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lemon poppy seed muffins

Small Batch Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin Recipe

yield: 4 muffins
Prep Time: 5 mins
Work Time: 15 mins
Bake Time: 22 mins
5 from 1 vote

Special Equipment

  • a 1-Tablespoon cookie dough scoop


For the Small Batch Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

  • 1 and ¼ cups (5.65 ounces or 160 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup (3.5 ounces or 99 grams) granulated sugar
  • fresh zest from 1 small or medium lemon
  • ¼ cup (2 ounces or 57 grams) buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon strained freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon oil OR extract
  • 4 Tablespoons (2 ounces or 57 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds


  • canola or vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 4 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • poppy seeds, for garnish


For the Small Batch Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

  • Prep your oven and pan. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Prepare a muffin pan by spraying 4 cavities with cooking spray. If you're using a standard muffin pan, position the pan so that its short side faces you. Then, prep the pan by spraying down one column of the cavities with cooking spray. Pour water into the remaining cavities, filling them at least ⅔-rds of the way full.
  • Prep the ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar—this will infuse the sugar with oils from the zest. In a small liquid measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, lemon juice, and lemon oil.
  • Make the muffin batter. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, lemon zest, and butter. Beat on medium-high until light, fluffy, and doubled in volume, 2 to 3 minutes, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as necessary. Reduce the mixer to low and add the egg.
  • With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients in two equal parts, adding the second half only when the first half has been just combined. Beat until just combined, then scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl once more, then beat on low for an additional 30 seconds. Slowly pour in the buttermilk mixture in a steady stream down the side of the bowl and beat until just combined, 30 to 45 seconds. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl once more, then add the poppy seeds all at once. Beat on low until just combined.
  • Assemble the muffins. Use a 1-Tablespoon cookie dough scoop to fill each prepped cavity with 5 Tablespoons of batter. Sprinkle the top of each muffin, aiming for the batter and avoiding the pan, with 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar. Garnish with poppy seeds.
  • Bake the muffins. Bake for 22 to 24 minutes, or until the muffins are domed and golden brown around the edges. A skewer inserted into the center of a muffin should come out with few crumbs attached. Cool the muffins in their muffin tin on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then turn the muffins out onto the rack. Turn out the muffins by gently pinching an individual muffin around the base of its muffin top and lifting it out of the pan.
  • Serve and store. Serve warm or at room temperature. The muffins can be wrapped individually in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.


  • Pay attention to the temperatures of the ingredients as they are listed in the recipe (please don’t miss this—they’re even written in bold). The secret to super tall and domed muffin tops starts with your ingredients. If any of them are colder than room temperature, your muffins won’t rise and dome as well as mine did.
  • This recipe instructs you to fill your muffin tin with a generous portion of batter (5 Tablespoons per cavity). The batter is fairly thick, so it will keep its shape before and during baking, resulting in sky-high domes. Use a 1-tablespoon cookie dough scoop to fill each cavity evenly and efficiently with the right amount of batter.
  • Once you’ve filled four cavities with muffin batter, scrape your mixer bowl down SUPER well with a stiff rubber spatula. Doing so will result in 1 additional tablespoon of lemon poppy seed muffin batter. Divide this additional batter evenly between the four muffins to get EXTRA tall muffin tops!