Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts

Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts || To Salt & See

The official start of spring is only a few weeks away on March 20th, and like most years, there is NO way spring weather will be here that early for us Minnesotans. Honestly, we probably won’t have “spring” until late April. So in the meantime, I am going to be pretending that it is spring with lots of citrus, and fresh flowers from TJ’s.

Personally, nothing screams “springtime” more than lemon to me. One day I would absolutely love to have a lemon tree in our yard (of course, along with lots of other fresh produce and flowers). Quick tangent - have you seen It’s Complicated. It’s a Nancy Meyer movie, which that in itself means that it is a cute movie. If you don’t know who Nancy Meyer is, she is a director/producer/writer of films, such as The Holiday, The Intern, Father of the Bride, Something’s Gotta Give, and the Parent Trap. I LOVE It’s Complicated because I LOVE the “Santa Barbara” house that Meryl Streep lives in. And one of the best parts about the house is that it has a hugeeee garden. I am striving for that, but first I recognize the fact that I have a terrible green thumb, and will need to fix that before my dream can come true. Ok, tangent over.

So to kick off this pretend springtime, I have some Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts for you! These easy to make donuts are baked rather than fried, and there is no yeast, nor rest time to deal with. My husband was kind of taken aback when he tried these donuts because they don’t taste like your typical donuts - overly sweet and heavy. Rather, these donuts are merely muffins in donut form, because, well, most things are more fun in donut form!

Thanks to the lemon juice and lemon zest in the donuts, these donuts are light and refreshing from start to finish. The tartness is perfectly balanced with the sweetness of the glaze on top. The poppy seeds in the donuts add a perfect little crunch to the donut’s otherwise soft and fluffy interior. This recipe is perfect for a multitude of occasions, such as brunch, an afternoon snack, or dessert!

Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts

Prep time:

Bake time:

Serves: 14 donuts

Donut Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs

Glaze Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar, pre-sifted
  • 2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons milk
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • (Optional) poppy seeds


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a donut pan with nonstick spray, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and butter. Whisk until light. Add the milk, yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla, and eggs. Whisk until combined.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Don't overmix! Batter will be thick.
  5. Transfer the batter to a piping bag or a large ziplock bag with a small corner cut off on the bottom. Pipe the batter into the prepared donut pan, filling 2/3rd to 3/4th of the way full.
  6. Bake 9-11 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.
  7. While the donuts are cooling, make the glaze. In a wide based bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and lemon juice. Dip the tops of the donuts in the glaze, or drizzle the glaze over the top.
  8. (Optional) Before the glaze dries, sprinkle on extra poppy seeds for decor.
  9. Store in an airtight container.