These classic lemon poppy seed muffins are so easy to make and are wonderfully soft, sweet and tangy with that essential poppy seed crunch, topped with a simple lemon glaze. These muffins are dairy-free and make the perfect breakfast, morning tea or snack that everyone will enjoy!
Homemade muffins are one of the easiest things to bake at home as they come together so quickly and taste so much better than anything store bought. They make perfect snacks for work or school and freeze really well so you don’t have to worry about eating a whole batch quickly and can always have something sweet on hand for when you need it.
Recently I have fallen back in love with simple, classic recipes and flavour combinations. Trying out new and interesting ways to cook and bake is something that I do a lot but sometimes you really just need to go back to basics and remember why somethings are a classic.
These lemon and poppy seed muffins are exactly that. This is a humble muffin flavour that for me personally has always been a little underrated as I favoured blueberry muffins as a first choice. But I think it’s time for lemon poppy seed to have a moment to shine.
I LOVE any baked treat that includes lemon. It’s one of my favourite flavours and quite possibly I may like lemon cake more than chocolate cake! There is something about the fresh, tartness combined with sugar that makes it so delicious.
Also I am sure there is some baking science around the chemical reaction of using additional acid in baking that also means that lemon cakes and muffins are always super soft and fluffy.
Then of course comes that slightly bitter, deliciously satisfying crunch of the poppy seeds. Just be sure that you check your teeth after eating because these little black seeds have a tendency to ruin smiles.
You don’t need anything too fancy for these dairy free lemon poppy seed muffins, just a few pantry staples and of course both lemon and poppy seeds!
- Egg – binds the muffins so they aren’t too crumbly and helps keep them light.
- Vanilla – for the best flavour make sure to use vanilla extract rather than vanilla essence.
- Canola oil – keeps the muffins tender and moist. You can use any light tasting oil including coconut oil in these muffins.
- White sugar – for sweetness.
- Lemon – we’re using both the zest and juice to make sure these muffins are filled with lemon flavour.
- Poppy seeds – give the muffins crunch and a slight nutty flavour. If you’d prefer to leave them out or don’t have any you can and you’ll be left with a simple lemon muffin instead.
- Plain flour – also known as all purpose flour in the US.
- Baking powder – gives the muffins lift and rise so they are soft and light.
- Dairy-free milk – you can use any dairy free milk you like such as almond milk, soy milk or oat milk.
You’ll also need a little bit of icing sugar to mix with extra lemon juice to make the glaze. I love this addition but it is definitely optional.
If you have been around this site for a while now, you know that I am a big believer in what I call lazy baking. If you mix your ingredients in the correct order and be conscious of not overmixing, then you have no reason not to be able to make these muffins in one bowl because seriously, who has time for all that cleaning up?
In a large mixing bowl you start by mixing all of your wet ingredients except for the milk. In this recipe, sugar is considered a wet ingredient (which I know doesn’t actually make sense, but roll with it). So the egg, oil, vanilla, and sugar get mixed together until smooth and bubbly. Then in goes your lemon (zest and juice) and the poppy seeds.
Next is the flour, baking powder and salt. Most recipes would tell you to mix these together in another bowl first but we’re going for super easy here! The only thing I suggest is placing the flour in the bowl first and then placing the baking powder on top so that it doesn’t touch the wet ingredients on its own as you’ll start some fizzing.
Using your whisk and gently start to mix. Once the flour is in the bowl, that’s when you need to be conscious of over mixing. The consequence of overmixing is just going to be a flat, dense muffin. It will still taste good but the texture will be off.
As you are slowly stirring through the flour, slowly add in the milk a little at a time. Stop mixing as soon as the milk and flour have been incorporated. This batter is super thick which is going to again help with the texture of the baked muffin.
Scoop the batter into a muffin pan lined with patty cases so that they are pretty much full to the top. Bake in a very hot oven for 5 minutes then, making sure to keep the door of the oven closed, turn down the temperature for the remainder of the time. This initial hot temperature encourages the muffins to rise quickly and get that crunchy domed top that we love about muffins, and then the lower temperature ensures that they are actually baked through the middle.
Once the muffins are baked and cooled you can jazz them up with a little lemon glaze. Make this by mixing lemon juice and icing sugar together until you get a nice thick but drizzly consistency. Drizzle over the top of the muffins for a little extra sweet/tart flavour that really makes these muffins feel a bit more fancy like the ones you might pick up at your favourite café.
Freezing and Storing
Like all muffins, these are absolutely at their best freshly baked, but they will last in an airtight container for a couple of days. If you want them to last longer, you can freeze them.
The muffins can be frozen in an airtight container or freezer safe bag for up to 3 months. Defrost on the kitchen counter until room temperature.
To reheat, zap in the microwave for 10 seconds for that warm, freshly baked vibe.
More lemon recipes:
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup canola oil
- ¾ cup white sugar
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- zest of 2 lemons
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup dairy-free milk
For the glaze
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 220°C. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with patty cases and set aside.
- In a large bowl start by whisking together the egg, oil, and vanilla, before adding in the sugar. Continue to whisk until smooth and bubbly. Add in the lemon juice, zest and poppy seeds and mix through until incorporated.
- Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the bowl and slowly mix in with a whisk. Slowly add in the dairy-free milk a little at a time until the batter forms. As soon as all of the flour and milk have been incorporated, stop mixing as you don’t want to overmix. The batter will be very thick.
- Spoon mixture evenly into the prepared muffin pan. You want enough batter to fill almost to the top of the pan so the tops puff up above the pan giving that nice crunchy muffin top. Bake for 5 minutes at the initial high temperature and then without opening the oven door, turn down the heat to 180°C to bake for a further 15 minutes or until the tops are golden and spring back when lightly touched. Let the muffins cool on a wire rack before adding the glaze.
- To make the glaze, mix the icing sugar into the lemon juice a little at a time until you get a thick consistency that can still be drizzled. Using a spoon, drizzle the glaze over the cooled muffins. Let the glaze set before storing the muffins.
Nutritional information is provided as a guide only and is calculated using automated online tools, therefore we cannot guarantee the accuracy. We encourage you to make your own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe.