What Are Lemon Poppyseed Muffins?

A.E. Freeman

Lemon poppyseed muffins are a type of breakfast pastry flavored with lemon and poppyseeds. Muffins are small quick breads, and the lemon in these adds a bit of tartness and the poppyseeds a bit of spice. Bakers can use the juice or zest of lemon to flavor lemon poppyseed muffins. Some people add a glaze or frosting to the top of these pastries.

A bowl of sour cream, which can be used to add moisture to lemon poppyseed muffins.
A bowl of sour cream, which can be used to add moisture to lemon poppyseed muffins.

Muffins are usually yeast-free quick breads designed to be eaten by a single person in one sitting. They are slightly less sweet than cupcakes, even though sweet ingredients are usually used to make them and some muffins, such as lemon poppyseed muffins, may be glazed or sprinkled with sugar. Lemon poppyseed muffins come in a range of sizes, from mini muffins to over-sized jumbo. A muffin tin, a pan with indentations designed to hold the batter, is used to make them.

A lemon.
A lemon.

Common ingredients in lemon poppyseed muffins include flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. Some cooks also add yogurt or sour cream for a bit of tanginess. Buttermilk may also be used.

Vegan lemon poppyseed muffins also exist, in which the butter is replaced with oil or margarine and the eggs are omitted. Soy milk is used instead of milk, yogurt, or buttermilk. The acidity from the lemon juice may be enough to make the muffins rise, though some bakers add a splash of apple cider vinegar.

Lemon and poppyseed are the primary flavoring ingredients in these muffins. A baker may use only lemon zest, the outer peel from the lemon, to flavor the muffins. A stronger flavor comes from using the juice of the lemon, though. Some bakers use both zest and juice, or some may use the juice in the batter and sprinkle the zest over top of the muffins.

Poppyseeds add a slight crunch and texture as well as a subtle spice. Usually, a little more than a tablespoon (15 grams) of seeds is added to the batter to make a dozen muffins. As the seeds go rancid quickly, a baker should make sure she is using fresh seeds in the muffins.

Some bakers like to top lemon poppyseed muffins with a thin glaze after they are baked. The glaze can be a mixture of lemon juice and powdered sugar. Instead of preparing a glaze, some cooks combine granulated sugar with lemon zest and coat the tops of the muffins with the mixture before baking.

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