Spanish Magdalenas Recipe - Homemade Spanish Muffins - Spanish Sabores

Spanish Magdalenas Recipe – Homemade Spanish Muffins

Spanish magdalenas are tall, fluffy, lemon-flavored Spanish muffins. They’re simple to make and perfect with a steaming hot cup of café con leche. Loved by adults and children alike — this authentic magdalenas recipe is a must-try!

Spanish muffins called magdalenas cooling inn the pan with a close up of onne muffin cut in half.
Delicious, fluffy magdalenas.

Here in Spain, a quick and easy breakfast option is a magdalena, a homemade Spanish muffin (also called a cupcake) that’s baked with olive oil and some lemon zest. Every bakery has its signature magdalenas recipe, some adding orange zest or cacao for a change.

You can find homemade magdalenas in local bakeries, and plenty of prepackaged versions in the supermarket. But there’s nothing like a warm magdalena, fresh out of the oven!

This Spanish magdalenas recipe is the most traditional I’ve tried– I personally like using a fruity extra virgin olive oil to make them (such as arbequina), though you can substitute the oil of your choice.

Spanish magdalenas muffins in silver wrappers.
Try to eat just one!

I have to be honest– when I first tried a magdalena here in Spain, I was surprised at how simple these famous Spanish cupcakes are. Coming from the US I was craving some chocolate chips, or the sweetness of a ripe banana. But many years later, I now adore the simplicity of a good magdalena — and like anything, it’s well worth it to make them from scratch.

This magdalenas recipe is easy to whip up in a pinch. So try them, and enjoy!

Key Ingredients

Spanish magdalenas ingredients on a white marble background.

Key Ingredients: Eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, milk, olive oil, and lemon zest.

Ingredient Notes & Substitutions

  • Flour: Most Spanish muffin recipes call for all-purpose flour. You can also use cake flour or even substitute half of the flour for whole wheat flour — this will produce a different taste, but a healthier muffin!
  • Milk: If you don’t want to use milk just use one more egg.
  • Egg: Eggs, olive oil, and lemon are what these muffins taste like! So use the best eggs you can, at room temperature.
  • Olive Oil: Make sure to use high quality extra virgin olive oil here. These muffins taste like the oil you’ll use (that’s the point!) so make it a good one! Read all about baking with olive oil here.
  • Lemon Zest: The classic muffins use lemon zest, but you can substitute orange zest, lime zest or spices like cinnamon, cardamom, or nutmeg.
Spanish magdalenas cooling in the metal pan.
The hard part is waiting five minutes for them to cool!

Magdalenas: Step by Step

Making Spanish muffins couldn’t be easier! In only about 10 minutes you’ll have the batter ready. After an hour in the fridge they’ll be ready to bake. And 15 minutes later, you’re in for a treat! Keep scrolling down for the full printable recipe card with exact measurements.

Steps 1-4: Start by beating the eggs and sugar together until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture becomes pale. In a separate bowl mix the flour, salt, and baking powder. Then add the dry ingredients to the wet ones, whisking until just combined.

Step by step instructions for making Spanish magdalenas in a grid of four photos.

Steps 5-8: When all of the flour mixture is incorporated, start adding the olive oil little by little, whisking throughout. Add the milk and lemon zest as well. Cover with plastic and put in the fridge for one hour. Then fill your muffin tins 3/4 of the way and add a sprinkle of sugar on top.

Step by step instructions for making Spanish magdalenas in a grid of four photos (steps 5-8).

Step 9: Pre-heat your oven to 480°F (250°C). But as soon as the muffins go in, lower the heat to 400°F (200°C). This makes the muffins rise even more! Bake for 15 minutes and don’t open the oven until then. Check with a toothpick to make sure they’re done. Then cool in the pan for 5 minutes before devouring!

Finished Spanish muffins in a metal muffin tray.

Recipe Tips & FAQs

Are magdalenas from Spain?

Magdalenas are the Spanish version of muffins or cupcakes and originate in Spain. Some claim they’re based on French madeleines, but one key difference is that in Spain the recipe uses extra virgin olive oil, while the French cake uses butter.

In Spain, they are most commonly consumed for breakfast with a cup of coffee. In the past, these small treats were traditionally baked for holidays and birthdays, but nowadays they can be found throughout Spain, in supermarkets and bakeries. Some say that the name magdalenas is derived from a story about a young girl named Magdalena, who used to give these cakes to pilgrims who were going to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.

What is the history of magdalenas?

The Spanish story says that there was a young woman named Magdalena who would bake these cakes and serve them to the pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James). This explains why they are so well-known all throughout Spain.

Watch Me Make It! (VIDEO)

Serving Suggestions

I love eating my magdalenas with a hot cup of Spanish coffee. A café con leche never fails! If you want something even sweeter, go for a mug of Spanish hot chocolate. You can also host a sweet and savory snack time by combining these delicious Spanish cupcakes with a good homemade Spanish tortilla. Yum!

More Delicious Spanish Cakes

If you like the idea of these Spanish muffins, don’t miss my other Spanish cake recipes!

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Spanish magdalenas muffins in silver wrappers.

