Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

5 from 1 vote

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These lemon poppy seed muffins have a bright, citrusy flavor and a sugary, sweet lemon glaze. Serve them for a delightful breakfast, brunch, or afternoon treat.  

Why you’ll love this recipe: 

Spring and Easter are right around the corner. And these lemon poppy seed muffins are just what you need to welcome the warm weather and sunny days.

They’re bursting with fresh lemony flavor and have a tiny bit of crunch from the poppy seeds. 

  • Quick & super easy: Whipped up in under an hour, with just 15 minutes of prep time
  • Flavor: Infused with lemon flavor from both lemon juice and zest
  • Texture: Tender and moist crumbs
  • Look: Tall bakery-style muffins with perfectly plump muffin tops

Plus, a drizzle of lemon glaze promises a stunning presentation and an extra sweet bite! After you make these, you’ll never be tempted to buy a lemon poppy seed muffin from a bakery ever again!  

A lemon poppy seed muffin split in half, exposing the soft center.

Key Ingredient Notes:

For the muffins

  • All-purpose flour – I’ve provided both the cup and weight measurements for the flour. While I prefer to weigh the flour with a kitchen scale, you can also use the spoon and level method if you don’t have a scale. 
  • Poppy seeds – Lemon and poppy seeds are commonly paired, because the nutty taste of poppy seeds perfectly complements the bright, citrusy flavor of lemons. You’ll also notice they add a subtle crunch!   
  • Baking powder is responsible for leavening the lemon poppy seed muffins and helping to produce a domed top. Make sure your baking powder is fresh! Old and expired baking powder won’t be effective.  
  • Table salt – Skip the coarse kosher salt, and grab your salt shaker for this recipe. Table salt is a fine-grain salt that will dissolve quickly and evenly into the muffin batter. 
  • Unsalted butter (at room temperature) adds moisture to the batter and creates a tender crumb. It’s okay to use salted butter if that’s all you have on hand. Just omit the added salt in the recipe. You can soften butter in 30 seconds using my microwave method! 
  • Granulated sugar is added for sweetness and contributes to the soft and fluffy texture.
  • Large eggs provide structure and help the muffins rise. 
  • Lemon juice and zest – Lemon juice contributes a tart and tangy flavor, while zest enhances the intensity of the lemon taste! Zest your lemon first, then cut it in half and squeeze out the juice.     
  • Milk ensures the muffins don’t become dry and crumbly. Whole milk will produce a richer and more tender muffin, but 2% would also work. 
Ingredients to make homemade lemon poppy seed muffins.

For the lemon glaze

This is a variation of my easy powdered sugar icing.

  • Powdered sugar – Also referred to as confectioners sugar or icing sugar. Powdered sugar dissolves quickly when it’s mixed with a liquid, resulting in a smooth glaze.  
  • Fresh lemon juice – For more lemon flavor! 

How to make this lemon poppy seed muffin recipe

Before you get started, preheat your oven to 400°F, and prepare a 12-cup muffin pan. Grease the pan with nonstick cooking spray, or line each cup with paper liners. 

1. Prepare the muffin batter

  • Whisk the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, and salt together in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Then, set it aside. 
Dry ingredients being mixed for lemon poppy seed muffins.
  • Beat the butter and sugar on medium to high speed in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. 
  • Add the eggs, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and zest to the butter mixture. Beat for another 2 minutes, or until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. 
Butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and eggs being mixed in with a paddle attachment.
  • Add half of the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. 
  • Stir in the milk, then add the rest of the flour mixture. Don’t overmix! 
Four images showing the process of making lemon poppy seed muffin batter with a stand mixer.

2. Bake the lemon poppy seed muffins

  • Pour the batter into your prepared muffin tin, evenly dividing it between each cup.
  • Bake the muffins for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.  
  • Let the lemon poppy seed muffins fully cool before removing them from the pan.  
Unbaked lemon poppy seed muffins on the left and the baked muffins on the right.

3. Make the lemon glaze

  • Combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small mixing bowl. Then, mix until smooth. 
  • Drizzle glaze over each lemon poppy seed muffin, then enjoy! 

Adjust the consistency

If your glaze is too thick, add an extra drop of lemon juice. On the other hand, if it’s too thin, add a little more powdered sugar.  

Baked lemon poppy seed muffins in a muffin tin.

