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

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Recipe By Tessa Arias
June 26th, 2020
4.86 from 7 votes
4.86 from 7 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 MOISTNESS…. 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 Bake Moist & Tender Muffins

Don’t overmix!!

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.

Muffins baked immediately vs chilling batter overnight

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?

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 lemon poppyseed muffins be frozen?

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

4.86 from 7 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.
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: 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.

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!)

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Caroline — April 2, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Lemon poppyseed has to be the best combination since peanut butter & chocolate. Mmm! These muffins look fantastic! 😀

  2. #
    aimeeberrett — April 2, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Oh my goodness, these muffins look so good! I've been wanting to make some yummy muffins, so I will definitely have to make these. Thanks for sharing.

  3. #
    Emma — April 4, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    I tried this last night. Delicious. Thanks for the recipe.

  4. #
    Mia — April 6, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    I've just tried them. I have had dough for about 18 pieces…

    • #
      bunarte — April 26, 2012 at 11:17 pm

      you mean batter?

  5. #
    Julie — June 10, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Mmmm, I just made these and they were delicious! I cut the recipe in half, but I still had enough to make 10 muffins. I think “12” might be a bit low for the recipe.

  6. #
    Helga — December 26, 2013 at 4:37 am

    These muffins look delicious! I want to cook them! Once I tried these banana muffins They are very tasty/ I can recommend!

  7. #
    Rachel B Russell — July 26, 2019 at 8:36 am

    Ive made these 3 or 4 times now and they are fantastic! The batter always seems to make 12 very large muffins plus 6 regular sized muffins. I follow the recipe exactly and its happened every time.

    I do wonder how many calories each has though, any idea?

    • #
      Tessa Arias — July 26, 2019 at 3:48 pm

      Excellent! Feel free to paste the ingredients into a calorie calculator online 🙂

  8. #
    Anthony Donnaruma — June 26, 2020 at 6:19 am

    flour was not listed in recipe, oops??

  9. #
    Charlotte Kocheisen — June 26, 2020 at 6:20 am

    Does this hold true for brownies as well? Should they be refrigerated prior to baking? Thanks.

  10. #
    Tracey — June 26, 2020 at 7:31 am

    You’ve not listed the flour in the ingredients.

  11. #
    Janie — June 26, 2020 at 7:52 am

    How much flour ??

  12. #
    Margaret — June 26, 2020 at 8:08 am

    Can I substitute flax seeds for the poppy seeds?

  13. #
    C_Bryant — June 26, 2020 at 8:25 am

    And do we use milk, or buttermilk? You list milk in the ingredients, but mention using buttermilk in the directions.

  14. #
    Roberta — June 26, 2020 at 8:26 am

    The ingredient list called for whole milk and the instructions said buttermilk. Are they interchangeable?

  15. #
    Shan M. — June 26, 2020 at 8:30 am

    Is it whole milk or buttermilk?

  16. #
    Erin — June 26, 2020 at 9:30 am

    These look so yummy! I love lemon poppyseed muffins, and these ones look amazing. And that chilled batter trick sounds intriguing; I’ve never done it before, but it must work well, because those muffins look SO moist and tender, even in just the pictures! All I wanna do right now is reach through the screen and grab one… 🙂

  17. #
    Dominica Bergman — June 26, 2020 at 11:52 am

    How much flour and what kind of flour?

  18. #
    Julie Ruch — June 28, 2020 at 4:35 pm

    Does chilling overnight benefit your other muffin recipes that have only buttermilk and baking powder? Do you think that would work for quick breads too?

  19. #
    Floranet — June 30, 2020 at 6:22 am

    Lovely work!! Charming one

  20. #
    Jenny — July 1, 2020 at 10:53 am

    Just made this yesterday! Amongst 6 people who has tried it, they loved it!!! Tastes so great! I chilled the batter overnight. I got some really tall muffins. They looked amazing. Would this be able to be made into a loaf? If so, should I change anything in the ingredients?

    • #
      Tessa Arias — July 2, 2020 at 11:17 am

      Amazing! So glad to hear that. I haven’t tried as a loaf so I’m not sure. If you give it a go, let us know how it turns out 🙂

  21. #
    Angel — July 8, 2020 at 8:03 am

    If we chill the batter, do we need to let it come back to room temp before baking?

  22. #
    H — July 17, 2020 at 11:37 pm

    The recipe says tablespoon full of baking powder????? Isn’t that a lot! Is that a typing error????

  23. #
    Brit — July 25, 2020 at 9:58 am

    I let the batter sit over night. It was light, fluffy, and full of flavor. The glaze is very sweet (as expected) so I found it doesn’t take much on each muffin. I will likely make these again as my mother in law loved them. Thank you!

  24. #
    Pulz — July 29, 2020 at 4:51 am

    These muffins caved in before I could even open the oven to test if they’re ready. I do not know what went wrong

    • #
      Tessa Arias — July 30, 2020 at 11:50 am

      It sounds like either the baking powder was expired or the oven wasn’t hot enough!

  25. #
    Emily — August 23, 2020 at 6:43 am

    I tried this recipe a couple times. The first time, I followed the instructions, and the muffin tops were good, but the bottoms were burnt and the texture was a little off. The next time, I made them monstrously huge, added extra lemon juice and poppy seeds, used a combo of half and half and 2% because we didn’t have whole milk, and baked them at 375 instead of 400, and they were perfect.

  26. #
    Sarah — September 5, 2020 at 2:57 pm

    Worked out perfectly. Light and fluffy. I will make again, and perhaps add some coconut for a bit of extra oomph! Lovely though, and great tips with not over mixing. I didn’t chill the batter overnight but did for two hours. Most of mine raised up nicely.

  27. #
    Katrina — September 15, 2020 at 10:44 pm

    Loved this recipe! Easy to make yet so tasty! Swapped poppyseed with black sesame seeds and still tasted good.


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