Breakfast Citrus Muffins

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

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My Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins are a bakery style favorite in our house.  They bake up nice and tall with a big round dome that we slather them with a sweet and tangy glaze.  

Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

I dare you to name a more beloved ‘oldie’ than Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins.  But wow, it’s been ages since I’ve made muffins,  I know because it took me forever to even locate my muffin tin.  Too many new fangled recipes getting in the way, I guess.  When I feel like I’m straying a bit too far into ‘creative’ territory, I like to reel it back in with a classic.  Poppy seed muffins are universally loved, that’s why they’re the kind of thing you’d get at a great B&B, and why it’s the perfect recipe to have on hand when hungry guests (or family) are roaming around your kitchen.

fresh baked lemon poppy seed muffin

These have a nice crunch to the ‘muffin top’, and a fluffy interior.  Not too sweet, either.  And they’re made with healthy yogurt and naturally lowfat buttermilk.  I peeled the zest off of a lemon with my vegetable peeler and processed it with sugar to make a killer lemon sugar.  I learned that from Ina Garten.  You get way more zest into the batter that way, and it really does infuse the muffins with gorgeous lemoniness.  The flavor we all associate with lemon resides mostly in the peel, which contains the essential oil, so when you bake without it, you’re missing out.

lemon poppy seed muffins with a tart lemon glaze

It took me a few tries to find a recipe I liked, and I ended up using my own Almond Poppy Seed Muffins as a base.

glazing lemon poppy seed muffins

Tips for making perfect muffins ~

A few things to remember when making any muffins…

  • muffins are small little cakes, and tiny variations in your process can make a big difference to the final result.   If your oven is hotter than 375F they can get dry and over-baked.  I like to keep an oven thermometer inside to check.  And they can go from perfect to over-done in just minutes, so keep a close eye on them. 
  • I also like to use paper liners, I think they help keep the muffin a little moister. 
  • And be sure to measure your ingredients carefully, especially when it comes to the flour.  I fluff the flour up first to loosen it, then lightly scoop, and level off the top.  You will get a more accurate amount that way.  Too much flour can mean tough muffins.

easy lemon poppy seed muffins topped with a tart lemon glaze

lemony poppy seed muffins

Go ahead, pour that second cup of coffee, I’ve got you covered.

classic lemony poppy seed muffins

Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
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3.82 from 11 votes

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

My Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins are a bakery style favorite in our house. They bake up nice and tall with a round top that we slather them with a tangy glaze.
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Yield 12 -14 muffins


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • the zest of 1 lemon use a vegetable peeler to peel off the zest in strips, making sure not to get the bitter white part, just the yellow
  • 3 cups all purpose flour fluff before you measure
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 stick 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted, and slightly cooled
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds

lemon glaze

  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • lemon juice about the juice of 1 lemon


  • Set oven to 375F
  • Put the sugar and zest in the bowl of a small food processor. Turn the machine on and process until the lemon zest has been thoroughly incorporated into the sugar. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides. Let it go long enough so the zest is really finely ground. The sugar will smell incredibly like fresh lemons!
  • Whisk the sugar, flour, baking powder, soda, and salt together in a bowl and set aside.
  • In another large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and cooled butter together with the yogurt, buttermilk, lemon juice and vanilla. Stir in the poppy seeds.
  • Blend the dry ingredients into the wet, mixing just until everything is combined, but don't over beat the batter or your muffins will be tough.
  • Spoon the batter into a muffin cups fitted with paper liners. You will have a bit of batter leftover after you fill 12 standard muffin cups.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes until the muffins are risen and golden, but watch carefully and don't over bake. You can check with a toothpick if you like.
  • Cool the muffins on a rack before glazing.
  • Make the glaze by stirring enough lemon juice into the sugar to make a spreadable consistency. You can spread the glaze on the muffins, or dunk them in headfirst.


Got a craving for poppy seeds?

Grapefruit Poppy Seed Cake

White Grapefruit and Poppy Seed Cake

Almond Poppy Seed French Toast

almond poppy seed French toast

Amaretto Poppy Seed Ice Cream

Amaretto Poppy Seed Ice Cream

Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes

lwmon poppy seed pancakes

Banana Poppy Seed Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting

The BEST banana cake I've ever tasted!

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    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    April 26, 2020 at 11:54 am

    Hi! This combination is one of my absolute favorite. Do you think that I could substitute the flour for oat flour? And if so, what would be the correct ratio?

    • Reply
      April 26, 2020 at 12:05 pm

      You might try 1 cup of oat flour, Carla, and the rest wheat flour.

  • Reply
    Frederikke Voetmann
    June 10, 2016 at 8:27 am

    These look so delicious! Is it possible to freeze the baked muffins down for a couple of days before using them? 🙂

    • Reply
      June 10, 2016 at 8:56 am

      I usually have success freezing baked goods, Frederikke, just be sure to wrap them well.

  • Reply
    June 5, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    These were absolutely delicious! I just made a batch two days ago and they are gone! My husband and daughter are asking for more! They may have to wait until I’m finished cooking my way through the rest of the breakfast recipes! 🙂

    • Reply
      June 5, 2015 at 5:34 pm

      Haha, thanks for being so supportive Kerri – glad the fam loved these 🙂

  • Reply
    March 28, 2015 at 3:54 am

    I am so disappointed. The recipe didn’t work out at all. The muffins didn’t rise. It is a hot mess 🙁

    • Reply
      March 28, 2015 at 7:33 am

      Hi Claudia, I’m really sorry to hear that. All I can think of, when muffins don’t rise, is that perhaps your baking powder is out of date? Sometimes it can be that the oven isn’t hot when you put the muffins in. These aren’t super high rise muffins, but they definitely should rise! I hope you give them another try.

