Wild Thistle Kitchen: Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Confession: I have been wanting to share this lemon poppy seed muffin recipe for years. I have lists and lists of recipe ideas and this one has just been carried over so many times. Why has it taken me so long? I wish I knew.

I love lemony baked goods and desserts, and so does my daughter. I recently made these lemon poppy seed coconut balls and it gave me the kick in the pants I needed to finally share this muffin recipe. And although winter is technically citrus season, I always crave lemony treats as springtime approaches.

So, muffins. You know I love them. I think I could have a blog of just muffin and scone recipes … or maybe a cookbook. (Any publishers reading this post?) Muffins are just so easy and so versatile. This is almost exactly my blueberry streusel muffin recipe, slightly tweaked.

These muffins are so lemony and light, and they have such a wonderful texture. I love topping them with a lemon streusel and a lemon glaze — I can’t help myself! — but they are perfect fresh from the oven and unadorned. Those little poppy seeds are just so cute. Feel free to add some to the streusel and to the glaze for some extra polka dots.

Like all of my muffin recipes, this lemon poppy seed muffin recipe could not be easier. I mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and the wet ingredients in a large measuring cup. Pour the wet into the dry, give it a gentle mix and that’s it. Ready in minutes.

Here are a couple muffin tips that I always share. Can’t stop, won’t stop sharing these muffin tips. Whether you are making these lemon poppy seed muffins or ANY of my muffin recipes …

  • DO NOT OVERMIX YOUR BATTER! Sorry for yelling, but this is the number-one tip I can offer. It is crucial to a light muffin. If you overmix, you will have a dense muffin. I like to use a fork to make sure I’m not overmixing. Sometimes I’ll bring in a rubber spatula right at the end to make sure I don’t have any dry ingredients hiding on the bottom of the bowl. Keep in mind: these are not cupcakes. They are not going to ever be as light and fluffy as a cupcake. To me, muffins are meant to have a more sturdy texture, but they should still be light, never dense.
  • For those nice domed tops and a lighter crumb, my trick is to leave the batter to sit for about 20 minutes once you scoop into the muffins tins. This allows the leavening agents to activate and start to bubble before going into the oven. You don’t have to do this, but it will result in a puffier top and a lighter texture. I always use this time as a little race against the clock to clean up the mess I’ve made.

I hope you’ll give these little cuties a try. And don’t miss these other muffin recipes:

Chocolate Chip Muffins with Chocolate Chip Streusel

Pumpkin Banana Muffins

Easy Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Chocolate Olive Oil Muffins with Chocolate Streusel

Cinnamon Sugar Cream Cheese Muffins

Peach Muffins

Happy muffin making!

xo — Anita


Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 12 muffins




2 cups flour

½ cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon poppy seeds


¾ cup milk or buttermilk (either works fine here)

2 eggs

½ cup (1 stick) melted butter (I always use salted)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

For the streusel:

¼ cup flour

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon lemon zest

3 tablespoons cold butter

For the glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice


Combine streusel ingredients in a small bowl and pinch together with your fingers until the butter is evenly dispersed and you can form little clumps. Set aside.

Combine glaze ingredients in a small bowl and mix together. If the glaze is too thin, add more powdered sugar; if too thick, add a bit more lemon juice.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a muffin tin with 12 muffin liners or spray generously with nonstick baking spray. In a large mixing bowl, mix dry ingredients and set aside. In another bowl or a glass measuring cup, mix wet ingredients and whisk them very well with a fork to combine. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir gently until just combined. Do not overmix and do not whisk.

Divide batter evenly between the 12 muffin liners (I use my largest cookie scoop and it makes 12 muffins exactly). You can fill these right to the top. Divide streusel evenly over the muffins and press down just slightly so it adheres to the muffin batter.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes until puffed and golden brown. After 15 minutes, give a muffin a press with your finger. If it springs right back, it is done; if it still seems damp, give it 3 more minutes.

Carefully remove the muffins from the tin and allow them to cool on a wire rack. Once cool, drizzle with glaze.


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