Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts

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.

overhead image of lemon poppy seed donuts

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!

lemon poppy seed donuts on a blue plate

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

pouring wet ingredients into a glass bowl full of dry ingredients

Two Parts to Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts

  1. 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 donutscrumb 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.
  2. 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!

overhead image of lemon poppy seed donut batter in a glass bowl with a whisk

Quick Overview: How to Make Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts

These baked donuts are super simple– make the batter and bake the batter!

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Bake. They bake up VERY quickly!
  4. 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).
  5. 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!

piping lemon poppy seed donut batter into a donut pan

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!

lemon poppy seed donuts on a blue plate

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lemon poppy seed donuts on a blue plate

Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 9 donuts
  • Category: Donuts
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Baked and so easy! These deliciously glazed lemon poppy seed donuts are full of flavor and ready in a snap.


Ingredients

  • 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 (60gsour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon (15ml) lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest

Lemon Glaze

  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 12 Tablespoons (15-30ml) milk
  • 1 Tablespoon (15ml) lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray donut pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.)
  6. Donuts are best served immediately. Leftovers keep well covered tightly at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 2 days.

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. Special Tool (affiliate link)Donut Pan

Keywords: lemon poppy seed donuts

71 Comments

  1. heather (delicious not gorgeous) says:

    completely fine; i’m not even thinking about fall until sept 22 (the first day of fall, and when i go back to school). and agree 100% about piping the batter instead of spooning it in! whenever i try to spoon it in, the batter gets everywhere and they’re more like blobs than doughnuts!

  2. Sally, wake up with a new post from your website gives me all the bake-love energy, and make me a funny beginning for my day…as you guess this have been a great week, because you´ve shared every single day…I love your work! and I am really really crazy by your photos…
    Thanks for share the link to buy the spatula! (Since I saw it, it´ becomes in a need). Have a nice day!

    1. Thanks so much María! And I love that rubber spatula. One of my favorites!

  3. Oh my gosh, Sally, I want to make these!!! You know my love for lemon, haha 😉 And a tart glaze is probably my favorite drink ever, haha. I might try with coconut instead of poppyseed for a tropical taste…

  4. Marina @ A Dancer's Live-It says:

    Yum!! All I need is a donut pan now! I’m honestly so intimidated by making donuts in a fryer or by frying them, so thank you for making these baked! 🙂

  5. Dawn @ Girl Heart Food says:

    Never a bad time for these! I need to get a donut pan ASAP so these can happen! One of my favourite combos. I’ll just take the whole batch 😉 !!

  6. These doughnuts look like a summer dream and are making me long for July days like crazy! I can`t believe it`s already September 2nd (and it`s pouring rain outside my window right now too…), but hey school and a normal work schedule doesn`t start for a few days more so you`re right – lets soak up every bit of summer we can. I LOVE lemon and most of the best fruit desserts contain a punch of lemon. I haven`t used my doughnut pan in a while either so I should put to work with this recipe (and the chocolate doughnut recipe because, well, I`m a chocolate girl at my core) 😉 

  7. I’ve got a new donut pan that I haven’t used yet. This will be the first recipe I’m going to try. Thanks!

    1. Enjoy breaking in that new donut pan!

  8. I have never had lemon donuts. It looks so bright!! I could almost feel the tangy sweetness just by looking at them:)

  9. I sadly don’t own a donut pan… ideas how these would bake up in mini bunts? Should I just make the glaze and bake them like muffins?

    1. You can bake these as muffins, yes! Fill the muffin liners all the way to the top with batter. The muffins should take about 20 minutes. Top with glaze. Unsure about the bake time with mini bundts though.

  10. Shashi at RunninSrilankan says:

    Sally, I adore the flavor combo of lemon and poppy seeds, but I’ve never had lemon poppyseed donuts before – and yours look delectable – your photos capture so well how soft and delicious they are!

    1. Thanks Shashi!

  11. Unfortunately, the weather here in California is going a little crazy. It already feels like fall, and I’m trying to hang on to the last remnants of summer! This Labor Day weekend is the only time I’ll be able to make this before summer fades away to fall! 🙂

    1. Hope you’re looking forward to lots of Fall baking!

  12. I think I need to get a donut pan ASAP! Side note: I do appreciate your approach to any sponsored posts/affiliate links, I never feel like they are overwhelmingly “sponsored” and your voice and opinions are always well-represented. Sometimes blogs can read like giant ads (though I fully understand bloggers gotta get that paper too haha), but I never feel that way about your posts and appreciate you sharing with us only the brands you truly like.

    1. Thank you so much Sam! I never want to compromise a reader’s experience and have always taken feedback seriously, so I really appreciate it. Running this business is very pricy, so the affiliate links and sponsorships really help!

  13. i love your bread recipes.i made your oatmeal honey bread and the honey butter rolls, i think your bread recipes are the best. they never fail, no matter how i make them. i have not made any other rolls recipe since ive made thise honey butter rolls. and the pizza! always always perfect. 

    1. I’m glad you love the bread recipes! I have a few new ones coming this Fall.

  14. What a clever idea…lemon and poppyseed donuts!!  I still haven’t ticked the box for making donuts yet, so these are definitely going on my ‘must try’ list for the week. Thanks for sharing 😉

  15. Sally,
    I just bought two of the donut pans! I will be making these Monday when it says the pans will be here-I love poppy seed and I love lemon. This looks so yummy!!

    1. Hope you loved them today Amy!

  16. Peppermint Dolly says:

    Thank god I don’t have a doughnut pan in my vicinity – the damage I could do!

    Rxx

    www.peppermintdolly.com

  17. Lemon and poppy seed is such a classic combination – to make the flavours into a doughnut is genius!

  18. These look gorgeous and I love anything lemon flavoured too. This recipe is definitely making me want a donut pan!

  19. 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!

    1. Love the sour cream in them too!

  20. Hi I tried these doughnuts, they are more than awesome.. So soft and yummy and I did it in less than 30 minutes.. Thank you so much for this awesome recipe

    1. Glad you loved them Ramya!

  21. I don’t have a donut pan. could these be mini muffins? They look delicious.

  22. Britt @ Sweet Tea & Thyme says:

    Lemon Poppy Seed is my favorite muffin, so I know the donut form might turn into my favorite donut flavor. Krispy Kreme better watch out!

  23. 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! 

    1. I’m glad you added the almond! Thanks for letting me know you made and loved them.

  24. 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?

  25. I hope i will make this on coming holiday. its look good & yummy. 🙂

  26. Hi! Would it be possible to make these donuts a night before I serve them and then glaze them in the morning?  

  27. Seattle Bicycle Advocate says:

    WOW! These look amazing! I love lemon poppyseed and it’s even better when it’s in donut form! Yum!

  28. 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!)

    1. 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!

  29. Casey Hester says:

    Im a new discoverer of your ig and blog! I haven’t tried any recipes but look forward to after we complete this round of Whole30. I am working on a wedding shower gift and wanted to create a donut making basket and thought adding your cookbook in with it but didn’t know if and what donut recipes were included.

  30. Sharon Namanda says:

    Hello sally.
    Can I do without the milk and sour cream..if not what can I substitute

    1. Both are needed in the recipe

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