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These moist and fluffy lemon muffins are dotted with poppy seeds and topped with a slightly crunchy lemon streusel topping.
Welcome to #LemonWeek 2022 hosted by Rebecca from Devour Dinner and me! This week is sponsored by Rodelle and La Tourangelle. I may have received product samples from these sponsors to help in the creation of my recipes. All opinions are my own. Come join me and my fellow Lemon Week bloggers as we bring you recipes from appetizers to drinks to entrées and desserts!
Quite a few years ago, I chose muffins for my monthly themed recipe (this year is the year of pies, in case you were wondering!). My choice stemmed from spending a lot of time postpartum with our first son eating lots and lots of muffins.
In fact, in the fall of 2017, I shared what wound up being one of the most popular muffin recipes on my entire site as a nod to my maternity leave and return to work. Those pumpkin streusel muffins are like a copycat Dunkin recipe but, in my opinion, even better (I personally don’t love the glaze they put on theirs).
I kicked off that year with these lemon poppy seed muffins, but over the years of making them, I decided they needed to be tweaked a bit and I’ve made them even better than my original recipe, and I think you’re going to love my lemon poppy seed muffins 2.0, too!
While I do love a good yogurt addition to lots of baked goods that need moisture, I very intentionally made these lemon poppy seed muffins without yogurt. Instead of yogurt, I just use milk, and since we’re using fresh lemon juice and lemon zest, we don’t have to specifically use buttermilk.
The use of standard milk vs buttermilk or yogurt makes the ingredient list for these muffins incredibly simple.
I actually modeled this lemon poppy seed muffin recipe from my orange blueberry muffin recipe. That recipe worked so well and is so well-loved in our house that I made a few adjustments and landed on this recipe you see here.
One thing I added to the lemon and poppy seed muffins that I thought it really benefitted from was a tart, crunchy, lemon streusel topping.
For this fun topping, I took my standard streusel topping recipe and turned it lemon. For the streusel, you’ll need flour, granulated sugar, salt, butter, and some lemon zest.
I left out the cinnamon completely and swapped brown sugar for plain white sugar. While there is brown sugar in the muffin itself, I wanted that lemon streusel to have some crunch, so I stuck with 100% granulated sugar for the top.
LEMON POPPY SEED MUFFIN
The muffin batter is also quite simple. For the dry ingredients, you’ll need flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
For the wet ingredients, we’re mixing both granulated and brown sugars, melted unsalted butter, eggs, fresh lemon juice, milk, and lemon zest.
While your eggs and milk should be at room temperature, I love that this recipe still comes together quickly and I don’t have to wait for any butter to soften. Bringing the eggs to room temperature can be sped up by putting them in hot water for 10 minutes, and I usually nuke my milk in the microwave if I need to take the chill off.
HOW TO MAKE LEMON POPPY SEED MUFFINS WITH LEMON STREUSEL
Just like any dessert with streusel, we’re going to make the streusel first then set it aside.
This is to insure the butter stays cold since the science of streusel works the same way as the science of pie crust: cold pieces of butter melt giving way to chunks of the other ingredients + air which in the case of streusel = crunch.
MAKE THE STREUSEL
To make the lemon streusel, place the flour, sugar, salt, and the zest of half of a lemon into a small bowl. Toss everything together with a fork until combined.
Add the butter to the bowl, then use a fork to smash the pieces of butter into the mixture, then use your fingers to press the ingredients together until butter is in small chunks.
I like to pick up chunks of butter and gently pinch them between my thumb and pointer and middle fingers to slightly flatten them. Then, I drop the flattened pieces of butter back into the mixture so they pick up the dry mixture, then I go through the whole bowl again with all of my fingers to “fluff” the mixture and turn the flattened pieces back into larger chunks.
I like to aim for mostly medium-size chunks with some smaller and larger chunks.
Once the streusel is done, stick it in the fridge to keep it chilled while you make the muffin batter.
MAKE THE MUFFINS
As for the lemon poppy seed muffin batter, it comes together pretty quickly. You’ll whisk the butter and sugars together first, then add the remaining wet ingredients. Once those are smooth, you’ll add in the dry ingredients and then slowly stir the mixture together.
Once the batter has just come together, it’s ready for the wells of a cupcake/muffin pan.
