Orange Poppy Seed Muffins

This post may contain affiliate links.

These citrusy Orange Poppy Seed Muffins will brighten up even the dreariest of days. Moist, fluffy, and popping with orange flavor, these orange muffins are a fantastic breakfast or afternoon snack.

Bright and Cheery Orange Poppy Seed Muffins

Orange muffins sprinkled with coarse sugar and orange zest.

Fresh citrus is one of the few redeeming qualities of winter. We might not have sunshine or adequate levels of Vitamin D, but by gosh we have citrus fruit!

When we’re in the darkest days of winter, I find myself craving bright, zesty baked goods like Lemon Raspberry Bars, Lemon Bundt Cake, and Orange Cookies.

Now we can add these Orange and Poppy Seed Muffins to our winter survival kit. These fluffy and moist muffins are bursting with citrus flavor from fresh orange juice and A LOT of orange zest. Studded with poppy seeds and topped with crunchy turbinado sugar, they’re a delight to make and eat!

We based these off of our favorite Lemon Raspberry Poppy Seed Muffins, another winter and springtime favorite.

These muffins take only about 20 minutes to stir together, and the smell of them alone is enough to lift your spirits!

And of course, orange muffins are lovely to eat. We love to heat them up and enjoy a warm, sweet muffin for breakfast, afternoon snack, or dessert. They’re especially great alongside a cup of hot tea!

Orange muffins stacked on a cooling rack.

Key Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Baking staples, including all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
    • Feel free to substitute whole wheat pastry flour for the all purpose flour for a nutritional boost.
  • Poppy seeds– I love the added texture and color poppy seeds provide to a muffin, but if you don’t have any, just leave them out! You’ll still have absolutely delicious orange muffins.
  • Granulated sugar– I recommend using granulated sugar rather than brown sugar in this recipe. Brown sugar has a darker, richer flavor, and I wanted to keep these muffins light and citrus-focused.
  • Unsalted butter– We usually bake with unsalted butter so we can control the salt levels.
  • Vegetable oil– Using a combination of oil and butter gives these muffins great flavor AND a lovely, moist and airy crumb.
  • Oranges– This recipe uses the zest of two large oranges + all the juice from the oranges. Any kind of orange will work, but if you can get your hands on Cara Cara oranges they’re especially delicious and wonderful in the winter months.
  • Eggs
  • Sour cream– Sour cream adds moisture and tenderness to baked goods. Feel free to substitute plain yogurt if you prefer.
  • Turbinado sugar– This is my secret weapon to top muffins! I learned this trick from Smitten Kitchen’s Blueberry Muffin recipe (a personal favorite of mine), and I’ve been using it ever since. It adds some sparkle and a slight crunch. I prefer it to a glaze, but these would also be wonderful topped with an orange glaze.
Ingredients for orange poppy seed muffins arranged on a sheet pan.

How to Make Orange and Poppy Seed Muffins

Step 1: Prep. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line two muffin tins with 16 paper liners.

Step 2: Whisk dry ingredients. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds in a mixing bowl.

Step 3: Cream butter and sugar. In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, butter, oil, and all but 1 teaspoon of the orange zest on medium high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.

Creamed butter, oil, sugar, and orange zest.

Step 4: Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla extract.

Eggs being added to creamed butter and sugar.

Step 5: Alternate dry and wet ingredients. Stir in about ⅓ of the flour mixture. Add all of the orange juice, stir, and then add another ⅓ of the flour mixture, scraping the bowl and combining on low speed.

Flour and poppy seed mixture being stirred into muffin batter.
Orange juice poured into muffin batter in a stainless steel bowl.

Stir in the sour cream, then end with the remaining flour mixture. The batter will be quite thick and a little lumpy looking.

Sour cream added to orange muffin batter.

Step 6: Fill and bake. Line muffin tins with 16 paper liners. Fill each cup 2/3 of the way full. Sprinkle each one with the sugar and remaining orange zest. Bake in the preheated oven for 19-22 minutes or until tops are firm and very light golden brown on the edges. Cool in the muffin tin for five minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely or serve warm.

Great tip: Use a jumbo cookie scoop or ice cream scoop to put the muffin batter into the cups.

Orange poppy seed muffins in muffin liners before being baked.
Freshly baked orange and poppy seed muffins in a muffin tray.

Great tip: Use a light hand when stirring in the flour. Over-mixing can result in dense, tough muffins.

Storage and Freezing Instructions

These muffins keep well in an airtight container or wrapped in saran wrap at room temperature for up to 5 days.

To freeze orange poppyseed muffins, wrap them tightly in saran wrap then place in a freezer safe bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature overnight then serve as usual.

Fresh orange muffin in a muffin tin.

Serving Tips

We prefer to serve these muffins warm. I recommend putting them in the microwave for 10-15 seconds before eating. You can reheat several muffins at once in the oven at 325 degrees for about 8-10 minutes.

Orange muffins are a nice treat on their own, but they also pair beautifully with Overnight Breakfast Casserole or Crustless Quiche Lorraine for a complete meal.

For an extra orange-y snack, serve these with a small scoop of orange marmalade, or use the technique in our Lemon Raspberry Jam Muffins and put a dollop of marmalade in the center of each muffin before baking.

An orange and poppy seed muffin broken in half to show the fluffy interior.

More Muffin Recipes to Try

Muffins are one of my favorite things to keep around, especially when the kiddos are wanting something a little sweet (and portable). Here are a few more of our favorites.

Orange marmalade spread on a fresh orange muffin.
Orange muffins sprinkled with coarse sugar and orange zest.

Orange Poppy Seed Muffins

Moist and fluffy Orange Poppy Seed Muffins are bursting with fresh citrus flavor. Topped with coarse sugar, these muffins have a great texture with a slight crunch!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 16
Calories: 250kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • Zest of 2 oranges (divided)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • cup orange juice (*See note 1)
  • cup sour cream
  • 3 Tablespoons Turbinado sugar (or other coarse sugar)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tins with 16 paper liners.
  • In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the sugar, butter, oil and all but 1 teaspoon of the orange zest on medium high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla extract.
  • Gently stir in about ⅓ of the flour mixture. Add all of the orange juice, stir, and then add another ⅓ of the flour mixture, scraping the bowl and combining on low speed.
  • Stir in the sour cream, then end with the remaining flour mixture. The batter will be quite thick and a little lumpy looking.
  • Fill each cup 2/3 of the way full. In a small bowl, use your fingers to mix together the coarse sugar and remaining orange zest. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the tops of the muffins.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 19-22 minutes or until tops are firm and very light golden brown on the edges. Cool in the muffin tin for five minutes then transfer to a wire rack. We prefer to serve these warm.

Notes

  • Note 1: I use fresh squeezed orange juice from the two oranges, and if I need to fill in to get to 2/3 cups, I’ll add store bought orange juice.
  • Note 2: To store the muffins, cool completely then store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. These muffins can also be wrapped in saran wrap and stored in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Note 3: We prefer to serve these warm. Reheat individual muffins in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. A whole tray can be reheated, covered in foil, in a 325 degree oven for 7-8 minutes.
  • Note 4: You should get between 16 and 18 muffins out of this recipe.
Course Quick Breads, Muffins & Scones
Cuisine American
Keyword orange and poppy seed muffins, orange poppy seed muffins

Nutrition

Serving: 1muffin | Calories: 250kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 173mg | Potassium: 77mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 245IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 1mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Leave a review, Mention @NeighborFoodie, or tag #neighborfoodies!

2 Comments

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.