One day, my friend Marcie left a bag of Meyer lemons hanging on my front door. (This tells you a lot about both of us.) I wanted to make something worthy of such a lovely gift, so I combed the web for days, and started to experiment with the recipes I found. The final result: a delicious lemon poppy muffin, which you can make with regular lemons too. They have a soft crumb, strong lemon flavor, and a little crunch from the poppy seeds.

I’ve added some options at the bottom to make the recipe a little healthier, should you desire it. These are delicious and easy muffins, perfect for beginning bakers.


1 ¾  cups whole wheat white flour (all-purpose is fine too!)

½  cup sugar

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup milk (I use 1%, but 2% or whole is fine)

1/4 cup oil (safflower, canola, etc.)

1 large egg

6-8 teaspoons lemon juice (flexible)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional: turbinado (or any coarse) sugar, for sprinkling


Grease or line (with muffin cups) a 12-cup muffin tin and heat the oven to 400 degrees. (You will reduce the temperature later.)  Zest and juice the lemons.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, poppy seeds, lemon zest, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Make a well in the center and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk the milk and egg. Add the oil, lemon juice, and vanilla and stir (or whisk) until thoroughly mixed.

Pour the liquid ingredients into the well in the flour mixture and stir just until combined.

Scoop batter into muffin tins, dividing as evenly as possible. (An ice cream scoop works beautifully.) Sprinkle each one lightly with turbinado sugar, if desired.

Place the tray in the oven, bake at 400 for 5 minutes, then reduce temperature to 375. Bake for another 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. (Mine are always done at exactly 15, total.)

Give them another five minutes in the tin, then remove to a wire rack.

If You Want to Make Them Healthier

Instead of 1 ¾ cups flour, use 1 ¼ cups of flour and ½ cup of wheat germ.

Instead of ¼ cup oil, use 1/8 cup oil and 1/8 cup low fat yogurt (vanilla or plain). Tip: The easiest way to measure this is to fill the ¼ measuring cup halfway with yogurt first, then add the oil to reach the top.

Flavor Variations

Use Meyer lemons if you can find them, or oranges, or blood oranges. I haven’t tried grapefruit yet, but I am tempted.

About Laurie Ulster

A transplanted Canadian living in New York, Laurie Ulster is a freelance writer and a TV producer who somehow survived her very confusing adolescence as the lone female Star Trek fan in middle school. She writes about pop culture, lifestyle topics, feminism, food, and other topics for print, digital, podcasts, and TV.

View all posts by Laurie Ulster

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