Filed Under: Breakfast | Dessert | Muffin | Spring | Summer

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

By Tessa Arias
October 7th, 2021
4.78 from 49 votes
4.78 from 49 votes

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins are tangy, slightly crisp on the outside and ultra moist inside. Topped with a simple sweet lemony glaze. Quick, easy, and delish!

Yield: 12 muffins

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Fresh and of course, lemony. Texture: The interior is ultra tender and moist with those delightful little bites of poppy seeds. Ease: Super easy. Pros: Quick, simple, and delish. Cons: None!! Would I make this again? Yes.

In high school, muffins were the little treat to break up the monotony. There would be a muffin cart in the main hallway once a week. Students could buy muffins from the special needs classrooms to help raise money for their programs.

I’m pretty sure the muffins were from Costco. They weren’t wonderful, but it was nice to have a little sweet indulgence to look forward to. Muffins will probably always have a place in my heart. Not to mention they’re truly a multi purpose treat.

3 glazed lemon poppyseed muffins on a marble counter

You can get away with eating one for breakfast, as a snack, or even for dessert.

Unfortunately, most muffins are bland. And it’s my experience that the muffins that often look the prettiest with the tallest muffin tops are often super cakey and dry.

I typically prefer a nice moist muffin with a bit of a springy texture. I don’t want pound cake. Or cake at all. Which I find is what most packaged muffins feel like. I want MOIST muffins… everyone’s favorite word 😉

glazed lemon poppyseed muffin on a plate with the wrapper being removed

So if you feel the same, or are just curious about the science of muffin baking, check out the pink box below for my tips.

How to Make Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Don’t overmix your muffin batter!!

Be very very careful not to overmix the batter once you combine the wet + dry ingredients. This will create rubbery muffins. Gently stir until *just* combined. If there’s a few small streaks of flour remaining, that’s perfectly fine.


The BEST thing you can do to make your muffins more tender and even a little taller is to cover and chill your batter in the fridge overnight before baking. It’s very similar to chilling cookie dough. Think of it like marinating.

If you don’t believe me just look at the comparison below. And what the image doesn’t quite capture is just how much more TENDER the chilled batter muffins turned out.

comparison of lemon muffins chilled vs batter not chilled

By chilling the batter, the starch in the flour is able to absorb more moisture, resulting in a more tender muffin. It also thickens the batter without making it more dry, which helps encourage taller muffin tops without that crumbly or cakey texture.

This technique works particularly well with muffin batter which is usually made from melted butter or oil (not creamed butter + sugar) and uses only baking powder as the leavener which is double acting. Meaning, it’s activated both from the moisture of the batter and the heat of the oven. Baking soda is only activated by acid in the batter, not from the heat of the oven.

Chill the batter altogether in one bowl as opposed to chilling it in the individual muffin cavities to prevent it from drying out. Bake directly from the fridge.

How do I get MORE lemon flavor in these Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins?

Add 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract along with the juice and zest.

How do I stop my muffins from sticking to the liner?

This can sometimes be caused by the brand of liners. This is my favorite brand that I order in bulk from Amazon. If you find your liners still get stuck and end up ruining your muffins, don’t worry. I’ve actually written an entire article about how to prevent muffin or cupcake liners from sticking here.

What’s the best muffin tin?

I typically don’t like nonstick bakeware, which is why I was so surprised when I fell in love with the Wilton Recipe Right Nonstick Muffin Pans. They bake evenly and achieve lightly golden brown edges and clean up beautifully. I’ve had 3 of these tins for 2+ years and love them!

Can you freeze muffins?

Yes! Muffins can also be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost on the counter until room temperature. Refresh in a 300°F for 5 minutes if desired.

up close look of moist and tender lemon poppyseed muffin interior texture

More Muffin Recipes

More Lemon Recipes

4.78 from 49 votes

How to make
Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins are tangy, slightly crisp on the outside and ultra moist inside. Topped with a simple sweet lemony glaze. Quick, easy, and delish!


