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Sunshine-y Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

I was six years old when the original Annie hit theaters, and I was completely smitten. Though I’m quite aware that I can’t carry a tune, it didn’t stop me from learning all of the words to “Tomorrow” and belting them out at random moments. Even years later, I never miss an opportunity to watch this classic on TV.

So I admit that I had mixed feelings about seeing the 2014 version… How would it compare to the original? Would I be disappointed in the ways that it strays from the 1982 screenplay?

Annie 2014

Walmart sent me a copy of the movie on Blu-Ray/DVD, so I decided to make an evening of watching it with my girls. And of course a movie night requires snacks, so I baked a batch of these deliciously moist lemon poppy seed muffins. The only problem? They were a little too tasty…

How is that possible, you ask? Let’s just say that I ran upstairs to take a shower before my kids got home from school, and when I came back down, there were only three muffins left!!! No problem — they’re super simple, so I just made another batch.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin Recipe

Moist Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

There are two things that set these amazing lemon poppy seed muffins apart from the crowd:

1) Inspired by a King Arthur Flour recipe, I added 1/3 cup of medium grind cornmeal to the batter. This adds some unexpected texture and makes for a slightly heartier muffin, making these a fantastic way to start off every “tomorrow”!

2) Instead of the typical drizzling glaze with confectioners’ sugar, I made a quick lemon simple syrup and then stirred in some lemon zest. I brushed this mixture over the top of the still-warm-from-the-oven muffins for a bit of added sweetness with a little zing!

PRO TIP: One lemon should yield approximately 1/4 cup juice and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest, so you will need two lemons total for this recipe.

Also, I prefer to make these moist lemon poppy seed muffins with yogurt. My favorite is a whole milk vanilla-flavored variety, but any plain or Greek yogurt will also work well. In a pinch, you can substitute milk, but it will change the texture of your muffins somewhat.

Moist Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Moist Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes


For the muffins:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 drops lemon essential oil (optional)

For the lemon simple syrup:

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cornmeal, poppy seeds, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the yogurt, eggs, lemon zest and butter together. Stir in the lemon juice. The mixture may curdle a bit, but this is fine.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring just until the flour mixture is incorporated. Over stirring will cause dry, tough muffins.
  5. Divide the batter equally among 12 paper-lined muffin cups. Tip: try these parchment paper muffin liners!
  6. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Rotate the pan halfway through baking.
  7. While the muffins are baking, make the simple syrup by heating the sugar and lemon juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When the sugar has dissolved and the syrup has thickened slightly, remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest.
  8. Brush the lemon simple syrup mixture over the top of each still-warm muffin after removing them from the oven. Allow to cool for five minutes and then remove to a cooling rack.

Have you tried this recipe?

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More Zingy Lemon Recipes

If you like this lemon poppy seed muffins recipe, you might also enjoy these other delicious lemon recipes with bold flavor:

Did you make this recipe?
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Sunday 1st of March 2020

These look delicious! Thank you for sharing!

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