Tips for Success:

  • When zesting the lemon, avoid the white pith. Use a microplane to grate only the bright yellow part of the rind. The white portion has a bitter taste.   
  • Use fresh lemons. For the best flavor, use firm lemons with bright yellow rinds and no brown spots.  
  • When it comes to poppy seeds, a little bit goes a long way. They can have a strong flavor, so 2 tablespoons are really all you need! 
  • Don’t overmix the batter. Mix until the batter is just combined and no white streaks of flour remain. Overmixing can result in dense and chewy muffins that don’t rise properly.  
  • Fill the muffin cups all the way to the top. The muffin cups will be pretty full, and that’s totally okay! This is how we achieve the puffy, bakery-like topping.

Make-Ahead Tips:

  • The lemon glaze can be prepared in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Before glazing your muffins, allow the lemon glaze to come to room temperature, and whisk it until smooth.
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice and freshly grated lemon zest will last in the refrigerator for up to 3 days if stored in an airtight container.    
A lemon poppy seed muffin topped with lemon glaze in a paper liner.

Storing Tips:

  • Let the muffins fully cool before storing them in a plastic baggie or airtight container. Warm muffins will become soggy if they’re placed in a storage container before they’ve cooled down. 
  • Store lemon poppy seed muffins on the counter at room temperature for 2-3 days.
  • To freeze, wrap each muffin tightly with plastic wrap. Then, place them in a plastic freezer bag. The muffins will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months.   


Do you have to soak poppy seeds before baking?

While soaking poppy seeds in warm water or milk might soften them and make them easier to digest, it’s unnecessary. Plus, the subtle crunch from unsoaked seeds provides a satisfying contrast in texture!   

What type of lemons should I use?

Whatever lemon variety your grocery store has on hand is okay, as long as it’s fresh, with no soft or brown spots. Keep in mind that Meyer lemons have a much stronger and sweeter taste than other common varieties.  

Are poppy seeds safe to eat?

Poppy seeds are perfectly safe to eat in small quantities! Consuming poppy seeds in large quantities might be an issue, but the small amount found in a lemon poppy seed muffin recipe is usually nothing to worry about.  

A lemon poppy seed muffin topped with lemon glaze in a paper liner.
5 from 1 vote

Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Make these easy lemon poppy seed muffins in 45 minutes with pantry staples! They’re tender, tangy, and drizzled with a sweet lemon glaze.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 18 minutes
Cooling Time: 12 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 12 muffins


For muffins:

  • 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • ½ cup (115 g) unsalted butter at room temperature Note 1
  • ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Zest of one lemon
  • ½ cup (120 ml) milk at room temperature Note 2

For lemon glaze:

  • ½ cup (60 g) powdered sugar
  • 3 teaspoons (15 g) fresh lemon juice


  • 1 Muffin pan


To make the muffins:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Grease muffin pan, or line with paper liners.
  • Whisk together flour, poppy seeds, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
    2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons poppy seeds, 2 teaspoons baking powder, ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • In a large mixing bowl with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
    ½ cup unsalted butter, ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • Add the eggs, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and zest. Beat for another 2 minutes, or until nice and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula halfway.
    2 large eggs, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, Zest of one lemon
  • Add half of the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  • Then stir in the milk, followed by the remaining flour mixture. Don’t overmix.
    ½ cup milk
  • Divide the batter into 12 muffin cups. The muffin cups will be pretty full, and that’s totally ok!
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool the muffins completely in the muffin pan before taking them out.

To make the glaze:

  • In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth.
    ½ cup powdered sugar, 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Drizzle lemon glaze over the muffins and enjoy!

Tips & Notes

Note 1: If salted butter is all you have, feel free to use it. Just be sure to omit the extra salt included. 
Note 2: Whole milk will provide the best taste and texture, but you can use any milk you have on hand. Skim, almond, or soy milk, all works fine!
Storing Tips: 
– Wait until the lemon poppy seed muffins are completely cool before you store them. 
– Store the muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days. 
– Freeze leftover lemon poppy seed muffins for up to 3 months! To do so, wrap each muffin tightly in plastic wrap. Then, transfer them to a sealable bag, and store them in the freezer. 


Servings: 1 serving
Calories: 238kcal
Carbohydrates: 35g
Protein: 4g
Fat: 10g
Sugar: 18g
Sodium: 136mg
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American

Hi, I’m Shinee!

Welcome! I’m so happy you’re here! I believe anyone can cook restaurant-quality food at home! And my goal is to help you to become a confident cook with my easy-to-follow recipes with lots of tips and step-by-step photos.

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  1. HI Shinee – did you actually bake the muffins in the papers shown or transfer them for picture taking? If used for baking do they help with the rise?
    I haven’t made muffins in years, your recipe sounds like a good place to start making them again.

    1. Hi, there. Yes, I baked the muffins in those paper liners. No, liners have nothing to do with the rise. 😉