  • 2 cups (254 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons poppyseeds
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup (125 grams) powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, poppyseeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the milk, butter, egg, juice, and zest. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. Do not overmix, there should be a couple streaks of flour remaining. Divide evenly among the muffin tin cups.

  4. If time permits, cover and refrigerate the batter overnight for taller more tender muffins.
  5. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the edges are golden, about 20 minutes. Let cool until barely warm.
  6. Serve or store in an airtight at room temperature for 3 days. Muffins can also be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Make the glaze:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and lemon juice with a fork until a smooth and thick glaze forms. Drizzle or dip each muffin top with the glaze. Let set before serving.

Recipe Video

Course : Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine : American
Keyword : lemon poppy seed muffin, spring, summer

This recipe was originally published in 2012 and updated in 2020 with recipe improvements, new photos, and more baking tips. Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.

Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Diane — October 24, 2022 at 5:09 pm

    I was a bit skeptical because all other recipes used yogurt and it seemed like a lot of baking powder. I didn’t have whole milk so I substituted water and half and half. I also added 1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract. Not only did these muffins look great – they tasted incredible! I did cut the baking time down to about 16 minutes. Had the right amount of brown and crunch. Added the glaze (cut in half) to make this great muffin even better. Highly recommend.

    • #
      Emily — October 25, 2022 at 7:24 am

      Happy to hear how much you enjoyed these muffins, Diane!

  2. #
    Dee — October 13, 2022 at 12:48 pm

    The overnight refrigeration did not work for me… super small/ dry after 20 mins… wouldn’t bake again

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — October 14, 2022 at 9:39 am

      Hi Dee! I’m sorry to hear this didn’t work well for you! Was your muffin batter well covered, and still in the bowl? Or did you pre-portion it out into the cups?

  3. #
    Mikaela — August 14, 2022 at 6:33 pm

    Happy with how these turned out! I made the recipe almost exactly, however I did add an extra teaspoon of lemon juice. I used fresh lemons I just picked and refrigerated the batter over night. Next time I might use a touch less sugar as I find them quite sweet (my lemons might have been on the sweeter side). I haven’t got around to add on the glaze, which I’m sure it will give it an extra lemony flavour. I am always a fan of more lemon, but I think the lemon in these was well balanced. I overcooked them a bit but still very moist.

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — August 15, 2022 at 9:30 am

      Hi Mikaela! Glad to hear that you enjoyed these muffins!! Just be cautious about lowering the sugar next time; yes, sugar obviously contributes to the sweetness, but it also moistens, provides tender structure, assists with gluten formation, extends the shelf-life (meaning it will be fresh and moist longer), and assists in creating a taller and lighter finished product – just to name a few things! Reducing the sugar content in a recipe doesn’t just lower sweetness; it messes with the recipe’s chemistry and creates a totally different baked good. Of course, feel free to experiment as you like, but I just wanted to mention that! Happy baking 🙂

  4. #
    Rebecca — July 26, 2022 at 11:40 am

    Simple and delicious. My girls helped make this and we all love them. Great recipe.

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — July 27, 2022 at 1:13 pm

      Yay! So happy to hear that you and your girls enjoyed these muffins so much, Rebecca!

  5. #
    Ron — July 25, 2022 at 7:33 am

    I just made these; I refrigerated over night, result was tall moist muffins. My only issue was they were burnt at 17 minutes, I’ll have to watch them more closely. They will likely be done at 15 minutes. I wanted a little more of a kick with the glaze, so I added a bit more lemon juice, but that made it too runny, this wasn’t a deal breaker. Live and learn, I’ll make them again for sure and maybe try lemon extract. Thank you.

