Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Perfect poppy seed muffins with lemon zest and a sugar lemon glaze.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 12 muffins


  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder (make sure your baking powder is no older than 6 months)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 1/4 stick), softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest


  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)

Special equipment:

  • 12-well muffin tin


1 Prepare oven: Adjust the oven rack to the middle-lower part of the oven. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2 Mix the dry ingredients: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, poppy seeds, and salt and set aside.

3 Make the batter: In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together, beating until fluffy (about 2 minutes with an electric mixer).

Add eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated after each one. Beat in the lemon zest.

Alternate adding flour mixture and yogurt: Beat in one third of the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Beat in one third of the yogurt. Beat in a third more of the dry ingredients. Beat in a second third of the yogurt. Beat in the remaining dry ingredients and then the remaining yogurt. Again be careful to beat until just incorporated. Do not over beat.

6 Distribute batter into muffin pan: Use a standard 12-muffin muffin pan. Coat each muffin cup lightly with olive oil or a little melted butter using a pastry brush. Distribute the muffin dough equally among the cups.

7 Bake: Bake at 375°F until muffins are golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Use a tester to make sure the center of the muffins are done. Set muffin pan on wire rack to cool. After 5 minutes, remove muffins from pan.

8 Make lemon glaze: While the muffins are cooling, in a bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice for the glaze. Add more lemon juice if necessary.

While the muffins are still a bit warm, use a pastry brush to brush the glaze over each muffin. The muffins will absorb some of the glaze, so you add more glaze to each muffin if you like.

Best eaten fresh and warm.

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  • Jo

    The muffins came out really dense. Also a bit bland.


  • Triniti

    This recipe tasted great, but came out more like bread than like a muffin. While lemon poppy seed bread is apparently a great thing, I would use less flour (maybe 2 cups instead of 3) for this recipe in order to gain more of a muffin texture. Still, a great recipe!


  • rachel

    used an extra half cup of sugar. still not sweet enough, tasted no lemon at all, even with the addition of 1/4 cup lemon juice. the yogurt gives it an undesireable, close texture.


  • Julienne

    These had a wonderful flavor. I adjusted the amount of flour used and used 2 1/2 cups instead of 3 cups because the batter was already thick. Additionally, I used half the amount of poppy seeds. For the glaze, I used half the amount of sugar and it still was really sweet. Thanks for this recipe!


  • Millicent

    Loved this recipe! The muffins had a nice rise. They look just like the ones you see finely displayed in a bakery. Thank you so much for this recipe! This is the first recipe on your site that I’ve tried. I look forward to trying more!

    Some tips:
    -Dont’ use muffin paper liners – butter the wells as instructed. They will come out and will look so much better.
    -Don’t split the batter between two 12 cup muffin pans. Follow the instructions as stated. Even if it looks like you’ve over-filled the wells, they will come out perfect, nice and big.
    -My muffins were done in 25 minutes, but next time I’ll bake them for 22 minutes.
    -While the glaze is still wet, sprinkle some lemon zest on top. Looks pretty. ;)

    My changes:
    -Instead of 1.5 cup yogurt, I used 1 cup milk with 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1/2 cup 5% greek yogurt thinned with a teaspoon of whole milk.
    -I didn’t have enough all purpose flour in the pantry, so I used 2 cups all purpose flour and 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour. It worked wonders!
    -I had no poppy seeds, so I used chia seeds. It was a perfect substitute.


  • Emily

    Some of our favorite muffins! I use white whole wheat flour but otherwise keep the same. Lovely rise, perfect texture and perfectly sweet. On occasion, I have used sour cream instead of yogurt when I have some to use up. Makes the muffin more tender albeit a bit heavier.


  • Patty

    These muffins are good. I don’t know why but I checked them at 25 min. and they were well done. My baking powder was not under three mo. so they did not rise to potential but enough. I did not use the glaze because I had no powder sugar in the cupboard. I think they would have been much better with the glaze. I did add some almond extract and not sure how this affected the taste.

  • Janine

    Can you leave the yogurt out?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Janine! Emma here, managing editor. The yogurt is pretty essential to making the batter for these muffins, so I don’t think you can leave it out entirely. You could maybe get away with subbing in sour cream or buttermilk, though. We haven’t tested it with either of those, so it would be a bit of a gamble. If you give it a try, let us know how it goes!

  • Yuana

    My husband went nuts for these! I’d been asking for lemon poppy seed muffins at the local spots but no place did them. Your recipes are always thorough and excellent. These are divine. Used a half cup of confectioners sugar and 3 tablespoons lemon juice. It made them shiny and bumped up the lemon flavor just enough.
    This recipe goes into the vault, and it will be made often.
    Thanks for another winner!


