Rise and shine bakers and say hello to your favorite new lemon poppy seed muffins! You guys know I LOVE lemon anything and these sweet and simple muffins have been on repeat in my kitchen for weeks. My husband devours anything with the words lemon and poppy seed in the same sentence and my kiddos cannot get enough of them. Bursting with fresh citrus flavor and speckled with bits of crunchy poppy seeds, these muffins are the best way to start your day!
What makes these muffins so good?
Look no further for the best lemon poppy seed muffins. With their perfectly domed tops, moist and fluffy interiors and a sweet vanilla glaze, these muffins are bound to be your new favorite. Here’s a few reasons why I love these muffins….
Delicious flavor and texture. Make delicious bakery style muffins in your own kitchen. These muffins bake up moist and tender and are bursting with bright citrus flavor. And just look at those perfectly domed muffin tops!
Perfect for breakfast, snack and dessert! Whip up a batch of these muffins and enjoy them all week long for breakfast, a quick afternoon snack or for a sweet, lemony dessert after dinner. Pro-tip: double the batch because they won’t last long!
Easy to make with simple ingredients. No fancy ingredients (or equipment!) needed to make these lemon poppy seed muffins. Lemon lovers will be fast fans of these easy muffins.
Freeze beautifully for a rainy day. Stash away a handful of muffins for a rainy day or busy mornings on the go. They freeze well and are easy to defrost at room temperature.
The best part about these muffins, aside from how delicious they are, is that they can be whipped up in no time with just a handful of simple ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Flour – we’re using regular all-purpose flour. Be sure to weigh your flour with a kitchen scale for best results.
- Butter – A combination of unsalted butter and a little vegetable oil makes these muffins soft and tender and full of flavor.
- Sugar – adds sweetness and texture to the muffins.
- Eggs – set your eggs out ahead of time or dunk them in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes to bring them to room temperature.
- Lemons – for the best flavor, use the freshest lemons you can find and avoid using store-bought lemon juice or lemon extract.
- Greek yogurt – a dollop of yogurt helps make muffins ultra fluffy and moist for days. Sour cream works great too!
- Baking powder + baking soda – this dynamic duo gives the muffins structure and rise.
- Milk – I like to use whole milk but you could substitute with lowfat milk or unsweetened almond milk.
- Vanilla – just a splash adds an added depth of flavor.
How to make lemon poppy seed muffins
These muffins come together in minutes using just a bowl and a whisk. No mixer required! Follow this easy step-by-step guide and check the recipe card below for ingredients and detailed instructions.
Step 1: In a medium bowl, add the granulated sugar and lemon zest. Use your hands to massage the zest into the sugar for about 30 seconds. This helps to release the oils from the zest into the sugar which makes for an extra lemony muffin once baked.
Step 2: To the bowl add the melted butter (slightly cooled), vegetable oil, eggs, milk, Greek yogurt (or sour cream), lemon juice and vanilla.
Step 3: Whisk to combine the wet ingredients.
Step 4: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and poppy seeds.
Step 5: Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and use a spatula to fold together. Be careful not to over mix the batter. Stop mixing when a few streaks of flour remain.
Step 6: Cover the bowl with a dry dish towel and rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
Step 7: Once the batter has rested, preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. For tall muffin tops, line every other cavity in the muffin tin. Leaving space around each muffin for the air to circulate results in a higher rise. Using this method, you’ll bake 6 muffins at a time, repeating once. Be sure to let the muffin pan return to room temperature before baking the second batch or use a second muffin tin.
**Note: While the muffins are baking, make the lemon simple syrup so it’s ready when the first batch of muffins comes out of the oven. To make the syrup, combine 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, 1/4 cup of lemon juice and the zest of one lemon in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 6 to 8 minutes until the sugar is fully dissolved and the mixture has thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture through a fine mesh sleeve to strain out the lemon zest. Reserve the liquid to brush on top of the warm muffins.
Step 8: Bake the muffins in the center rack of the oven at the high temperture for 6 to 7 minutes. Without opening the oven door, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 8 to 9 minutes. The muffins are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs remaining.
Step 9: Remove the muffin pan from the oven and allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the muffins from the pan and set on a wire rack. Using a pastry brush or the back of a spoon, brush the tops of the muffins with the lemon simple syrup, covering generously. Sprinkle with additional poppy seeds if desired.
Step 10: If adding the glaze, cool the muffins completely. To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice or milk. Add a dollop of Greek yogurt for a thicker glaze. Drizzle over the tops of the muffins.
Tips for perfect muffin tops
Lucky for you, I’ve tested all the tips and tricks to turn out the tallest, fluffiest muffin tops. Follow the steps below for perfectly domed muffin tops every time!
Use room temperature ingredients. For best results, be sure your ingredients such as eggs, butter, yogurt and milk are at room temperature before mixing the batter. This will ensure your ingredients combine nicely and reduces the need for over-mixing which can lead to tough, dense muffins.
Do not over mix. Muffin batter needs a delicate hand so don’t be tempted to overdo it. A few tiny streaks of flour remaining is perfect. Stop there and you’ll have tall, fluffy muffins with perfectly rounded tops.
