they may need a little extra attention at certain points. By following a few tips you can be sure that your vegan cupcakes will be a success. First, as with almost any recipe, using fresh ingredients will assure you will have a good-tasting cupcake. In this recipe, making sure the lemons are in their prime is important—otherwise, your cupcakes will take on an overly sour flavor. When combining the ingredients, you should mix the dry together and then add the wet; and once you do, make sure you don't overmix the batter—doing so will result in a thick, dense cake. 

    As with any cupcake recipe—vegan or not—filling the tins to the right level is important. If too little, the baked cake will sit below the wrapper, and if too high the batter will spill outside the liner and make a mess. About 2/3 to 3/4 full is ideal. And once you take out the cupcake tin from the oven, remove the cupcakes to a cooling rack; leaving them in the hot pan will continue to cook the cakes.

    Other Vegan Cupcake Recipes

    Whether for a bake sale, birthday party, or just to have on hand in the house, there is no shortage of delicious vegan cupcake recipes in a variety of flavors. From a basic chocolate cupcake to apple spice with buttercream frosting to red velvet with dairy-free cream cheese frosting, there are recipes to satisfy any taste or occasion.

    Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
    Calories 141
    Total Fat 7 g
    Saturated Fat 1 g
    Unsaturated Fat 5 g
    Cholesterol 0 mg
    Sodium 206 mg
    Carbohydrates 19 g
    Dietary Fiber 1 g
    Protein 1 g
    (The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)