Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins are a sublime way to usher in Summer. A punchy, citrusy cake-like batter is flecked with lemon zest and crunchy poppy seeds. Their Cream Cheese Drizzle compliments their zingy flavor while, at the same time, giving them a creamy finish. They’re easy to make, while at the same time they’re freezer-friendly recipe for later enjoyment.
I’ve had a strong citrus craving lately. Maybe it’s because I want to usher in Summer. Somehow, I feel like that will get me out of the house sooner. I have no idea if that’s actually going to happen, but I do know that these muffins are satisfying my craving a hundred times over.
Everything You’ll Need to Make Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
Grab a bunch of lemons (you’ll only need three). I plucked these lemons off of Theo and Becky, our friends, tree before being confined to our house. Yes, they gave me permission to take them! You don’t have to jack your friend’s lemons, though. Just go to the store for yours.
You will also need poppy seeds, unsalted butter, eggs, all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, and plain Greek yogurt. This last ingredient makes the Lemon Poppy Seeds lower in fat. To top the muffins, you will need a cup of this Streusel Topping with Almonds. The streusel topping is optional, though, so you can still bake these Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins without it.
You will also need a muffin tin to bake the muffins in. Paper baking cups are optional.
What are Poppy Seeds?
Poppy seeds are the ripened seeds of the opium poppy, fitting name for the seeds, no? The opium poppy is a plant that commonly grows in the Middle East and India. You know what else comes from the opium poppy besides poppy seeds? Opium. Do you know what else comes from the opium poppy? Heroin. Thankfully, ripe poppy seeds do not contain any of the “medicinal” properties of the plant. That may be a letdown if you were looking for a buzz, but if you’re looking for some bomb Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins, read on.
The seeds are a blueish-gray in color and taste nutty. They are absolutely miniscule, so accidentally dropping a cup on the kitchen floor is a pain in the neck. Poppy seeds are mostly used in baked breads and in pastries as a filling.
Combine the Dry Ingredients
When it comes to developing an even batter, mixing together the components that are alike before adding them to the batter is important. If you add each of the dry ingredients to your batter separately, you’ll have to mix your batter longer to incorporate it completely. Over-mixing is the leading cause of tough, chewy muffins.
Combine the dry ingredients- everything except the sugar- together in a mixing bowl. Set the bowl aside. You’ll use these dry ingredients later.
Mix Together the Wet Ingredients
In a separate mixing bowl, combine the Greek yogurt and lemon juice. Whisk the two together until the mixture is smooth. Set this bowl aside and begin mixing the batter.
Begin the Lemon Poppy Seed Batter
In a large mixing bowl, use an electric hand mixer (or a stand mixer) to blend the unsalted butter and sugar together. On medium speed, whip these together for 3-4 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl a couple times during the mixing process.
It is important to whip the butter and sugar this long to dissolve the sugar crystals as much as possible. Undissolved sugar crystals will reveal themselves in muffins that have a super crunchy exterior and chewy interior.
When the mixture looks lemony yellow and fluffy, add the lemon zest and the egg. Continue to blend on medium speed for another 3-4 minutes, scraping the bowl and beaters occasionally. When finished with this creaming process, the mixture should look airy and very light in color.
You will add the dry and liquid ingredients to the butter mixture in stages.
First, add one-third of the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture. On low speed, blend the dry in, just until the flour is mixed in. Scrape down the bowl and beaters.
Now add half of the liquid (the yogurt and lemon juice mixture) to the bowl. Mix, once again on low speed, just until the liquid is blended into the rest of the batter.
Continue to add the dry (1/3 at a time) and the liquid (the final addition), followed by the last of the dry. Always blend on low speed just until combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl and beaters after each addition.
Thick is Good
The mixing process we are using is a called the Creaming Method. Because we’re using this method, you may notice that the batter is thicker than what you’d have with a traditional muffin batter. That’s OKAY! It’s good, in fact. That’s exactly what we want. The Creaming Method produces a more cake-like muffin than the Muffin Method does. It’s my preferred way to make muffins because you’re less likely to overmix the batter.
Scoop, Sprinkle, and Bake the Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
If you’re feeling super-fancy, top the muffin batter with a tablespoon of Streusel Topping made with slivered almonds. You can also leave the muffin plain.
Bake the muffins for 20-25 minutes or until the tops quickly bounce back when lightly pressed.
Remove the muffin tin from the oven and allow the muffins to cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Remove the muffins from the pan and transfer them to a cooling rack. Allow the muffins to cool on the cooling rack to room temperature.
Prepare the Cream Cheese Glaze
To make the glaze, which is also optional, whip the room temperature cream cheese on medium speed until it’s smooth.
