Muffins, Recipes

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins with Streusel

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lemon poppyseed muffins
MUFFINS – MAY 19, 2023

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins with streusel

The combination of zesty lemon, creamy cream cheese, crunchy poppyseeds, and a buttery streusel creates extraordinary lemon poppyseed muffins that will have you coming back for seconds.

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When it comes to favorite desserts, lemon is always at the top as very few compare to the bright lemony flavors. Particularly if you add luscious cream cheese and a gentle crunch from poppyseed. Together with a buttery streusel, you will have an award-winning combination of one of the softest and most tender muffins out there. 

I asked my Instagram community what dessert they preferred between lemon poppyseed muffins or a lemon loaf cake. But turns out the voting was even. Hence, I’m bringing you this new version of your favorite lemon poppyseed muffins. 

lemon poppyseed muffins

Why you will love it?

Compared to regular lemon poppyseed muffins, these have cream cheese in the batter, and a buttery streusel topping that is just so good. Of course, the contrast of soft, tender, and lemony muffins, with crunchy poppyseed and streusel topping makes this a muffin worth experiencing. 

In addition, that glaze adds that extra je-ne-sais-quoi to the muffins, extra sweetness and crunchiness once set, and most definitely, more lemon flavor!

For the most part, these are very easy to make. In fact, there are three components to it: the muffin batter, the streusel or crumb topping, and the icing/glaze. Even if it seems like a lot, I promise it becomes easy if you do it step by step. 

While you could leave the crumb topping or the icing out of the equation, I’d highly recommend making them and completing the art piece these lemon cream cheese poppyseed muffins with streusel topping will be. 

lemon poppyseed muffins

Ingredients for Lemon Poppyseed Muffins with streusel:

Muffin Batter:

  • Flour: All-purpose flour works best to give structure and bind the ingredients. You could probably substitute for 1-to-1 gluten-free flour but I have not tested this.
  • Poppy seeds: just two tablespoons. The poppy seeds add a crunch and a slightly sweet and nutty flavor.
  • Baking powder: leavening agent.
  • Baking soda: ¼ tsp is more than enough. Too much will react with the lemon and these will overflow in the oven.
  • Salt: as always, to balance the sweetness.
  • Cream cheese: softened and at room temperature. Full-fat, regular cream cheese works. This is my favorite brand.
  • Butter: unsalted butter, softened to room temperature 
  • Sugar: granulated white sugar sweetens and keeps the muffin light-colored.
  • Lemon Zest: about 2 tablespoons or 2 large lemons. Adds a potent lemony flavor.
  • Egg: at room temperature. The egg binds the ingredients.
  • Vanilla extract: delicious vanilla flavor.
  • Milk: full fat or 2% work. You can also substitute with buttermilk for an extra tender muffin. 
  • Lemon juice: make sure it is freshly squeezed from 1-2 large lemons. It gives the best flavor.

Streusel Topping:

  • Flour:  All-purpose flour works best to give structure and bind the ingredients. You could probably substitute for 1-to-1 gluten-free flour but I have not tested this.
  • White Sugar: granulated white sugar sweetens and keeps the streusel light in color.
  • Brown sugar: adds a caramelized flavor to the streusel.
  • Butter: unsalted melted butter to combine all the ingredients.  
  • Salt: to highlight and balance the sweetness. 
  • Poppy s even if you won’t probably taste them, it makes them so pretty!

Lemon Glaze:

  • Lemon juice: make sure it is freshly squeezed as it gives the best flavor.
  • Powdered sugar: sifted and measure correctly so it is lump free.
  • Poppy seeds: just a little bit to decorate on top of the glaze before it sets.
lemon poppyseed muffins

Tips for making the best Lemon Poppyseed Muffins with Streusel

  1. Measure ingredients correctly: Ensure accurate measurements for the best results. Generally, you should avoid packing in the flour in any recipe or you will have a tough baked good.
  2. Ingredients must be at room temperature to ensure your ingredients combine completely without any cream cheese or butter clumps remaining in the final batter, so you don’t have any pockets in the muffin.
  3. Mix gently when adding the flour and avoid overmixing the batter, as it can lead to dense muffins. Mix until the ingredients are just combined for a tender crumb.
  4. Use fresh lemon zest and lemon juice for the best flavor. It adds a vibrant and natural citrus taste to the muffins without tasting like artificial lemon flavors.
  5. Use an ice cream scoop to scoop the batter into the muffin pan with ease. You can also use a ¼ cup measuring cup which I found works great.
  6. Do not overfill the muffin cavities with too much batter. It will overflow and be messy – but still tasty!
  7. Use all of the streusel and keep it in chunks. Don’t press them tightly on the muffins, and don’t sprinkle them too finely. You want to sprinkle streusel chunks lightly on the muffins since it should add texture.
  8. Sprinkle poppy seeds on the icing before it sets. This way they will stick to the muffins – don’t be like me, I forgot!
  9. Cooling and Storing: Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Glaze them and wait for them to set completely before storing them in an airtight container.
lemon poppyseed muffins
lemon poppyseed muffins

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins with Streusel

Author: Seidy
The combination of zesty lemon, creamy cream cheese, crunchy poppyseeds, and a buttery streusel creates an extraordinary lemon poppyseed muffin that will have you coming back for seconds.
Prep Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 muffins


Muffin Batter:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 120 grams
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened to room temperature (113 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter softened to room temperature (30 grams)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar 150 grams
  • Zest of 2 large lemons about 2 tablespoons
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup milk can substitute with buttermilk (60 ml)
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice from 1-2 large lemons (60 ml)

Streusel Topping:

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour 107 g
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 25 grams
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar 25 grams
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted (57 g)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp poppy seeds

Lemon Glaze:

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar more or less (98 grams)


Muffin Batter:

  • Preheat the oven to 350℉. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners or spray each muffin cavity.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, poppy seeds, and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer or in a medium bowl with a handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, granulated sugar, and lemon zest until they are well combined. The mix will be light and fluffy. Mix for about 1-2 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, buttermilk, and lemon juice. Mix until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Fold in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with a spatula until just combined. The mix should be a bit lumpy, avoid overmixing or they will be tough.
  • Divide the batter among the muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full.

For the crumb topping:

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Add the melted butter and stir with a fork or a whisk until the mixture forms tiny clumps and sticks together when pressed with your fingers.
  • Top the muffins with the crumb topping. It is more than okay to be generous and use all the mix.
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes, until slightly golden or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs.
  • Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing them and setting them on a wire rack to cool completely.

For the glaze:

  • While the muffins are baking, add the lemon juice to a small bowl and gradually add the powdered sugar. Whisk constantly until desired consistency. Adjust consistency by adding more lemon juice for a runnier glaze, or more powdered sugar for a thicker consistency. The ideal consistency should be thick but it still flows out of the spoon. Drizzle glaze over the top of each muffin after they have cooled. Let them set completely before storing them.


Keyword Cream Cheese Muffins, Lemon Muffins, Lemon Poppyseed Muffins, Poppyseed Muffins

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