Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

By Maria Lichty

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Quick Summary

These bakery-style Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins are easy to make at home! The muffins are light, tender, dotted with poppy seeds, and bursting with lemon flavor! Enjoy for breakfast, brunch, or anytime of the day!

lemon poppy seed muffins in muffin pan.

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I love making muffins because they are easy to make, easy to share, freeze well, and are SO delicious! A few of my favorite muffin recipes include: blueberry muffins, raspberry muffins, banana muffins, and chocolate chip muffins.

I also LOVE these Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins. The muffins are light, tender, sweet, and bursting with lemon flavor. The poppy seeds add a slight little crunch, that is delightful.

The muffins are made with fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon extract for maximum lemon flavor. The muffins also get drizzled with a sweet lemon glaze that enhances the lemon flavor.

Lemon poppy seed muffins are a classic muffin and can be made year-round, but I especially love them in the spring and summer. Enjoy for breakfast, brunch, a sweet snack, or even dessert.

ingredients in bowls to make lemon poppy seed muffins.

Muffin Ingredients

  • All-purpose flour– spooned and leveled.
  • Poppy seeds– look for poppy seeds in the spice aisle.
  • Baking powder & Baking soda– check the expiration dates. I like to replace my baking powder and baking soda every 6 months.
  • Salt– use kosher salt.
  • Granulated sugar– to sweeten the muffins.
  • Lemon zest– use a microplane to zest the lemons.
  • Unsalted Butter– melted and cooled to room temperature.
  • Buttermilk– at room temperature.
  • Sour cream– use full fat! You can also use whole milk plain Greek yogurt.
  • Eggs– at room temperature.
  • Oil– you can use avocado, canola, or vegetable oil.
  • Fresh lemon juice– Use a lemon squeezer!
  • Lemon extract– look for it in the baking aisle next to the vanilla extract and other extracts.
  • Vanilla extract– always use pure vanilla extract.

Lemon Glaze Ingredients

Finishing the muffins with a lemon glaze brings out the best lemon flavor. Don’t skip it! You only need a two ingredients.

  • Confectioner’s sugar
  • Fresh lemon juice
flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds in mixing bowl to make lemon poppy seed muffins.

How to Make Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Scroll down for the full recipe with ingredients and instructions.

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
whisking together dry ingredients in mixing bowl to make lemon poppy seed muffins.
  • In a small bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Rub together with your fingers until fragrant.
  • Add the sugar mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until combined.
making lemon poppy seed muffin batter in mixing bowl with spatula.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, Greek yogurt (or sour cream), eggs, oil, lemon juice, lemon extract, and vanilla extract.
  • Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and use a spatula to stir to combine. Do not over mix. You want there to be a few flour streaks left.
lemon poppy seed muffin batter in bowl with scoop.
  • Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and let the batter sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Resting the batter will make them rise in the oven. If you don’t have time, they will still be good, but I recommend resting the batter:)
lemon poppy seed muffin batter in muffin pan.
  • While the batter is resting, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 muffin pans with paper liners, leaving a space in between every cup. This will help the muffins rise higher in the oven. Spray the liners with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Divide the muffin batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling to the top. I like to use a large ice cream scoop.
  • Bake the muffins on the center rack for 6 minutes at 425 degrees, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees. Do not open the oven door. Bake for an additional 10 to 14 minutes or until the muffin tops are golden and the tops are set. You can insert a toothpick into the center of a muffin and if it comes out clean, they are done. Don’t over bake.
confectioner's sugar and lemon juice in mixing bowl with whisk to make lemon glaze.
  • While the muffins are cooling, make the lemon glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice.
lemon glaze being drizzled over lemon poppy seed muffin.
  • Drizzle the glaze over the cooled muffins. Serve!

Recipe Tips

  • To achieve the best lemon flavor, use lemon zest, lemon juice, and lemon extract in the muffin batter.
  • Rubbing the granulated sugar and lemon zest together with your fingers will release the lemon oils and add extra lemon flavor.
  • Make sure you all of your liquid ingredients are at room temperature.
  • Don’t over mix your muffin batter. It’s ok if there are a few flour streaks left.
  • Allow the muffin batter to rest for 30 minutes. Resting will make the muffins more moist, tender, and taller.
  • Fill every other muffin cup so the muffins can properly rise and dome, creating beautiful muffin tops.
  • Start baking the muffins at a high temperature (425 degrees F) and then reduce to 350 degrees F. The initial high temperature helps the muffins rise quickly, creating tall, domed muffins with a slightly crusty top. Reducing the temperature will ensure the muffins don’t overcook or burn. The insides will be moist, tender, and soft.
  • Let the muffins cool completely before adding the lemon glaze.
bite taken out of a lemon poppy seed muffin with lemon glaze.

