Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins

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Generally I associate citrus fruits with the winter months, but when it comes to lemons, I embrace them during the Spring and Summer months as well.  They pair so well with the seasonal fruits like rhubarb, berries, and melon. They help make a refreshing cold beverage.  And don't forget about that lemon curd.  But since it is still early Spring and the rhubarb in my garden is not quite ready and the berries and melon in the market are not at their peaks, I hoard most of them for baked goods recipes.

Prior to last week, I had a go-to lemon-poppy seed muffin recipe that I loved.   When I came across this one, however, I knew it was time for a change.  It is similar to the recipe that I had used before, but it uses yogurt in place of sour cream.  Instead of adding the lemon juice to the batter, the lemon juice is reserved to make a syrup to brush on the muffins while they are still warm from the oven.  This keeps the already perfect crumb moist and tender.  I added a little vanilla because I rarely bake something sweet without it.  Like the corn bread, I let the batter rest a few minutes before filling the muffin tins.  This allows for a perfect bakery-style muffin crown.  And if that wasn't enough, I drizzle the top with a lemon sugar glaze making it a perfect balance of sweet and tang.  I now...introduce to you...the ultimate lemon-poppy seed muffin!

Printable Recipe

Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins
makes 12

For the Muffins
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
3 Tablespoons poppy seeds
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups plain low-fat yogurt
2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8 Tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the Glaze (optional)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2-3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the Muffins
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat the oven to 375ยบ F.  Butter and flour a 12-cup muffin tin; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, 1 cup of the sugar, poppy seeds,  baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla extract until smooth.  Using a rubber spatula, fold the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture just until combined.  Fold in the melted butter; allow the batter to rest for 5 minutes. (Batter can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)

Using a greased 1/3-cup measuring cup or ice cream scoop, divide the batter among the cups.  Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until slightly thickened and syrupy, about 3 minutes.  Let the muffins cool  in the pan for 5 minutes, then gently flip them out onto a wire rack.  Brush with warm syrup and let cool for 10 minutes.  If using the glaze, allow to cool completely.

For the Glaze
In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice until smooth.  Spoon some of the glaze over each muffin.  Allow the glaze to set before serving.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from Cook's Country, April/May 2012


  1. Apart from the citrus flavor which is really fascinating...I know the citrus aroma will liven up my kitchen. A must try!

  2. I made these tonight and I am soooooooooo happy I did!! Lots of lemon zest (ok, so maybe I added the zest of three lemons) and very moist!! Thank you for this wonderful receipe!

  3. I just made the muffins and thought they were good. But I am thinking about next time making them smaller-maybe 18-24 muffins and adding some lemon flavor into the muffin besides lemon zest. Thank you!

  4. AnonymousJune 22, 2012

    I made these today without the glaze. Delicious!! I had tried a recipe that uses sour cream and wasn't really happy with it. yogurt is much better, I think. Thanks for sharing a great recipe!

  5. AnonymousJuly 27, 2012

    I love lemon, so i added a whole zested lemon, added 1 1/2tsp lemon extract, and lemon yogurt instead of plain ........annnnd I tried making it with whole wheat flour ..........
    It was horrible .... I'm assuming it may have been the wheat flour haha
    thank you for sharing the recipie I'll try it again without the wheat flour
    they looked awesome! But tasted horrible lol

  6. I was confused about the grazes and icings so I put 1\4 cup lemon juice in my batter as well as lemon extract and it was great. I used two cups of soft white wheat and one cup of unbleached bread flour. I used Greek yogurt instead of regular. I needed to add a little milk to my batter and I believe it was because of the whole wheat. This was my first time ever making lemon poppy seed muffins and I probably would not have made them if it hadn't been a request of my 9 & 11 year old guest. I will be making these again sometime for sure!


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