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Olive Oil Muffins Recipe

Olive Oil Muffins (Magdalenas)

This Olive Oil Muffins Recipe will guide you through how to make soft fluffy muffins that have just the right balance of citrus.

We love Magdalenas! It’s a love affair born in Spain. We both instantly fell in love with this simple little muffin that we found in each and every bakery across Madrid. It’s funny how these very uncomplicated plain little muffins can bring such a delightful punch right to your tastebuds. No fancy trick, just delicious.

When I first tried the olive oil cake at one of my favorite restaurants in New York City, Maialino, I was instantly transported to my childhood. I was obsessed with “magdalenas,” which are fluffy lemon muffins from Spain. Every bakery and household has their version of magdalenas. This is our version, with the addition of orange to slightly sweeten the lemon and make the flavors pop even more.


Magdalenas date back to the Spanish magdalenas history remains quite mysterious. Some say that they have been around since the pilgrims traveled to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. As the story goes, there was a young girl named Magdalena (in the French version Madeleine) who would serve these small cakes to the pilgrims along her long journey.

This Olive Oil Muffin recipe will show you how to get it right. Your muffins will be pillowy and light, and have just a the perfect hint of citrus from orange and lemon. The zest really gives these muffins a beautiful fragrance and a delicate flavor.

Our tips for Making the Perfect Olive Oil Muffins (Magdalenas)

  • The olive oil plays a big part in this recipe, it really helps keep the cake moist in place of butter. The quality of the ingredients here will make all the difference. Try to find an olive oil that is robust but not peppery. We like the California Olive Ranch it is a cold pressed extra virgin olive oil that is fruity and buttery.  Typically a Spanish olive oil will work as well. 
  • If this is one of your first times baking, it is important to follow the steps carefully. You cannot just throw everything all in together at once. In different moments you will need different bowls, and need to combine the ingredients in the right order. There’s a method to the madness. Don’t worry we have you in the step by step instructions down below.
  • When you are combining all the ingredients at the end, it is important not to over mix. You want to beat it all together, and then finish it off with a rubber spatula. If you combine it too much, the cake could become too dense. We want these muffins to be light and fluffy!

These muffins can be served for breakfast or for a midday snack. We finish these off with a citrus glaze but you can simply dust them with powdered sugar. They can also be a delicious dessert topped with our Abuela’s Merengue or Chocolate Sauce or just simple whipped cream and fresh fruit. 

Olive Oil Muffins (Magdalenas)

Recipe by Abuela's CounterCourse: Appetizers, DessertCuisine: Spanish, CubanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 2 cups of cake flour 

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

  • ½ teaspoon of fine sea salt

  • 1 ¾ cups of granulated sugar

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil 

  • Zest of 2 oranges

  • Juice from the orange (about ¼ cup) 

  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract 

  • Zest of 2 lemons  

  • ½ cup of whole milk

  • Ingredients for Citrus Glaze
  • ½ cup of powdered sugar

  • Zest of an orange 

  • Zest of a lemon

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons juice of the lemon


  • Line the muffin tins with paper liners. Set aside.  
  • In a small bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. 
  • In a large bowl add the eggs and sugar. Beat with a hand mixer until they are completely blended and very pale yellow. It will take about 3-5 minutes.
  • In the bowl of eggs and sugar, add the zest of the orange and lemon and the juice. Then add the vanilla and milk. Beat until combined. Then add the oil and beat again. It should be emulsified. 
  • Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Then beat with a handheld mixer only for 20-30 seconds until the mixture just starts to come together.
  • Once it has come together, switch to mixing with a rubber spatula. Be sure the sides and the bottom are properly incorporated into the batter BUT you don’t want to over mix this part or the cake will be dense. 
  • Pour the batter into the lined tins evenly using an ice cream scoop or a ¼ measuring cup. 
    Bake for 18- 20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean and the cakes are a soft golden hue. 
    Cool over a wire rack. 
  • While the muffins are cooling, make the glaze. Add the ingredients to a bowl and whisk until completely combined. Once the muffins have cooled, spoon over the glaze. Serve or store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.