How to Store & Freeze

  • Storing on the Counter– Let the muffins cool completely. Place a paper towel in the bottom of an airtight container. Arrange the muffins in a single layer in the container. Close the lid and store on the counter for up to 4 days. You can reheat the muffins in the microwave for 10-15 seconds, if desired.
  • How to Freeze the Muffins: Let the muffins cool completely. Place the muffins in a freezer container or freezer bag, in a single layer. Freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature.
bite taken out of a lemon poppy seed muffin in paper liner.

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Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Lemon lovers will fall in love with these Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins! They are perfect for breakfast, brunch, or snack time!
4.39 from 39 votes

Ingredients
  

For the muffins:

For the lemon glaze:

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Rub together with your fingers until fragrant. Add the sugar mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until combined.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, Greek yogurt (or sour cream), eggs, oil, lemon juice, lemon extract, and vanilla extract.
  • Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and use a spatula to stir to combine. Do not over mix. You want there to be a few flour streaks left.
  • Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and let the batter sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • While the batter is resting, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 muffin pans with paper liners, leaving a space in between every cup. This will help the muffins rise higher in the oven. Spray the liners with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Divide the muffin batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling to the top. I like to use a large ice cream scoop.
  • Bake the muffins on the center rack for 6 minutes at 425 degrees, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees. Do not open the oven door. Bake for an additional 10 to 14 minutes or until the muffin tops are golden and the tops are set. You can insert a toothpick into the center of a muffin and if it comes out clean, they are done. Don’t over bake.
  • Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the muffins cool.
  • While the muffins are cooling, make the lemon glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice.
  • Drizzle the glaze over the cooled muffins. Serve!

Nutrition

Calories: 311kcal, Carbohydrates: 47g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 50mg, Sodium: 151mg, Potassium: 150mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 23g, Vitamin A: 302IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 86mg, Iron: 1mg
Keywords lemon, muffins, poppy seed

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Maria

I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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4.39 from 39 votes (19 ratings without comment)

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Comments

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  1. Flavourful muffins. The outside came out crispy, while the inside was moist, chewy, and dense (probably due to the sour cream). I would use this recipe again when I have sour cream to use up, but make a few modifications. First, as some others have suggested, the baking temperature is too high, resulting in the crisp exterior and chewy interior. That’s not a bad thing, but can be if you prefer a consistent texture throughout. I would lower the temperature to 350° or 375° and extend the baking time. Second, echoing a few other comments, the batter as written is very dry. Someone said it reminded them of biscuit dough, and I agree (it reminded me of scones, though I guess that’s what Americans call biscuits?). Like the others, I had to add liquid to be able to mix the batter; even so, I had to knead it like dough. I used lemon juice to add flavour and thin out the batter, but milk would be good as well. Upon scooping the thick mixture into the muffin cups, I was not sure it would fill up and bake as normal muffins or come out like scones (hint: they did fill up, but came out small). All in all, a good recipe flavour-wise, but could use a few improvements texture-wise!

  2. 5 stars
    Have made these a few times with 2 amendments; salted instead of unsalted butter and I like to add white chocolate chips. Apart from that I follow the recipe exactly how it’s written and they have turned out perfectly every time.

  3. 4 stars
    Delicious!  I did increase the lemon just a bit and decreased the poppy seeds (just personal preference) but the recipe is a keeper!

  4. Great recipe. Just because I want to use less sugar, I did half in the recipe. I also didn’t frost the muffins. My whole family loved them. I accidentally cooked a bit too long because my timer never started. We all loved the crunchy edge part of the muffin. I had frozen fresh lemon juice and only fresh limes. I used the lemon juice and the lime zest!

  5. Can you let me know roughly how much juice you’re getting from your lemon? I have very generous Eureka lemons and can get wildly different amounts of juice from other people so I prefer to measure out the juice when possible! Thanks!

  6. These were delicious (even though I forgot to add the lemon juice in the batter) and the texture was amazing! One of the best muffins I’ve ever made.

  7. For me, this recipe was missing moisture. I had to add ~1 cup of milk to make the batter more maleable. Then the muffins came out great.