  • LM

    What is best way to freeze these for later?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi LM, let them cool entirely to room temperature, wrap them in plastic wrap and then again in foil. Then freeze.

  • Cathie

    I made two batches.. THe gluten free one was great..However the regular flour one was awful. I have taught baking for many years so I should be able to tell you why but I can’t. … I will do it as gluten free again.

  • Gabrielle

    Does Greek yogurt work?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Gabrielle, plain Greek yogurt should work. You may want to thin it a bit with some water so that it is the consistency of regular yogurt.

  • Mia

    I just made these for one of my friend’s birthday! She absolutely loved them! I like how these muffins aren’t too sweet. In addition, they have a perfect fluffy texture. The greek yogurt was a great idea–nice way to incorporate some protein. This recipe is definitely a keeper! Oh yeah, I used two juiced lemons and their zest (one for the muffin and one for the glaze)


  • Kim

    Just made these Poppy seed Lemon muffins and ate one right out of the oven. They are “Amazing”, super moist and just a hint of lemon. Thank you for the recipe!!!


  • Tamsin Harriman

    Made these the other day, subbing in some almond flour for part of the flour and using lemon yogurt, and they were awesome!! I made them “surprise” muffins by adding a piece of marzipan in the middle before baking, and skipped the glaze. Worked really well! I also made part of the dough into a tea cake using a loaf pan, and that came out great as well. I did have the issue of not rising much, but I’m sure that’s because my baking powder is a couple months more than 6 months old. Definitely a keeper!

  • ashley

    I wrote about making these wonderful muffins. They turned out fantastic :)

    Thanks for the recipe!


  • Kari

    After eating these muffins my six year old said, “You know how you make toast all the time? Well, I want you to make these all the time.” Smiles!


  • MJ



  • Sarah

    Those muffins are delicious. But for me, they taste more like cupcakes than muffins. Real muffins for breakfast are less fat and sweet. Nevertheless, those are the greatest lemon and poppy seeds «cupcakes» I’d ever taste. I used lime instead of lemon, and it tasted sooo good.


  • Meggy

    AMAZING! it is so hard to find a good muffin, but these were amazing. I did put about 4 tbsp poppy seeds because i live in Budapest and no one would understand how there could be any less and I made them like biscuits because i don’t have a muffin pan! Thank you from your many fans in Hungary!


  • Katrina

    These are one of my all time fav’s! Yum!


  • Myra



  • Yvette

    Went in search of a good lemon poppy seed recipe after my son asked me to buy him a $3 slice of lemon poppy seed bread at a coffee shop…I thought I could make it for a lot less than that! This recipe is delicious, I love the extra tart flavor the yogurt adds. It was a hit with my kids, definitely will become a regular after-school snack.


  • Kate

    Really superior muffins—so happy to have found this recipe. Many thanks!


  • Jenn

    These are the best muffins I have ever tasted! We made them for dessert tonight… what a treat! Moist and fluffy and easy too.


  • Kaitlin

    I made these muffins for breakfast this morning and they were delicious! I added a little lemon juice because I didn’t think the zest would be enough and I wasn’t going to add the glaze. They came out fluffy and moist. There is nothing like a muffin fresh out of the oven. Yum! Thanks!


  • Candice

    First time commenting, but not the first time I’ve tried your recipes. I’m not one for baking, but our lemon tree had a large yield and I wanted to utilize the bounty. This was fantastic! I, too, made more than 12 muffins (20!) with this recipe. Followed the recipe exactly and found that I had leftover glaze because I did not want the muffins to be too sweet. Thank you!


  • Stephle

    I made 24 of these midnight last night. They were PERFECT! Thanks so much for an absolutely delicious recipe!


  • Em

    Hi Elise,

    Thank you for a wonderful recipe. Just finish making them now and they are awesome. I did reduce an amount of sugar because I dont like it too sweet.


  • Elizabeth

    I think these should be renamed as “Awesome Muffins”. Made them yesterday and had to resist the urge to devour them all at once. My husband gave into his desire and polished off three as soon as they were warm enough to handle. Normally, I’m not a big fan of icing on muffins, but this topping is the perfect combo -sweet with just the right amont of tart from the lemon and zest. This recipe is definitely in my “go-to-can’t-wait-to-make-again” file!


  • Emily

    These muffins are fantastic. Thank you for the recipe!