Add the sifted powdered sugar to the cream cheese in the bowl. Begin mixing the sugar into the cream cheese on low. Once the sugar is blended in, increase the speed to medium and whip the mixture for 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beaters.
Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice to the mixture and blend everything together on low until the glaze is smooth and runs thickly- like glue.
You can make this glaze 3-4 days in advance and store it in a closed container in the fridge.
Glaze your Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins (or don’t)
Fill a piping bag with the cream cheese glaze. Once the muffins have cooled to room temperature, drizzle the glaze over their tops. Or don’t. Again, the glaze is totally optional!
Enjoy your Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
Now that your muffins have been mixed, baked, and glazed, it’s time to serve them!
Feel free to serve them straight from the cooling rack.
Freezer-Friendly for Later Enjoyment
If you’re inclined to prep ahead, these Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins are very freezer-friendly. I’d hold off on glazing them until just before you’re ready to eat them, though. Packing them in bags will smear the glaze. It won’t affect the taste, but they won’t look as pretty.
If you do opt to freeze them, allow them to thaw at room temperature before eating them. My kiddos love to nuke their muffins in the microwave before eating them. This gives them that freshly baked taste.
Be sure to share this Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin recipe after you pin it to your favorite board. Oh! And let’s all thank Becky and Theo for letting me jack their lemons to make these!
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins with Cream Cheese Glazeat Sense & Edibility
- muffin tin
- #12 portion scoop
- 2 cups (300g) all-purpose flour
- 5 1/4 teaspoons (36g) baking powder
- 3 tablespoons (30g) poppy seeds
- 3/4 teaspoon (8g) kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cup (285g) plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup (115g) lemon juice
- 1 stick (113g) unsalted butter room temperature
- 3/4 cup (180g) granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons (from 2 medium lemons) lemon zest
- 1 large egg
Cream Cheese Glaze
- 1 8 ounces package (226g) cream cheese room temperature
- 1 cup (120g) powdered sugar sifted
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Preheat your oven to 375°F. Lightly spray your muffin tin with non-stick baking spray, then line the tin with parchment baking cups. Set aside while you mix the muffin batter.
Prepare the Lemon Poppy Seed Batter
- In a mixing bowl, sift or stir together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, poppy seeds, salt, and ground ginger. Set the bowl aside.
- In a separate mixing bowl, combine the Greek yogurt and lemon juice. Whisk the two together until the mixture is smooth. Set this bowl aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the unsalted butter and sugar together on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl a couple times during the creaming process.
- When the mixture looks lemony yellow and fluffy, add the lemon zest and the egg. Continue to blend on medium speed for another 3-4 minutes, scraping the bowl and beaters occasionally. The mixture should look airy and very light in color at the end of this process.
Add the Dry and Liquid Mixtures in Stages
- Add the dry and liquid mixture in stages, beginning and ending with the dry. First, add one-third of the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture. On low speed, blend the dry in, just until it's absorbed. Scrape down the bowl and beaters.
- Now add half of the liquid (the yogurt and lemon juice mixture) to the bowl. Mix, once again on low speed, just until the liquid is blended into the rest of the batter.
- Add another 1/3rd of the dry, followed by the final amount of liquid mix. Finally, add the last of the dry. After each addition, blend the mixture on low speed just until it's combined. Make sure to scrape down the bowl and beaters after each addition has been blended in.
Scoop and Top the Muffins
- Use a portion scoop to transfer the prepared batter to your prepared muffin tin.If desired, top the muffin batter with a tablespoon of streusel topping.
- Bake the muffins for 20-25 minutes or until the tops quickly bounce back when lightly pressed.
- Remove the muffin tin from the oven and allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Remove the muffins from the pan and transfer them to a cooling rack. Allow the muffins to cool on the cooling rack to room temperature.
Prepare the Cream Cheese Glaze*, Then Drizzle over the Muffins
- Add the sifted powdered sugar to the cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Begin mixing the sugar into the cream cheese on low. Once the sugar is blended in, increase the speed to medium and whip the mixture for 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beaters.
- Add the lemon juice to the mixture and blend everything together on low until the glaze is smooth and runs thickly- like glue. Add more lemon juice or milk to the glaze to thin it if necessary.
- Fill a piping bag with the cream cheese glaze. Once the muffins have cooled to room temperature, drizzle the glaze over their tops. You can also use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the muffin tops.
- Serve your muffins as is. Store the glazed muffins in an air-tight container on the countertop for up to 3 days or freeze*.
When you're ready to serve, allow the muffins to thaw at room temperature before serving. A 30 second burst in the microwave will give the muffins a freshly baked taste.