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — July 27, 2022 at 9:19 am

      Hi Ron! I’m glad you enjoyed these muffins, even if they got a little dark on top! Just a thought: perhaps your oven runs a little hot? Ovens are almost always lying to us about their real temperature! We recommend using an oven thermometer, to ensure accuracy, and make sure your baked goods are baking correctly! Tessa talks about oven temperature accuracy and using an oven thermometer, in this article here! As for your glaze, I definitely recommend lemon extract, as you mentioned, for a great lemon punch, without adding too much excess liquid! Good luck with your next batch! Happy baking 🙂

  6. #
    Nina — June 20, 2022 at 5:32 pm

    I have made this recipe many times and I love it. It also works as a lemon loaf which I’ve done a few times with the same recipe. Only difference is you have to adjust for a longer baking time and when the toothpick comes out clean you know it’s done. For the reviewer who said it wasn’t enough lemon flavour, I think it’s a preference. There’s no harm in adding more zest or juice to your liking. You can add lemon extract as well but also make sure your lemons are fresh. I also find the flavours come out more when you put the batter in the fridge over night like Tessa posted. The next day it smells way more lemony than when I just made it.

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — June 21, 2022 at 7:17 am

      Hi Nina! So happy you enjoyed these muffins (or as a loaf, too- fun tip there!!).

      Thanks for the other tips to other readers about the lemony flavor, too – I think you’re totally right, and there’s never any harm in adding more zest or a teaspoon or so of lemon extract. A little bit more lemon juice should be okay, but too much more will add too much liquid to the recipe and throw off the proportions. Great tips, though – thank you again! 🙂

  7. #
    Hugh Whitmore — June 11, 2022 at 6:22 pm

    Delicious! Well balanced in flavor and texture. The muffins alone taste lemony, but the lemon glaze sharpens up the whole effect. I’m at high altitude (5800 feet) so I lowered the baking soda and baking powder just a bit and they rose perfectly. I had a good result at 18 minutes cooking time. Thank you for the work you go through to provide nice recipes like this to us amateur bakers.

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — June 13, 2022 at 8:36 am

      I’m so excited to hear that these muffins were not only delicious, but worked for you at high altitude with little adjustment! Thank you for taking the time to let us know! 🙂

  8. #
    Hannah — June 7, 2022 at 3:04 am

    Rubbish flavour

    Barely any lemon in these

    Bad reviews must get deleted

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — June 7, 2022 at 9:29 am

      Hi Hannah! I’m sorry to hear you did not like these muffins. I just want you to know that we never delete reviews; if you scroll down, you can actually see a couple of bad reviews on this recipe alone! I’d love to help you troubleshoot, because we really believe that these muffins are delicious! Did you also use the full 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice in your muffins, as well as the full 1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh lemon zest? Tessa does suggest adding 1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract along with the juice and zest if you want ever more lemon flavor in your muffins (mentioned in the pink tip box above the recipe!). Also, refrigerating the batter overnight before baking not only helps give you taller, prettier muffins, but can help intensify the flavor, too! I hope that helps, and I hope you give our lemon poppyseed muffins another try!

  9. #
    Gerpha Gerlin — June 4, 2022 at 8:03 am

    Absolutely delicious!

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — June 6, 2022 at 1:28 pm

      So happy you loved these muffins, Gerpha!! 🙂

  10. #
    Marta — May 22, 2022 at 6:56 pm

    Oh my goodness! These are delicious and so easy! I was skeptical because: 1. No yogurt for moisture and 2. I was worried they’d stick to the muffin cups because it doesn’t call for spraying the cups first. I am so glad I followed the recipe as written because they are perfect! I read some of the comments about not being sweet enough, I think they are plenty sweet, as does my 7 year old. This will be our new go-to, as we love lemon baked goods! Thank you 🙂

    • #
      Marta — May 22, 2022 at 7:00 pm

      PS I didn’t add lemon extract, just used the called for fresh lemon juice and zest. I also just chilled the batter for about 2-3 hours and the muffins are super light and fluffy with the perfect touch of crunch on top.