  • laura

    I loved these muffins. I took them to work for a morning meeting and they were all gone in no time at all.


  • Diana

    This is the second time I make these muffins. First time was a disaster…something to do with too much butter or flower, don’t know exactly… But today they are awesome! I’ve omitted the glaze and added some lemon juice to the batter. A total hit! I will repeat it.

  • Linda In Washington State

    Hi Elise, I got tired of baking powder going bad. So here is what I do now. I store the baking soda, cream of tartar, and cornstarch separately. Best of all there are no extra preservatives in my homemade version.

    Home Made Baking Powder

    1 tsp baking powder combine and use immediately in any recipe. Do not store!!

    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
    1/4 teaspoon cornstarch

    Great! This is an especially useful tip in humid environments where baking powder seems to go flat much faster. ~Elise

  • Emma

    So, I made these muffins, following the recipe exactly and adding every ingredient, but when I took them out of the oven, they had risen and looked like perfect muffins, but then the middle of them completely sunk. Has this happened to anyone else?

    If the middle sunk in, after they cooled, it’s probably because the baking powder you used was too old and had lost its leavening power. When this happens, you get leavening from the eggs, but like a soufflé, the puff will collapse a bit when it cools. ~Elise

  • Pat

    I’m sure it drives you nuts when people transform your recipes but I made some substitutions to accommodate a non-dairy diet:
    * Coconut Yogurt instead of regular Yogurt
    * Coconut Oil instead butter

    I also substituted:
    * Whole Wheat Pastry Flour for All Purpose
    * Chia seeds for Poppy Seeds.

    The muffins were really good.


    Actually I love reading about the substitutions that people are making. The whole point of posting these recipes is to inspire people to cook. I consider them guidelines, or even starting points for inspiration. So, good work! I’m delighted that your adjustments in this recipe worked for you. ~Elise

  • Cheryl Ross

    Just made these, serving w/strawberries tonight for dessert, kinda like a strawberry shortcake.
    Saw a comment about not lemony enough so I added a packet of real lemon. Don’t know if you ever tried it but it is just crystalized lemon. Nothing added, no sugar or anything else. Love to add to drinks or veggies. It is also in lime, orange & grapefruit.

  • Jim Price

    Elise, could one substitute equal volume of ghee for butter?

    No idea. If you make it with ghee, please let us know how it turns out for you. ~Elise

  • Reta

    I’m glad you remind me to bake this yummy recipe. Here in Budapest, people love poppy seed pastry. Sharing this American muffin with Hungarians using the same ingredient is always fun, although they prefer smaller size and not too sweet muffin. I really enjoy and learn a lot about baking and cooking by reading and trying your recipes. Thank you for sharing!

  • Rebecca

    I love poppy seed muffins, but I prefer almond poppy seed over lemon. I substituted 1/2 tsp Almond extract for the lemon zest and they are AMAZING!
    Thank you!

  • Dunja

    So yeah, YUM! I browsed the site this morning and saw these and suddenly got a hankering for yummy muffins, so being a woman of action I went to work. Only I failed to realize that I had no fresh lemon and my poppy seed were too old. So what’s a gal to do? I used lemon extract and substituted the poppy seed for lavender buds. Everything else stayed the same. They rose beautifully in the oven and smelled divine. I drizzled them with the lemon glaze while still hot, then I popped one out of the tin and bit in it. Yeah, I am loving the lavender for sure, no offense to the poppy seed, I will use them next time, but the lavender and the lemon, yeah, really yummy! The crumb was denser but tasty, I loved that these were not overly sweet, perfect with a steaming cup of coffee on a Saturday morning.

  • Kim

    I guess I don’t know what I did wrong but these did not turn out. The heat is too high or something! All the bottoms are dark!!! The glaze is awesome, but the muffin itself is bland. Definitely needs more lemon or something. Maybe the lemon yogurt would add something.

    This recipe made more than just 12. I got about 16, but could have made more.

  • Emily

    Just made these this morning with fresh strawberries folded in. I have a flour mill and ground wheat berries to a pastry flour. They were delicious. I did add some lemon zest to the glaze also because I wanted a little stronger lemon flavor. Thanks for a great recipe!

  • angela

    I used 3 cups of sifted flour according to the lemon poppy seed recipe. The batter was so thick I made biscuits from the dough. I used Greek yogurt and was curious if this is why the dough was biscuit like. Next time I’ll use 2 cups of flour with the Greek yogurt and see if it makes a difference. The lemon poppy seed biscuits were delicious and my family loved them!

