Grapefruit & Chia Seed Muffins

‘Lemon and poppy seed muffins’… with a twist. I made these muffins a few weeks ago for my cousin on his birthday. He’s a surprisingly knowledgable 14 year old when it comes to nutrition, so I thought I would make these (sort of) healthier muffins for his big day. Okay these aren’t very healthy, but they feel much lighter than a frosting-piled cupcake or chocolate cake and are surprisingly FANTASTIC. My sister very blatantly stated that these sounded terrible, but I promise you they are worth a go.

Grapefruit & Chia Seed Muffins

I personally love poppy seed muffins because of the lemony cake and dense texture but hate the poppy seed aftertaste. The seeds are so small and stick in my teeth and the aftertaste leaves me wanting gum or mints for the rest of the day. I don’t know if I can accurately describe it, but it tastes as if a dentist farted in my mouth. Slightly medicine-y, slightly farty, and with an after taste that lingers.  Anyways, enter chia seed muffins. They have the dense, cake-like texture of poppy seed muffins with the bite and feel of poppy seeds … minus the after taste. Plus chia seeds have omega 3, protein, and a bunch of other health benefits. I don’t like advertising the chia seed health aspect of these muffins, however, because I feel like the oil, sugar, and flour render any chia seed benefits negligible, but it’s interesting to note nonetheless. Also, I always have chia seeds on hand for smoothies, puddings, etc. so this was a very easy recipe for me to throw together.

Fresh squeezed grapefruit juice & chia seeds.
Fresh squeezed grapefruit juice & chia seeds.

Grapefruit is one of my favorite citrus’. Unlike for poppy seeds, I thoroughly enjoy the aftertaste of grapefruits. It leaves this numbing sensation in my mouth, which when combined with the citrus really cleanses my mouth of other flavors and leaves a nice clean feeling. It almost makes you feel like these muffins are healthier than they actually are (huge plus, the placebo effect). Anyways, I think it adds a nice twist to the usual lemon and poppy seed muffin, but of course any citrus will work.


Also, I made a simple glaze out of sugar, grapefruit juice, water, and salt to put on top of the muffins. It added amazing moisture to the muffins, but was quite messy. I only added the glaze on 1/2 of the muffins because my grandparents generally like cakes and such without the added frosting/glaze.. aka these are good either way!!

Grapefruit & Chia Seed Muffins

I got some pretty rave reviews from my family on these muffins. I actually made them twice in a week, once for my cousin and once for the home, and both times they were gone in a flash. They are rich, yet light. Citrus packed, yet sweet. And most importantly, don’t leave the dreaded poppy seed after taste.

Wild muffins aka attempts at artsy photography .
Wild muffins aka attempts at artsy photography .

Side note: Do any of you have similar reactions to poppy seed muffins, or is that just me? Is it like a cilantro-esque genetics issue where some people perceive it as terrible and disgusting while others love it? I’m glad I’m a chemistry/food science major… updates will follow if I ever find answers to these burning questions of mine.



GRAPEFRUIT & CHIA SEED MUFFINS: (yeilds ~24 muffins)

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • ~1-2 tsp grated grapefruit zest
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbs chia seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour

(optional: add ~1 Tbs grapefruit juice to batter to make it SUPER grapefruit-y. For grapefruit lovers only)


Preheat oven to 350 F. Whisk together everything but the flour until fully combined. Add the flour and mix to combine. Fill your lined muffin tins ~3/4 with the batter and bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Let cool completely before glazing.


  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 Tbs grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp butter


Heat in a small skillet over medium-low heat until sugar is melted and glaze is thickened. (should generously coat the back of a spoon).




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