Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

The cool-turned-warm spring air makes me want to bust out every citrus fruit I can get my hands on and start baking up a storm. The scent of lemons, oranges and limes make the whole world seem brighter. I love their light and fresh flavor and have a ball baking with them once the weather turns. One of my absolute favorite lemon recipes are the Lemon-Limoncello Cupcakes that I made a couple of summers ago. They are awesome, and these Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins would certainly be a great way to start a day that ended with those cupcakes πŸ˜‰

All of the Dorie Greenspan recipes I have ever tried have been out-of-the-park winners and these muffins are no exception. They are light, supremely moist, and positively bursting with lemon flavor. With a healthy dose of poppy seeds, these have rocketed to the top of one of my favorite breakfast treats. While I enjoy oatmeal on most mornings, it’s always great to treat yourself to something like muffins, cinnamon rolls or bagels on occasion. And these muffins have definitely secured themselves a spot in my “treat rotation” list!

One year ago: Easter Egg Sugar Cookies
Three years ago: Gooey Chocolate Cakes

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 18 to 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes


2/3 cup sugar
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
ΒΌ teaspoon baking soda
ΒΌ teaspoon salt
ΒΎ cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Β½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons poppy seeds


1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups.

2. In a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and the fragrance of lemon strong. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and melted butter together until well blended. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don't worry about being thorough - a few lumps are better than over mixing the batter. Stir in the poppy seeds. Divide the batter evenly among the muffins cups.

3. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.

*Note: The recipe calls for a glaze but I didn't use it.


38 Responses to “Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins”

  1. Pam on April 4, 2011 at 3:12 am

    These look yummmmmy! Lemon is one of my most favorite flavors (next to chocolate!) and I don’t bake lemon goodies near enough. Thanks for the recipe-I’m gonna make a batch in the morning!



  2. Dishes of Mrs. Fish on April 4, 2011 at 5:23 am

    You’re right, these would be a wonderful breakfast treat! πŸ™‚


  3. Katrina on April 4, 2011 at 6:59 am

    This is one of my favorite muffins of all time! I don’t have a good recipe for it though. I’ll try these tonight!


  4. Robyn {Planet Byn} on April 4, 2011 at 9:47 am

    i’ve been looking for a lemon muffin recipe, so this is great! might leave out the poppy seeds and add cranberries – i always see that combination in a scone at starbucks and it looks so good!


  5. Paula on April 4, 2011 at 9:58 am

    I love the look of these muffins! As is they are inviting you to take a bite.


  6. Erin on April 4, 2011 at 10:07 am

    I adore a good lemon poppy seed muffin!


  7. Maria on April 4, 2011 at 11:34 am

    I posted muffins today too! Can’t wait to try these next!


  8. d.liff @ yelleBELLYboo on April 4, 2011 at 11:41 am

    This exact recipe has been at the top of my list to make for a week now. I keep telling everyone I’m going to make them lemon poppy seed muffins but the weekend slipped away from me. Thanks for inspiring me again!


  9. Kristin on April 4, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Yes! I’ve made 2 batches of these over the past 2 weekends and have been taking them for breakfast at work. I kept them frozen and just microwave them at work to keep them as fresh as possible throughout the week. They are SO delicious and I even subbed in oil instead of butter, used a GF flour mix, and Meyer lemons. Even my husband couldn’t tell they weren’t made with AP flour. Dorie never disapoints!


  10. Kristin on April 4, 2011 at 11:47 am

    *disppoints. I hate typos. πŸ™‚


  11. Jenny Flake on April 4, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Pretty little muffins! Yum!


  12. Tracy on April 4, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    I am in love with these muffins! Yours look gorgeous. They are so perfect for spring!


  13. Vanessa on April 4, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    I love the combination of lemon and poppyseeds.. I think muffins are my favorite.


  14. Amanda on April 4, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    These poppy seed muffins are right up my alley!


  15. Aleida on April 4, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    I’ve never been much of a fan of lemon but I always make an exception for these muffins.

    You said this specific recipe calls for a glaze, but I’ve never seen them glazed, even in stores. Maybe we just like them plain here in New England?


