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! Recipe on

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! Recipe on

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! Recipe on

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.

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! Recipe on

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.


Orange Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 muffins
  • 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 (292g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 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, melted*
  • juice and zest of 2 medium lemons*
  • juice and zest of 1 orange*
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120g) non-fat or low-fat Greek or regular yogurt, 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, 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!


  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
  4. Orange: My large orange yielded about 1/4 cup of juice and 2 Tablespoons of zest.

Keywords: orange lemon poppy seed muffins

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

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!


  1. 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! 

  2. 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!

  3. 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 🙂

  4. 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! 

  5. 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?

  6. 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.

  7. one picture shows a glaze….do you have a recipe for it?    how many mini cakes would this make please?? ……….        thank you

  8. Hi Sally! These look amazing and I just happen to have heaps of lemons in the fridge! Just wondering if I can omit the poppy seeds and add blueberries instead for a lemon blueberry muffin? Or will that be too wet? Thank you!:)

  9. I just made these, and am (impatiently) waiting for them to cool. They look AMAZING! Thanks so much for the domed-top tip. I never thought I’d be able to make muffins that look so perfect!

    I had to tweak the recipe a bit… I didn’t have whole eggs, just egg whites, so I used 1/2 cup of egg whites. I only had half a lemon and 2 oranges, so mine will be more orange-y. One thing that I found strange is that this batched made only 6 perfect muffins, not 12, and I filled the tins to the top as instructed. Maybe it could be the egg whites? But that still seems off to have the recipe cut in half. Anyways, I can’t wait to try them! Thanks for the recipe!

  10. Hello Sally. I would like to make Orange Lemon Poppyseed muffins with your Master Muffin Mix.
    What tweaks would be needed for the Master Mix. thank-you.

    1. I always recommend making two separate batches– it’s easier to work with less batter at a time. And less risk of over or under mixing.

  11. Hi Sally.. I’m a huge fan of your recipes! Especially with the weight provided for ingredients. Makes my life easier here in Australia . I’m desperate for a moist orange poppy seed cake recipe. Would this recipe work for a cake as well?
    Thanks, Prerna.

  12. Fantastic! Made these today, following your recipe exactly, and my family raved about the muffins. I made your lemon glaze for them. This will be my go to muffin recipe from now on.

  13. Hi Sally, I’ve made this recipe for the 2nd time and I find these lemon poppy muffins too lemon-y. Why is this recipe different than the lemon blackberry muffins? I may try that one next time (and omit the blackberries) because it calls for 1 lemon juiced and zested, instead of 2. Also, the butter & sugar are blended together for the wet ingredients, as most of your muffin recipes, while here, the sugar was put in the dry ingredients (?). Thanks!

    1. The two different recipes have a different ratio of ingredients (for example this one has almost twice the amount of flour) and they yield different flavors and textures. It’s personal preference which one you enjoy the most!

      1. Thank you for your quick reply. And thank you for ALL of your recipes! I’ve made most of your muffin recipes over the years, so when I come across a change, I’ve gotta ask!

  14. Hello Sally,
    I need to make a Lemon Poppy Seed Cake. Can I do that with this recipe? If so, do I just replace the orange with another lemon?

      1. Thank you Sally. Can’t wait to try the Lemon Layer Cake. I hope 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds will be enough

  15. Can I sub the butter with oil? I just made your whole wheat banana double chocolate muffins with agavr and they were so moist and amazing! Even though it professed to be a healthy recipe, was just soo good. It was the first time I baked with oil so was wondering if that’s why there were so moist. Thoughts?

  16. Hi Sally,
    First of all, I have to tell you I am one of your biggest fans! I have made so many of your recipes and they have never failed me! The joke now is for everyone to ask me if whatever I’ve made is from Sally’s Baking Addition!
    These muffins look so delicious! I wanted to make them for Easter brunch, but as mini muffins instead. I know in an earlier comment you said to bake at 350 for 11- 13 min, but do you know how to get them to also dome like the bigger ones? Thanks.

    1. Hi Bella! These muffins will POP right up in a mini muffin pan. No changes to the recipe necessary. Bake at 350F for 11-13 minutes. 🙂

      1. Sally,
        I made your muffins today and just had to tell you how fabulous they are! I just may have to make more of them… I ‘m pretty sure they won’t make it to Easter!

        Btw, I just wanted to thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my (and everyone else’s) questions on your site! I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to ask a blogger a question and never receive an answer! No matter how busy you may be, you ALWAYS take the time to respond! I totally appreciate that! Thanks again!

  17. I made these into purely orange and poppy seed muffins as I have an excess of oranges at the moment (plus I’ve always had oranges combined with poppy seeds rather than lemon. Might be an Australian thing). So good. I used 2 oranges which was about 1/2 cup of juice.

    I had some left over which I topped with some orange buttercream and told people at work they were cupcakes. They were a hit.

    These are really good for my 3 year old daughter to make with me as well as we don’t need to get out the stand mixer and she can do most of it by herself.

  18. These muffins are so good! I made a few changes by using an extra tablespoon of poppyseeds (simply because I had a lot to use up) and used all lemons instead of both lemons and orange. The muffins turned out fabulously soft and tender, with wonderful flavour! I topped them with a simple lemon glaze for extra flavour; really kicked them up a notch (not to mention it looked vey pretty, too). We loved these muffins and I’m sure I’ll make them again!:)

  19. 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.

  20. 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!!!

  21. 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!

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally