Lemon Bread

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This Iced Lemon Bread is one for the books! Supremely moist with bright citrus flavor and a nice pound-cake-like denseness. This bread is perfectly sweet and ultra-soft, thanks to yogurt in the batter!

Love a good lemon loaf? Us too! Next, try our Lemon Blueberry Bread. Or make a Lemon Poppy Seed Bread by adding 1-1/2 tablespoons of poppy seeds to this bread batter before baking.

Overhead image of a slice of Lemon Bread on a plate

The Best Lemon Bread Recipe

The lemon bread recipe at Starbucks is a favorite among my kiddos. When the weather gets cold, we’ll occasionally go and grab them some Pumpkin Spice Steamers as a fun treat. And without fail, they’ll always beg for a piece of their iced lemon loaf. I don’t blame them–it’s delicious!

So, it’s about time I made my own version for them to enjoy a bit more frequently. Except now, they scarf down the loaf in a couple days and immediately start asking for more–ha!

QUICK TIP

What makes a quick bread so quick? Traditional breads use yeast to make the batter rise.
And as bread bakers can attest, the rising times for yeast bread can take hours! Quick breads, though, use baking power and/or baking soda for the
leavening agent. There’s no rising time required! Just mix the ingredients, transfer to a pan, and bake!

Process shots-- images of the wet ingredients being mixed together

Lemon Bread With Yogurt

One of the ways to make an ultra-moist lemon bread is to add yogurt to the batter

Our favorite yogurt to use in this recipe is Honey Vanilla Greek yogurt (made by Greek Gods®; not sponsored). Whatever yogurt you choose to use, make sure you grab a full-fat Greek yogurt so the batter has the thickness needed. If you’re craving even more lemon flavor, you could add in a lemon Greek yogurt here! (While I wouldn’t necessarily consider this a healthy Lemon Bread recipe, using yogurt does increase the amount of protein in this bread.)

We’ve also tested this recipe using full-fat sour cream, which worked great and is also delicious.

Process shots of Lemon Bread-- images of the dry ingredients and wet ingredients being mixed together

How To Make Lemon Bread

True to the title of being a “quick bread,” this is an easy Lemon Bread recipe. No stand or hand mixer needed!

That said, there are two “secret” ingredients to making the perfect Lemon Bread with a strong lemon flavor (while still maintaining the pound-cake-like texture of this bread).

  • Lemon zest. Unlike a lot of recipes that use both the zest and juice of lemons, we only use the zest here. The zest packs a huge punch of flavor without adding liquid. We use a lot of zest — and it’s all needed here! See “quick tip” below. (We’ll also use the juice of a lemon for the glaze.)
  • Lemon extract. Not to be confused with lemon juice, lemon extract is a flavor enhancer (just like vanilla extract) that gives this bread an intense citrusy lemon flavor. We use lemon extract to pack in as much lemon flavor as possible without messing up the consistency of the bread (like lemon juice would). Lemon extract can usually be found near other baking extracts and spices in the grocery store; I recommend using a pure lemon extract. We’ve tested both McCormick® and Watkins® in this recipe and both perform comparably. 

QUICK TIP

When zesting a lemon, avoid the white pith of the lemon — this is very bitter. Using a microplane (like this one) zest only the very outside yellow part of the lemon for this recipe. 

Process shots-- images of the dessert being baked

Lemon Bread FAQs

1What can I make with lots of lemons?

2How do you keep Lemon Bread fresh?

Keep this delicious treat fresh by storing at room temperature wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and consuming within 2-3 days.

To store longer, you’ll want to keep it in the fridge, but note that the cool air from the fridge will make the bread go stale quicker.

3Why did my Lemon Bread fall?

A few possible culprits contribute to the bread falling:

  • too much sugar in the batter
  • too little baking powder
  • under-baking the loaf
  • not whisking the wet ingredients until fully emulsified

4Why is my Lemon Bread so dense?

Dense bread can come from several factors:

  • baking agents are old and no longer working
  • too much flour is packed into measuring cups
  • batter is over-mixed
  • bread wasn’t baked right after being prepared

Up close image of the Lemon Bread, ready to be enjoyed

STORAGE

How Long Does Lemon Bread Last?

Stored at room temperature, this bread should stay fresh and perfectly delicious for 2-3 days. After days 2-3, the bread begins to lose texture (becomes too moist). After day 3, store any leftover slices, individually and tightly wrapped in plastic, in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Freezing

  • Let the bread cool completely on a wire cooling rack. Don’t glaze it!
  • Wrap the uncut loaf with plastic wrap and place it into a freezer bag. Seal the bag, squeezing out excess air.
  • Thaw and enjoy the bread within 3 months. Glaze bread when fully thawed.

Overhead image of a slice of the dessert bread

QUICK TIP

Use the correct size of bread pan! This Homemade Lemon Bread Recipe won’t bake up properly in other loaf pan sizes. Be sure to use a 9×5-inch (1 pound) pan. By the way, here’s our favorite loaf pan!

