These Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins are a delicious way to start your morning! They're fluffy, flavorful, and smell insanely good! Drizzle this simple lemon glaze over the top for even more lemon flavor!
Besides my love of chocolate, I have an affinity for lemon-flavored treats, like, for example, my lemon bars, lemon meringue ice cream pie, or lemon cream cheese pound cake! But there has been one lemon treat I've been wanting to add to the Beyond the Butter® recipe box—these lemon poppy seed muffins!
I recommend using the following ingredients below to make these lemon poppy seed muffins. The brands mentioned below are favorites of mine, but please use what you have on hand or what is readily available in your area.
- Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest. Fresh is best over bottled when it comes to this recipe. And the lemon zest is a must. Save leftover lemon juice for the lemon glaze and lemon zest for garnish.
- Lemon Extract. You can also use lemon extract paste as a 1:1 substitution. My favorite is from Taylor & Colledge. This is an optional ingredient, but the extract or extract paste help elevate that lemon flavor even more.
- Whole Milk. Any brand of dairy whole milk is best here. My brand is a somewhat local Central PA favorite—Apple Valley Creamery. Their milk comes in glass bottles you return when you get a fresh bottle of milk. It's very reminiscent of my childhood.
- Sour Cream. Full-fat sour cream is best here. And you really can't go wrong with any brand. Some of my favorites include Daisy, Breakstone's, and good old generic from the grocery store!
- Poppy Seeds. I have used Nature's Promise (the organic brand of Giant grocery store) and Morton & Bassett.
- Powdered Sugar. This is used only for the lemon glaze. Domino Sugar or even generic from your local grocery store will work perfectly.
For quantities and instructions, please see the recipe card below.
Below are two substitutions that can be made to this bakery-style lemon poppy seed muffins recipe.
- Sour Cream. In place of full-fat sour cream, you can use full-fat plain Greek yogurt.
- Lemon Extract. Instead of lemon extract, you can use lemon extract paste. It packs the same amount of added flavor but just in a paste form. You can also brush the lemon extract paste on the muffins instead of the lemon syrup!
Please note that I did not test this recipe using any additional flour, sugars, or egg substitutions.
How to Make the Recipe
Below is a quick overview of how to make these homemade lemon poppy seed muffins. For the full printable recipe, which can be made using US customary or metric measurements, visit the recipe card below.
Quick Tip: Before beginning this lemon poppy seed muffins recipe, it's best to soak the poppy seeds in warm water for at least 1 hour or, my preference, overnight. Then drain with a sieve before adding them to the muffin batter. This avoids any unwanted crunchiness, and the soaking allows the mild nutty flavor to come through.
Step 1. Sift the dry ingredients together. You can sift the flour and then whisk in the remaining dry ingredients (Image 1).
Step 2. Rub the sugar and lemon zest together. Doing so will really bring out the best lemon flavor in these lemon poppy seed muffins. Set to the side (Image 2).
Quick Tip: Go ahead and melt the unsalted butter now before you add it to the mixture in STEP 5 because it needs just a minute or two to cool down slightly.
Step 3. Mix the wet ingredients together. These ingredients include sour cream, whole milk, lemon juice, lemon extract, vanilla extract, and eggs. Mix them together until combined, then add in the sugar zest mixture. You can use a whisk, hand-held mixer, or stand mixer. In testing, I used the whisk and hand-held mixer (Image 3).
Step 4. Add in the dry mixture. With a spatula, only stir about halfway (Image 4).
Step 5. Add in the melted butter and poppy seeds. After you've added these two ingredients, finish stirring the muffin batter until just combined. If a few streaks of the dry mixture remain, that is okay. Cover, then refrigerate the muffin batter for 30 to 45 minutes. The batter will be a thick but light consistency after refrigeration (Image 5).
