Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
Perfectly moist and tender lemon poppy seed muffins make for a bright and sunny breakfast or snack! Greek yogurt and pantry staples deliver light muffins infused with fresh lemon. Add a simple glaze for even more flavor. Freezer-friendly, too!
This post was originally published July 19, 2019, and has been updated with new photos and more helpful answers to questions throughout the post text.
Who gets excited about a nice homemade breakfast? I think it’s something we all deserve!
Nothing cheers up a day like a bright citrus treat first thing in the morning, and these tender, zippy lemon poppy seed muffins fit the bill perfectly. Of course, they’re equally appealing for an afternoon snack, so I’ll leave it to you to portion them out!
These muffins are tender and moist, bursting with fresh lemon flavor, and extremely simple to make. Basically the perfect treat.
You can leave off the glaze if you like, though it definitely adds one more appealing sweet-tart layer of flavor. Like one more ray of sunshine!
How to make lemon poppy seed muffins
Muffins are essentially a quick bread, which is one of the reasons they’re such an appealing little treat. They’re by definition quick and easy to whip up!
Most recipes call for mixing together the wet and dry ingredients separately, but I have found that as long as you’re careful about the order and not over-mixing at the end, you can get very good results by making the batter all in one bowl.
Here are the fundamental steps, with a few tips and tricks.
- Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add wet ingredients (eggs, Greek yogurt, vanilla extract) and mix well. This is a good time to scrape down the sides of the bowl, as you want the mixture to be a very even consistency after this step.
- Sprinkle the dry ingredients on top (flour, poppy seeds, baking soda, baking powder, and salt). Mix on low speed just until the batter is mostly even. This is the point where you do not want to over mix!
- Add a splash of milk and lemon juice and fold gently. Adding this at the end helps to lift the batter and deliver nice, airy muffins — but again, be careful not to over mix.
- Divide the batter among muffin wells and bake! I find that this large cookie scoop works perfectly. Way less mess than two spoons!
The batter is definitely supposed to be thick, as you can see in the photo above. Don’t worry, the muffins will still bake up fluffy and tender!
Craving more lemon flavor?
For the true lemon fanatics, you can emphasize the lemon flavor even more with a very simple step. Begin by zesting the lemon and rubbing the zest together with the sugar between your fingers. Then proceed with creaming together the butter and sugar and follow the rest of the recipe as written.
Muffins without Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt — along with the use of white whole wheat flour — makes these muffins slightly more healthy, but if you don’t have it or don’t like baking with it, substitute an equal amount of sour cream. The flavor will be even more rich, and the texture will be extremely moist.
All about that glaze
The glaze here is optional — it obviously makes the muffins slightly more of a treat — but it is very delicious and very easy should you choose to deck your muffins out!
Simply whisk together a bit of powdered sugar and lemon juice, and drizzle the glaze over the muffins with a spoon. You can use as much or as little as you like.
If you prefer to skip the glaze, but still want a little sparkle, dust on a bit of raw sugar or sanding sugar before baking the muffins. Shine with just a little sweetness!
Storage and freezing tips
These muffins keep well and are excellent in the freezer, so if you’re inclined to make a double batch and save half in the freezer for a rainy day, more power to you!
- Storage: Muffins keep well at room temperature at least 2-3 days. I usually store them in an airtight container, leaving the zipper or lid slightly cracked to prevent any build-up of moisture. This is especially important if your muffins are glazed.
- Freezer: Place fully-cooled, un-glazed muffins on a plate or sheet pan so they are not touching, then put that whole tray into the freezer for about 30 minutes. This will “flash freeze” the muffins so they don’t stick together. Transfer the flash-frozen muffins all together into a large freezer-safe bag. No need to individually wrap.
Defrost the full batch on the counter overnight, then warm briefly in the oven or microwave — they’ll taste good as new! You can also defrost them one or two at a time, straight from frozen, with about 30 seconds in the microwave. Boom: grab-and-go breakfast. You can always add the glaze after they’re thawed and/or warmed.
More quick and easy muffin recipes
- Blueberry Almond Muffins
- Lemon Zucchini Olive Oil Muffins
- Feel-Good Pumpkin Muffins
- Best Banana Bran Muffins
- Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Strawberry Banana Muffins
If you try these lemon poppy seed muffins, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. I love hearing how recipes turn out in your kitchen, and it helps other readers, too.
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose or white whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup milk any kind
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly coat a muffin tin with baking spray or line with paper cups. (This recipe usually yields 11-12 regular-sized muffins.)
- Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, yogurt, and vanilla extract, and beat again until well-combined.
- Sprinkle flour, poppy seeds, baking soda, baking powder, and salt over the wet ingredients and beat on low speed. Add milk and lemon juice and beat on low speed just until the batter is even. Don’t over mix.
- Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake at 425 for 5 minutes, then, without opening the oven door, reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for another 12-15 minutes. When done, the muffins will be lightly golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the centers will come out clean.
- Let cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the glaze, combine powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Whisk or stir with a fork to combine, and drizzle over the muffins as desired.
- More Lemon Flavor: For even more lemon flavor, begin by zesting the lemon and rubbing the zest together with the sugar between your fingers. Then proceed with creaming together the butter and sugar and follow the rest of the recipe as written.
- Storage: Muffins keep well at room temperature at least 2-3 days. I usually store them in an airtight container, leaving the zipper or lid slightly cracked, to prevent any build-up of water droplets.
- Freezer: Yes, you can freeze lemon poppy seed muffins! For best results, place fully-cooled muffins on a plate or sheet pan so they are not touching, then put that whole tray into the freezer for about 30 minutes. This will “flash freeze” the muffins so they don’t stick together. After that flash freeze, transfer the muffins all together into a large freezer-safe bag. They don’t need to be individually wrapped. Defrost the full batch on the counter overnight, then warm briefly in the oven or microwave — they’ll taste good as new! You can also defrost them one or two at a time, straight from frozen, with about 30 seconds in the microwave.
- Recipe: Heavily adapted from Everyday Annie.
This post was originally published September 7, 2016, and has been updated with new photos, more helpful information, and recipe tweaks that yield more reliably tender muffins.