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Small Batch Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Small Batch Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

lemon poppy seed muffins cut in half with lemon slices pinit
lemon poppy seed muffins cut in half with lemon slices

Do you love muffins for a quick easy breakfast you can grab on the way out the door? If you answered yes then, this is the recipe you are looking for! My father-in-law gave us some lemons from a friends tree recently and I was pondering how to use them when I remembered my mum had recently sent me her crunchy lemon poppy seed muffins recipe (see the photo from her hand written book at the end of the post).

This recipe is very simple to make and uses mostly common household ingredients with the exception of the poppy seeds. You may keep poppy seeds in your pantry, but this recipe calls for a full 1/4 cup which may be more than you have on hand. The muffins are also topped off with a sweet and tangy sugar and lemon mixture that gives them a nice crunch.

profile shot of lemon poppy seed muffin

Why I love small batch recipes

Since it is only my husband and myself in my home I find that full batch muffin recipes yield too many and often go to waste. As a result most of my muffin recipes are ‘small batch’ yielding between four and eight muffins. Four to eight muffins is much more manageable for just the two of us. I knew my mum’s recipe would yield a full pan or more (the yield notes are not captured in her recipe) so I cut the recipe in half. I also substituted half of the milk for sour cream. My thought was this would complement the recipe well, which it did.

Making the lemon poppy seed muffins

Add the dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. Mix together until the flour just dampens. Do not mix the batter too much here as the muffins will become dense and chewy. All you need is 4-5 good turns of the spoon to combine the ingredients.

dry ingredients mixed together in bowl
completed lemon poppy seed muffin batter

Once the flour is dampened fill your muffin pan holes 2/3 full and bake for 15-18 minutes. You may notice my mum’s recipe below says 10-15 minutes, but after 10 minutes by muffins were still completely raw. My muffins took 17 and a 1/2 minutes to bake at 400°F. While the muffins are baking mix together the lemon juice and sugar for the topping. After the muffins are done baking spoon the lemon-sugar mixture over top of the muffins while they are still warm. This will allow the sugar in the mixture melt onto the muffin tops forming a nice crunchy topping. Leave the muffins to cool in the pan for 10 minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack.

six muffins on wire rack
overhead shot of single muffin with lemon slices
hand written lemon poppy seed recipe
Mum’s recipe book

What is self rising flour?

Self rising (SR) flour is a very common pantry staple in New Zealand. SR flour is simply all purpose (AP) flour with baking powder and salt already mix into it. The name self rising comes from the fact that the leavening agent is already in the flour so in most cases there is no need to add additional baking powder or soda. SR flour can be replicated by adding 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt for every cup of AP flour. As I use salted butter in the majority of my recipes I omit the 1/4 teaspoon of salt from my breakdown below.

lemon poppy seed Pinterest image

Small Batch Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 10 min Cook Time 17 min Rest Time 10 min Total Time 37 mins Servings: 6


These light, bright lemon poppy seed muffins are easy to make and require only a handful of ingredients. lemon poppy seed muffins



    1. Grease or line six holes in a muffin pan and set aside
    2. Preheat oven to 400 F
    3. Mix flour, baking powder, sugar, poppy seeds and lemon zest in a large bowl
    4. In a small bowl combine melted butter, egg, sour cream and milk
    5. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients
    6. Fold until flour is just dampened (do not over mix)
    7. Fill muffin pan holes 2/3 full and bake for 15-18 minutes or until tooth pick inserted comes out clean
    8. While muffins are baking mix lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar in a small bowl
    9. Once muffins are baked spoon lemon and sugar mixture over the top while still warm
    10. Let rest in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to continue cooling 
Keywords: Muffin, Lemon, Small Batch, Poppy Seed

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