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — May 23, 2022 at 7:45 am

      Hi Marta! I’m so happy you loved these muffins – and that your son loves them, too!! Happy baking 🙂

  11. #
    Patricia — May 17, 2022 at 6:35 pm

    I’m trying to find the video of the lemon poppy seed muffins cuz I have a question what to do
    What to do with the icing sugar and lemon juice

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — May 18, 2022 at 7:11 am

      Hi Patricia! Apologies for the confusion. We do not have a video for every recipe, unfortunately. We are in the process of updating our recipe templates, so recipes without a video will no longer show this option. To answer your question, the icing sugar and lemon juice are the ingredients for the glaze! Simply mix in a small bowl with a fork until a thick, smooth glaze forms, and drizzle or dip the top of each cooled muffin with the glaze. Let set before serving. I hope that helps 🙂

  12. #
    Janet M McDonough — May 10, 2022 at 11:15 am

    I made these muffins today and they are absolutely awesome. I followed your recipe to the T, and also added lemon extract, and refrigerated overnight. They are popping with flavor and the only adjustment I made was baking off at 375 degrees because I do not like to bake anything at 400 degrees. I tested at 21 minutes and they were done. Thanks for a fabulous recipe.

  13. #
    Thalia — April 22, 2022 at 9:13 am

    These were some of the best muffins I’ve ever made and had! They were so nice and fluffy with the right amount of sweetness and lemon flavor. Also do not skip letting the batter sit overnight, I really think it made that much of a difference!! Also super easy to make and come together!

    • #
      Emily — April 26, 2022 at 7:08 am

      Happy you enjoyed this recipe, Thalia!

  14. #
    Hannah — April 9, 2022 at 3:00 am

    Honestly, I don’t understand the high ratings on this recipe at all. They were average at best, like other reviewers have said they had no lemon/ flavour and were a waste of time. I won’t be using this blog again for recipes.

  15. #
    Cynthia — April 2, 2022 at 8:01 am

    Thanks for the easy-to-follow recipe and tips. The muffins turned out yummy and tall.

  16. #
    Jody — March 25, 2022 at 12:30 pm

    These muffins were delicious, light and lemony. Ever since I’ve read your tips on the perfect muffins I haven’t had any problems with my baked goods. I didn’t want to wait overnight to bake these so I put the batter in the fridge for about 4 hrs, then baked. They came out looking like they were made in a bakery!

  17. #
    Shilpi Mittal — February 13, 2022 at 4:58 am

    They came out to be great. Thanks for this amazing recipe Tessa!

  18. #
    Kanika — February 11, 2022 at 1:30 pm

    Hey.. I made these just today. Kept the batter in the fridge overnight. They look amazing. Tall and soft. But I feel they are not lemon-y enough. Infact I added a little more zest + lemon extract to the batter. Still I could hardly taste the lemon.. Any thoughts on why that would be or what I could do next time?

    • #
      Emily — February 14, 2022 at 10:51 am

      Hi Kanika! Just to confirm, did you also use the original 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice in your muffins? Or did you only use lemon extract and zest? Tessa does suggest adding 1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract along with the juice and zest if you want ever more lemon flavor in your muffins. I hope that helps!

  19. #
    R — February 6, 2022 at 3:26 pm

    I feel like this has to be a negative-comments-get-deleted sort of blog, because this recipe is… fine. The muffins turned out and look great, but they’re not sweet enough and kind of bland. Also, the advice to chill muffin batter overnight is pretty puzzling. Baking powder works immediately by interacting with liquids. It’s going to lose its effectiveness if you let it sit overnight.

    • #
      Emily — February 9, 2022 at 11:53 am

      Thanks for your feedback! Baking soda works immediately, whereas baking powder is double acting, meaning that it reacts twice- once when added to liquid, and a second time when it hits the heat of the oven. Because this recipe has both, you may lose just a little bit of browning on the muffins while they bake after chilling overnight, but thanks to the baking powder, you’ll still achieve that lift. I hope that helps! You can find out even more details in this article here on How to Bake Tall Bakery Style Muffins.

  20. #
    Erika — February 2, 2022 at 9:01 am

    These muffins are great! Not too sweet, and easy to make. I added 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Was going to add almond extract but I was out! I refrigerated the dough overnight, and was impressed with the outcome. 20 minutes was a bit too long in my oven. I will be making these again and using the tips!

    • #
      Emily — February 2, 2022 at 2:50 pm

      So happy you loved this recipe, Erika!

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