Orange Muffins with Poppy Seeds

In bleak January, just when it seems like the sun won’t ever stay up past 4:30 p.m., the temperature won’t rise above freezing, or the permacloud won’t lift, Mother Nature bursts forth with one of winter’s greatest gifts: citrus. These cheery Orange Muffins with Poppy Seeds are full of lightness and brightness, two happy qualities that my sleet-worn soul needed desperately this week.

Greek Yogurt Orange Muffins with Poppy Seeds and Sweet Orange Glaze. Moist and fluffy! Healthy recipe that’s perfect for wholesome breakfasts and snacks. Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

After spending three magical days enjoying winter at its finest while downhill skiing at Deer Valley, Ben and I arrived home to a work week of winter at its worst: drizzling sleet, harsh winds, and a sky so gray you could name a tragic film after it. If someone were writing a script for the stereotypical harsh transition back to reality after vacation, it would have taken place this week.

Then, yesterday morning as I was contemplating the great mystery of why the first settlers to Wisconsin decided to stick around the frozen tundra instead of rolling on west to California, I remembered the pair of orange muffins I had stowed away in our freezer. I leapt to my feet, popped them into the microwave, and a few minutes later…

Hello, sunshine!

Greek Yogurt Orange Muffins with Poppy Seeds and Orange Glaze. Moist, fluffy, and healthy! Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

A twist on classic lemon poppy seed muffins that swaps the lemon for orange, these lively Orange Muffins offer a jovial burst of sun on even the dreariest winter day. Although you can find citrus year round, it’s at its prime in January and February. Isn’t it marvelous that at the time when your soul most needs an orange muffin (ahem, now), oranges are also at their peak?

Orange Poppy Seed Muffins. Even better than lemon! Sweet, moist, and fluffy. Healthy recipe

Per usual, I picked up the ingredients for these Orange Muffins at Pick ‘n Save, my local grocery store with which I partner to create fresh monthly recipes. The selection of citrus was enormous! I opted to keep these muffins classic with naval oranges, but they’d also be delicious with grapefruit, blood orange, and, of course, with lemon too.

Fresh Orange Muffins with Greek Yogurt

For maximum orange flavor, this recipe calls for both orange zest and orange juice. Pro tip: if you blend any citrus zest (lemon, orange, lime, etc.) into the sugar before you add the other ingredients, it activates the zest’s oils, intensifies its flavor, and makes your fingers smell quite nice too.

Healthy Orange Muffin recipe with yogurt and sweet orange glaze. Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

To make the Orange Muffins extra moist, tender, and even healthy, I replaced most of the butter with Greek yogurt. The yogurt makes the muffins taste incredibly decadent while keeping them low in fat. A touch of almond extract pairs delicately with the orange. While the poppy seeds aren’t required, they are super fun and make for a refreshing riff on the more common lemon-poppy seed combo.

Healthy Greek Yogurt Orange Muffins with Sweet Orange Glaze. Moist, fluffy, and delicious! Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated’

I finished the Orange Muffins with a sweet vanilla glaze. The glaze is delicious, but if you prefer to omit it or you like your breakfast goodies to be less sweet, the Orange Muffins taste lovely without it.

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Orange Muffins with Poppy Seeds

Greek Yogurt Orange Muffins with Poppy Seeds and Sweet Orange Glaze. Moist and fluffy! Healthy recipe that’s perfect for easy breakfasts and snacks.

Yield: 12 muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

FOR THE ORANGE MUFFINS:

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 large oranges
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (or substitute whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour)
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup nonfat milk, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled (or substitute melted, cooled coconut oil, canola oil, or very light olive oil)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

