My favorite lemon poppy seed recipes ~ from muffins to layer cakes, salad dressings, pancakes, and more. We can’t resist this classic combination!
Whoever invented the lemon poppy seed combo deserves a culinary medal.
Bright, citrusy lemons and crunchy poppy seeds go so well together – why stop at just the classic muffins? There are so many fun ways to combine these two flavors, and winter is the perfect time to experiment with seasonal citrus.
poppy seed FAQs
- How long do poppy seeds last?
Poppy seeds are best when fresh, so use with a year. If you use a lot of them, store them in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Are poppy seeds good for you?
Yes, like most seeds, they’re a source of fiber, magnesium, calcium, and healthy fats.
- Do you need to soak poppy seeds?
Some cooks soak poppy seeds to soften their outer shells and theoretically allow their flavor to infuse better into foods. It’s not necessary, though, and you can use poppy seeds right from the jar.
- Do poppy seeds contain opium?
Poppy seeds do not naturally contain any opium, but can sometimes pick it up during harvest, etc. Commercial poppy seeds are washed to remove any stray opium. According to Mountain Rose Herbs: “Poppy seeds contain only trace amounts of opium, not enough to get a high, but enough to influence a drug test. Experienced testers can tell the difference between use of heroin and consumption of poppy seeds by the presence of thebaine, a chemical only found when the person tested has been eating the seeds.“
- Can drinking poppy seed tea help you sleep?
Commercial (washed) poppy seeds don’t contain any opium compounds, so they won’t make you sleepy. It might be naturally soothing to drink warm tea before bed, though!
I love using poppy seeds in unexpected places, like in the shortbread crust of my lemon tart. They not only look pretty, they give a nice crunch to the crust. My delicious Blueberry Poppy Seed Squares also use poppy seeds in a buttery shortbread crust, as well as in the filling.
I use poppy seeds in all kind of salads and dressings. This classic can be changed up using navel oranges, tangerines, or grapefruit. Wondering how to use your lemon poppy seed dressing? I love it on everything from chicken salad, to fish, to traditional leafy green salads. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Chicken Salad with Poppy Seed Mayonnaise
- Tossed Salad Niçoise
- Poached Halibut Salad
- Spring Salad with Eggs and Creamy Tarragon Dressing
A plain lemon layer cake becomes irresistible when you add poppy seeds. The speckled frosting is stunning, and would also be delicious paired with an almond flavored cake. Come to think of it, almond and poppy seed is a combination I love just as much as lemon and poppy seed!
- Almond Poppy Seed Muffins
- Almond Poppy Seed Butter Cookies
- Almond Lovers Amaretto Poppy Seed Cake
- Almond Poppy Seed French Toast
A perennial favorite on the blog, these pancakes brighten up a winter morning like nothing else. Remember that you can swap out other citrus fruits with great results, like my tangerine poppy seed pancakes.
I could never resist those ginormous grocery store lemon poppy seed muffins, until I made them for myself and they were so much better! I think it has something to do with the glaze 😉
Zucchini brings moisture and a lovely texture to the lemon poppy seed party. We made this zucchini bread on repeat all summer long, and haven’t stopped since. This lighter, brighter version is a winner!