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Small Batch Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
It's no secret that I'm a huge proponent for small-batch baking recipes. They're perfect for those of us who live alone and lack self-control because it means there are fewer leftovers sitting around waiting for me to devour them all (lol); this was the inspiration behind my second cookbook, Simple Small-Batch Baking.
This small batch lemon poppy seed muffin recipe was actually cut from the "Weekend Brunch" chapter of my second cookbook, Simple Small-Batch Baking, which is available wherever books are sold! This scaled-down recipe makes just 6 muffins, which is perfect for small households!
Why You'll Love These Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
- They're super easy to make
- No mixer required
- Insanely moist and perfectly bright and lemony
- They're small-batch, but the recipe can easily be doubled!
These are basically spring in a muffin pan— one bite, and you’ll be dreaming of warm spring days and picnics in the park.
Ingredients & Substitutions
For these lemon poppy seed muffins, you need some pretty basic pantry ingredients:
- Lemons- You'll need *at least* 4 lemons as this recipe calls for a whopping 1/4 cup of lemon zest (and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice) to ensure the bright lemon flavor shines through.
- Canola Oil– I tested this recipe using butter; however, using oil allows the lemon flavor to shine through better and also keeps these muffins nice and moist. You can use any type of neutral oil really!
- Granulated Sugar– To sweeten our muffins ever so slightly.
- Egg- Just one large egg is needed!
- Greek Yogurt + Sour Cream- These ingredients help keep the muffins moist and tender. I used 1/4 cup of lemon Greek yogurt (for that extra lemony flavor) and 1/4 cup of sour cream; however, these 2 ingredients can be used interchangeably with this recipe. If you only have one of these ingredients, just use 1/2 cup of it total!
- Milk- You only need 2 tablespoons! Feel free to replace with an equal amount of your favorite dairy-free alternative.
- All-Purpose Flour– All-purpose flour consistently lead to the best results when testing these muffins.
- Fine Sea Salt– The salt helps balance all that sugar.
- Baking Soda + Baking Powder– Our leavening agents to help these muffins rise.
- Poppy Seeds- These are lemon poppy seed muffins after all...
The optional glaze on top is truly amazing too! Just powdered sugar and lemon juice. UM, YES PLEASE!
How to Make Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
These small batch lemon poppy seed muffins couldn't be easier to make! Here's what you'll do:
How to Serve & Store These Muffins
Serving: These lemon poppy seed muffins need about an hour to cool down before you glaze them (otherwise, the glaze will melt right off), however, if you're leaving off the glaze then you can serve them warm. Otherwise, serve them at room temperature.
Storage: Leftover muffins should be stored in an airtight container and can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Tips for Making the Best Muffins
Here are a few tips for making the best muffins possible:
- Don’t overmix your batter. Overmixing causes the muffins to get tough and rubbery, which nobody wants. Mix until everything is *just* combined (a few flour streaks is okay, honestly).
- Use a spring-loaded scoop to fill the muffin tins. You'll need to fill each one with exactly 4½ tablespoons of batter; it works best if you're precise! Anything more will cause the muffins to overflow, and anything less will result in squat muffins.
- Bake muffins in a greased muffin tin or with paper liners to ensure your muffins come out of the pan in one piece.
- Don’t overbake your muffins. Bake them just until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
Recipe Troubleshooting & FAQ
How do I get MORE lemon flavor in these Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins?
You can add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon extract and whisk it in with the rest of the wet ingredients to enhance the lemon flavor even more.
Can I double this recipe?
Yup, you can double the recipe and bake it in a standard 12-cup muffin pan; the bake time will be about the same! You can adjust the 'servings' slider from 6 to 12 to get the proper metric measurements.
How can you tell when the muffins are done baking?
A toothpick is your best friend when testing muffins for doneness. You’ll want to remove these lemon poppy seed muffins from the oven when your toothpick can be inserted into the center and comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Make sure to let them cool for 10 minutes in the pan before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Watch How to Make These Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins:
Remember to tag me @mikebakesnyc on Instagram and leave a rating + review below if you make these Small Batch Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins! Happy baking!
Moist Small Batch Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
For the Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins:
- 125 g granulated sugar
- ¼ cup lemon zest approx. 4 large lemons
- 56 g canola oil
- 1 large egg (≈ 50g)
- 60 g Greek yogurt (I used lemon flavor)
- 60 g sour cream
- 30 g milk
- 15 g lemon juice
- 156 g all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 8 g poppy seeds
For the Lemon Glaze:
- 90 g powdered sugar
- 15-22 g lemon juice
- poppy seeds for topping (optional)
To Make the Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins:
- Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Spray a 6-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray or line it with cupcake liners, then set it aside.
- Add the granulated sugar to a large bowl and, using your fingers, rub the lemon zest into the sugar until it’s well combined, fragrant, and the sugar has a yellow hue to it.
- Add the oil, egg, Greek yogurt, sour cream, milk, and lemon juice, and whisk until the sugar is dissolved and no lumps from the yogurt and sour cream remain, about 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and poppy seeds. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, then fold everything together gently until just combined.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cup to the top; you’ll use 4½ tablespoons of batter per cup.
- Bake the muffins for 5 minutes. Keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (180°C), and bake them for 15 to 17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool for 10 minutes in the pan before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.
To Make the Lemon Glaze:
- Add the powdered sugar and lemon juice to a small bowl and whisk until well combined and smooth. If the icing is too thin, add a little more powdered sugar; if it's too thick, add more lemon juice.
- Dip or drizzle on top of cooled muffins. Cover leftover muffins tightly, and store them at room temperature for 1 to 2 days.