  8. I made two batches of these simultaneously — one half-batch modified to be vegan and one full batch exactly according to the recipe above — and although both batters were delicious, once out of the oven the “regular”-recipe muffins were overly floury/baking-powdery to the point of being inedible. I notice that many of the reviewers above commented on the dryness of the dough, which was a problem I had as well, and remedied by adding a quarter cup of applesauce to each batch. The vegan version (mashed banana instead of egg, coconut milk instead of sour cream, and coconut oil instead of butter) was far superior to the regular recipe, but still more floury or baking-powdery than lemony. I did use Bob’s Red Mill 1-1 gluten-free flour instead of APF in both, but I bake muffins and cupcakes constantly, and always make that substitution — I’ve never once been able to tell the difference. I suspect it’s the 2 tsp of baking powder. Sorry I couldn’t get it to work out!

  9. 4 stars
    Good recipe but do agree the batter is dry. Next time I will add either applesauce or milk for more moisture and juice of one more lemon or lemon extract to make it more lemony.

  10. 1 star
    This recipe was incredibly dense almost to the point of being gummy. My boyfriend is playing with the middle and it is like a playdo. I did let it cool!

    I added some milk because of how dense the batter was as some in the comments had suggested. I think the ratios are completely off and I am honestly disappointed.

    I did appreciate the tip of of rubbing the zest with the sugar, that was delicious.

  11. 5 stars
    Mmmm! Followed the recipe exactly, LOL except I forgot to mix in the poppyseeds. (Sprinkled just a few on top of the glaze). They were still delicious, and will definitely add this to my favourites. Can’t wait to make them again with the poppyseeds.

  12. 5 stars
    Delish! I make these in a double batch and freeze for my kids to have as a snack during the week. Just trying to up the protein, I use about a quarter almond flour. I also sift all the dry ingredients together to aerate. My lemons were large, so maybe that’s why I’ve found the batter to be a good texture, but I’ve made these several times with no problems, and the end result is pretty fantastic.

  13. 2 stars
    Super dry batter – I added about 1/3 c milk. The texture came out okay, but to me the lemon flavor was lacking in the muffins themselves; could only really taste it in the glaze.

  14. 5 stars
    Always delicious! We leave off the topping to reduce family sugar intake, and no one seems to mind! These muffins never last more than a day in our house. Thanks for sharing!

  15. 5 stars
    This tasted really good although I would have loved to see what the batter should look like and know how much measurement wise of lemon zest and juice needed. Should I have grated more zest and squeezed more juice? Well after tasting my final product I think yes. I also used chia seeds instead of poppy for the health benefits and because I didn’t have poopy and they still came out great. I am really bad at baking which is why I need to see what the batter should look like, but these still came out so good! Thank you!

  16. 5 stars
    I used the juice from two lemons as I had two lemons in the fridge that needed to be used – and the recipe came out perfect. My guess is that you need to a) juice your lemons real well to make sure you’re getting ALLLLLL the juice and b) you need a big juicy lemon if you are only using one! This may be why the mileage varies in the comments, but my batch was awesome!

  17. 5 stars
    I’m not sure why these don’t have 5 stars across the board! We make them every time we have company and they’re always a hit. They are absolutely perfect texture when you bake them until they have a slight browning on top. Also love the simplicity of ingredients.

  18. 5 stars
    We are vegan, so I swapped out “flax eggs” for the eggs, Earth Balance for the butter, and Tofutti sour cream for the sour cream….the muffins are awesome…so moist and just perfectly flavored. This will become a regular while our lemons are in season

  19. 5 stars
    Yum Yum
    Followed the recipe to a tee (only I used my stand mixer to combine everything). They came out perfect. Used my large cookie scoop and spooned two scoops into each muffin cup. Baked exactly 18 minutes and they were AMAZING. My 83 year old palliative father, who is struggling to eat, ate two of them with a cup of tea. Thanks for a Fantastic recipe.
    I doubled the recipe and made 30 muffins. Made the glaze but ended up with too much.
    Can I freeze the leftover icing for next time – because for sure there is going to be a next time.

  20. Love your recipes, Maria. Followed directions exactly and batter was really thick. Not pourable thick. Any idea what may be the problem?

  21. 5 stars
    Hey there! I made these this afternoon and they turned out wonderfully! Fairly “dense” but we like that more than light, fluffy muffins.

    Thanks for a winning recipe 🙂

  22. 5 stars
    Easy and the resulting muffins were great! I might try pastry flour instead of AP next time to see if they come out lighter.

  23. I made this recipe to the letter, sorry to say they came out fairly tasteless. I used fresh zest and lemon juice, heavy , thick batter, it lacked lemon ,sweetness and salt.. I changed the recipe.

  24. 5 stars
    My kids have now declared these their favorite muffins, in their words “better than Costco!” A family favorite now.

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