  16. paddleattachment on April 4, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    These look scrumptious! Love your pictures with a little lemon and the fancy white dish too.


  17. Sharlene on April 4, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    I love the combination of lemon and poppy seeds! Gorgeous.


  18. Erin on April 4, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Could these be made as mini-muffins? How would you adjust the cooking time for it?


    • Michelle on April 7th, 2011 at 2:10 pm

      Hi Erin, Definitely! I would start checking them around 8 minutes.


  19. Mackenzie@The Caramel Cookie on April 4, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    My mom used to make these for us as a special treat before school sometimes. I’d eat about 4 of them :).


  20. Shawn @ I Wash...You Dry on April 4, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    Wow, these look so great! I am seriously wanting a nice batch of these for breakfast!


  21. Jen on April 4, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    These muffins look great! The only concern I would have would having poppy seeds stuck in my teeth πŸ˜‰


  22. Cookin' Canuck on April 5, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Dorie’s recipes are fantastic – I’ve always had great luck with them. These muffins are going straight to my “must make” list.


  23. Mia on April 5, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    These are really good! I’ve put blueberry jam in the middle before baking and they’re delicious.


  24. Dave aka The Male Baker on April 5, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    I was just going to bake some of these before I came by your recipe! Such a good combo.


  25. Joy on April 6, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    That looks great.


  26. Sandra on April 6, 2011 at 8:18 pm



  27. Sunny on April 6, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    The problem with making these delicious looking muffins is that I would eat EVERY SINGLE ONE! I have absolutely no control when it comes to lemon poppy seed anything!


  28. Kat @ Cupcake Kat on April 6, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    I love poppy seed muffins. In fact I ate a poppy seed muffin today and recently made orange poppy seed muffins . Maybe I’ll try these next!


  29. Cheryl and Adam @ pictureperfectmeals.com on April 7, 2011 at 10:05 am

    Adam’s favorite muffin. He used to have one for breakfast every day on his way to class in college. This will be a nice surprise for him one of these mornings. Yummy!


  30. Suzanne on April 8, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    I made these yesterday morning and I think they were o.k….nothing great. IMO they could have used a couple of tablespoons more sugar and maybe even the zest of a second lemon. I also liked the idea of Mia’s version with blueberry jam inside – I think that would give them a little more interest. Thanks for posting though…I enjoyed trying them and was able to share some with friends.


  31. Laura on April 25, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    I made these for Easter…everybody enjoyed them, but I didn’t think they tasted very lemony. The first batch I couldn’t taste the lemon at all, so with batches 2,3,&4 I used the juice and zest of 2 lemons. Very faint lemon taste..would’ve added more, but didn’t want to make the batter too wet. I, however, love poppy seed muffins, so they were great.


  32. Dave aka The Male Baker on April 27, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Made these and they are amazing! I added a second lemon to bring out the taste more if you like lemon as much as I do! They are soo good I had to blog them today.


  33. Kristina on April 27, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    I made these with a very similiar recipe but it used yogurt instead of sour cream. How do you feel about that?


    • Michelle on April 29th, 2011 at 1:00 pm

      Hi Kristina, Although I have never substituted yogurt I know that it is quite common for plain Greek yogurt to be used in place of sour cream and even mayonnaise in a number or recipes. If you try it let me know how it turns out!


  34. Cat on June 9, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Lovely texture, but I felt they needed more lemon flavor. I had zested an extra half lemon, but it still wasn’t lemony enough for me. The next time, I plan to zest two lemons and use 1/2 tsp lemon extract in place of part of the vanilla. Beautiful, moist muffins, so they definitely have a lot of potential. I’d guess that glazing them, as was intended in the original recipe, would help amp up the lemony goodness. But as a diabetic, I am hesitant to add a glaze. I’m betting that the addition of more zest and some extract might be just the ticket.


  35. Chad on November 28, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Mine just went in the oven, and the batter looked amazing!

    Just a quick note that in step 2 you never mention the poppy seeds. It’s easy to figure out, so it’s not really a big deal at all either.


  36. RD on March 10, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    Mine turned out very ‘scone-like’ … Any idea why?


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