Lemon Curd Muffins with Poppy Seeds

Yesterday I made my first batch of macarons, for which I only needed egg whites. More on the macarons later – despite having feet, they didn’t turn out as they should have. Such is life in baking: sometimes your recipe works exactly as you want it to, and sometimes it doesn’t.

Anyway, the macarons left me with three egg yolks. I refuse to waste ingredients, so I made them into lemon curd. And then of course, I had to figure out what to do with my lemon curd. So I baked it into muffins using a make-it-mine recipe from my awesome Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. While they have a lovely texture, I should have included lemon zest in my batter to ramp up the lemon flavor. Again, such is life in baking. The good news is that you always have the chance to try again, to take what you’ve learned an apply it in future recipes.


For the muffins

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup lemon curd*
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds

*You can easily cut this full recipe in half if you only have 3 yolks, as I did. 

For the icing

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • zest of 1 medium lemon


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two muffin tins with paper liners.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large 4-cup measuring cup, combine eggs, lemon curd, milk, and vegetable oil; beat with a fork until smooth, then add all at once to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined, then fold in poppy seeds. Batter will be lumpy; this is what you want, so don’t be tempted to over-mix.

Using a 2-inch cookie scoop, drop scoops of batter into prepared muffin tins, filling about 2/3 full.

Bake for 13-15 minutes, until tops are light golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and immediate remove muffins from tins; place on a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the icing, combine powdered sugar and lemon zest. Add lemon juice 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring well, to reach a consistency that’s easy to drizzle, like honey. Drizzle over muffins and allow to set; store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days.

Makes 24 muffins.


Lemon Curd Muffins with Poppy Seed Filling

lemon curd poppy muffinsLent begins in just a few days, and Lent always makes me think of my grandparents. My Hungarian-born grandma, Zella, fully embraced my Slovak-American grandpap Andy’s Easter traditions, and growing up just a few doors away from their house, I embraced those traditions as well. Except for eating pig’s feet, of course. Blegh.

Both of my grandparents are gone, but this time of year always brings them back to me, in the recipes and practices they taught me as a kid. My grandma made poppy seed roll every year for Easter, so any time I bake with poppy seed I think of her. I had about three-quarters of a jar of poppy seed filling left over from a previous recipe, and I decided to use it in these lemon curd muffins, which I adapted from a “Make it Mine” muffin recipe in my Better Homes & Gardens baking book. I went the lemon poppy seed route, but really kicked up the flavor with lemon curd, lemon extract, and poppy seed filling. I think Grandma Zella would be proud.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup lemon curd
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 1 cup poppy seed filling*
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract**

*You can make your own, but I always use Baker Poppy Seed Filling.

**If you don’t have lemon extract, substitute 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice and about 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest.

For the glaze

  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners; my recipe yielded 21 muffins.

In a small bowl, stir together poppy seed filling and lemon extract; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; make a well in the center and set aside.

In a large glass measuring cup, combine eggs, lemon curd, milk, and vegetable oil and whisk with a fork to combine. Pour into the well in the dry mixture and stir to combine until just moistened; batter will be lumpy. Stir in poppy seeds.

Using a 1-inch cookie scoop, drop scoops of batter into prepared tins and spread gently so you have a fairly even layer of batter. Drop a scant 1 teaspoon poppy seed filling into each, then cover with another scoop of batter, filling about 2/3 full. Gently smooth batter so no filling is showing.

Bake for 15 minutes, until tops are golden brown and a cake tester inserted at the edge of the muffins comes out clean. Remove muffins from tins immediately and cool completely on a wire rack before glazing.

To make glaze, place powdered sugar, poppy seeds, lemon extract, and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl and stir to combine. Add remaining water if necessary, about 1/2 tablespoon at a time, stirring well after each addition; you want a consistency like thick honey.

Dip each muffin into the glaze, then allow glaze to set for a few minutes before serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins






We’ve discussed my sincere appreciation for lemons previously on this blog, and now I must take a moment to acknowledge poppy seeds.  As a gal with Eastern European roots, I feel that poppy seeds are the seeds of my people.  Slovaks and Hungarians are crazy about poppy seeds.  We grind them into dust and cook them with sugar and water to slather inside dough for poppy seed rolls.  We put them on breads and in muffins.  My dear friend Tara (to whom I would swear I am related, perhaps as a distant fourth-cousin) always offers a poppy seed cake as a condolence at wakes, as is her family tradition.

The person who wrote the recipe below claimed that it yielded 12 muffins when baked in a standard muffin tin.  I’m not sure in which universe a recipe with three cups of flour only yields 12 muffins, but hey, I’m not going to judge.  I tweaked the recipe slightly and added more lemon zest for extra flavor, and when all was said and done, I had 27 muffins.

A note about poppy seeds: they can turn rancid when not stored properly or used in a timely manner, so they must be frozen or kept in the refrigerator.  I keep my seeds in the fridge for up to six months; they should remain blue-black in color and retain their poppy seed smell when fresh.  If they look or smell suspicious, throw them out.


  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 10 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 12 ounces plain yogurt (I used Stonyfield Organic)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest

For lemon glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • About 3 ½ tablespoons lemon juice


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and poppy seeds; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined.

Add lemon zest, beating until combined.

Add the flour mixture and yogurt in thirds, alternatively, beating until just combined – take care to not over-mix your batter.

Using a 2-inch cookie scoop or two tablespoons, drop batter into lined muffin tins, distributing batter evenly.  Refrigerate any extra dough while the first two batches bake.

Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool for two minutes in tins, then remove to a wire rack.

Prepare lemon glaze; place powdered sugar in a medium bowl and add lemon juice, one tablespoon at a time, until you achieve a very, very drizzly consistency; I used about 3 ½ tablespoons of juice.

While muffins are still warm, brush the tops with the lemon glaze.  Muffins can be glazed a second time if you wish.