Step 6. Fill each muffin liner with the batter, then bake. Fill them up almost to the top. Filling them up almost to the top yielded 12 lemon poppy seed muffins for me. For a topping, sprinkle a little sparkling sugar over the muffins. Bake for 18-20 minutes at 400ºF. The muffin tops should spring back when lightly pressed. After baking, you can let them sit in the tin for about 5-10 minutes, then remove them (Image 6).
Quick Tip: For more added lemon flavor, you can brush a simple honey lemon syrup over the top of the just-baked muffins. It's one tablespoon of lemon juice whisked together with one tablespoon of honey in a small bowl. Then apply with a pastry brush. I added this simple syrup to my small batch of lemon cupcakes after bringing them out of the oven as well. So yummy!
Step 7. Whisk together the lemon glaze. This glaze only consists of two ingredients and comes together quickly, so you can wait until the muffins are done baking to whisk them together (Image 7).
Step 8. Drizzle the glaze over the top of each muffin. It's best to drizzle the glaze on cooled or somewhat cooled muffins. I used a spoon, but you can also dip them into the glaze as well (Image 8).
You can easily enjoy these lemon muffins plain, but here are a few easy toppings or garnish suggestions to make them a little extra!
- Sparkling Sugar. Sprinkled on before baking; this gives your muffins a little sweetened sparkle.
- Lemon Syrup. Brush this on immediately after you bring the muffins out of the oven. As stated above, you can also use lemon extract paste.
- Lemon Glaze. A simple two-ingredient glaze that elevates the look and taste.
- Lemon Zest. While you're prepping your lemons for the muffin batter, make sure to grate a little more zest for a pretty garnish!
Store these lemon poppy seed muffins in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature or up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Please note storing the muffins at room temperature or in the refrigerator may give them mushy tops if the honey lemon syrup or lemon glaze is applied.
These muffins can also be kept frozen (cooled, then wrapped in plastic wrap, and kept in a freezer bag or container) for up to 3 months. Reheat (from frozen) in a 350ºF pre-heated oven for 10-12 minutes.
For the best lemon poppy seed muffins, check out these helpful tips before starting the recipe. These tips will also be shown in the recipe card below.
Soak the poppy seeds. To avoid crunchy poppy seeds in your lemon poppy seed muffins and to let them reach their full flavor potential, I recommend soaking them in warm water for at least one hour or, for the best results, overnight.
Sift the flour. For fluffier lemon muffins, I highly recommend sifting your all-purpose flour.
Rub the lemon zest with the sugar. Doing so really brings out the best lemon flavor in these lemon poppy seed muffins!
Don't over-mix the batter. When you over-mix the muffin batter, you can wind up with a tougher texture muffin when baked. Over-mixing also adds more air to the mixture creating holes.
Rest the muffin batter. If time allows, I recommend resting your lemon poppy seed muffin batter in the refrigerator (covered) for 30 to 45 minutes, max. You can even let the batter rest overnight if you need to.
Fill the cupcake liners to the very top. It might seem like a lot, but the muffin batter will rise and will form a nice dome shape on top!
Brush on the lemon honey syrup. This step wasn't shown above, but if you prefer to skip the lemon glaze topping, you can brush on some lemon honey syrup over the top of each lemon poppyseed muffin right after they've come out of the oven. I do this with my small-batch lemon cupcakes recipe, and it's easy to whisk together and adds an even greater lemon flavor!
Let the muffins cool before unwrapping. It's best to let the lemon poppyseed muffins cool slightly (or completely) before unwrapping them to avoid the bottoms sticking to the muffin liners.
Soaking the poppy seeds before adding them to your lemon muffin batter allows the mild nutty flavor to come out, complementing the lemon flavor nicely. Soaking them also avoids any crunchiness when you bite into your lemon poppy seed muffins. I recommend soaking them for a minimum of 1 hour, or my preference, overnight.
I used a #20 yellow scoop which is equal to about 3 ¼ tablespoons.
Allowing the muffin batter to rest allows for the flour's starches additional time to absorb the moisture present in the eggs and other liquids. These starches additionally undergo expansion, leading to a strong and thicker texture within the batter.
