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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. Made these last night for my daughters to take to school for snack time–a huge hit! I was determined to make them because lemon-poppyseed is my daughter Lucy’s favorite but I had never tackled them before. Thanks so much for another great recipe!

  2. Made these today. Your description is spot-on: buttery and moist. Delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Hi! I literally just pulled these out of the oven and they are beautiful!! The sparkly coarse sugar on top is to die for! : ) (I get really excited about stuff like this…lol) Can’t wait to try one and take the rest to work tomorrow to share with friends (lucky ducks). : ) Thanks for a great recipe!

  4. Hey Sally, if I don’t have poppy seeds can I leave it out and still make these orange lemon muffins??

  5. Hi what if I don’t have the yogurt? Is there another substitute or can I just omit it?

  6. This is the most amazing recipe I have ever used! The batter is so fluffy and beautiful. The muffins came out to perfection!!! I would recommend this to EVERYONE! Go try it!

  7. Made these delicious muffins together with my 3,5 year old daughter yesterday. As we only had raspberry yoghurt at home we used this instead. We made 24 little ones and decorated some of them with fancy little stars. Great and easy recipe. And ever so delicious fresh tasting muffins. Thanks:-)

  8. These are fantastic!! They were perfect for my mother’s day breakfast. Although the directions say to grease one muffin pan, I didn’t realize that I was only getting 12 muffins. (it was pretty early, and I hadn’t drank enough coffee, so that may have had something to do with it.) Moral of the story: make sure you double or triple this recipe, since they won’t be around long enough to get stale:)

  9. Another great recipe!! These turned out perfectly, and I’m sure my family of 6 will devour these within a couple days. I drizzled a lemon glaze over the tops of mine instead of the coarse sugar. I tested one (of course) before I put the rest away, and the texture was just great–light and fluffy. Thanks again for another tasty recipe!

  10. Made a half batch today into mini muffins. Used your timing from the chocolate chip muffin recipe (which I made last week!). Had no yogurt, milk or sour cream so substituted the yogurt with the only non-butter dairy product left in the fridge – vanilla ice cream haha. Still came out wonderfully. Thank you!

  11. These muffins were amazing! One of the best I’ve ever made! Thank you for the recipe. 🙂

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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!!

  15. 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!

  16. 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!

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

  18. 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?

  19. 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.

  20. 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!:)

  21. I wanted to try these in mini muffin form. Do you know the oven temperature and time that should be used?

  22. 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!

  23. These are my new favourite muffins! So so good. Does this recipe work doubled? 

    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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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!

  26. 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?

  27. 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?

  28. 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.

  29. 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!:)

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