Making small-batch muffin recipes is officially my favorite new activity and the latest to join the group is these easy & moist Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins! These dairy-free & eggless muffins are full of lemon flavor from using fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, lemon paste, AND a tangy lemon glaze.
*Recipe originally shared June 2020 and updated February 2022*
If you've been following SGTO for a while you know we are HUGE fans of anything & everything lemon flavored. I think I add lemon juice or zest to at least 50% of the recipes on my blog (I mean there's a reason it's in my logo after all!).
These lemon muffins are a twist on my Vegan Lemon Olive Oil Cupcakes but they are made to be a little more dense & moist for that perfect muffin texture. Plus, I decided to make this as a small-batch recipe so it makes 6-8 perfect muffins!
How to make vegan lemon muffins:
Luckily, these lemon muffins contain easy-to-find ingredients and are made in only one bowl!
While my lemon cupcakes call for baking soda and baking powder, we use a bit less lemon in the vegan lemon poppyseed batter here. So, we are relying mostly on baking powder for the leavening in this recipe.
The trick to a REALLY lemony muffin? We are using lemon juice, lemon zest, AND extract (and even an optional lemon paste). Plus, each muffin gets topped with lemon glaze. This one's for you lemon lovers!
This vegan lemon muffin recipe really couldn't be easier.
First, mix all the wet ingredients in a large bowl.
Next, add in the dry ingredients starting with the flour and adding the rest of the ingredients on top. Then, mix JUST until a thick muffin batter forms.
After that fill the muffin liners to the top and let the batter rest in the pan while you preheat the oven. Then, bake the vegan lemon poppyseed muffins and drizzle with lemon glaze to finish!
Lemon poppyseed muffin tips:
Here are some of my favorite tips for perfect muffins every time:
Applesauce for moisture!
You may have noticed that I use applesauce/banana/ plant-based yogurt in all of my muffin recipes like my Vegan Chocolate Muffins and Vegan Apple Muffins. That's because using these ingredients gives muffins the extra moist texture we want.
These ingredients don't make it into my cupcake recipes since they can sometimes weigh them down when using pastry flour. But, don't worry, these muffins are still plenty fluffy because we are using enough flour and baking powder to help build structure!
Don't overmix the batter
This is really CRUCIAL for muffins. Mix the batter JUST until the streaks of flour are gone and not a minute longer. Otherwise, you may end up with dense and rubbery muffins which is no good.
Just remember, when it comes to muffins, a thick lumpy batter is good.
Fill muffin liners ⅞ full
This allows us to get the absolute best muffin peaks! While my cupcake recipes call for filling up each muffin liner ¾ full, muffins can be filled a bit more because they have more flour and baking powder for structure
The muffin pan I used is slightly bigger than a traditional tin, so it made 6 muffins. For most people, this recipe will make around 7- 8 lemon poppyseed muffins.
Let muffin batter rest before baking
This is another great tip I recommend following for every muffin recipe on SGTO. Letting the batter rest for just 30 minutes will help to give any gluten that may have formed while mixing the batter time to relax.
This rest time allows the muffin batter to get much thicker and leads to more tender muffins. This is a trick I learned from Lori at TheKitchenWhisperer!
Always add lemon glaze!
Seriously the glaze MAKES these vegan lemon muffins. Some of the strong lemon flavors become milder after baking which is where the simple lemon glaze comes into play.
It's just three ingredients (powdered sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice), but it gives these muffins the tang they need.
FAQ & Tips:
How do I store vegan lemon muffins?
Lemon Poppy Seed muffins will keep at room temperature in a closed container or wrapped in tin foil on a counter for 2-3 days.
They can also also be stored in a closed container in the fridge for up to 5 days and in the freezer for up to 1 month. If you do refrigerate them, they are best after being warmed in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. If frozen, let defrost on the counter and either eat at room temperature or reheat in the microwave until warm.
One thing to note is if you do microwave these with the glaze on them, it will melt a bit, so I recommend holding off on the glaze until you are ready to eat any leftovers stored in the fridge/freezer.
Can I make these muffins refined-sugar-free or gluten-free?
