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. Oh man, I can’t wait to try these. They look so good
    Also, I just made the Maple Almond Cluster Granola. It is to die for. I Can’t stop munching(crunch crunch) on it!

  2. These look so pretty! I can’t wait to make them for brunch/daily cake breaks over the weekend! I also love the idea of using orange rather than lemon, even though I too am lemon obsessed!

  3. I’ve seen a lot of lemon poppy seed things recently, so I love that you added orange to these muffins! I bet they taste just like springtime. 🙂 I think you should start a Lemons Anonymous club! Seriously. I would totally be there, haha. Love these!

  4. Kevin is right — I haven’t seen very many (if any, at all) food blogs that draw out their directions! Maybe he wants to be your resident artist? 😉 Really good idea though! Back to your muffins… I ONLY ate lemon poppy seed muffins when I was growing up. No blueberry, no chocolate (but only because my mom wouldn’t let us!), nothing besides lemon poppy seed. And if the bakery put slivered almonds on top, I picked them all off. Bleck! My how times have changed… And I almost always make orange poppy seed muffins instead of lemon because of how much my guy loves his OJ!

    1. Amy, I’m so glad you love lemon poppy seed AND orange poppy seed so much. Even though you picked off the almonds – those would add a nice touch!! I might have to add them for my next batch.

      1. I still pick off the slivered almonds (I love the soft muffin tops too much), but at least I eat them myself now instead of pawning them off to my mom! 😉

  5. One, I am in love with the lemon-poppy seed combo so I know these muffins and I will be fast friends — and two, I LOVE that Kevin drew the recipe directions for you! Hilarious.

    1. Hahaha thanks Stephanie – Kevin is certainly happy everyone loves his drawing idea lol. Hope you’re having a great weekend!

  6. I am pretty sure these muffins are smiling at me! Love how cheerful they look and are packed with flavor! Pinned!

  7. I have to try this technique the next time I make muffins. I always use a mixer and never heard of baking them for a few minutes and lowering the temp. I can’t wait to see taste the difference. This recipe looks great although I’m sure mine would all be gone in one day.

  8. I’ve been wanting to make muffins lately, and these look delicious! Poppyseed lemon cake/muffins always remind me of my grandma; it was a combination she used a lot when my sister and I stayed at her house. It’s been a long time since I’ve had anything like it. Orange is a great idea; I’d also like to try grapefruit. I love grapefruit, and they just don’t seem to be used much!

  9. These look delicious and great for spring!
    I’m just curious…how do you add the copyright watermark and the banners to your photos? Is it a feature in Lightroom? I don’t have Lightroom but was considering buying it and was wondering if that was a feature!

  10. Saw these on your blog the other day, and I just made them because I couldn’t stop thinking about how good they sounded. Was very excited when I found a bottle of poppy seeds in my cupboard! Didn’t put quite as much poppy seed or lemon as you listed (I admit, it sounded like too much). They turned out really good, but next time (there WILL be a next time) I make them, I will not shy away from the full listed amounts. A bigger punch of the flavors will make them even better! Thanks for the recipe!

  11. Sally, I want to make these soon but as a poor college student I don’t have little muffin tins, only large ones! Do you think I should extend the cooking time a bit? Maybe I should just invest in more muffin tins 🙂

    1. Hi Kari! Do you mean that you do not have a 12-count muffin pan? That is the size of these muffins. To make in a jumbo 6-count muffin pan, the bake time will be much higher. Closer to 25 minutes total (maybe a little more).

  12. These look sooooo delicious! A couple of weeks ago we posted a vegan blueberry lemon muffin recipe ( and it was so good! I think I can definitely turn this into a vegan dish.

  13. These look awesome and I’d love to try them…however, I don’t know if I can find poppyseeds where I live. How about subbing chia?

      1. I just made them with chia seeds! Worked like a charm 🙂 I also made them in Malaysia, in a toaster oven, with no zester and very few measuring implements…so it’s safe to say there’s really no way to go wrong with these delish muffins 🙂

  14. Hiii sally I have recieved ur cookbook today amd im so thrilled actually I want to try out all of the recipes but i can only start with one 2day, can u please recommend a reipe to start with since its ur book, I also wanted to tell u how much I liked the book so well organized and colorful that makes it so beautiful I spent the last 3 hours reading the whole book im really obsessed with it
    thaaank you so mmuch fpr sharing ur wonderful recipes and making baking so much sweeter and irresistible

    1. Hi Fatima! Why not start with the first recipe and bake your way through? 🙂 Thanks so much for buying it – I’m so glad you love it and spent so much time reading it already!

  15. Hi Sally,
    I made the lemon poppy seed muffins from your book a few days ago. They looked great, were very moist & fluffy & delicious. I will definitely be trying this version soon. Love the addition of orange! Also, love that you put estimated amounts of the zest & juice used too. With my muffins I felt that perhaps I had a little too much lemon in there. Maybe my lemons were bigger/juicier….. Thanks again! Looking forward to baking more delicious things from your blog & book very soon……:)

    1. Thanks Austria! I’m so glad that you’ve already tried the lemon version. Let me know any more blog and book recipes you try!

  16. Sally- I can’t bake. I can’t bake at all, even when I follow a recipe to the t. My cookies are always hard, my quick bread is always dry, and my husband won’t come anywhere close to my muffins. HOWEVER, I’ve been using your recipes to bake, and my hubs keeps complimenting me. Thanks for changing my life in baking. You have a gift. We just had your raspberry quick bread (subbing in blueberries b/c we love them) yesterday! YUM!

    1. Thanks Theresa. What a sweet comment! I’m so happy that my recipes are giving you the confidence in the kitchen. Please, please let me know any more recipes you try!

  17. I have had orange muffins on my list for so long. These look and sound fabulous – a must make!

  18. This is certainly the perfect way to start my mornings – and I also have a huge bag of lemons to use up. What great timing!

  19. 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!

  20. OMG Sally! Since I have started following you – I have put on 5lbs! I blame you for this! (j/k) Your recipes are amazing, easy to follow…and did I say amazing? I am about to try my hand at these muffins and I can’t wait! Thank you for your awesomeness…I’m having a blast with all of your recipes!!!! 🙂

    1. Thanks Andrea! You’re so sweet. It’s funny – when my fiancé and I finally moved in together, he was around the baked goods more often. We both joined a gym right away. 😉

  21. Hey Sally great recipe! I tried these out today and they were perfect! But as time passed by, I noticed they started to get really dry. I know I baked it for the suggested amount of time but I was hoping you could think of something I did wrong.

    1. Hmm. Maybe you added a little more flour by accident. That happens to me all the time with muffins when I’m not super precise. You can even reduce the flour by a couple Tablespoons – that will surely help! Or just slather them with some butter or jam. 😉 Just kidding… sort of. Thanks Amber!

  22. Yum! The flavors sound amazing and the contrast the poppy seeds give looks divine! What a perfect springtime muffin. 🙂

  23. Hi Sally,

    These little beauties are great, we just tasted one before going to bed! Your blog is inspiring and you’re full of creative ideas 🙂

    As a matter of housekeeping, you don’t specificy in the directions when to add the vanilla.

    Thanks for the great recipe!

      1. You’re more than welcome. Thank you (stuffs muffin into face)!

        I made a few changes to your recipe and will post to my own blog, will a shout out and link back to you be the proper way to do so?

        Thanks again 🙂

  24. Hi Sally,
    I have made several of your muffin recipes and loved them. This recipe had good flavour, but I found them to be quite dense.
    I wonder what I did wrong?
    I will try them again though. I love them lemon and orange combo.

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