During testing, I tried resting the batter for 30 minutes, 45 minutes, and overnight. The results for me showed no real difference in the height or texture of the baked muffins, hence why I recommend the 30-45 minute mark. But if you need more time, then overnight is fine too.
More Lemon Dessert Recipes
When life hands you lemons, make any one (or all!) of these lemon desserts or breakfast sweets!
If you tried this Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know what you thought in the 📝 comments below. Thanks for visiting!
Lemon Poppy Seed MuffinsAuthor:
lemon poppy seed muffins
- 2 ¼ cups All-Purpose Flour (sifted)
- 2 teaspoon Baking Powder (double acting)
- ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- 1 cup Granulated Sugar
- 2 tablespoon Lemon Zest
- 1 cup Sour Cream
- ¼ cup Whole Milk
- 2 tablespoon Lemon Juice (fresh from approx. 2 lemons)
- 1 teaspoon Lemon Paste (or lemon extract)
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 2 Large Eggs (room temperature)
- ½ cup Unsalted Butter (melted)
- 2 ½ tablespoon Poppy Seeds (soaked in warm water and drained)
- Sparkling Sugar (for sprinkling over the glaze)
lemon honey syrup
- 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice (fresh)
- 1 tablespoon Honey
- 1 cup Powdered Sugar (sifted)
- 3 tablespoon Lemon Juice
lemon poppy seed muffins
- In a small bowl filled with warm water, soak the poppy seeds for 1 hour or preferably overnight. Drain and set to the side.
- In a heat-proof measuring glass or bowl, melt the unsalted butter in the microwave until fully melted. Set to the side and allow to cool slightly.
- In a medium size bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set to the side.2 ¼ cups All-Purpose Flour, 2 teaspoon Baking Powder, ½ teaspoon Baking Soda, ¼ teaspoon Salt
- In a separate bowl and with clean hands, rub the granulated sugar and lemon zest together. Set to the side.1 cup Granulated Sugar, 2 tablespoon Lemon Zest
- Using a whisk, hand-held mixer, or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the sour cream, whole milk, lemon juice, lemon paste, vanilla extract, and eggs on medium-high speed until well blended. Add the granulated sugar and lemon zest mixture and continue mixing.1 cup Sour Cream, ¼ cup Whole Milk, 2 tablespoon Lemon Juice, 1 teaspoon Lemon Paste, 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract, 2 Large Eggs
- With a spatula, stir the dry mixture in only halfway. If using a stand mixer, stop your mixer, add in the dry flour mixture in, then mix the batter on low speed only halfway.
- Gently fold in the melted, slightly cooled unsalted butter and poppy seeds. Finish stirring the muffin batter until there are little to no visible areas of flour. A few visible streaks of flour are okay.½ cup Unsalted Butter, 2 ½ tablespoon Poppy Seeds
- Let the mixture sit covered in the fridge for 30-45 minutes. You can let this muffin batter rest overnight in the refrigerator, if needed.
- Adjust your oven rack to the 2nd level rack (from the top) and preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with muffin liners.
- Using a large scoop, divide the muffin batter into the 12 cupcake liners (the batter will come up high), then bake for 18-20 minutes at 400ºF. If desired, top each muffin with sparkling sugar. When done, the muffins tops should spring back when lightly pressed.Sparkling Sugar
- Remove from the oven and allow the muffins to cool within the tin for about 5-10 minutes. If desired, you can immediately apply the honey lemon syrup mixture to the tops of each muffin using a pastry brush.
- Transfer the muffins to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling a bit more or fully. Drizzle with the lemon glaze and/or garnish with lemon zest, if desired.
lemon honey syrup
- In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and honey until blended. Brush over the tops of just baked muffins.1 tablespoon Lemon Juice, 1 tablespoon Honey
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice until well blended. Drizzle over the top of somewhat cooled muffins.1 cup Powdered Sugar, 3 tablespoon Lemon Juice
Nutritonal information provided above is an estimate only and will vary based on specific ingredients used.