Gluten-Free Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins – These bright, sunny gluten-free lemon muffins are a total DREAM! Fluffy and citrusy with every bite. (Dairy-Free)
Can we just talk about how delicious lemon poppy seed muffins are? They’re one of my ALL-TIME favorite muffins. They’re so sunny and bright!
I’m a stickler with my lemon baked goods, and when I tell you I made more than a dozen versions of these muffins before they were just right, I mean it!
Our gluten-free lemon poppyseed muffins were 100% worth the wait. They’re light & fluffy, and they’re bursting with lemon flavor in every bite. I’m spilling all our secrets for getting the most lemon flavor in your muffins, and I think once you taste them, you’ll never go back.
Here’s what you’ll need to get started…
Gluten-Free Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins, At A Glance:
Here’s what You Need To Make Gluten-Free Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins:
For The Wet Ingredients:
- Lots Of Fresh Lemon Zest. This is crucial for getting that fresh, gorgeous lemon flavor! You’ll use 2 1/2 tablespoons, which is about 3 lemons’ worth of zest. It’ll look like a lot, but it’ll taste *just* right!
- Sugar. To sweeten these muffins, we’re using regular sugar. I don’t recommend swaps or substitutions here. We tried them with honey and pure maple syrup, and neither tasted as lemony as when we used regular sugar.
- Avocado oil. You can really use any favorite neutral-tasting oil here, like like sunflower, grapeseed, or canola. I don’t recommend coconut oil, as it impacts the flavor.
- Eggs. These give puff and stretch to the muffins.
- Milk & Fresh Lemon Juice. I use unsweetened almond milk when I make these lemon poppy seed muffins, but you can use whatever you drink. Then, we add lemon juice for acidity & flavor.
- Vanilla & Almond Extract. It might sound strange, but we made test batches with and without almond extract and the ones with almond extract had a stronger lemon flavor! Its sweet notes really highlight the lemon!
- Lemon Oil (Or Lemon Extract). I highly recommend lemon oil if it’s at all possible for you! It’s got the most concentrated, fresh lemon flavor. If you can’t find it or it doesn’t fit the budget, I do recommend lemon extract. We’re using just enough for brightness, but not so much that it’ll taste artificial.
For The Dry Ingredients:
- Gluten-Free Measure-For-Measure Flour. We recommend our favorite King Arthur Measure For Measure Flour blend (not sponsored, just love it!). It gives great texture to muffins, cookies, brownies, cakes, and more. Also know that you CANNOT swap for almond flour or coconut flour here.
- Poppy Seeds. They wouldn’t be gluten-free lemon poppy seed muffins without poppy seeds, right?
- Baking Powder. For lift and puff. You’ll love the rise on these glorious gluten-free lemon muffins!
- Salt. Balance those flavors!
3 Tricks For Getting More Lemon Flavor In Your Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins:
1. Rub The Zest Into The Sugar First!
Using lemon zest is a great way to add fresh lemon flavor to lemon poppy seed muffins and other lemon baked goods, but you can unlock even MORE of that lemon flavor by rubbing the lemon zest into the sugar before you begin. This releases the lemon essential oils from the zest and distributes it over the granules of sugar. Instead of all the lemon flavor being concentrated in the zest only, it’s now in every single bite thanks to the zest & the lemon zest-infused sugar!
2. Add Lemon Juice.
In addition to the fresh lemon zest (a MUST for these muffins!), we’re also adding some fresh lemon juice. I only recommend fresh lemon juice here, since you’ll already have fresh lemons on hand for the zest. Bottled lemon juice can get bitter and acidic, while fresh has a much brighter, more balanced flavor.
3. Use Lemon Oil Instead Of Lemon Extract.
Last but not least, I recommend using lemon oil instead of lemon extract. You do need to use one of the two in this recipe if you really want the lemon flavor to shine, and lemon oil will give you the freshest, most concentrated lemon flavor. It’s not something most people have lying around in their kitchen, but if you like lemon baked goods (cakes, muffins, etc.), it’s definitely worth keeping on hand! Use culinary lemon oil (best choice!), or food-grade essential oil (second best choice). Do NOT use aromatherapy oils! Note that because it’s more concentrated, you need LESS lemon oil than lemon extract.
FAQ + Tips For The Best Gluten-Free Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
The BEST Muffin Liners EVER! I *hate* it when half of my muffin sticks to the muffin liner! I never have that problem with these parchment muffin liners. They’re the most nonstick liners I’ve ever tried. I almost exclusively use them almost for muffins and cupcakes. While you’re at it, use a light-colored muffin pan for more even baking. (Dark pans brown too quickly and can burn)
Try A Cookie Scoop For Portioning Batter! I use cookie scoops for All The Things, but one of my favorite (besides cookies, obvs) is for portioning muffin or cupcake batter into the pan. It makes it so much easier to make them all equal! I use my large cookie scoop for this job most of the time, but if I could only own one scoop, it’d be the medium size.
Can You Freeze Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins? You bet! If you want to freeze your gluten-free lemon poppy seed muffins, let them cool all the way to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight, freezer-safe bag and store in the freezer 4-6 weeks.
Can I Make Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins With Almond Flour or Coconut Flour Instead? No! Not for this recipe. The formulation of wet/dry ingredients is calculated based on gluten-free measure for measure flour and will not work with almond or coconut flours. If you need an almond flour lemon poppy seed muffin recipe, One Lovely Life has a great one!