More Favorite Lemon Recipes:

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Lemon Bread

5 from 6 votes
This Iced Lemon Bread is one for the books! Supremely moist with bright citrus flavor and a nice pound-cake-like denseness. This bread is perfectly sweet and ultra soft, thanks to yogurt in the batter!
Print Recipe

Lemon Bread

5 from 6 votes
This Iced Lemon Bread is one for the books! Supremely moist with bright citrus flavor and a nice pound-cake-like denseness. This bread is perfectly sweet and ultra soft, thanks to yogurt in the batter!
Course Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American, Vegetarian
Keyword Lemon Bread, lemon bread recipe
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Cooling Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings 10 -12 slices (1 loaf)
Calories 251kcal
Author Chelsea Lords
Cost $5.12

Equipment

  • 9x5-inch (1 pound) loaf pan (Note 1)
  • Cooking spray and flour for preparing the pan

Ingredients

Wet Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vegetable (or canola) oil
  • 1 cup white, granulated sugar
  • 1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt (we love honey-vanilla flavored) OR use full-fat sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 large lemons (2 tablespoons zest -- Note 2)
  • 2 tablespoons pure lemon extract (Note 3)

Dry Ingredients

  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose, white flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Topping & Glaze

  • 2 tablespoons white, granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  • PREP: It's important that the wet ingredients are all at the same temperature (room temperature) for them to combine nicely. Remove from the fridge about 45 mins to an hour before using. Grease and lightly flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • WET INGREDIENTS: Add all the wet ingredients to a large bowl. Whisk together until completely smooth.
  • DRY INGREDIENTS: Add all the dry ingredients to a large bowl. Whisk together. Make a well in the center.
  • COMBINE: Pour wet ingredients on top of the dry ingredients and mix until it forms a batter.
  • BAKE: Pour and then smooth batter into prepared pan. Top with 2 tablespoons sugar (just sprinkle on top; don't press down). Bake for 60-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs.
  • COOL: Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 15 minutes before inverting onto a wire cooling rack. Let cool another hour before slicing. Don't rush the cooling-- the bread is still "baking."
  • GLAZE: Place powdered sugar in a small bowl. Add a tiny pinch of salt and slowly whisk in lemon juice until a glaze consistency is formed. Transfer the glaze to a plastic bag and cut off the tip. Pipe the glaze over the completely cooled bread.
  • STORAGE: We like to finish this bread within 1-3 days of being made. After that, it begins to lose texture (becomes too moist). It can, however, last up to a week stored in an airtight container and tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. After the third day, I recommend storing it in the fridge. Wrap each slice tightly and place in an airtight container.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Loaf pan: Be sure to use the correct size of pan so the recipe works properly. Here's the loaf pan we use and love. An 8x4-inch pan is too small! If you do use an 8x4-inch pan, only add about 75% of the batter (use leftovers for some muffins) and note that bake time is shorter. Don't forget to generously grease the bread pan. Grease with nonstick spray (or rub on shortening) and then lightly dust with flour. Alternatively, line it with parchment paper. If you line with parchment paper, leave an overhang for easy removal. 
Note 2: Lemon zest: There is a lot of zest — and it’s all needed here--and no juice in the bread. We'll use lemon juice for the glaze. When zesting the lemon, avoid the white pith of the lemon — this is very bitter. Using a microplane (like this one) zest only the very outside yellow part of the lemon for this recipe.
Note 3: Lemon extract: Not to be confused with lemon juice, lemon extract is a flavor enhancer (just like vanilla extract) that gives this bread an intense citrusy lemon flavor. We use lemon extract to pack in as much lemon flavor as possible without messing up the consistency of the bread (like lemon juice would). Lemon extract can usually be found near other baking extracts and spices in the grocery store; I recommend using a pure lemon extract. We've tested both McCormick and Watkins in this recipe and both perform comparably. 

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 251kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 340mg | Potassium: 77mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 60IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 1mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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16 Comments

  1. This is just stunning! I love the use of greek yogurt- it really makes this moist and lightens it up 🙂

  2. I love quick breads and anything lemon! Can’t wait to give this a go! Your photos are beautiful too 🙂

  3. This recipe is so fresh and delicious! I substituted with Truvia sugar instead of the real thing and the flavor was wonderful!! Thanks for posting!! ??????

  4. 5 stars
    I LOVED this recipe! I think I will always make this bread. It could have been a tiny bit more moist so I will try cooking 5-10 minutes less or using the full 2 containers of yogurt instead of measuring out a cup.

  5. 5 stars
    Followed recipe exactly as written but just added a little more lemon juice as I used vanilla yogurt. Baked 50 min. It was the BEST lemon bread I have ever made!! I have two lemons left and am going to make another loaf to freeze!

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