Sourdough Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

These easy Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins are made with sourdough discard! The sourdough gives them a subtle tang and a fluffy, tender texture. We love these simple muffins topped with crunchy bakers sugar and loaded with lots of lemon flavor.

These lemon poppy seed muffins are a simple way to use up sourdough discard without needing to fuss with too many things in the kitchen. The only special ingredients you need are the sourdough discard and the poppy seeds. I also like to use bakers sugar on top to give the muffins a bit of crunch and sparkle, but you can also use regular sugar if that’s what you have on hand. It will absorb into the muffins more, but they will still be super tasty!

Why Add Sourdough Discard to Muffins?

There are three reasons to use sourdough discard in muffins:

  • It’s an easy way to use up your sourdough discard! I don’t know about you, but the idea of throwing away any of my starter makes me sad. As a result, I’m always looking for ways to use it. My blueberry sourdough discard muffins are one of my family’s favorite recipes, which I highly recommend if you’re just getting started with sourdough.
  • Adds tanginess. Sourdough discard adds a subtle tang to muffins that enhances the overall flavor profile and compliments the sweetness.
  • Makes the muffins more tender. When you add sourdough discard to muffins it interacts with the baking powder/soda to make the final product more tender.
Wooden spoon with poppy seeds, close-up

What Are Poppy Seeds?

If you haven’t baked with poppy seeds before, here’s a bit of info about them to get you acquainted with this ingredient:

  • Poppy seeds are the oily seeds of the opium poppy plant. They are tiny, kidney-shaped black seeds that are harvested from the dried poppy pods.
  • They have been used medicinally for thousands of years. In Ancient Egypt they were used as a sedative, and on the island of Crete during the Bronze Age they were turned into a milky substance, then mixed with honey to calm crying babies.
  • They can be used in both sweet and savory recipes. When it comes to using poppy seeds in food, they are commonly sprinkled on top of baked goods like dinner rolls, used in cakes, or made into a filling for pastries. They are an ingredient in the seasoning that goes on these sourdough everything bagels, for example, and are sometimes used as a filling for Polish kolaches.
Will poppy seeds show up on a drug test?

Actually, yes, depending on how much you have eaten. Since poppy seeds are derived from the plant used to make opium they can trigger a positive result on drug tests for opiates.

Are poppy seeds safe to eat?

Poppy seeds are safe in small amounts. In the United States they go through a cleaning process before they are sold as a seasoning in grocery stores. This process removes 90% of the morphine content in the opiate residue that sticks to the seeds.

Are there health benefits to poppy seeds?

Yes, poppy seeds are rich in nutrients and antioxidants, can relieve pain and may even boost heart and skin health.

5 lemon poppy seed muffins next to lemon slices

How to Make Sourdough Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Ok are you ready to make some tasty sourdough discard muffins? Here’s how to make these muffins:

  • Prep your tools. Preheat the oven to 375 F Line 12 muffin cups or grease with butter.
  • Melt the butter. I prefer to melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Set aside to cool. 
  • Mix the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl combine the flour, sugar , salt, baking powder and poppy seeds.
  • Mix the wet ingredients. In a separate bowl whisk together the melted butter, eggs, milk, sourdough discard, lemon zest and lemon juice.
  • Combine wet and dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients into egg mixture and mix just until blended and all ingredients are moistened.
  • Assemble the muffins. Spoon the mixture into a prepared muffin pan. Fill each muffin about 2/3 full. Sprinkle the tops with bakers sugar.
  • Bake. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean in the muffins.
  • Cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes. Remove the muffins to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
Sourdough discard lemon poppy seed muffins on a wood board

Tips for the Best Muffins

  • Don’t over mix. While you do want to make sure that you are getting all the dry ingredients well incorporated with the wet ingredients, don’t over mix your batter. Mixing the batter too much results in tougher, chewier muffins.
  • Can I use oranges or clementines? Yes, you can use other kinds of citrus zest and juice for these muffins. Of course, then they won’t be lemon poppy seed muffins, but that’s ok! I’m rather partial to using clementines in baking.
Sourdough discard lemon poppy seed muffins, one with the wrapper pulled back

How to Store

You can store these muffins on the counter in a semi-airtight container for up to for 4 days. If you want to extend their shelf life, store them in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 7 days.

Can I Freeze Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins?

You sure can. I recommend wrapping each muffin in saran wrap to prevent freezer burn. Then place the wrapped muffins in an airtight, freezer safe container and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw on the counter for a few hours before digging in, or you can thaw a muffin in the microwave for about 20 seconds (make sure you remove the plastic wrap first).

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Sourdough Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Sourdough discard lemon poppy seed muffins on a wood board
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These easy Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins are made with sourdough discard! The sourdough gives them a subtle tang and a fluffy, tender texture. Topped with crunchy bakers sugar and lots of lemon flavor.

  • Author: Rustic Family Recipes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18 minutes
  • Total Time: 33 minutes
  • Yield: 12 muffins
  • Category: Muffins
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoon poppy seeds

Wet Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sourdough starter discard
  • Juice and zest from 1 lemon

Topping

  • 3 tablespoons bakers sugar

Instructions

Prep your tools. Preheat the oven to 375 F Line 12 muffin cups or grease with butter.

Melt the butter. I prefer to melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Set aside to cool.

Mix the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and poppy seeds.

Mix the wet ingredients. In a separate bowl whisk together the melted butter, eggs, milk, sourdough discard, lemon zest and lemon juice.

Combine wet and dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients into egg mixture and mix just until blended and all ingredients are moistened.

Assemble the muffins. Spoon the mixture into a prepared muffin pan. Fill each muffin about 2/3 full. Sprinkle the tops with bakers sugar.

Bake. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean in the muffins.

Cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes. Remove the muffins to a rack to finish cooling.

Keywords: lemon muffins, poppy seed muffins, sourdough muffins, sourdough discard recipes

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