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:
Vegan Lemon Cupcakes
Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
Pistachio Cardamom and Lemon Loaf Cake
Lemon Layer Cake
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.
Very good recipe and tasty!
Thank you for a great recipe and a clear web page that is so pleasant to visit!
I made these with a homemade GF flour recipe and also with Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 GF Flour – the texture was great. I normally use less sugar in recipes, but I found that adding a little more sugar (1/8 – 1/4 c white or coconut sugar) as well as adding lemon extract (2 teaspoons) helped make the flavor and sweetness perfect. It’s possible the lemons I used just didn’t have much flavor as they were a little old.
I loved the tip to get the outside crispy by flash baking it for 5 minutes at a high heat. I have not tried that before. I mistakenly did open the oven and they got a little too crispy on the outside (but still delicious), so I will follow the instructions next time. The gluten free flour might have impacted this too. Also, I am curious if baking them at 350/180 the whole time would make them end up more like the gas station poppy seed muffins (soft and spongy, but cooked through well).
In case anyone if is looking for a versatile Gluten Free flour blend –
GF Flour Blend
1 c coconut flour
1 c tapioca flour
1 c white rice flour (sweet white rice flour is fine)
1 c sorghum flour
1 c corn starch
*Whisk well and ideally store in cool temperatures or fridge
*I sometimes use xanthan gum to help with dryness/etc. depending on what the recipe is. 1/4 teaspoon xanthan per cup of flour in a recipe is a good place to start (source: bob’s red mill)
Thank you so much for sharing Cali – so glad you enjoyed the recipe and the website!
Hi, can you substitute coconut sugar instead? I know it will change the colour of the muffin and am ok with that.
Hi Priya, I personally haven’t tested that so not sure how it would effect the flavour / texture but let me know if you do try it.
These are SO fantastic. They’re not only easy to make but also delicious. I follow a dairy free and soy free diet, so I use almond milk each time for and I think these are better than any other muffin I’ve made from scratch.
Thank you so much Sarah, so happy you enjoy these muffins!
Pretty good recipe! I think the ratio of lemon to sugar to poppy seeds is spot on. I’m not a huge fan of the texture — I was looking for a recipe that didn’t use butter, because we were out, so if you have the option, I’d recommend using a recipe with butter: it changes the texture for the better, in my opinion. I made this recipe in the form of one cake rather than muffins, though, so it’s likely that that affected the texture and also my subjective preferences for what the texture should be like. The texture in question, by the way, is quite dense but still fairly moist, especially if you take it out of the oven in the earlier part of the range — ironically, the texture I can never get in brownies — so if you’re a fan of that texture, this recipe will work great for you! Thank you, Sally!
Thanks Marya, glad you enjoyed the recipe. I have never baked this as a cake myself but the texture you describe sounds like it was due to this. Next time I recommend trying them as muffins and seeing if the result is better for you.
I really REALLY LOVE your recipe! The other day my family ate some lemon poppyseed muffins, they were store bought and picture perfect. I was sad that I was missing out. Until I baked these and found that I had the better deal! They’re soooo delicious! We printed the recipe to use it again! I wanted to cry they were that yummy! I was thinking of all the occasions that they would be good for. They are good for any occasion where you eat them! I will make these muffins again. ❤❤❤❤❤😊
Thank you so much Jennifer, so happy to read your comment and hear how much you enjoyed these muffins 🙂
Lemon and poppyseed is such a wonderful combination, and these muffins look so fluffy and delicious. I can’t wait to bake them and bring a little sunshine into the kitchen 🙂
Lemon and poppy seed is one of my favourite combo ever, especially in muffins! Love that this version is dairy-free too 🙂
Our lemon tree has Heaps of lemons ripening atm so we are going to have an abundance of lemons soon, these look like a fantastic way to use some of them (other than a gin and tonic of course :))
I absolutely agree, Sally – classics are classic for a reason, and it can be so fun to enjoy them again. Lemon and poppyseed is a favourite combination of mine – I look forward to making these delicious muffins!