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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! 

stack of 2 orange lemon poppy seed muffins

When life (Sunkist) hands you (ships you) a box of lemons, what do you do? Bake with them!

One of my favorite muffins in the world (besides blueberry!) are lemon poppy seed muffins. I love these springtime, citrus-infused muffins so much that I included them in my cookbook. Have you tried them yet?

orange lemon poppy seed muffins

Today’s muffins are practically the same recipe, with some orange infusion and a little milk to help thin out the thick batter.

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 for the lemon and orange.

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 love sprinkling the tops of muffins with coarse sugar. Similar to the poppy seeds, the coarse sugar gives these muffin tops a delightful crunch.

orange lemon poppy seed muffins on a plate

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

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!

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stack of 2 orange lemon poppy seed muffins

Orange Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 muffins 1x
  • Category: Muffins
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


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! 


  • 2 and 1/3 cups (291g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g) salted butter, melted*
  • 67 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice*
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (about 1 medium orange)
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120g) non-fat or low-fat Greek or regular yogurt, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) milk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure 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, 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, milk, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently mix together until no pockets of flour remain. Do not over-mix. The batter is 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!


  1. Freezing Instructions: 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.
  2. Butter: I have used salted and unsalted butter interchangeably in this recipe without changing the amount of added salt.
  3. Lemon: 1 medium-size lemon = approximately 1 tablespoon of lemon zest = 2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice

Keywords: orange lemon poppy seed muffins

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

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I made these and they are absolutely delicious! As other Australian’s have mentioned, orange and poppyseed is more of a thing here than lemon and poppyseed. We also had extra oranges at the moment so I used the juice and rind of 2 oranges and the juice of half a lemon. They turned out great with the perfect balance of fluffy texture and crunchy poppyseeds.

  2. I LOVE SALLY’S RECIPES!!! Even w/ food allergies her recipes are so versatile. I made these w/ egg and dairy substitutes and they came out tasting and looking just like the originals. My son said they tasted the same and were awesome. I used Earth Balance Vegan Butter Sticks and Bob’s Red Mill’s Egg Replacement but everything else was the same, they came out perfect! I love Sally’s recipes cuz there is science behind each recipe so replacing a few things for food allergies doesn’t ruin the whole recipe. I got permission to post this cuz I wanted other food allergy sufferers to know that they could still use these awesome recipes. Thank You Sally, yet again an amazing recipe!!!

  3. You are my go-to source for muffin and cookie recipes. I love these! Super easy to freeze and pop in the microwave for a pop of fresh citrus whenever I’m feeling like it! So yummy. My 5 yo devours these!

  4. Can I use sour cream instead of yogurt in this recipe?

    Thank you so much!

  5. Made these and it was a hit! Opted out lemon and made it 100% orange poppy seed muffin and it turned out amazing! However I noticed that the muffin was sticking to the muffin paper, should I have not used them? Love the trick for baking in high heat to get a beautiful top!
    Sending you lots of love from Malaysia <3

    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed the muffins, Manisha. If you are using liners I highly recommend getting grease proof liners, I’ve never had a problem with muffins or cupcakes sticking once I began using them.

  6. Hi Sally! I love all of your recipes and they are always delicious! Except I somehow messed this one up. The muffins were dry and didn’t taste lemon-y at all. I saw your note that 1 lemon = 2-3 tbsp of juice. I got a lot more than that, but ended up using only ~6 tbsp for the batter. Maybe I misunderstood and should have used it all? (Note: I used greek yogurt & melted the butter on the stove)

    1. Hi Annie! You need the juice from 2 lemons, so about 6 Tablespoons, plus about 1/4 cup of fresh orange juice. I added those to the ingredient deck so it’s a little clearer!

  7. I made these into Jumbo muffins for my coworkers. I absolutely love the citrus combination along with the poppy seed crunch. And the aroma coming from the oven is reason alone to bake these! Definitely saving this recipe!

  8. Hi Sally- can’t wait to make these! How much zest do you recommend measurement-wise? Or just whatever we get from 1-2 lemons? Thanks!

  9. delish! Simple and refreshing for a muffin.

  10. I LOVE the flavor of these. I don’t love the texture. How could I make it more light and fluffy like store bought muffins are?

    1. Hi Sofia, try my master muffin recipe. They’re pretty soft and cakey! I include a note about turning them into lemon poppy seed flavor. Feel free to add some orange zest too and replace some of the lemon juice with orange juice.

  11. Hello. I would like to make these because your recipes have not failed me. However, my husband is not a lemon fan. What changes would I need to make to use Almond extract instead of lemon juice and zest? Thanks.

    1. Hi Leanne, instead of altering this recipe to leave out the lemon, I recommend using my favorite muffin recipe instead. Follow the base batter, then add 2 Tablespoons of poppy seeds to the dry ingredients. Add 1 teaspoon almond extract with you mix in the vanilla. You can leave out the cinnamon.

  12. These are great! Would it be possible to make it into a bread?

    1. Hi Reliance! I actually haven’t tried this recipe as a loaf before, but I imagine it would be incredibly dense. You can certainly try it, but keep that in mind. I’m unsure of the best bake time.