    Greek yogurt is extra thick, that may have something to do with the thickness of your dough/batter. ~Elise


  • Casey

    Any word on what, if anything, we’d need to change to make this into a bread?

    Loaf pan, longer baking time? Your guess is as good as mine. ~Elise

  • Cyndee

    Tasty and moist muffins with a great glaze. I would, however, like if the cake part was a bit more lemony. Perhaps I’ll add more lemon zest to it in the future or add some juice with the yogurt. I agree with the one poster that they made more than 12 regular sized muffins.

  • alicia

    I’ve been baking so much lately using your recipes that I actually didn’t have 3 cups of flour to make these muffins so I ended up cutting the recipe in half and only made 6 muffins. Totally worth it! My boyfriend and I split one and it was yummy! Only thing I did differently was that I used twice the amount of lemon zest and omitted the glaze. Thank you!

  • Diane

    I made half a batch this morning and they were delicious. The glaze was a little sweet for my taste, so I plan to use less next time.

  • April

    These are delicious! Really just perfect and moist. I didn’t have any unflavored yogurt, so I substituted buttermilk. Made 16 for me.

  • Andrea

    Could this recipe be used to make Lemon Poppy Seed Bread? How would you recommend changing the method?

  • Laura

    Luckily I had everything I needed for this recipe already. I used honey and agave instead of sugar and lowered the temp to 350 degrees, baking for only 18 minutes. I also halved the recipe but it still made 8 large muffins.. No complaints though, they are so delicious!

  • savi

    Why did the muffins sink in the middle instead of rise?

    Could be your baking powder is too old. It loses its efficacy quickly, within 6 months of purchase because it is a dry acid and a dry base together, which over time react with each other to cancel out the baking leavening power. ~Elise

  • Sharon

    These muffins are also great with frozen cranberries thrown in. I also added a couple of tbsp. of lemon juice into the batter as I like a real lemony flavour.

    Thanks for the great recipe!

  • Pam

    Perfect muffin recipe. They came out moist and tender and the kids loved them. I substituted almond extract for the lemon zest and omitted the glaze for Almond Poppy Seed Muffins.

  • miette

    I just made these -ostensibly- for dessert, having lazily stumbled across the recipe, but the aroma from the oven was far too overpowering so we had them for dinner instead, then had another cooling down over ice cream for dessert. Now posting here only as a probably futile attempt to avoid a third– a million lemon yellowed thanks.

    — Mtte.

  • hoppab

    I liked these muffins except they didn’t taste very lemony. I really wanted the tangy lemon flavor. Any suggestions on how to get that?

    Add more lemon zest to the batter. ~Elise

  • Krissie

    These muffins are amazing…I’d go so far as to say they’re the best I’ve ever tried! I had a food and film night with one of my friends – curries, curries and more curries! – and we decided to make these for breakfast the next morning…divine! Thanks for the recipe, will definitely make again!

  • Jenny

    My batter turned out with enough to make 16 muffins instead of 12. Maybe we have different sized muffin tins?

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi Savannah – they shouldn’t be dry. If they were, they probably needed to be taken out of the oven a little earlier.

  • Savannah

    Didn’t find this recipe all that great. The muffins turned out pretty dry. I would suggest using more yogurt or an extra egg.

  • McAuliflower

    Well… my craving took hold.
    One batch of blueberry muffins and one batch of persimmon muffins later, I’m happy to report that a direct substitution of canola oil works beautifully!


  • Jay

    When I bake I use splenda as a sugar substitute.If a recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar I replace 3/4 of the cup of sugar with “splenda” . That leaves enough sugar in the batter to allow the carmelization that gives baked goods their golden colour and it reduces the calorie content and does not affect the texture or taste of the muffins.

  • McAuliflower

    Hi Elise,

    I’m finding my pantry without butter, and yet you’ve given me quite the hankering for muffins!

    Do you have experience substituting oil for butter in this recipe?


  • Elise Bauer

    Hi Alamobecky,
    The best time to eat them is right after they’ve been baked, which around here is either in the morning or in the early afternoon. They’re not completely empty calories, no less so than pancakes with maple syrup. Eggs, grains, yogurt – these things are good. It’s the sugar you need to watch out for, but sugar is what you get when you put jam on an English muffin. So breakfast food it still is for me.

  • alamobecky

    Just curious — when do y’all actually eat muffins? For breakfast? (A muffin for breakfast just doesn’t sound right to me since they’re basically empty calories.) For a “teatime” snack? I love the idea of muffins, their ease to make and endless variety, but how to fit them into a daily menu throws me a bit.