Brunch Sweets

Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts

April 4, 2020

Light and tender lemon poppy seed donuts with a refreshing citrus flavor. Topped with a sweet vanilla glaze, these baked donuts […]

Light and tender lemon poppy seed donuts with a refreshing citrus flavor. Topped with a sweet vanilla glaze, these baked donuts make a quick and delicious breakfast treat ready in just 20 minutes!

I’m going to be honest with you. Because we’re friends and friends share stuff, right? With all that’s going on in the world during these unprecedented times, it feels strange to show up here week after week with the latest mix of flour, butter, sugar, and salt to tempt your sweet tooth. I’ve thought long and hard about taking a break, hitting the pause button, side-lining my recipes for better days when life doesn’t feel quite so dire. But that idea feels strange too.

Nothing is normal about any of this and that’s okay. It’s okay that one minute I’m pretending everything is fine and sixty seconds later I’m a weepy mess grieving over all that is happening in the world. It’s a bizarre blend of so many emotions and none of us have any idea when it will end. The enormity of this crisis is not lost on any of us. But we are all in this together and that single thought brings me comfort everyday.

Like you, I’m hanging on tight to a handful of little things that are getting me through these uncertain times. Long runs outside in the fresh air, lots of hugs from my quarantine buddies, and the simple joy of baking are at the top of my list. With nearly every aspect of our lives put on hold, I am beyond thankful that baking has not been canceled.

Finding joy in the kitchen has not been canceled. Showing love through fresh from the oven chocolate chips cookies has not been canceled. Sharing a slice of extra chocolatey chocolate cake “just because” has not been canceled. I’ll be forever grateful to you for continuing to show up here, for baking my recipes, for sending messages of encouragement, and sharing my blog with your friends and family. Thank you for being here, it gives me hope. And purpose. It means so much.

So in the spirit of things that bring me joy, allow me to introduce you to my new favorite baked donut. I’ve long been a fan of the baked donut. Not because frying donuts isn’t oddly satisfying, but more so because a simple baked donut delivers instant gratification. And less mess if I’m being totally honest. Both easy to make and delicious to eat, these lemon poppy seed donuts are little circles of happiness with loads of bright citrus flavor baked right in. And everything lemon just feels like spring in my book.



I’m not kidding when I say that just a few ordinary ingredients and twenty minutes stand between you and a baker’s dozen of these ultra soft and fluffy donuts. So bust out your trusty donut pans bakers and let’s get started. If you don’t already have a donut pan, log on to Amazon dot com pronto and add this one to your cart. If you don’t think you really need a donut pan, think again. You don’t need anything fancy and a $10 donut pan will last you for years to come. Besides, if you aren’t baking donuts on Saturday mornings, did the weekend even happen?


To bake these donuts we just need two bowls, a whisk and a wooden spoon. A rubber spatula works just as well…if it works for you, it works for me. Baking donuts could not be easier to whip up in a hurry. To make the batter we mix together the dry ingredients, followed by the wet ingredients. Next we combine them all together, folding gently with the wooden spoon and being careful not to over mix the batter. Pipe or spoon the batter into your donut pan and off to the oven they go.

We bake the donuts for just 9-10 minutes. I beg you not to over bake your donuts….they can go from fluffy and tender to dry and dense in a hot minute so keep a close eye on your oven. The donuts are done if they spring back when pressed gently and the edges are lightly browned. Let the donuts cool completely before dunking in the sweet vanilla glaze. Top with more poppy seeds and freshly zested lemon for a pretty-as-can-be homemade donut!

I mean…aren’t you just dying for a bite??



Always use room temperature ingredients. You know the drill bakers. Take your ingredients out of the fridge about an hour before you are ready to bake. The ingredients will combine nicely and you won’t be left with a lumpy, bumpy batter. I often take my ingredients out the night before so they are ready to go in the morning.

Fresh is best. This recipe calls for fresh lemon zest and juice. I don’t recommend substituting with bottled lemon juice or lemon extract…the flavor just isn’t the same. You’ll need just two medium sized lemons to bake a batch of these fresh, citrusy lemon poppy seed donuts.

Pipe your batter into the pan. For less mess and the prettiest donuts, pipe your batter into the donut pan. If you don’t have a large piping tip or piping bags, no problem. Just spoon the batter into a large ziplock bag and cut the tip off one corner of the bag. Pipe the batter into each well of the pan until 3/4’s full. Easy peasy!

It’s all about the glaze. These donuts are delish all by themselves, but who says no to a sweet vanilla glaze on top of a freshly baked donut?? To make the glaze simply whisk all of the ingredients together in a shallow bowl and dip the cooled donuts in one by one. The glaze will set as it sits so wait to mix the glaze until the donuts are cooled and ready for dunking.

I hope you’ll give these lemon poppyseed donuts a try this weekend. They’re just the little bit of sunshine we all need right about now.

Happy baking, friends. Be well!

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Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts

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  • Author: Browned Butter Blondie
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Brunch


Light and tender lemon poppy seed donuts with a refreshing citrus flavor. Topped with a sweet vanilla glaze, these baked donuts make a quick and delicious breakfast treat ready in just 20 minutes!



For Donuts

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, spoon and leveled
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 TBSP poppy seeds, plus extra for sprinkling on top
  • 3 TBSP unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup full fat greek yogurt
  • 12 TBSP lemon juice
  • 3 tsp lemon zest, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 tsp vanilla

For Glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 2 1/2 TBSP unsalted butter, melted
  • 46 TBSP whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly spray a donut pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Stir in poppy seeds.
  5. Set aside.
  6. In a larger bowl, stir together sugar and lemon zest until combined.
  7. Add melted butter, egg, milk, yogurt, vanilla and lemon juice. Whisk to combine well.
  8. Add dry ingredients in to the wet ingredients in two batches. Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to fold the dry ingredients in to the wet ingredients.
  9. Do not over mix. A few streaks of flour remaining is fine.
  10. Scoop the batter into a piping bag fitted with a large tip or into a large ziplock bag. Cut the end of the bag and pipe the batter into the donut pan, filling 3/4’s full.
  11. Bake the donuts for 8-10 minutes. Donuts are done when they spring back when pressed lightly. Edges should be a light golden brown.
  12. Do not over bake.
  13. Remove the donuts from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack to cool complete.
  14. Dunk the tops of donuts in the glaze once cooled.
  15. Top with more poppy seeds and lemon zest if desired.

For Vanilla Glaze

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium shallow bowl. Whisk to combine.
  2. If too thick, add more milk 1 TBSP at a time.
  3. If too thin, add more confectioner’s sugar.
  4. Dip the tops of the donuts into the glaze. Flip the donuts upright and rest on a cooling rack while glaze sets. Glaze will firm up as it sits.


Donuts are best served the same day they are made.
Store left over donuts in an air tight container at room temperature.
May be frozen.
For added lemon flavor, add 1-2 TBSP of lemon juice to the glaze.
Recipe inspired by Choosing Chia.

If you like these Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts, you’ll also love:

Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Cake

Lemon Poppyseed Cookies

Meyer Lemon Bar Tart

Old Fashioned Donuts with Blood Orange Glaze

**Recipe inspired by Choosing Chia.



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