Recipe Review

I Tried Dorie Greenspan’s Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins and They’re Practically Perfect

published May 19, 2022
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jessie Yu Chen; Headshot: Dorie Greenspan; Design: Kitchn

When the subject of beloved bakers arises, Dorie Greenspan’s name is sure to pop up. She is famous for many recipes, including her chocolate World Peace Cookies, her classic Jammers cookies, and her Lemon-Spice Visiting Cake.

She has an impressive list of cookbooks (with sales to match), and lives an envious life — with a home in Connecticut and apartments in New York City and Paris. (Check out Kitchn’s visit to her NYC place last Thanksgiving.) She also happens to be a lovely, warm, generous person, which makes me love her even more.

So when I was looking around for lemon poppy seed muffin contenders for this showdown and saw that Dorie had a recipe in Baking: From My House to Yours I knew I had to give it a try. I liked that she rubbed the sugar and lemon zest together to bring out the lemon oil, and that she added sour cream for extra moisture. I was excited to potentially add another Dorie favorite to my recipe box, so I headed to the kitchen to give it a try.

Get the recipe: Dorie Greenspan’s Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jessie Yu Chen; Headshot: Dorie Greenspan; Design: Kitchn

How to Make Dorie Greenspan’s Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Dorie gives the option of spraying, buttering, or lining the muffin tin with paper liners; I chose cooking spray. I preheated the oven and turned my attention to making the muffin batter.

The next step is to rub the sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl until the sugar is damp, turns yellow, and smells strongly of lemon. This is also a method that’s called for in Preppy Kitchen’s lemon poppy seed muffin recipe and I think taking the time to do this really makes a difference in bumping up the lemon flavor.

I whisked in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, then whisked the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, and melted butter in a large measuring cup. I mixed the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stopping when the mixture was still lumpy and not fully blended. I sprinkled the poppyseeds over and gently folded them into the batter.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jessie Yu Chen

My Honest Review of Dorie Greenspan’s Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

I was concerned about this recipe before I even put the muffins into the oven. When I mixed the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, the batter was very thick, and I still had to follow the final step of folding in the poppy seeds. I was afraid I would overmix the batter, which, in the world of muffin making, is a sure means to a tough muffin. But I decided to trust the process — and Dorie.

At first I thought it was odd to fold the poppy seeds in as the last step, instead of evenly incorporating them into the dry ingredients as many recipes do. However, I think this step helped to make sure the poppy seed flavor really came through. Because of this method, the poppy seeds aren’t perfectly evenly distributed, which is a good thing. Stirring them in at the end creates pockets in the muffins where the seeds are slightly more bountiful, adding hits of poppy seed flavor in every bite.

Overall this muffin is so delicious! The flavor of the poppy seeds and the lemon is nicely balanced. The combination of melted butter and a nice amount of sour cream gives the muffin a tender crumb. Adding 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract rounds out the flavor in a lovely way, and the glaze adds an extra lemon pop. Although the muffin looks really cool, I took off a 1/2 point for no muffin top!

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jessie Yu Chen

If You Are Making Dorie Greenspan’s Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins, a Few Tips

  1. Go for a large lemon. To make sure you have ample lemon flavor, pick up a large lemon for this recipe.
  2. Add the poppy seeds at the end — but not the very end. When adding the poppy seeds, add them to batter that is not completely combined yet, and sprinkle them evenly over the batter for more even incorporation. 
  3. Zest first; juice later. Always remember to remove the zest from the lemon first before juicing the lemon. It’s really challenging to get any zest off of a lemon that’s already been juiced!

Overall rating: 9.5/10

Have you tried Dorie Greenspan’s Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins? Let us know in the comments.