I personally haven't tried either option with this recipe, but it should work.
For refined sugar-free muffins, I would strongly recommend maple sugar over coconut sugar so these muffins are sweet enough! It must be granulated sugar and not liquid sugar to work in this recipe.
Also, only a 1:1 gluten-free flour mix will work. Flour alternatives such as almond or coconut will not work as it's not a 1:1 substitution.
Can I make these lemon muffins without poppy seeds?
Of course! These vegan lemon muffins taste great with or without poppy seeds! If you want to replace poppy seeds with other seeds or just omit them altogether, go for it.
Are there any substitutes for applesauce?
Yep! Subbing applesauce for a plant-based yogurt 1:1 works (though the muffins will be slightly less sweet).
Mashed bananas also work, but in that case, the muffins may have a slight banana flavor. I prefer applesauce because it adds natural sweetness without altering the flavor of these dairy-free and eggless lemon muffins!
I hope you all love the newest vegan lemon dessert to make it to SGTO! I'm pretty obsessed with eating these dairy-free, eggless, & Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins for breakfast or even as a dessert. Enjoy!
More vegan lemon dessert recipes you will love:
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Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins:
- ½ cup oat milk any plant-based milk works 1:1
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- ⅓ cup organic sugar
- 2 Tablespoons applesauce
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil any liquid oil works 1:1
- 1 Tablespoon lemon zest zest of 1 whole lemon
- 1 teaspoon lemon paste optional, for extra lemon flavor
- 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons poppy seeds use up to 4 tsp
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup sifted powdered sugar measure and then sift
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Before you juice the lemons, zest them and set aside the lemon zest.
- Then, add the oat milk and lemon juice to a mixing bowl and let sit about 5 minutes until curdled. This makes a vegan "buttermilk".
- Once the milk has curdled, add the organic sugar, applesauce, olive oil, lemon zest, and optional lemon paste to the mixing bowl. Gently mix to combine.
- Next, add in the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make sure to add the flour first and pile the other ingredients on top. Then, use a fork to gently mix the baking powder, baking soda, poppy seeds, and salt into the flour to sift together. Finally, mix everything together JUST until a thick batter forms and all streaks of flour are gone. It's important not to over-mix the batter and it's okay if the batter is lumpy- that's actually ideal for these muffins.
- Fill a muffin pan with 6-8 cupcake liners and fill each liner with batter until ⅞ full, but not overflowing. Since the muffins will rise and may spread to the sides a bit, it's also a good idea to rub butter or oil along the top of the muffin pan for easier removal. Then, let the muffin batter rest for 30 minutes before baking. While letting the batter rest isn’t 100% necessary, it will allow the batter to rise more. If you want to skip this step the muffins will still taste great, but not rise as high in the oven.
- Towards the end of letting the batter rest, preheat the oven to 375F. Then, add the muffins to the middle rack in the oven and bake for 15-17 minutes until cooked through. Try not to open the oven door to check on the muffins or they may deflate and just check them with an oven light.
- Remove the muffins from the oven and let cool in the baking tray for 5 minutes. Then, remove and let cool completely on a wire rack. If the muffins are sticking to the baking tray at all, gently run a knife along the edges to help remove. Do not let them cool completely in the pan or they will overcook and risk turning dry.
- While the muffins are cooling, make the lemon glaze. Add the sifted powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest to a bowl and use a fork to whisk together until a thick glaze forms. Drizzle the glaze on top of the cooled muffins. Let the glaze sit for 5 minutes to give it time to set and harden, then serve and enjoy!
- As the batter sits to rest before baking it will become THICK. Lumpy batter is okay- Just bake it! If your muffins are way too thick it is likely from adding in too much flour or using incorrect measurements of baking powder/baking soda.
- Muffins will keep at room temperature in a closed container or wrapped in tin foil on a counter for 2-3 days. They can also also be stored in a closed container in the fridge up to 5 days (but it will affect the texture) and in the freezer for up to 1 month.
- Muffins will store longer without glaze on top. To enjoy frozen muffins, let defrost at room temperature. I personally recommend storing muffins in the freezer if storing longer than 2-3 days to maintain muffin texture.