  • Reply
    March 27, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    I’d love to have those muffins warm from the oven for my breakfast tomorrow morning! Lemon poppyseed anything is comfort food for me. Love that icing! 🙂

    • Reply
      March 27, 2015 at 7:25 pm

      I’m experimenting with making the batter the night before and baking it up in the morning, Betty!

    • Reply
      March 27, 2015 at 7:38 pm

      Icing, the drippier the better, makes everything better, doesn’t it?

  • Reply
    Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits
    March 27, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    Lemon poppy seed muffins are one of my favorite things for breakfast! Wish I had one waiting for me right now. Love the drippy icing shots!

    • Reply
      March 27, 2015 at 1:06 pm

      Thanks Lisa! It was hard to stop shooting the drips!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    March 25, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    Sue these are so gorgeous. That golden crust, the amazing drippy icing. I am drooling and just finished eating! So sorry to be late in commenting – work has been crazy. Beautiful job and fantastic photos!

  • Reply
    March 25, 2015 at 6:02 am

    that’s a great ina garten tip! i always love your pictures–that drip-in-action is terrific!

  • Reply
    Joanne Bruno
    March 25, 2015 at 4:24 am

    Lemon poppy seeds have always been my muffin favorites!! My ultimate is the version from Costco and I haven’t yet found a recipe to replicate this. Must add this to the MUST TRY list!

  • Reply
    Kitchen Belleicious
    March 24, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    love this muffin version of a classic bread. They look so beyond moist and delicious. I love the icing and I am always looking for poppy seed bread recipes. I can never get enough:)

  • Reply
    Pattie @ Olla-Podrida
    March 24, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    I am going to have to make these. You are killing me here. Those photos make me want to like the screen.

  • Reply
    March 24, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    I so agree with you – lemon poppy seed muffins are such a delicious classic! These look absolutely fantastic! I’m craving citrus like mad right now too – and so pretty for spring!

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s+Recipes
    March 24, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    We are huge fans of poppy seeds. These muffins look scrumptious, Sue.

  • Reply
    March 24, 2015 at 9:41 am

    Lovely cupcakes! They made my mouth water! Vanilla Bean Frosting sounds perfect!

  • Reply
    Rebecca @ Bring Back Delicious
    March 24, 2015 at 9:25 am

    I used to work at a pastry shop that made a lemon poppy seed pound cake. I have to admit, I might have gone to town on the scraps…

    Costco makes some amazing Lemon Poppy Seed breakfast muffins too. The problem is, one day I looked up how many calories they are. Now I can’t forget 🙁

    • Reply
      March 24, 2015 at 9:59 am

      I used to get sucked into those huge flats of Costco muffins, that was about 20 pounds ago 😉

  • Reply
    Jen @ Baked by an Introvert
    March 24, 2015 at 8:29 am

    Gorgeous muffins! And that drippy glaze has me swooning!

    • Reply
      March 24, 2015 at 9:16 am

      Thanks Jen!

  • Reply
    March 24, 2015 at 7:27 am

    Lemon Poppy seed Muffins are my all-time favorite muffin also! I love all of the other ways you’ve used poppy seeds too. Lemon just smells like spring to me!

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    March 23, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    What divine muffins, I love that glaze!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    March 23, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    Lemon Poppy Seed is probably my favour muffin and these are beautiful! Love the glaze and the buttermilk/yogurt additions!

  • Reply
    March 23, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    These look GREAT!!! and my birthday’s coming soon…let’s see….could it be citrus pancakes to start my day and cupcakes for later??? Thanks- Sue!! esp after matcha ice cream, guacamole deviled eggs, and chia seeds recently!!

  • Reply
    March 23, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    I’ve been going through a classic revival, myself. Something about an age-old delicious recipe really hits the spot, and I’m particularly in love with lemon poppy seed muffins! Ohhh what I’d give for a fresh poppy seed muff that’s dripping with glaze!

  • Reply
    March 23, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    What gorgeous photos you got! You made those muffins so edible! Love the recipe and everything about them.

  • Reply
    March 23, 2015 at 11:45 am

    I don’t mean to imply my mom was old fashioned, but heck yeah could she rock the lemon poppy seed. GREG

  • Reply
    March 23, 2015 at 11:26 am

    I hear you! WHen I get too much into the sous-vide thing, the chia seed, the matcha powder reduction, I know it’s time to call an old fashioned brownie into the kitchen… 😉

    I love the photo with the icing dripping, literally made me want to lick the screen….

  • Reply
    March 23, 2015 at 11:11 am

    One can never go wrong with lemon, these muffins look heavenly. What kind of yogurt did you use? Also, could I substutite sour cream? Many thanks for all the baking tips.

    • Reply
      March 23, 2015 at 11:39 am

      I like Fage, it’s so nice and thick.

      • Reply
        March 23, 2015 at 11:39 am

        Oh, and sure, you could sub in sour cream, I usually use them interchangeably.

  • Reply
    March 23, 2015 at 11:08 am

    My favorite! I sometimes buy one when I’m shopping at Sprouts. I think I’ll try these for our Easter potluck brunch. The grapefruit cake looks amazing too. Thank you!

    • Reply
      March 23, 2015 at 11:38 am

      You know I’ve never been to Sprouts, I hear it’s great. Thanks for stopping by Susan!

  • Reply
    March 23, 2015 at 10:00 am

    Dear Sue, lemon and poppy seeds are a winning combo…such an elegant and fragrant muffin. xo, Catherine

  • Reply
    March 23, 2015 at 9:38 am

    One of my all time faves..
    But it’s about the icing dripping off the screen onto my keyboard;)
    Ohyum.I am craving muffins now..another friend/blooger made some too..