Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Bright yellow Meyer Lemons in a blue colander surrounded by muffins.

These Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins are like little bursts of sunshine on a cloudy day. They’re packed full of bright lemon flavour with a secret ingredient that keeps them moist all day long.

Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Brighten up your morning with these brilliant citrus poppy seed muffins. They’re the perfect breakfast bite during the winter citrus season. Made with sweet Meyer Lemons and blue poppy seeds, they bake up fluffy and moist. Spread them with a generous portion of Meyer Lemon and Ginger Marmalade and let the sunshine in!

Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins in a blue collander.

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Winter is Citrus Season

While we’re deep in the clutches of Winter’s frosty grip here in Canada, citrus season is in full swing in warmer climates. I always keep the fridge well stocked with Blood Oranges, Cara Cara Oranges, Tangelos, and Bright Navel Oranges. Besides providing much needed vitamin C and warding off scurvy, citrus in winter always makes me smile. 

A muffin tin filled with a dozen Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins topped with lemon slices.

What is Different About a Meyer Lemon?

These little guys aren’t your typical year round garden variety lemons. They have a slightly rounder shape with a fragrant deep yellow skin that often turns toward orange when mature. Since they are sweeter and less acidic than Eureka or Lisbon Lemons, they make a sweet and decorative topping for these poppy seed muffins.

Bright yellow Meyer Lemons in a blue collander.

When is Meyer Lemon Season?

Meyer Lemon season typically runs November through to March though each season may differ slightly. This native Chinese citrus is a hybrid between a citron (lemon with really thick skin) and the mandarin orange.

As citrus is not a common Chinese ingredient, these guochan ningmeng were purely ornamental in nature. The lemons were collected and introduced to the US in 1908; renamed the ‘Meyer’ lemon after the ‘agricultural explorer’ Frank Meyer. The current popularity of Meyer Lemons can be attributed to two culinary icons; Alice Waters and Martha Stewart. 

Raw muffin batter in a blue bowl with a wooden spoon.

My Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin Inspiration

Even though I love baking muffins, I recently noticed that there were very few muffin recipes on the blog. I love any muffin with citrus in it, and Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins are no exception. Orange Poppy Seed Muffins are very popular in other parts of the world, so why not use Meyer Lemons as a citrus substitute? The flavour is quite similar!

Close up of Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins topped with lemon slices.

How to Make Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Let’s be honest, muffins really are cupcakes in denial. Every great ‘cake’ starts with creaming the butter and sugar together until the mixture turns a lighter colour. Then, the rest of the liquid ingredients are gradually mixed in, including the lemon zest and juice. The dairy component is there to add extra moisture to the muffins. Go ahead and use either sour cream or Greek yogurt…or a combination of both! 

Bright yellow Meyer Lemons in a blue colander surrounded by muffins.

Next, sift all the dry ingredients together in a separate large bowl. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well. The muffin batter will be quite stiff but I assure you, it will bake up nicely. Divide the batter evenly between twelve lined muffin cups and top with a thin slice of Meyer Lemon.

Close up of a Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin with a bite missing.

For the muffin toppers, use a sharp knife or mandoline to thinly slice the lemons crosswise then cut the slices in half again. Stop to remove the seeds as you see them or the flesh will tear. 

A dozen Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins topped with lemon slices.

The Seinfeld Defense: Do Poppy Seeds Contain Opium?

Fans of Seinfeld may remember the episode where Elaine tests positive for opium and is held back from going to Africa for a work trip. While Poppy Seeds themselves do not contain opium, there are rare cases where ingesting the seeds before drug testing can turn out a false positive. The only explanation is that somehow during harvesting, they may become coated by or absorb the opium.

Since it’s really difficult to predict predict if the seeds have been in contact with opium, it’s best to avoid ingesting poppy seeds a few days before any drug testing. Furthermore, ingesting poppy seeds via muffins or bagels will not induce any heightened state of being. 

A single Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin topped with lemon slices.

How Long will Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins Last?

