Orange Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins.

My Orange Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins are a twist on the original lemon version. Soft on the inside, slight crisp on the outside. And full of flavorful citrus! 

Orange Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins - moist, sweet, and full of citrus flavor. No mixer required!

When life (Sunkist) hands you (ships you) a box of lemons, what do you do? Besides the obvious cake, cheesecake, and iced sweet roll. I definitely have lemon problems, I know.

Lemons Anonymous.

Make lemon poppy seed muffins, of course! One of my favorite muffins in the world (besides blueberry, double chocolate and bran muffins – so boring, I know) are lemon poppy seed muffins. I love these springtime, citrus-infused muffins so much that I included them in my cookbook last year. Have you tried them yet?

Orange Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins - moist, sweet, and full of citrus flavor. No mixer required!

Today’s muffins are practically the same recipe, with a little orange infusion. I was originally going to make the regular lemon poppy seed muffins to freeze and eat over the next few weeks – nothing screams springtime more! But I quickly improvised when I found only 2 lemons left in the crisper drawer. My recipe calls for 3. Whoops!

And so today’s zingy muffin recipe was born. A happy accident, if you will. Hey, it turned out well because now I can share a new recipe with you. A win-win muffin situation. Hope you’re hungry for a bright & sunny breakfast.

Orange Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins - moist, sweet, and full of citrus flavor. No mixer required!

These orange lemon poppy seed muffins are buttery, moist, and bursting with lemon and orange flavors. I’ve had my fair share of bland lemon muffins, but these are a far cry from flavorless. You’ll need 2 lemons, 1 orange, and a splash of vanilla extract for an added flavor punch. Make sure you have a zester handy because you’ll need the zest of all three fruits. Here’s the zester I own and love.

A healthy dose of poppy seeds give the muffins a slight crunch. That’s the best part about poppy seed muffins! They’re a perfect contrast to the muffin’s soft interior. I bought my poppy seeds at the regular grocery store – after two muffin batches, the bottle is already gone. It’s money well spent, I promise.

Next on my list? Homemade poppy seed bagels. I think I’m up for the challenge.

Orange Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins - moist, sweet, and full of citrus flavor. No mixer required!

You don’t need a mixer for this recipe. In fact, I hardly ever use a mixer for my muffin recipes. I like to whisk them all by hand because I can be in full control. Muffin batters are fragile – even the slightest overmixing will give your muffins a heavy texture.

I love sprinkling the tops of muffins with coarse sugar. Similar to the poppy seeds, the coarse sugar gives these muffin tops a delightful crunch. Plus it makes the top sparkle – which I’m all about. 

The muffins are baked in a very hot oven for 5 minutes. Then, keeping the muffins in the oven, lower the temperature down for the remaining time. This is my beloved “muffin dome” trick. A quick burst of very hot air allows the muffin top to rise up quickly. Then the lower temperature bakes the center.

Orange Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins - moist, sweet, and full of citrus flavor. No mixer required!

Orange Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins - moist, sweet, and full of citrus flavor. No mixer required!

Warm from the oven, these orange lemon poppy seed muffins are not complete without a pat of butter melting into each and every crevice. The perfect springtime breakfast if you ask me!

PS: This is the recipe I was testing when Kevin decided to draw the directions. He said my readers might prefer I draw all my recipes going forward because it will make me different from other food blogs. Pretty sure he was serious.

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

Orange Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes, plus cooling

Print Recipe

Buttery and moist, these sweet citrus-infused muffins are the perfect treat to serve at breakfast or brunch. No need to lug out that heavy mixer, these simple muffins are mixed together by hand in minutes.


  • 2 and 1/3 cups (292g) all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50g) packed light brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g) salted butter, melted1
  • juice and zest of 2 medium lemons2
  • juice and zest of 1 orange3
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120g) non-fat or low-fat Greek or regular yogurt, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • coarse sugar, for sprinkling


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Spray 12-count muffin pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together until thoroughly mixed. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the melted butter, lemon juice, lemon zest, orange juice, and orange zest together until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking after each addition. Whisk in the yogurt and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently mix together until no pockets of flour remain. Do not overmix. The batter is extremely thick.
  4. Spoon the thick batter into the muffin tins, filling them all the way to the top. Sprinkle each with coarse sugar. Bake for 5 minutes at 425°F (218°C).  Keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce oven temperature to 375°F (190°C) and continue to bake for 10-13 minutes longer until tops are lightly golden. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Top with additional lemon and/or orange zest if desired (optional).
  5. Muffins stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Try them with a simple lemon glaze too!
  6. Make ahead tip: For longer storage, freeze muffins for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and heat up in the microwave if desired.