- Applesauce can be subbed 1:1 (volume not grams) for plant-based yogurt
- The antique muffin tin I used (pictured) is slightly larger than standard muffin tins and made 6 muffins, but when testing this recipe in my standard pan it made 7-8 muffins.
Any suggestions if I want to make this oil free? Can I just use more applesauce as a substitute?
The oil makes the cupcakes really tender and fluffy so it will definitely change the texture to swap it out, however, if you're okay with a more dense muffin you could try more applesauce or vegan yogurt and see how it goes.
Delicious and easy, thank you! But I think the milk quantity is wrong? At 1/2 Cup it wasn't a batter at all - it was so dry. I added about an extra cup of oat milk and it was much, much better.
1/2 cup of oat milk is the correct amount- it should be a really thick batter. You may have added too much flour if the batter was dry.
Quick and simple to make! The muffins were moist and fluffy. Perfect amount of lemon flavour. 🍋 I did use the full four teaspoons of poppy seeds which I’m glad I did because it gave it a beautiful speckled look throughout. 😄
Loved the taste but found the cupcakes stuck to the liner.. do you know what could’ve caused this? 🙂
That's usually due to the cupcake liner! Some aren't the best quality- I always use the plain unbleached ones from If You Care and highly recommend them. Here's an article with more potential reasons: https://handletheheat.com/prevent-cupcake-liners-sticking/
Hi, I want to make this for my sister to bring to Easter. Is it possible to use this batter in as Bundt cake or in a log pan? Thank you 😊
I wouldn't recommend it for a bundt pan just because those recipes usually need a lot more moisture in the batter because of how they are baked. However, I believe it would work in a loaf pan if you doubled the recipe. I haven't tried it so I can't say for sure, but if you do I would love to hear how it goes.
So... If I had added the sugar to the muffin batter it probably would have turned out better 😅 I also used coconut oil. Bad choice on my part. Somehow the baking fairies blessed me so it turned out more like a bread. With the glaze it was paletable. Don't recommend doing what I did, but apparently the recipe is forgiving enough or miraculous enough that it didn't have to just chuck it from my mistakes.
Megan Horowitch says
Oh no haha! Yes the sugar is very important for sweetness, but also for moisture in the mix! Coconut oil can be hard to work with because it can seize up and harden pretty quickly, so I'd recommend trying olive oil next time if you have it- it's really delicious in lemon muffins :). Hope the next time around goes better!
Can I add frozen blueberries to this recipe without adjusting any measurements for the rest of the ingredients?
Megan Horowitch says
Maybe! I think the batter should be thick enough to add blueberries, but I'm not sure as I have never tried it. It may change the texture of the muffins so let me know if you try.
Alicia (@myfeelgoodmeals) says
I made this with my team at work today and everyone enjoyed it. It was my first time baking Lemon Poppy Seed muffins and the instructions were easy to follow. Loved the lemony glaze! Totally guilt-free and satisfying. Definitely making this again with my family. Thank you!
Megan Horowitch says
So happy to hear it thanks for sharing!!
Not sure where the pic from the batter is from...these come out so lumpy and thick. Not like the pic at all. Total bust 👎🏼
Megan Horowitch says
Sorry the recipe didn't work out for you.The picture of the batter was taken by me while making this recipe and should be how it looks! Did the muffins come out lumpy or just the batter? It is a thick batter, but if the muffins came out lumpy it may have been due to too much flour or not mixing the batter enough. It's hard to say without knowing more but feel free to email me any time for troubleshooting help as many readers have had success with this recipe.
Maria Walden says
I was nervous to try these because I have never really has a lot of vegan desserts but WOW was this good!!! 10/10 recommend.
Muffins turned out pretty soft and with a good lemony flavour
Megan Horowitch says
So glad! 🙂
Megan Horowitch says
So happy you liked them 🙂 thanks for the review!
Super simple easy to follow recipe and the muffins were delicious. So Fluffy and lemony!
Love the vegan version of lemon poppy seed muffins..bookmarked on to our site.