Rest the batter. Don’t skip this step if you’re looking for perfectly tall and tender muffins. Resting the batter allows the baking powder to fluff up the batter before it even gets to the oven. Baking powder is double activating which means it goes to work when it gets wet again when it’s heated in the oven. After resting the batter for one hour at room temperature, you’ll notice that it’s lighter and fluffier than when you first mixed the ingredients together. Do not stir the batter again once it’s rested. Just gently scoop and dollop the batter into the muffin liners.
Fill every other muffin liner. This is my favorite trick in the book for jumbo muffin tops! Using a 12-cup muffin pan, bake only 6 muffins at a time. This means you’ll fill every other muffin cavity which allows the air to circulate around each muffin while baking, resulting in a higher rise and a taller, fluffier muffin. Be sure to cool the muffin pan back to room temperature before baking the second batch or use a second muffin pan for the second batch.
Bake at a high temperature. Want to know my favorite trick for perfectly domed muffin tops? It’s all about the oven temperature! For those perfect domes, bake the muffins in a preheated 425°F oven for the first 6-7 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350°F for the remainder of the bake. The blast of heat helps to activate the leaveners in the batter and there you have it….magical muffin tops!
Absolutely! Simple substitute the all-purpose flour with an equal amount of your favorite gluten free flour blend. I like King Arthur Baking Gluten Free Flour.
Feel free to add an extra tablespoon of lemon zest to the batter for a bigger citrus punch. I highly recommend using fresh lemons for this recipe but if you really want to amp up the flavor you can add up to a teaspoon of lemon extract.
Yes! These muffins freeze beautifully. Simply cool completely and then wrap in a layer of plastic wrap. Place the wrapped muffins in a plastic freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. I recommend waiting to glaze the muffins until after they are defrosted to room temperature.
Yes, feel free to omit the poppy seeds. They add a delightful bit of flavor and crunch but if you leave them out, you can still enjoy a delicious lemony muffin!
These lemon poppy seed muffins are deliciously moist and tender and bursting with fresh citrus flavor. Perfect for breakfast, dessert and everything in between!
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 2 (heaping) tablespoons lemon zest
- 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2/3 cup whole milk, room temperature
- 1/2 cup full fat Greek yogurt (or sour cream), room temperature
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/4 (280 g) cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
For Lemon Simple Syrup
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- zest of one lemon
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 to 3 tablespoons whole milk or fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt (optional)
- In a large bowl, add the granulated sugar and lemon zest. Use your hands to massage the zest into the sugar for about 30 seconds. This helps release the oils from the zest into the sugar, amping up the lemon flavor of the muffins once baked.
- Add the melted butter, vegetable oil, eggs, milk, Greek yogurt, lemon juice and vanilla. Whisk to combine well.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and poppy seeds.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Use a large spatula to gently fold the batter together, being careful not to over mix.
- Cover the bowl with a dish towel and rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
- After about 45 minutes, preheat the oven to 425°F. Place paper liners in a 12-cup muffin pan, lining every other cavity to leave space around each muffin. This helps the muffins rise more, resulting in tall, perfectly domed muffin tops. Using this method, you’ll bake just 6 muffins per batch, repeating once the first batch is baked. Make sure to increase the oven temperature back to 425°F before baking the second batch. For best results, cool the muffin tin completely between batches or use a second muffin tin.
- Once the batter is rested, use a large cookie scoop to fill the liners all the way to the top. Be gentle with the batter and do not overwork it as you fill the muffin pan.
- Note: While the muffins are baking, make the lemon simple syrup. Bake the muffins in the center rack of the oven for 6 to 7 minutes at 425°F. Reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes. Avoid opening the oven door during baking. At the end of the baking cycle, check the muffins for doneness using a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins. The toothpick should come out clean or with a few crumbs remaining.
- Remove the muffins from the oven and cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. Carefully remove the muffins from the pan and set on a wire rack atop a large piece of wax or parchment paper.
- Brush the tops of the warm muffins with the lemon simple syrup and top with a sprinkle of poppy seeds if desired.
- Allow the muffins to cool completely before adding the glaze (optional).
For Lemon Simple Syrup
- In a small saucepan, add the granulated sugar and zest of a lemon. Use your hands to massage the sugar and lemon together for about 20 seconds, releasing the oils from the lemon into the sugar.
- Add the lemon juice to the sugar and zest mixture. Bring to a boil and then immediately lower the heat to a simmer.
- Simmer the mixture for about 6 to 8 minutes until thickened slightly. The sugar should be fully dissolved.
- Strain the simple syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl, removing the pieces of zest from liquid. Set aside until ready to brush onto the tops of the warm muffins.
- To make the glaze, add all of the ingredients into a small bowl and whisk to combine. Mixture should be smooth and thick, but pourable. If too thin, add more powdered sugar. If too thick, add more milk. Drizzle the glaze over the top of cooled muffins.
Store muffins tightly covered at room temperature for up to 3 days.
May be frozen for up to 3 months. For best results, freeze before adding the glaze. Defrost at room temperature before serving. Reheat in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds, if desired.
**Recipe originally published May 2020.
Keywords: lemon poppy seed muffins