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Orange Olive Oil Muffins

Orange Olive Oil Muffins
I was inspired by a recent trip to an olive oil farm to do a little baking with olive oil. Vegetable oil, canola oil and other flavorless oils are the standard when it comes to baking. Olive oil isn’t often used because it has a distinct, and sometimes strong, flavor that just isn’t going to enhance all recipes. That said, olive oil can be a great addition to a recipe when that fruity, olive flavor is allowed to stand out and these Orange Olive Oil Muffins are a great example of that.

The muffins use olive oil as their primary fat, where other similar recipes might use butter, and get most of their flavor from the oil itself and from the orange juice in the batter. Since there aren’t too many competing flavors here, the flavors of the olives do stand out. They don’t make the muffin savory (there is plenty of sugar to keep them sweet), but they do make the muffin richer and more complex than a plain oil would. Fresh orange juice gives these muffins a bright citrus flavor without overwhelming the olive oil. Sprinkling the tops of the muffins with sugar before baking makes the tops crispy and adds a nice contrast to the fluffy interior of the muffins.

The key to baking with olive oil is to choose an extra virgin olive oil that you really like the flavor of. You’re not going to like the flavor any more once it’s in a muffin or cake, so choose something good to start out with. These muffins are great with plain oils, but I also tried them with the incredibly good Mandarin Olive Oil from Ojai Olive Oil that really brightened up the orange flavor even more. That particular oil has an amazing mandarin orange flavor and is as good for dressing salads as it is for baking up muffins like these.

Orange Olive Oil Muffins, with butter

Orange Olive Oil Muffins
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed)
sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt
In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, olive oil and orange juice. Pour into flour mixture and stir until just combined and no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Divide evenly into prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle muffin tops with sugar.
Bake for 16-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the muffin tops spring back when lightly pressed.
Cool muffins on a wire rack.

Makes 12.

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  • Miriam @ Overtime Cook
    August 22, 2011

    These look amazing! I’ve been toying with the idea of baking with olive oil, but haven’t found a recipe I’m happy with yet. This one looks just right- can’t wait to try it!

  • Linda
    August 22, 2011

    One of my favorite recipes is the olive oil cake you featured for strawberry shortcake. You can definitely tell there is a different flavor tone but it isn’t obviously olive but a subtle fruit tone that makes the cake unique. I can’t wait to try these.

  • tink
    August 23, 2011

    oh my goodness these look fab!

  • Cindy
    August 23, 2011

    Awesome, just want I was looking for.. I got some Blood Orange Olive Oil for a gift and I think it will work great with this recipe. I’ve been using the oil more for salad dressing, so I’m exciting to try something else with this oil. Thanks for sharing

  • Cookie Sleuth
    August 23, 2011

    Very creative! I have not baked with olive oil before.

  • Noa
    August 27, 2011

    Delicious! I always thought olive oil was a strange flavor for dessert until I tried an incredible olive oil ice cream (I’m pretty sure it was served with some kind of tomato granita…crazy, huh?). I’m converted.

  • Amanda
    August 17, 2012

    Thank you so much! I need to find something quick, easy and healthy to make. I used half the sugar with brown sugar since the oranges were super sweet and sprinkled some oats and brown sugar for the top.

  • Trisha
    January 24, 2014

    I made these to take on a road trip this week and they were DELICIOUS!!! I had to control myself from pigging out on them. 😀 I didn’t have the means to make fresh-squeezed orange juice so I used the organic one in the carton from Trader Joe’s; theirs tastes so close to fresh squeezed so it worked out well. I will make these again!

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