Muffins are always best when eaten straight out of the oven, however, it’s difficult to eat twelve muffins no matter how delicious they are. Store them at room temperature in an airtight container for up to four days. To freeze, place the muffins in a ziploc bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Then, warm them up in the microwave and enjoy. 

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Even More Meyer Lemon Recipes from Dish ‘n’ the Kitchen

Yield: 12

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin Recipe

Close up of Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins topped with lemon slices.

These Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins are like little bursts of sunshine on a cloudy day. They're packed full of bright lemon flavour with a secret ingredient that keeps them moist all day long.

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Total Time 47 minutes


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter; softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg; room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt or Sour Cream
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 meyer lemon; juiced and zested
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 Meyer Lemon; for sliced garnish (optional)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. Place softened butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and cream together until they become a lighter colour.
  3. Add egg and mix until incorporated. Mix in dairy, lemon zest, almond extract, and 2 tbsp meyer lemon juice (reserve excess juice for another project).
  4. In another bowl, sift flour with baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Using a sharp knife or mandoline, slice the lemons as thinly as possible. Cut slices in half and reserve.
  6. Add poppy seeds to the dry ingredients and pour wet ingredients over all.
  7. Mix well and divide evenly between paper lined muffin cups. Top each with a half lemon slice.
  8. Bake for 22 minutes at 350 F.
  9. Allow to cool slightly, then remove muffins from the muffin tin and allow to cool further.


1. You can either use paper muffin cups or grease the pan. Up to you.

2. If you prefer, use vanilla extract in place of the almond extract.

3. Feel free to use either or a mixture of sour cream and Greek yogurt for the dairy. Either works and it's nice to use up what you have.

4. This recipe was designed with Meyer Lemons. You can use regular lemons, but I wouldn't suggest adding slices to the muffin tops.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 181Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 185mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 1gSugar: 12gProtein: 3g

Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.

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  1. Sophie

    I love everything that has lemon. This looks spongy, sweet and delicious!


    1. Bernice Hill

      Ditto! Lemon is so uplifing. I think I’ll make another batch tomorrow for breakfast.

  2. Veronika

    Lemon/ poppy seed combo is one of my favorites flavors for muffins. Definitely saving this recipe to make it some time soon!


    1. Bernice Hill

      Awesome Veronika, hope you enjoy them!

  3. Leslie

    I pack muffins in my son’s lunch and I love to find different recipes for him. I think these will be great for him to bring!


    1. Bernice Hill

      That sounds great…I hope he loves them Leslie.

  4. Kushigalu

    One of my favorite muffin flavor. So delicious. Loved it!


    1. Bernice Hill

      Me too. After cranberry and lemon it’s my second fave.

  5. Elaine

    The muffins that I would probably make over and over again. Great texture, fantastic looks, and I am yet to enjoy the taste, but I am sure it is amazing! 🙂


    1. Bernice Hill

      I hope you love them Elaine, they are delicious.

  6. Tammy

    These are some of the prettiest lemon muffins I’ve seen! They look so moist and delicious…I’m getting spring vibes from this recipe and cannot wait to try them!


    1. Bernice Hill

      lol Thanks Tammy…we could all use more Spring vibes!!

  7. Nicoletta

    As soon as I saw these muffins I loved them! They look so pretty and yes, they do make you smile 🙂


    1. Bernice Hill

      Thank you Nicoletta! My winter survival mode involves a lot of citrus.

  8. Sharon

    I love the idea of making one of my bakery favorite muffins right at home.


    1. Bernice Hill

      It’s pretty easy and that way you can have the freshest muffins!

  9. Anna

    Citrus is one of the few things I love about winter! Your muffins look delicious, lemon and poppyseed is one of my all- time favourite combos! Yummo!


    1. Bernice Hill

      Me too on both accounts. Thanks for stopping by Anna.

  10. Shailaja Desai

    These muffins look absolutely delicious! Love that you have a slice of the Meyer lemon inserted into the muffin.. Great recipe!!


    1. Bernice Hill

      Thank you Shailaja, it certainly brightens them up!

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