Delicate and decadent, these tangy Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins are studded with tiny black bits and coated in a sticky-sweet glaze that makes you come back for more . . . even after breakfast! Every bit as good as the ones from the bakery.
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If you’ve ever worked in an office, you know there’s only one thing that motivates people to make an early morning meeting – muffins.
We have such a love affair with these little baked goods wrapped in colorful paper cups, and moist Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins always rank high in the top ten favorite ways to greet the day.
Honestly, there are so many muffin varieties (more than we could probably rank on any reasonable list), though, that the line between muffins and cupcakes is starting to get a little blurry!
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MUFFIN AND A CUPCAKE?
The ingredients for making muffins and cupcakes are very similar – flour, sugar, eggs, fat. The difference is that muffins are usually made with oil and cupcakes usually call for butter.
Each produces a different crumb, so the texture itself is usually enough to tell the difference between the two.
Muffins often have “mix-ins,” too, and there’s always the fail-proof way to tell one from the other – the frosting!
If you’re not the office-meetings type, you may just opt to pick up a muffin from your local coffee shop or bakery, but, trust me. Homemade is the way to go here.
These Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins are super simple to put together, and, since most of those coffee shop muffins have likely been frozen, there’s just no competing with the quality of fresh-from-scratch.
HOW DO YOU MAKE MUFFINS FROM SCRATCH?
Making homemade muffins requires just a few pantry staples.
Mix dry ingredients in one bowl, wet ingredients in another, then combine the two. You can add mix-ins, like blueberries or chocolate chips, or top the batter with streusel, then bake. Using baking cups will make clean-up a snap!
Like many muffin recipes, you can make lemon poppy seed muffins from cake mix, but this recipe comes together so quickly there’s really no excuse not to hop in your kitchen and make up a batch.
Honestly, the cake mix changes the texture a bit, plus it’s harder to control the amount of sugar and lemon.
Everything you need to make these is probably already in your kitchen anyway, and, since they fall into the “quick bread” category, they’ll be warm and ready to eat before you’ve finished your second cup of coffee.
WHAT INGREDIENTS DO YOU NEED FOR MUFFINS?
To make muffins, you need flour, sugar, salt and baking soda or powder, plus eggs, vegetable oil, and milk or some other liquid.
Depending on the specific type of muffin, you may choose to add extra flavor-izers like cinnamon or vanilla or some texture-izers like nuts, oatmeal, or fruit.
Or seeds! These Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins have a generous amount of those crunchy little flecks, which provide a lovely contrast to the pale yellow muffins, plus a slightly nutty quality (both in texture and flavor).
Those tiny things also have some health benefits, believe it or not, so that’s all I need as a blessing to eat as many as possible.
There’s also lots of “tart” in these muffins both in the form of buttermilk and lemon . . . lots and lots of lemon.
HOW DO YOU MAKE A LEMON POPPY SEED MUFFIN?
You start with a basic muffin batter and add lemon juice and zest, some additional tang from thick, rich buttermilk, and plenty of poppy seeds.
Then you capitalize on the infusion of lemon by drizzling the tops with a simple lemon glaze to really brighten the flavor.
Fresh lemon juice, especially in the glaze, really is a game changer for this recipe. One of the other things that makes my version stand out in the sea of other lemon poppy seed muffins recipes is the addition of buttermilk.
Many recipes, including the lemon poppy seed muffins Allrecipes options, use sour cream or yogurt to add extra flavor as well as some acidity to prevent too much gluten formation (the same reasons I use cream cheese in my Lemon Cream Cheese Pound Cake).
Acid breaks down the proteins in the flour to create a more tender, delicate muffin than whole milk.
Both yogurt and buttermilk have lower fat than sour cream which means the crumb is slightly larger, my preference for a good quality muffin.
Surprisingly, even the lower fat options produce a similarly moist result, so it’s an easy way to reduce the Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins calories without sacrificing quality.
I choose to make my Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins without yogurt, though, since the moisture content seems to vary a bit from brand to brand. Plus I’m more likely to have buttermilk in my fridge than plain yogurt.
Even with this acidic addition (and all the lemon juice in the batter), I still suggest letting the batter rest for a few minutes before baking just to make sure the muffins are as light and airy as possible.
And keep your hand mixer tucked into a cabinet for this one. A large spoon or spatula swooped through the batter about 10 or 15 times is all you need. Remember, little lemon clouds is what we’re after here!
Once these have baked and cooled a little, you can get out your drizzler (that’s the technical term for my fork) to add the glaze.
This is the same glaze from my Lemon Zucchini Bread recipe, and it’s just two ingredients, but it really is the perfecting step for these muffins.
If you want to stretch the batter a little further (or portion them out less generously for those muffin addicts), you can make about 36 mini muffins with this recipe.
They’ll need a little less baking time than the big guys, so I’d suggest reducing the 400 degree baking step to 10 minutes, then check them for doneness with the toothpick test after about 7 or 8 minutes at 325 degrees.
Fresh is best for the lemon juice, as I’ve already mentioned, but fresh muffins are also best.
If there’s more self-control at your house and you’re not likely to polish off all twelve off in one sitting, you can bake just a few, then pop the leftover batter in the fridge for another day or two before baking the rest.
It won’t keep much longer than that, only because the baking powder and soda start to lose their poof-ing power, but you can definitely extend your ability to enjoy fresh muffins all week with this little trick.
Muffins make mornings manageable, and these Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins take them from “manageable” to “magnificent!”
RECIPE NOTES FOR LEMON POPPY SEED MUFFINS:
Muffin tin tips – Paper or foil liners (or the reusable silicone option) are a no-brainer when making muffins, but I do occasionally still use a non-stick spray to lightly coat the flat part of the tin around the muffin holes.
This provides a little extra protection if your batter spills out of the sides when they’re baking.
Another tip is to use either a gravy ladle or ice cream scoop to get a consistent amount of the batter into the muffins. The muffins will look more uniform, of course, but they’ll also cook more evenly.
Healthy – If you want to make these Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins healthy (or at least improve the good-for-you factor a bit), you can replace some of the oil with unsweetened applesauce.
You can also use half whole wheat flour and half regular all-purpose flour. If you need to make the Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins gluten free, you can substitute your favorite gluten-free flour blend (though I’d suggest adding some xanthan gum if the blend doesn’t include it).
If you want to make the gluten free Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins vegan, you can try using an alternative egg (made with flaxseed, for example) or omitting it altogether, as well as replacing the buttermilk with a vegan version made with dairy-free milk and apple cider vinegar.
Whether you make these Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins vegan or choose another method to make healthy Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins, definitely give them a try!
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Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
Delicate and decadent, these tangy Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins-studded with tiny black bits and coated in a sticky-sweet glaze that makes you crave for more! Just like you get from the bakery.
- 2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
- 2 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 2 Tablespoons Poppy Seeds
- 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
- 2 Tablespoons Lemon Zest
- 1 Large Egg Lightly Beaten
- 2 Teaspoons Vanilla
- 1 Cup Buttermilk Well Shaken
- 2-3 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 12 standard muffin tins with paper liners.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and poppy seeds; Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the vegetable oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, egg, vanilla, and buttermilk. Stir into the flour mixture until just combined (do not overmix). Allow batter to sit for 5 minutes.
Spoon batter into the prepared baking tin. Bake 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees, and continue to bake 10 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing them to a wire rack.
Meanwhile, make the glaze. Whisk 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice with powdered sugar in a small bowl. Slowly add just enough lemon juice to thin the glaze to a thick, but pourable consistency. Use a fork to drizzle muffin tops with glaze.
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Source: Gonna Want Seconds originally published on Centsless Meals