These bright lemon poppy seed muffins are super tender and bursting with lemony goodness in every bite. They're perfect for any season for some added sunshine and freshness!
Muffins are one of my favorite treats to make because: a) they're portable and b) they're super low effort!
And although lemon poppy seed muffins require a bit of extra work to zest the lemons and squeeze out some juice, they are so SO worth it.
This is my favorite recipe for classic lemon poppy seed muffins (loosely based off my dairy-free version!) I also tested out a few new muffin strategies that have been gaining popularity lately, which I go into a bit more detail about below!
new muffin strategies
So there are 2 steps that a lot of bakers swear by when it comes to getting extra tall and extra fluffy muffins:
1) letting the batter rest, and
2) spacing the muffins out in the muffin tin
letting the batter rest for 1 hour
The idea behind this step is to let the batter sit and bubble up which is supposed to yield an extra fluffy and airy muffin.
Baking powder bubbles up first when liquid is incorporated and again when it hits the heat of the oven. This resting period is supposed to give the baking powder time to really meld with the wet ingredients and activate!
spacing the muffins in the tin
This step involves leaving a 1 space gap between each muffin cup - so essentially filling your 12 count muffin tin with 6 batter filled cups, skipping every other cup so there's more room for the muffins to bake up without bumping into each other.
The main reason for doing this is for better heat distribution - which again, is supposed to equal taller muffins.
I tried QUITE a few different batches of this recipe: one where the batter was not rested and the muffins were side by side in the tin, one where the batter was not rested but the muffins were spaced out in the tin, one where the batter was rested and the muffins were side by side, and one where the batter was rested and the muffins were spaced out.
TBH: all the batches were perfectly delicious and I was basically in lemon poppy seed heaven with all the muffins I got to eat in the name of science. I did notice a softer and more tender texture to the muffins baked with the rested batter, and whenever I have time / patience, you can bet I'll be resting it!
But that being said, I'm impatient 99% of the time, and the batch that I baked right after making the batter was just as perfect in my eyes.
Spacing the muffins out in the tin didn't really make much of a difference in the overall quality of the muffins, and it's not something I'm going to keep doing. It's just inconvenient having to use 2 muffin tins (or, if you only own one, needing to wait and bake 2 batches). Just overall not worth it!
how to get super soft and tender muffins
So what DOES make for the best, softest, most perfect muffins around?? Here are a few MUST DO steps and tips for getting perfect muffins:
• measure your flour correctly! This is always true in any baked good, but how you measure flour can drastically change your results. If using a scale, you really don't have to worry about anything - and being off by a few grams is no big deal. If measuring with cups, be sure to use the spoon and level method of measuring to make sure you don't accidentally pack in more weight of flour!
• do NOT overmix the batter!! It deflates the beautiful air bubbles and leads to a dense muffin! Plus it's more work - who wants that??
• fill your muffin cups to the veeeerrryyy top! That's the key to getting a perfectly domed and tall muffin top.
• bake at an initial high temperature for an added boost! The high temperature will shock to muffins up, then decrease the temperature to continue baking through. I don't like to do this for all muffin recipes - some are better left at one temperature for a gradual bake. Lemon poppy seed muffins definitely have a nicer texture with the 2 temperature bake!
• be careful with the bake. Overbaked muffins will naturally be dry, hard, and sad.
• cool for no more than 10 minutes in the tin! The residual heat from the pan can continue to bake and dry out the muffins, so it's important to move them onto a wire rack while they're still hot, and ideally withing 5 to 10 minutes of taking them out of the oven.
how to make lemon poppy seed muffins
1. Whisk together dry ingredients.
2. Whisk together wet ingredients.
4. Optional: rest batter for 1 hour at room temperature.
5. Scoop into muffins cups & bake!
6. Cool for 5-10 minutes in the tin, then on a wire rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature!
Keep the muffins stored in an airtight container or plastic bag. These muffins are best served on the first or second day, but they'll keep for up to 4 days at room temperature or 1 week in the fridge.
Check out these other recipes!
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins Recipe
- 2 & ½ cups (300g) all-purpose flour, spoon and leveled
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 2 & ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (60g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- ¼ cup (60mL) vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest (about 2 medium sized lemons)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (about ½ a medium lemon)
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- ½ cup (120g) plain yogurt, at room temperature
- ⅔ cup (160mL) whole milk, at room temperature
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Set aside.2 & ½ cups (300g) all-purpose flour,, 2 tablespoons poppy seeds, 2 & ½ teaspoons baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- In a separate bowl, whisk together butter, oil, lemon zest and juice, eggs, yogurt, and milk.¼ cup (60g) unsalted butter,, ¼ cup (60mL) vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 2 large eggs,, ½ cup (120g) plain yogurt,, ⅔ cup (160mL) whole milk,
- Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients. Fold together until just combined. Take care not to over mix!!
- (Optional) Cover and let the batter rest at room temperature for 1 hour to allow it to bubble up!
- Preheat your oven to 425°F. Line a 12 count muffin tin with paper liners, and set aside.
- Portion your muffin batter into the muffin tin, filling each cup to the very top.
- Bake in the center of your preheated 425°F oven for 7 minutes, then (without opening the door) turn the heat down to 350°F and continue baking for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
- Cool the muffins for 5 to 10 minutes in the tin, then transfer onto a wire rack and cool until slightly warm or room temperature.