Homemade lemon poppy seed donuts are quick to make, baked not fried, and full of citrus flavor. Topped with a lemon glaze that sets, these easy donuts are a sunshine sweet treat to start any morning.
Lemon and poppy seeds are quite the duo. We love them together in lemon poppy seed Bundt cake, orange lemon poppy seed muffins, lemon poppy seed pancakes, and in today’s lemon poppy seed donuts. This quick and easy breakfast treat screams warm weather and sunshine– no matter what time of year you make them!
Why You’ll Love These Baked Donuts:
- No electric mixer required
- Baked, not fried
- Moist and buttery
- Bursting with lemon flavor
- A little crunchy from the poppy seeds
- Sweet and tart in each bite
- Topped with lemon glaze
Two Parts to Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts
- Donuts: We’re using my standard baked donut recipe as the base. It’s what I use for my baked maple donuts, baked cinnamon sugar donuts, crumb cake donuts (doubled for that recipe), and chocolate frosted donuts. It’s a very thick batter that produces tight-crumbed, buttery donuts. We use a handful of basic ingredients like flour, egg, leaveners, and milk. I like to add a little sour cream to the donut batter for a moisture punch (Greek yogurt works too) and sweeten these with granulated sugar. For bright, citrus flavor, use lemon juice and lemon zest, plus poppy seeds for an extra crunch.
- Lemon Glaze: This glaze is like authentic donut glaze that sets after a few minutes. All you’ll need is melted butter, confectioners’ sugar, milk, a squeeze of lemon, and a little vanilla extract. The melted butter is what helps “set” the glaze because it cools down and slightly re-solidifies. I love making glazes with it!
Quick Overview: How to Make Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts
These baked donuts are super simple– make the batter and bake the batter!
- Make the donut batter. Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another bowl. Whisk to combine both. It’s that easy.
- Fill the donut cavities. Transferring donut batter into the donut pan can be tricky, so I always suggest using a zipped-top bag to pipe the batter. (You can see me doing this below.) Just spoon the batter into a large zipped-top bag, trim off a bottom corner, and squeeze the batter into the pan. The donut batter is thicker than you’d expect, so it pipes pretty neatly.
- Bake. They bake up VERY quickly!
- Make the glaze. I usually do this as the donuts bake. Whisk all of the glaze ingredients together. For a slightly thicker glaze use 1 Tablespoon of milk (I typically use 2 Tablespoons).
- Dip into glaze. Dip the warm donuts into the glaze. Place on a cooling rack so the excess icing drips down. And don’t be afraid to do a double dip!
Lemon will always be a favorite flavor for sweets. There’s something about its delightful and refreshing tang and when paired with sugar, a little poppy seed crunch, and lots of buttery sweet glaze, it’s irresistible!
More Donut Recipes
- Banana Donuts
- Chocolate Frosted Donuts
- Baked Sprinkle Donuts
- Berry Fritters (fried)
- Apple Cider Donuts
- Pumpkin Donuts
- Lemon Poppyseed Donuts
Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 9 donuts
- Category: Donuts
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Baked and so easy! These deliciously glazed lemon poppy seed donuts are full of flavor and ready in a snap.
- 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cool
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (60ml) milk (any works)
- 1/4 cup (60g) sour cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon (15ml) lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1–2 Tablespoons (15-30ml) milk
- 1 Tablespoon (15ml) lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray donut pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.
- Make the donuts: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, poppy seeds, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside. Whisk the melted butter, egg, sugar, milk, sour cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and zest until completely combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not overmix. The batter will be thick.
- Spoon the batter into the donut cavities—I highly recommend using a large zipped-top bag for ease. Cut a corner off the bottom of the bag and pipe the batter into each donut cup, filling 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full.
- Bake for 9-10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Allow to cool for about two minutes then transfer to a wire rack set on a large piece of parchment paper. Bake the remaining donut batter (there is usually enough batter for 1-2 more donuts) and once baked, transfer to the wire rack. Allow donuts to cool down until you can handle them.
- Make the glaze: Whisk all of the glaze ingredients together. I usually use 2 Tablespoons of milk, but for a slightly thicker glaze you can use 1 Tablespoon. Dip each donut into the glaze and place back on the wire rack as the glaze sets. (The parchment paper can catch the glaze dripping down.)
- Donuts are best served immediately. Leftovers keep well covered tightly at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 2 days.
- Freezing Instructions: You can freeze the donuts for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and warm up to your liking in the microwave. I usually just zap ’em for a couple seconds, even with the glaze on.
- Special Tool (affiliate link): Donut Pan
Keywords: lemon poppy seed donuts
Reader Comments & Reviews
Sooooo yummy! I used chia seeds instead because that’s what we had 🙂 I used yogurt instead of sour cream. The kids loved them!!!!
Sally, these donuts are wonderful. Do you have nutrition information posted? Thank you!
Hi Diane, We don’t usually include nutrition information as it can vary between different brands of the same ingredients, and many recipes have ingredient substitutions or optional ingredients. However, there are many great online calculators where you can plug in your exact ingredients like this one: https://www.verywellfit.com/recipe-nutrition-analyzer-4157076
I mean, what I have ever made from your site that I haven’t liked? These little lemony gems are so easy to make! They are adorable and taste just like the promise of Spring! Thanks again for a hit! I love a good baked donut! Will post my reel & pic and tag you!