FOR THE GLAZE:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons orange juice (reserved from the oranges above)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray or line with paper liners. Place the sugar in a medium mixing bowl, then zest both oranges directly into it. Rub together the sugar and orange zest with your fingers, until the sugar is fragrant, moist, and light orange throughout. Stir in the flour, poppy seeds, baking soda, and salt. Juice the zested oranges and set aside 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon for the muffins and 2 tablespoons for the glaze.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, Greek yogurt, milk, butter, vanilla extract, almond extract, and 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon orange juice. (All of these ingredients do need to be as close to room temperature as possible, or the butter will resolidify. If you don’t have time to wait, use canola oil or a very light tasting olive oil, which will stay liquid.) Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix gently by hand, just until combined. Do not overmix.
  3. Divide the batter among the 12 muffin cups, filling three-quarters of the way to the top (I like to use a big cookie scoop for the tallest, fluffiest muffins). Bake 12-14 minutes, until the tops are dry and spring back lightly when touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The muffins will look a little flat but will still be perfectly moist and delicious. Let cool 3 minutes in the pan, then gently transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. For the glaze, melt the butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl. Whisk in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon orange juice. Continue adding juice, 1 teaspoon at a time, until your desired consistency is reached. Drizzle over the top of the muffins. Enjoy warm or cooled.

Store leftover muffins according to this guide.

All images and text ©/Well Plated.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size: 1 muffin

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 220 Calories
  • Total Fat: 7g
  • Saturated Fat: 3g
  • Cholesterol: 45mg
  • Sodium: 237mg
  • Carbohydrates: 35g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Sugar: 22g
  • Protein: 5g

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

I am sharing this post in partnership with Pick ‘n Save. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands and companies that make it possible for me to continue sharing quality content with you! For more recipe inspiration, you can follow Pick ‘n Save on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter too.

About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

12 comments

  1. I love your writing style and these muffins sound divine. Once I can find poppy seeds, I’m giving these a try.
    Thanks for lifting my day and painting such a vivid sunshiny day!

  2. These do sound heavenly without a doubt. We used to spend part of the winter in Ft. Myers and had friends who had grapefruit and orange trees. I LOVE oranges and I can tell you that I was in pig heaven! Funny story though – my husband is an ironworker by trade and they do random drug testing as a safety precaution. Poppy seeds show up on those tests as an illegal drug – not a good thing when you do that kind of work. He always avoided them, of course. Will definitely be trying this recipe. Have a warm weekend.

    • I can’t even imagine how wonderful and fresh that fruit must have tasted Chris! And thanks for the heads up on the poppy seed. I’d actually heard that before, but it’s good to be aware. Fortunately, you can leave them out and the muffins will still be delicious!

  3. Orange + poppy seeds? Now that’s a winning combination here! What a great breakfast/afternoon treat this is! :)

  4. Sounds delicious and I love that it’s with greek yogurt. If you make them with lemons instead, is the amount of juice required the same? Thanks!

  5. These were so great! The only problem I had (nothing to do with the recipe) was my baking soda. I didn’t realise that it was too old so my muffins didn’t rise :( always ensure you have fairly “fresh” baking soda BUT they tasted delicious. Within 10 minutes of coming out of the oven, 6 were gone. 

    Rating: 5
    • That’s a great reminder, Reenu. I’m so glad you enjoyed the muffins regardless! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this wonderful review!

  6. I made these muffins last week and they are absolutely amazing!  So much flavor in every bite, a perfect anytime snack! They were quick and easy to make and everyone loved them!!! Great tip about mixing the zest with the sugar, it really brought out the orange flavor.  I also stored them using paper towels lined at the bottom like you suggested in a previous post and they stayed fresh and delicious all week!  You are always my go to/1st stop whenever I am looking for something to make! I really appreciate that you use ingredients that add nutritional value where possible such as yogurt and whole grains. When I made the muffins my husband was like “are those from your friend Erin!” joking obviously because he knows 90% of the time i am making a dinner/side dish/ dessert recipe from your site! He even went to your site and made the lemon layer cake for my birthday! (Delicious of course!!!) Thanks for all the great recipes Erin!

    Rating: 5
    • Tracy, I’m blushing! Thank you so much for your kind words about my site and recipes! I’m happy to hear you love the muffins (and the lemon cake!), and I so appreciate your taking the time to leave this wonderful comment. Thank you!!

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