lemon poppy seed muffins


Soon after I started dating Dave, we spent the weekend in his hometown, staying with his best friends (who are now also my best friends). Our hostess made lemon poppy seed muffins one morning for breakfast, and they were fantastic. A few months later, I asked my friend for the recipe, and she couldn’t find it. How does someone lose a recipe? I don’t get it. I have a number of recipe sources (cookbooks and websites), and if I can’t remember which one a recipe came from, I can generally figure it out with a few minutes of searching. Maybe my friend made the muffins from a mix and didn’t want to tell me. I don’t know.

Since then, I’ve tried a number of lemon poppy seed muffin recipes, looking for one that lived up to that memory. I won’t complain about any of them, because it’s an unbeatable combination of flavors, but none were as good as I was hoping for, until this recipe. These are light and tender and lemony without being sour, with a satisfying crunch from the poppy seeds. I’ll be sure not to lose this recipe.


Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins (from Cooks Illustrated January 1997)

Makes 1 dozen large muffins

CI note: Remember, if you’re short on time, you can melt the butter, mix it with the eggs, and stir it into the dry ingredients. When thoroughly mixed, beat in the yogurt and proceed with the recipe.

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
½ teaspoon table salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar, less 1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 large eggs
1½ cups plain low-fat yogurt
Vegetable cooking spray or additional unsalted butter for muffin tins
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup lemon juice

1. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, poppy seeds, and salt in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Beat butter and sugar with electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add lemon zest to butter-sugar mixture. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in one-half of dry ingredients. Beat in one-third of yogurt. Beat in remaining dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with yogurt, until incorporated.

3. Spray twelve-cup muffin tin with vegetable cooking spray or coat lightly with butter. Use large ice cream scoop to divide batter evenly among cups. Bake until muffins are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Set on wire rack to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove muffins from tin and glaze.

4. For Glaze: While muffins are baking, heat 1/4 cup granulated sugar and lemon juice in small saucepan until sugar dissolves and mixture forms light syrup, 3 to 4 minutes. Brush warm syrup over warm muffins and serve.


  1. these look incredible! i’ve been wanting to make lemon poppyseed muffins for a while now, but i wanted to make sure the recipe ws just right. these look wonderful! i will definitely be giving them a try!

  2. These look delicious! I will definitely have to keep this recipe in mind next time I make muffins!

  3. Your muffins look so perfect! Nice a golden color, I wish I had one to eat right now!

  4. These look great. i have been in search of the perfect lemon poppy seed muffin for some time now. i will be trying this recipe out! Thanks!

  5. look at how beautiful those are!

  6. Bunnies4Buddha says:

    No they were not from a box- I just lost it. Sid is not big on lemons or poppy seeds so I (most likely) got rid of it since I would not make it frequently. Glad yours came out well – now I will need the recipe from you 😀

  7. Katie says:

    I just made these muffins about fifteen minutes ago and have nothing but RAVE reviews. I stink at baking, but even my muffins taste divine! All credit to you and your wonderful recipe! The lemon flavor is there, but not overwhelming…perfect. Plus, it is much more satisfying to make muffins from scratch and abandon the dreaded box of cake mix! Thanks again!


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