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.
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?
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…
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Rub orange zest into sugar. Stir in remaining dry ingredients.
- Whisk together the eggs, Greek yogurt, milk, butter, extracts, and orange juice.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix gently.
- Fill muffin pan, and bake orange muffins with poppy seeds at 375 degrees F for 12-14 minutes.
- Let cook, then transfer to a wire rack.
- Prepare glaze and drizzle over muffins. ENJOY!
- 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.
For even more tips on storing your leftovers, check out this post on How to Store Muffins.
More Muffin Recipes with Fruit
- Cranberry Orange Muffins
- Raspberry Muffins
- Apple Carrot Muffins
- Healthy Banana Muffins
- Healthy Blueberry Muffins
- Muffin tin. A great muffin tin!
- Zester. Zest with ease!
- Large cookie scoop. Great for perfectly portioned, extra fluffy muffins.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, poppy seeds do not need to be soaked when adding to orange muffins.
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!
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
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
- 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.
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