Additional Notes:

  1. I have used salted and unsalted butter interchangeably in this recipe without changing the amount of added salt.
  2. 1 medium-size lemon = approximately 1 tablespoon of lemon zest = 2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
  3. My large orange yielded about 1/4 cup of juice and 2 Tablespoons of zest.

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

Poppy Seed Fact: It takes 900,000 of these tiny black polka dots to equal one pound!

Also, try these blueberry muffins next. ♥

Buttery Blueberry Streusel Muffins by

Orange Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins - moist, sweet, and full of citrus flavor. No mixer required!
Orange Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins - moist, sweet, and full of citrus flavor. No mixer required!

158 Responses to “Orange Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins.”

  1. #
    Meeraposted February 16, 2015 at 11:58 am

    Hi Sally
    My muffins turned out looking fine but had a horribly bitter aftertaste. I made these in a convection oven with 25f less temp, and I used oriental poppy(white poppy seeds) and oriental lemons, oriental orange(Indian lemons and oranges to be precise) and regular yoghurt, everything else was exactly like your recipe. I am not a novice at baking and i am SO heartbroken at these, PUHLEAAASH help Sally.


    • Sallyreplied on February 16th, 2015 at 1:52 pm

      Are you sure you didn’t mix up the leaveners? Adding too much baking soda is usually the culprit behind a bitter aftertaste.


      • Meerareplied on February 16th, 2015 at 6:04 pm

        No, I did not, in fact I had barely a pinch of baking soda left that made up for exactly 1/4th tsp. I think it can also be the orange and lemon because Indian oranges and lemons can have a bitter-acidic taste but the juice tasted alright when I tasted it. And now I am in after-a-bad-batch-of-muffins depression.

    • Priyareplied on March 21st, 2015 at 12:41 pm

      Indian lemons have a very thin skin, so you will hit the white part of the lemon very quickly while getting the zest. That might be the culprit to the bitter taste. Would suggest to not use lemon zest at all, only the Orange zest!


      • Leisel C Caesarreplied on April 18th, 2015 at 6:08 am

        I agee ,I am originally from the Caribbean and the oranges are thin skin and you have to be careful with the zest as you will reach the white part quickly and it has a bitter after taste.

        I have made these muffins many times and you must be careful even in zesting citrus. Anytime I make this muffin it is in high demand from my friends at work.

  2. #
    Susanposted February 19, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    Can these lemon orange muffins be made without the orange juice? Or do you think the muffins would be too tart without the orange juice?



  3. #
    Susanposted February 19, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    Sorry for the same question again. Please disregard.


  4. #
    pattyposted February 25, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Can I use mini muffin tins?


    • Sallyreplied on February 25th, 2015 at 5:14 pm

      Absolutely. I’m unsure of the bake time for mini muffins.


  5. #
    Melanieposted February 27, 2015 at 2:46 am

    Hi Sally! Just wondering if you could create a cookie version of this recipe. Thanks!


    • Sallyreplied on February 27th, 2015 at 11:01 am

      Working on it!


  6. #
    Helenposted March 1, 2015 at 4:36 am

    This is the first recipe I have cooked from your site and it was so good I will be trawling through the rest of your recipes. Everyone loved the muffins and it is amazing how the flavour is enhanced by the lemon and yoghurt.. Thank you.


  7. #
    Adrienneposted March 4, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    These are phenomenal! Just made mini ones for a baby shower and love how they turned out: moist, soft and lemony! I baked them at 425F for 3min, then turned oven down to 375F and baked 5-7 more minutes. I “accidentally” devoured 4 or 5 and 1yr old daughter had 3 before they were completely cooled. Oops, better leave some for the baby shower!


  8. #
    Leiselposted March 7, 2015 at 7:39 am

    Made this a few times and it was a hit, the lemon and orange was refreshing. The kitchen smell heavenly while baking, even the car taking them to work smell wonderful.