Spanish Magdalenas Recipe – Delicious Homemade Spanish Muffins

This Spanish magdalenas recipe makes the perfect Spanish muffins. Made with olive oil and lemon zest, they’re delicious for a quick breakfast!
4.67 from 18 votes
Print (images optional) Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Spanish
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12 muffins
Calories: 187.87kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup + 1 tbsp sugar (110 g)
  • cups all-purpose flour (180 g)
  • 2 tsp baking powder (10 g)
  • ½ tsp salt (just a pinch)
  • ½ cups extra virgin olive oil (120 ml)
  • ¼ cup whole milk (60 ml)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • sugar to top the muffins optional

Instructions

  • Beat the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together in a separate bowl and then add to the egg and sugar mixture. Whisk until just incorporated.
  • Add the olive oil, milk, and lemon zest and whisk until well combined.
  • To achieve the spongy texture of a Spanish magdalena, you'll need to let the mix rest in the fridge. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 480°F (250°C).
  • Line muffin trays with muffin wrappers.
  • Fill the muffin wrappers 3/4 of the way, and, if you'd like, sprinkle a pinch of sugar on top of each muffin. This will form the sugary crust that is typical of the Spanish magdalena.
  • As soon as you put the muffins in the oven, lower the heat to 400°F (200°C). Bake for 15 minutes on the middle rack, don't open the oven until you think they're ready.
  • Test with a toothpick in the middle of a muffin to make sure they’re cooked through
  • Let your magdalenas rest for at least five minutes before enjoying!

Notes

  • Flour: Most Spanish muffin recipes call for all-purpose flour. You can also use cake flour or even substitute half of the flour for whole wheat flour — this will produce a different taste, but a healthier muffin!
  • Milk: If you don’t want to use milk just use one more egg.
  • Egg: Eggs, olive oil, and lemon are what these muffins taste like! So use the best eggs you can, at room temperature.
  • Olive Oil: Make sure to use high-quality extra virgin olive oil here. These muffins taste like the oil you’ll use (that’s the point!) so make it a good one! 
  • Lemon Zest: The classic muffins use lemon zest, but you can substitute orange zest, lime zest, or spices like cinnamon, cardamom, or nutmeg.
  • To make sure your magdalenas rise nice and high (their signature shape) make sure not to overmix, to refrigerate the batter before baking, and to start the oven at 480°F (250°C) and lower as soon as you put them in to 400°F (200°C). These three things should leave you with volcano shaped muffins!

Nutrition

Calories: 187.87kcal | Carbohydrates: 20.76g | Protein: 3.16g | Fat: 10.36g | Saturated Fat: 1.71g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 41.43mg | Sodium: 185.94mg | Potassium: 39.02mg | Fiber: 0.42g | Sugar: 8.66g | Vitamin A: 67.63IU | Calcium: 53.66mg | Iron: 1.05mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @spanishsabores on IG and hashtag it #spanishsabores!

Update Notice: This post was originally published on January 30, 2018, and was republished with new text and photos on April 23, 2021.

What do you think? Remember– you can always add spices (such as cinnamon or even saffron), or try adding cacao or orange zest instead of the lemon zest– yum!

Will you be trying this Spanish magdalenas recipe anytime soon?

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Comments

  1. Made this today following the recipe exactly and they turned out perfect. That was with 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1 hour rest in the fridge as indicated. .

  2. 5 stars
    These are brilliant – I followed the recipe exactly and they turned just like the ones we used to have in Spain. ❤️

  3. 5 stars
    Have used this recipe with great success for my Spanish classes. Right ingrediates are important especially the oil you use (Goya extra virgin has always worked for me). I use raw cane turbinado sugar making sure it’s well blended with the eggs and sprinkle just a little on the tops before they go in the oven.

  4. Can you freeze these please?
    Also I love the orange taste so would I just use the zest of half an orange instead of a lemon?
    Thanks

  5. I made the magdalenas and they were yummy! I put the recipe with the link to your site and let my readers know that the recipe came from you. Going to Barcelona and other places in the Spring. Glad you left the olive oil in Other recipes call for butter which I think we need to keep the olive oil in. Thanks for the great web site.

  6. 4 stars
    Make sure to use olive oil because using other oils makes the cakes extremely oily! I’ve made them for Spanish class many times and I’ve learned that the oil you use makes a huge difference!

  7. Could the mixture be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator longer than 30 minutes? Perhaps overnight?

  8. 2 tablespoons of baking powder??!!?! That’s a humongous amount by American standards. Is Spanish BP different from American?

  9. 1 star
    My daughter and I made these today for a project for her Spanish class. They are SO oily! The oil can practically be rung out of the baking cups.. Can you check that the proportions are correct?

    1. Hi Amy, that is odd– I have made these many times without an issue. I’m wondering if maybe your eggs were larger than what we use in Spain? I’m sorry to hear they didn’t turn out well, though the recipe should work! Good luck with the project!

  10. 4 stars
    Great flavour although i used self raising flour and doubled the amount one cup wasnt enough the mixture was still like water and i used 1 and a half lemons just for more zing. I doubled the whole recipe and it made 60 magdalenas but they all got eaten.

    Sooo yummy!

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