Bright and zippy, these lemon poppy seed muffins are a lemon lover's dream dessert. Bakery-style in size with a moist, lemony crumb and sweet streusel topping drizzled with tangy lemon glaze, my lemon poppy seed muffin recipe brings the flavors and scents of the bake shop to your home kitchen!
What to Make When Life Gives You Lemons
Having a precious little lemon tree in our backyard that produces an abundance of delicious, juicy lemons makes a “lemon head” such as myself a very happy gal when it comes to the countless ways I find to use them in my cozy recipes.
I love all sorts of sweet treats scented with the zingy flavor of lemon. From bundt cakes, to scones, to cool and creamy lemon curd, I have gleefully made all of these when our little tree is offering up its fruit. But one of my most beloved desserts is lemon poppy seed muffins, complete with a crumbly streusel topping and tangy lemon glaze—it's so lemony decadent! 😉
Since my personal motto is “go big or go home” when it comes to homemade muffins, I created my lemon poppy seed muffin recipe to yield jumbo-size, bakery-style muffins that rise up nice and tall with a light, moist inner texture.
I also love to jazz them up a bit with a pretty topping, so my lemon poppy seed muffin recipe comes complete with a simple streusel to sprinkle over top of the batter before baking.
As if that weren't enough, I like to add even more of that bright, tangy and lemony flavor by drizzling over top of the streusel a lemon glaze, making these muffins extra dreamy.
For me, when my little lemon tree gives me lemons (and what lovely lemons it gives!), nothing is more divinely delicious and satisfying than whipping up a batch of these homemade lemon poppy seed muffins with streusel topping.
It's my own way of showing gratitude for and honoring the blessing of this simple-yet lovely fruit, and fully enjoying the fantastically bright flavor of the season.
How to Make Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins with a Streusel Topping
Rich, flavorful ingredients make for the best tasting and most tender muffins, among them being buttermilk, a hint of sour cream, melted butter, and, of course, lots of fresh lemon zest!
I also like to use a generous amount of pure vanilla, which offers lots of sweet aroma to balance out the lemon.
Then, of course, there are the poppy seeds, which lend a nice little bit of texture under tooth with each bite, and slightly nutty flavor, so I add a generous sprinkle of those into the mix.
And when it comes to creating those big, beautiful “jumbo-sized” bake shop style muffins that rise up? Well, the secret is to begin with a high oven temp, and then reduce it after a few minutes…
This higher temperature—425°—helps the leavening agents to react and go to work right off the bat, setting the outer part of the muffing while offering that taller rise and plump look.
A little bit of a crumble/crunch is nice when it comes to bakery style muffins as well, so a simple streusel topping prepared with some sugar, melted butter, flour and a pinch of salt is all it takes.
Of course, lemon poppy seed muffins need a bit of a tangy, lemony glaze, so I simply whisk together some fresh lemon juice and powdered sugar until thick and creamy. So easy, yet adds a touch more lemony flavor!
Here's a peek at my lemon poppy seed muffin recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To start off, I mix together my streusel topping ingredients, and keep the crumble nice and cold in the fridge while I prep my muffin batter.
- To prepare the muffins, I whisk together my dry ingredients (including my sugar) in a medium bowl, and set those aside.
- Next, I whisk together my wet ingredients, and add those into my dry, then gently fold them together just until mixed.
- I spoon my lemon poppy seed muffin batter into my prepared muffin tin and bake the muffins at 425° for about 8 minutes; then I reduce the heat to 350°, and bake for about 17 to 18 minutes more, or until the muffins are just baked through.
- While the muffins bake, I whisk up my simple lemon glaze, and set that aside.
- Once baked, I allow the muffins to cool in the muffin tin for a few moments before being turned out and cooled completely on a wire rack.
- Once completely cool, I spoon the lemon glaze over top of each muffin and allow that to set before serving.
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins with Streusel
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: 6 jumbo muffins
Nutrition Info: 621 calories per muffin
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
- 1 ¾ cup flour
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ tablespoons poppy seeds
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- ½ cup buttermilk, room temp
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup sour cream, room temp
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
Streusel topping Ingredients:
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted, melted butter
- ¼ cup flour
- Pinch salt
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice (or enough to create the consistency you desire)
- Preheat the oven to 425°, and mist a jumbo muffin tin (with 6 wells) with cooking spray.
- Prepare the streusel topping by combining the sugar with the melted butter; then, add in the flour and pinch of salt, and using a fork, mix/fluff together until a moist crumble forms (texture will be a bit like wet sand); place into fridge to keep cold.
- To prepare the muffins, add the flour, the sugar, the baking powder, salt, poppy seeds and lemon zest to a large bowl, and whisk together to blend; set aside.
- In another medium size bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, sour cream, vanilla and melted butter until smooth; add these wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and gently fold together just until combined, taking care not to over mix the batter.
- To prepare/bake the muffins, break the cold streusel up a bit into chunks with your fingers; then, spoon the batter equally into the prepared muffin tins, sprinkle equally with the streusel topping, and bake at 425° for 8 minutes; then, reduce the heat to 350°, and bake for an additional 16-17 minutes, or until the muffins are just baked through. (I like to turn my muffin tin half-way through baking.)
- Allow the muffins to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then gently/carefully remove and allow them to completely cool on a wire rack.
- Whisk together the ingredients for the glaze, and drizzle over top of each cooled muffins.
Tips & Tidbits for my Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins with Streusel:
- Fresh, tangy lemons: Because I happen to have a Meyer lemon tree in my backyard, I like to use those when in season; however, regular lemons are perfect for this recipe. Choose lemons with a vibrant, bright skin (a thinner skin, if possible), and a nice aroma.
- Buttermilk and sour cream for tender crumb: When it comes to lemon desserts, I find buttermilk and sour cream terrific ingredients with a tang that naturally highlight the lemon flavor in the baked good. Both buttermilk and sour cream are “tenderizers”, which means that they help add moisture and create a natural tenderizing effect in the batter for a moist, light crumb. If you don't have buttermilk, substitute some half and half instead; and if you don't have sour cream, use more buttermilk.
- Keep the streusel topping cold: Keeping the streusel cold helps it to keep its crumbly shape intact, and melt or dissolve less over top of the muffin as it bakes. The streusel will look a bit like wet sand when you first mix it together, but if you sort of “fluff” it with your fork to create small to medium-size crumbles, and then place those into the fridge to chill, they'll become (and remain) nice and chunky and crumbly.
- High oven temperature to begin with: To achieve that taller, bakery-style look when it comes to muffins, cranking the oven temp to 425° for the first few minutes of baking is the key. It helps hasten the chemical reaction from the baking powder and gets things “puffing” and rising. After that, you will reduce the temp to 350°, to finish the muffins.