BAKE AT AN INITIAL HIGH TEMPERATURE FOR MAXIMUM LIFT
Once you’ve filled the wells of your pan, being sure not to overfill them (I like to aim for about halfway to juuuuust below ⅔ of the way full for this batter) you’ll add your sweet and tart lemon streusel. You’ll add about 1 scant Tablespoon of streusel to each mound of batter.
Once your batter mounds are equipped with their streusel, bake your muffins for an initial 5 minutes at a higher temperature of 400ºF (204ºC).
This initial burst of heat allows the muffins to puff up quickly, leaving you with a beautifully domed muffin top.
After those first 5 minutes, you’ll reduce the oven temperature without opening the oven door and continue to bake for 13-15 minutes.
What I really love about this recipe for lemon poppy seed muffins is that crunchy streusel on top that I’ve come to love over years of making these muffins. While it is absolutely fine to leave it off, and you’ll be left with a perfectly delicious lemon poppyseed muffin, I urge you to try the lemon streusel on top.
It give the muffins a bakery-style feel, like the ones that are as big as your hand, straight from the case with the wax paper grabber. You know what I’m talking about!
Each bite of muffin is filled with those teeny poppy seed bites, and that extra crunch on top is the perfect texture complement to everything happening inside the muffin itself.
I truly think you’ll love this lemon and poppyseed muffin recipe as much as we do and my bet is that it’s on rotation in your house shortly after your first batch is gone!
Thursday #LemonWeek Recipes
- Lemon Chess Pie by Palatable Pastime
- Strawberry Lemonade Bars by Best Cookie Recipes
- Lemon Dump Cake by The Fresh Cooky
- Easy Peasy Lemon Cookies by A Day In The Life On The Farm
- Lemon Cream Cheese Bundt Cake by An Affair From The Heart
- Lemon Ricotta Pancakes by Jen Around The World
- ½ cup (60g) all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- zest of ½ of a lemon you will use the rest in the muffin batter
- ¼ cup (57g) unsalted butter cold and cut into small pieces1
- 2 and ½ cups (300g) all-purpose flour be sure to measure properly
- 2 and ½ Tablespoons poppy seeds
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (100g) firmly packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter melted
- 2 large eggs room temperature2
- juice of two lemons + milk to the level of 1 cup (240mL)3
- zest of 1 and ½ lemons
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Place flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest into a small bowl. Toss together with a fork until combined.
- Add the butter to the bowl, then use a fork to smash the pieces of butter into the mixture.
- Use your fingers to press the ingredients together until butter is in small chunks. I like to pick up chunks of butter and gently pinch them between my thumb and pointer and middle fingers to flatten slightly. I then drop the flattened pieces of butter back into the mixture so they pick up the dry mixture, then go through the whole bowl again with all of my fingers to "fluff" the mixture and turn the flattened pieces back into larger chunks. You are aiming for mostly medium-size chunks and some smaller and larger chunks.
- Place streusel in the refrigerator while you make the muffin batter.
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF (204ºC). Spray 18 wells of two 12-count muffin pans with non-stick spray or line the wells with cupcake liners. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, toss together the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a medium size bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and butter until smooth. Add the eggs, lemon juice/milk mixture, lemon zest, and vanilla extract and whisk again until everything is combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir gently with a spatula until just combined. Spoon batter into prepared muffin pans, being careful not to overfill (I aim for about halfway to just under ⅔ of the way full for this batter). Sprinkle 1 scant Tablespoon of lemon streusel onto the tops of each mound of batter.
- Bake the muffins for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 350ºF (171ºC) and bake for an additional 13-15 minutes until streusel starts to brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Muffins will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days or in the refrigerator up to one week. Muffins freeze well, up to 2 months. Thaw in microwave for 45-60 seconds before eating.
- Butter: I typically cut my ¼ cup of butter into 16 pieces. Cut the stick in half long ways, turn it on its side and cut in half long ways again, then slice into 4 slices. This will make 16 small pieces.
- Room temperature ingredients: it is always a good rule of thumb to use room temperature eggs when using room temperature butter. To bring eggs to room temperature quickly, place in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes.
- Lemon juice + milk: add lemon juice to a glass measuring cup. Two lemons will give you approximately ½ cup of juice. Add milk to the cup with the lemon juice until the level is at 1 cup. This is similar to making buttermilk.