  13. Hi Sally. Firstly I am so pleased to have found your website, I am slowly working my way through your recipes and often take one of them to work for my colleagues so I dont eat a whole recipe myself! I have just made these muffins and loved them. I find that as my oven is fan forced I need to lower the temperature by about ten degrees but have also made quite a few of your muffin recipes and have to decrease the cooking time by 5-10 minutes. I live in Australia so I dont know if that makes any difference or could it just be my oven? Its not a problem as I just watch them carefully but wondered if I should be changing anything? Otherwise as I said, Im loving your recipes and my husband gets the leftovers of what I dont take to work! My theory is that way I get to bake (which I love) and try to just eat one muffin or piece of cake and then leave the rest at work!)

    1. Hi Heather, We are so happy you have been enjoying the website! All of the recipes here are written for conventional settings. The rule of thumb when baking with convection/fan settings is to lower your oven by 25 degrees and the bake time may still be shorter so begin checking before the recommended bake time. I hope this helps!

  14. Could you sub the 1/4 cup orange juice and zest for lemon? To make regular lemon poppyseed?

    1. Hi Brock, You can leave out the orange and replace with lemon zest/juice.

  15. Hi, Sally! I know you might be busy but if you are unavailable that’s okay, it is NOT urgent. How would I go about making these into mini muffins?

    1. Hi Emily! No changes to the recipe necessary for mini muffins. Bake them at 350F for 11-13 minutes!

  16. Hi Sally,
    I just made these lovelies with white poppy seeds(I didn’t have black one handy)and thanks for the simple yet delicious recipe. It’s so flavorful but I didn’t get the crispness on the top. I don’t know where I went wrong. Can u help me here?

  17. This made very dense, bread-like objects that didn’t taste particularly lemon-y. Furthermore, the 5 minutes at 475 almost burnt the outside of them. I did another batch for 18 minutes at 350 and they rose much better and looked much better as well.

  18. I am such a big fan of your recipes, it’s sometimes hard to understand other recipes that use measurements such as ounces, but you provide cups and spoons which really goes a long way
    i’ve only just recently started baking and you’ve been my mentor 😀
    i do have a question.. i don’t have any yoghurt at hand but i do have coconut milk.. would it be okay to substitute it with that?

    1. We haven’t tested this recipe with coconut milk as a substitute for sour cream or yogurt, but fear it would be too thin. Let us know if you give it a try!

  19. Delicious! My 2.5 year old kept asking for another right after finishing one! I love all of your recipes. I do have a question though; my muffins don’t necessarily rise up and dome, but rise with a slant to them. What would be the reason for that? Would it be my oven setting or the fact that I use a silicone muffin tin on a baking sheet? It happens with most muffins/cupcakes I bake. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Hi Carrie, great to hear how much you enjoy this recipe! The slanting could be hot spots in your oven that cause certain areas to heat and bake quicker than others. We haven’t baked with a silicone baking sheet, but perhaps that is heating unevenly as well, causing the slanting. Hope this helps a bit!

  20. Hello Sally,
    I was wondering if I could substitute the low fat Greek yogurt and use a low fat sour cream instead?
    If not what is the percentage you use for low fat Greek yogurt?

    1. Hi Jessica! Regular sour cream or low fat sour cream would both work in the place of greek yogurt. Enjoy!

  21. Hello Trina,
    I also wanted to know if I could leave out the Orange portion and just make this a Lemon Poppyseed Muffin instead?
    If so how much more lemon would I need to add to replace the orange portion of this muffin recipe?
    As for the sour cream when you say that I can use regular sour cream do you mean I could use Full Fat sour cream?

    1. Hi Jessica! Yes, full fat or reduced fat sour cream should both work. For a lemon poppy seed muffin (without orange) we suggest following this recipe instead – you can leave out the blackberries if desired.

  22. I don’t have poppy seeds; can I sub with sesame seeds? If not, should I just leave the poppy seeds out? Thanks!!!

    1. Hi Bowen, you can leave the poppy seeds out. Enjoy!

  23. Hello Sally,
    I was wondering if the all purpose flour in your recipe is interchangeable with plain flour?

  24. I want to use this recipe but want to make Jumbo muffins. How long should I bake them?

    1. Hi Sandy, For jumbo muffins, bake at 425°F for 5 minutes, then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (177°C) and continue to bake for 25-30 minutes or until the centers are set. Stick a toothpick in the center of a muffin to test for doneness.

  25. Hi! So far every recipe I have made from your site has been a huge hit. Lemons are very rare where I live but I have lemon extract. How much extract should I use? What if I want to use extract for both the lemon and orange – how much of each? I am so looking forward to these, it took me months to find poppy seeds, now that I have them I am ready for some muffins! Thank you so much!!!

    1. Hi Jenni, to use lemon extract, I recommend at least 1 and 1/2 teaspoons. Replace all of the citrus juice (lemon and orange) with more milk. Now I haven’t tested this, but this method is where I would start.

  26. Hi sally, can I use chia seeds to replace poppy seeds? Thanks!!