  9. #
    Deborah Penningtonposted March 13, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Sally, I am a new fan of your blog. I am going to try these next. I wonder if you can help me figure out why my muffins sometimes fall after taking them out of the oven? Not sure what to do to correct this? thanks!


    • Sallyreplied on March 13th, 2015 at 6:23 pm

      Hi Deborah, it could be a few things. (1) too much batter in the cups (2) opening/closing oven too frequently interrupting the leavening (3) underbaking (4) too much OR too little leavener. I’ve never had this issue with these muffins– let me know how you like them!


  10. #
    Priyaposted March 21, 2015 at 8:48 am

    Hi Sally, Loved this recipe!! I am new fan of your website after making the blueberry and lemon layer cake (which is the best cake I have ever made!). I didnt have lemons, so I used limes and blood oranges instead. Changed the colour a bit, but they have turned out beautiful! Thank you so much for your lovely recipes!!


    • Sallyreplied on March 21st, 2015 at 10:26 am

      Your muffins sound delicious Priya! I’ll have to try them that way sometime.


  11. #
    Tashaposted March 24, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    I just made these, came out perfect! I didn’t have yogurt, so I used applesauce since I figured it was for the moistness factor & they are yummy!


  12. #
    Danielle Lanteigneposted March 29, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    I’ve been wanting to bake these for a while, and I just got them out of the oven. As I told my husband, it’s like eating a lemon pie in a muffin. Simply fantastic. All I changed was the flour – mixed 50-50 kamut and white flours. I had to bake them a few minutes longer. Taste of heaven, really!


  13. #
    Lexyposted May 15, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    Would there be a problem if I used paper cupcake liners? Recipe sounds delish and the hint for temperature change for domed tops is excellent.


    • Sallyreplied on May 16th, 2015 at 8:23 am

      Paper liners is just fine.


  14. #
    Brendaposted November 4, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    My apologies if this has already been asked, but do you happen to know how many calories per muffin?


    • Sallyreplied on November 4th, 2015 at 3:21 pm

      I don’t. Feel free to use an online calorie counting calculator to determine.


  15. #
    Maggieposted December 30, 2015 at 9:38 am

    Another recipe of Sally’s that I love and have made a handful of times! I’ve found they get a little dry after a few days, but they don’t usually last that long anyway! 


  16. #
    Emilyposted January 24, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    Are there any adjustments to consider for high altitude?


  17. #
    Michelleposted February 29, 2016 at 6:20 am

    Thank you so much for this delicious muffin recipe!!  I used the zest from two oranges, as my supply of lemons was totally out, and it turned wonderfully orange-y!  I also tried almond flavoring in place of vanilla, which we also loved.  I agree with one of the other commenters that this is a fool-proof recipe; give it a try, you won’t be disappointed!


  18. #
    Sam Cposted May 1, 2016 at 12:45 am

    These were really yummy thanks for sharing your recipes!
    I made mine into mini muffins, I cooked them for 13 minutes in a 170 degree C oven 🙂


  19. #
    Sean Sullivanposted May 3, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Hey Sally – I wanted to use this recipe but do an almond poppyseed version of it. Would you recommend doing anything to make up for the lack of citrus juice or just do everything the same but add almond extract? Also how much extract do you think would be good and bold without overpowering? Thanks! 


    • Sallyreplied on May 3rd, 2016 at 4:17 pm

      Hi Sean- I would add 1/4 cup milk. And then for the extract, maybe 1/2 teaspoon.


  20. #
    Amyposted May 4, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    A family member is allergic to orange.  Could I omit it or replace it with something else?


    • Sallyreplied on May 5th, 2016 at 9:46 am

      You can leave out the orange and replace with lemon zest/juice.


  21. #
    Britneyposted June 15, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Can I make this recipe with just 1 lemon? I made these muffins last night and they had a strong lemon taste, i couldnt even finish my dispointed. i will try again today with just zest and juice of 1 lemon only. feedback please?


    • Sallyreplied on June 15th, 2016 at 2:50 pm

      Feel free to reduce the lemon as much as you’d like.


  22. #
    sharonposted August 31, 2016 at 5:23 am

    Just tried your recipe and my muffins turned out perfect, reaaly moist and yummy. Im going to do a citrus cream cheese frosting with lemon and orange zest sprinkle. Thanks for a great recipe, will be doing these again definitely.


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