lemon poppy seed muffins on a cooling rack

When life gives you lemons, make Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins, of course! These soft, moist and fluffy bakery-style treats are bursting with fresh lemon flavor, crunchy poppy seeds and just the right amount of sweetness. They’re the perfect pick-me-up when you want a lil’ something special for breakfast or snacktime, and they couldn’t be easier to make.

I’m here to tell you on this hot and sunny summer Wednesday that these muffins are, in fact, worth every minute of having the oven on in your kitchen. They’re incredibly moist, soft, fluffy and flavorful. They’re over-sized like a good bakery-style muffin should be. And they pair perfectly with your morning coffee or tea. You’d really be gifting your breakfasting self with these muffins, so consider it a practice of self-care.

overhead shot of lemon poppy seed muffins in a muffin tin

The Best Ingredients for Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

A good muffin starts with good ingredients. This is a fact. And these lemon poppy seed muffins include all the basics that build a well-made breakfast treat, such as:

  • Fresh lemon juice and zest, for flavor
  • Lots of poppy seeds for texture!
  • Whole milk yogurt, for moisture and a good crumb (don’t use the Greek yogurt for this recipe; see Recipe Notes for more deets!)
  • Melted butter, for softness
  • Eggs, for binding
  • Coarse sparkling sugar, for a crunchy-sweet topping

There are many many variations on lemon poppy seed muffins out there, but I’ve found this combination of ingredients to render the best homemade version that tastes just like what I imagine when I think of a bakery muffin — soft on the inside, with a golden brown top speckled with a hint of crunchy sugar, every bite bursting with lemon poppy seed flavors. YUM.

lemon poppy seed muffins on and around a muffin tin

How to Make Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

The steps to make these muffins is typical of a quick bread batter — that is, whisking the dry ingredients together, then whisking the wet ingredients separately, then stirring the two together until just combined. Divide the batter between the muffin cups, then bake. So easy, so tasty. Here’s the official step-by-step breakdown:

  • Step 1: Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper baking liners/cups.
  • Step 2: Combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt) until well mixed.
  • Step 3: Combine the wet ingredients (yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest and eggs) until well mixed, then stir in the butter. I like to add the butter at the end so it mixes in more evenly without the risk of making a mess.
  • Step 4: Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until JUST COMBINED. This is crucial. When it comes to muffin batter, overmixing is a big no-no as it renders a dense, dry muffin. Stir the ingredients until they just moisten and combine, and you’re good!
  • Step 5: Divide the batter between the muffin cups, then sprinkle the tops with sugar.
  • Step 6: Bake until muffins are puffed and golden brown. Cool for a few minutes, then serve!
lemon poppy seed muffin on a plate with a bite taken out

Tips for the Best Homemade Muffins

Comin’ in hot with some pro muffin tips fer ya!

  • Don’t overmix the batter. I’ve said it like a million times, but I’ll say it again, because it is so important. An overmixed batter = a dense muffin = a sad muffin. And a sad muffin is just not what we need right now. Be delicate with the mixing!
  • Use fresh lemons! Leave those dried-up lemons hanging out in the back of the crisper drawer for freshening up your garbage disposal, and reach for the fresh, bright-yellow lemons with a soft flesh. Since lemon is a primary flavor component of these muffins, you want to use the good fruit.
  • Go crazy with poppy seeds! You know, like, if you want. You can toss in up to 3 tablespoons of those itty-bitty crunchy seeds for extra texture (I used 2 tablespoons for the muffins shown in these photos, for reference).
  • Store your muffins properly. These babies can stay fresh for up to 4 days if stored in an airtight container at room temperature. This will ensure maximum muffin enjoyment any time of day. Yay!

There are a lot of lemons out there right now, so let’s make the best of it by baking them up into a carbolicious breakfast treat, shall we? I say we shall.

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lemon poppy seed muffins on a cooling rack

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

  • Author: Stephanie
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12 muffins 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These soft, moist and fluffy lemon poppy seed muffins are bursting with fresh lemon flavor, sprinkled throughout with poppy seeds and topped with coarse sugar for a sweet crunch. You can’t go wrong with these bakery-style treats made at home!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons poppy seeds*
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups plain whole milk yogurt (NOT Greek yogurt)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 tablespoons coarse sparkling sugar, for topping

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper baking liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt until well combined. In a separate medium bowl, whisk yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest and eggs until well combined. Whisk in butter until combined.
  3. Gently stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients with a spatula until just combined (do not overmix, or the muffins will end up tough).
  4. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups (the batter will be thick, and the cups will be quite full). Top batter evenly with coarse sugar.
  5. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until tops of muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of one muffin comes out clean. Cool muffins in muffin tin 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
  6. Store muffins covered in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Notes

  • Recipe adapted from A Kitchen Addiction.
  • For clean, even scoops of batter in each muffin cup, use a cookie scoop.
  • *If you’re a big fan of the flavor and crunch of poppy seeds, use up to 3 tablespoons in this recipe!
  • Do not use Greek yogurt for this recipe; it’s too thick and the muffins will be too tough and dense once baked.

Keywords: lemon muffins, bakery style muffins

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