These cheery Orange Muffins with Poppy Seeds are full of lightness and brightness. 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.

Greek Yogurt Orange Muffins with Poppy Seeds and Sweet Orange Glaze.

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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?

Greek Yogurt Orange Muffins with Poppy Seeds and Orange Glaze

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!

bright oranges for orange muffins with poppy seeds

How to Make Orange Muffins with Poppy Seeds

Whipping up these orange muffins with poppy seeds is a breeze.

After baking, 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 with poppy seeds taste lovely without it.

The Ingredients

  • Oranges. 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. For maximum orange flavor, this recipe calls for both orange zest and orange juice.

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.

Fresh Orange Muffins with Greek Yogurt with orange zest
  • White Whole Wheat Flour. I like using white whole wheat flour because it adds a bit more fiber and protein than regular all-purpose flour, and is a not-noticeable healthy swap.

Substitution

You can substitute whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour.

  • Greek Yogurt. To make the orange poppy seed 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.
  • Vanilla Extract. I always use pure extract in my baking; the flavor really makes a difference.
  • Almond Extract. A touch of almond extract pairs delicately with the orange.
  • Poppy Seeds. 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.

The Directions

  1. Rub orange zest into sugar. Stir in remaining dry ingredients.
  2. Whisk together the eggs, Greek yogurt, milk, butter, extracts, and orange juice.
Healthy Orange Muffin recipe with yogurt and sweet orange glaze. Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated
  1. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix gently.
  2. Fill muffin pan, and bake orange muffins with poppy seeds at 375 degrees F for 12-14 minutes.
  3. Let cook, then transfer to a wire rack.
  4. Prepare glaze and drizzle over muffins. ENJOY!
Healthy Greek Yogurt Orange Muffins with Sweet Orange Glaze. Moist, fluffy, and delicious! Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated’

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Store muffins in a paper towel-lined airtight container at room temperature on counter for up to 4 days.
  • To Freeze. Freeze muffins in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw and enjoy as desired. I like to individually wrap the muffins first, so I can use them for quick breakfasts and snacks.

Storage Tip

For even more tips on storing your leftovers, check out this post on How to Store Muffins.

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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

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do You Have to Soak Poppy Seeds Before Baking?

No, poppy seeds do not need to be soaked when adding to orange muffins.

Are Poppy Seed Muffins Good for You?

This orange muffin with poppy seed recipe is lightened up with less sugar than typical muffin recipes, and some of the butter is subbed with Greek yogurt. Plus, poppy seeds contain vitamins!

What Makes a Muffin Light and Fluffy?

Having the wet ingredients (eggs, milk, butter, and Greek yogurt) as close to room temperature as possible is key. Additionally, if your wet ingredients are not room temperature, the butter will resolidify. If you don’t have time to wait, use canola oil or a very light tasting olive oil instead of the butter, which will stay liquid.

Orange Muffins with Poppy Seeds

4.75 from 4 votes
Greek yogurt orange muffins with poppy seeds and sweet orange glaze. Moist and fluffy! Healthy recipe that’s perfect for easy breakfasts and snacks.

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 12 mins
Total: 30 mins

Servings: 12 muffins

Ingredients
  

FOR THE ORANGE MUFFINS:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (plus 2 tablespoons)
  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Notes

Store leftover muffins according to this guide.

Nutrition

Serving: 1muffinCalories: 220kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 5gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 45mgFiber: 3gSugar: 22g

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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30 Comments

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  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.

    1. 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. 5 stars

    1. 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!5 stars

    1. 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!!

    2. I tried this recipe today and muffins turned out to be so soft and spongy. I didn’t have almond extract but still went ahead and baked them. They did turn round at the top, which is good. I haven’t made the glaze. But I am so glad that finally I found my go to recipe for orange muffins. Thanks a lot!4 stars

  7. Just make this and used lemon .wow it come out great and also used maple suger in plce of white sugar . Thank Erin. I love all your recipes.

  8. I’d like to make these but seem to have run out of the white whole wheat pastry flour. I have white pastry flour and a multigrain blend….wonder if I can somehow blend the flours to make this and still be ‘healthy-ish’. 

    1. I think you could give it a try, Ana! Often a blend of half all purpose and half whole-grain still has a lighter taste but gets some of the whole-grain nutrition in there. I haven’t tried that blend myself, but I think it’d be worth a shot!

  9. Hi Erin,

    Thank you for posting this lovely recipe. I am just wondering can I add in some of the orange juice and if so how much?
    Thanks.

    1. Hi Priya, check out step 2! After you zest the oranges, you set aside 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon of the juice for the muffins and 2 tablespoons for the glaze. I hope you enjoy the muffins!

  10. Just made these! I confess I was too lazy to make the glaze today so I sprinkled 2 tbsp of raw sugar over the tops (and omitted the 2 tbsp of white sugar called for in the recipe). They are plenty sweet and very delicious! I will definitely being coming back to this!5 stars

    1. Hi Madi, I’m so sorry to hear that these didn’t turn out as you’d hoped. I know it can be frustrating to try a new recipe and not have it turn out, so I really wish you would’ve enjoyed them! Let me know if you’d like help troubleshooting.

    1. Hi Vannessa! I haven’t tried this myself, but you could experiment with it. If you decide to try it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  11. I’m keen to try this recipe. If I want to make them gluten-free, can I use all-purpose gluten free flour? Would I need to add more yoghurt and milk to make them moist?

    1. Hi Karen! I haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free flour, but I think simply swapping it in should work fine. If you decide to try it, I’d love to hear how it goes!