I really loved this recipe! I have many food allergies, but I still love to bake. Often I have to bake things for my family and not eat them. However, I made this recipe by substituting alternatives to accommodate my allergies, and these were still fantastic! I used 1:1 gluten free flour, goat milk yogurt (instead of sour cream), goat butter (instead of cow butter), and macadamia nut milk. I will definitely make these again!
Nope! Not sweet or lemony enough. Maybe needs buttermilk as well. Next!
Hi Sally, I was wondering if I could substitute chia seeds for the poppyseeds to add a little nutrition?
Hi Ayla, You sure can!
Hie Sally. What can I use as a substitute for All purpose flour between cake flour and self raising flour?
Hi Patience! We don’t recommend using self raising flour in this recipe, it would take additional testing to ensure accurate results. Cake flour may be too light for these donuts, but would be a better bet if all purpose is not available. Do you have plain flour? That would be a good substitute. Let us know if you give them a try!
Thank you for the reply. Hopefully I can get plain flour and try these out soon
Is it ok to omit the poppy seeds?
I made these dairy-free (my partner is allergic) by subbing the butter for Earth Balance and the 1/4 cup each of sour cream and milk for 1/2 cup unsweetened vegan vanilla yogurt. They turned out great! I like that the donut itself is not super sweet because the glaze adds enough sweetness. Thanks for a great recipe!
Another great one. Easy to make and oh so tasty. I made a double batch today and they came out perfect. Thanks!
Great recipe! I made these for my mom and they were perfect! great for citrus lovers. I used my own glaze which is just lemon juice, lemon zest, and powdered sugar until it is the right consistency. you can do it with any citrus. I will make these again!
Hey Sally, I just finished making the Lemon Poppy and the Banana Chocolate, delicious! A huge hit in our family. I am wondering if you can you double recipe. If so any special instructions?
Hi Sharon! This recipe can easily be doubled by doubling each ingredient. So glad you enjoy these donuts– the banana chocolate version is also one of my favorites. That can be doubled as well.
Hey Sally! I wanted to know if you could fry these the old fashioned way. If so, how would I do that?
Hi Ella! I don’t recommend frying this batter. Here are my fried glazed doughnuts if you’d like to try those instead.
Another great recipe! So quick and simple! They were a fan favorite. Thanks
If I don’t have a donut pan, couldn’t I bake them on a baking paper?
Hi Alex, I suggest baking them in a muffin pan. Fill the muffin liners all the way to the top with batter. The muffins should take about 20 minutes, same oven temperature. Top with glaze.
These turned out wonderful . Wish I could add my photo.
Made this for the veterans center at school! They LOVED them! Thanks, Sally!
Can i make these in a muffin pan?
Hi Mary! Yes, absolutely. Fill the muffin liners all the way to the top with batter. The muffins should take about 20 minutes, same oven temperature. Top with glaze.
I love making donuts ever since I tried your baked apple cider ones! I can’t wait to try these. If I’m using a mini donut pan, how would you recommend adjusting the baking time? Also, in the place of sour cream, would European style plain yogurt (not greek) work?
Hi Avani! Yes, yogurt works just fine. The bake time for mini baked donuts is actually pretty similar to the regular sized donuts– sometimes about 1 minute less. Keep your eye on them. Enjoy!
This recipe was absolutely amazing! I made it with orange and it was SO delicious!
Definitely making this recipe again.
I baked these this morning and they are fantastic! Love the lemon glaze!
Oh my gosh, made these this morning and just sat down to try one. Perfect amount of lemon and poppyseed and perfect texture! This is going on the make again list!
Just made these and they were a huge hit!! Love the extra lemony glaze. This recipe is a keeper!
These look so delicious. Do you prefer the large donut pans rather than the ones that make mini donuts, or would either work fine with this & your other donut recipes? If we use the mini-donut pans, would we change the cooking time? I haven’t bought donut pans yet, and I’m trying to decide which size to buy. (I don’t think my kitchen cabinets can handle BOTH sizes!)
Bake time for mini donuts will be a little less. I don’t have a preference– I love both sizes! The mini size is fun to eat because they’re so little!
Hi Sally, thankyou for the recipe esp the glaze! Made ’em today and it was delicious. The sour, sweet and slight buttery flavor is all balanced which I loved. Anyw, I am making donuts often nowadays for the whole family and thinking if we can keep leftover glaze for next use. Overlooking some donut shops storing glazes in huge containers as if they could use ’em anytime. Can I really reheat the glaze as the butter used in this recipe (I think) ‘ll harden too fast but is it okay to melt the sugar too?
Made these over the weekend, loved the flavor & texture Sally! Always have loved lemon + poppy seed but yet it seems either banana, pumpkin, blueberry, chocolate, zucchini ( all of which I’m also very fond of!) etc., baked goods get baked more often. Not fair to the lemon poppy seed dynamic duo! I did have almond extract & put 1/4 tsp in the glaze along with the vanilla extract & really liked the slightly almond-y dimension it brought to the plate, worked beautifully! Thanks Sally, have a great week!
Baked up a batch of these lemon & poppy seed donuts this morning and they were a big hit at my house! Loved the addition of sour cream in the batter…texture was so moist and light. Thank you Sally!