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Magnificent Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

 Does the mere thought of a lemony treat make you salivate with happiness? 

Today I’m sharing my best recipe for Magnificent Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins. They are moist and rich from the addition of greek yogurt and apple sauce. I’ll show you how to make them with bakery-style big crunchy tops. With all this goodness going on, you’ll want to add these to your favorites list! 

These muffins are bright and citrusy and filled with flavor and they can be on your table in about 45 minutes!

Back when I had my bakery, I always had a fun selection of breakfast pastries to go with morning coffee sales. We displayed them on cute little pedestal plates and tried to keep the muffin flavors fun and different. While the customers would never let me take blueberry off the menu, I would rotate the other popular flavors. Lemon Poppy Seed was always in that rotation. There is something about it that feels nostalgic and bright. It’s a great change of pace from your regular muffin flavors! 

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To get started on this muffin you’ll need a few supplies.

I really like McCormick Poppy Seeds. They always taste fresh and nutty. 

Make sure you’ve got a nice heavyweight muffin pan. I love the Nordic Ware brand. It never warps and holds up to lots of use. 

The secret to the bright lemony flavor of this muffin is lemon zest. I prefer to use a Microplane. It’s like a mini handheld grater that stays super sharp. It’s also really handy for grating nutmeg and parmesan cheese!

To make the muffins:

Measure the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, poppy seeds, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Zest the lemon and add it to the flour mixture. Use your hands to coat the zest in flour and separate any clumps.

Combine the egg, Greek yogurt, apple sauce, oil, and lemon juice into a medium-size container. Whisk well to combine.

The secret to big bakery-style muffin tops…..

Here’s what you need to do to get the big, crusty style muffin tops that store bought muffins often have:

Fill the muffin tins very full!

Sprinkle sugar on top. I like to use a coarse sugar crystal for this. It gives the muffin tops a nice sugary crunch.

Bake them in a preheated 400° oven. ( Even if a recipe tells you a lower temperature!)

That’s it! That’s the secret to big muffin tops. The high oven heat forms the crusty top and keeps the full pan from overflowing and the crystal sugar gives them a delicious crunch.

Apple Sauce: The insider secret to baking moist muffins

When you think of adding apple sauce to baked goods you may do it to lower the calorie content or replace an ingredient like egg,sour cream or oil. But did you know that applesauce is high in soluble fiber? Soluble fiber has been shown to have a high water-binding property. What that means is that using apple sauce in your baked goods can help them stay fresher for longer.

Usually these muffins get gobbled up the same day I bake them, but if you want to extend the shelf life by a day, try adjusting the liquid ingredients in your recipe to include some apple sauce.

To read more about adding fiber for moisture retention in baked goods, check out these articles:

Magnificent Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

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Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Keyword: lemon, muffin, poppy seed
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes


Dry Ingredients

  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tbsp Poppy Seeds
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Lemons zested (Save for Juice)
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg

Wet Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Appple Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Lemons juiced



  • Combine the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl. Use your fingers to evenly coat the lemon zest with flour. Set aside.
  • In a medium sized bowl, combine the oil, apple sauce, yogurt, lemon juice, and eggs. Whisk until well blended.
  • Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry mix and fold together until just blended. Be careful not to overmix.


  • Line 12 muffin wells with cupcake liners. Scoop the batter into muffin tins until it is completely full.
  • Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with crystal sugar.

Baking Instruction

  • Preheat your oven to 400°. ( see above explanation of "Bakeryu Style Muffin Tops")
  • Bake for 10 munutes, rotate pan for even browning, and bake for an additional 5 minutes

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might like my Old School Banana Bread Recipe and my Better Than a Box Mix Brownies.

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