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Lemon Poppy Seed Bread (with Glaze)

Moist, tender, and delicious, this Lemon Poppy Seed Bread recipe is perfect for spring and summer when lemons are at their peak flavor. Lemon flavor mixes with the nutty flavor of poppy seeds to make a sweet bread that is refreshing and perfect for a snack or breakfast!

Quick bread recipes are some of the most versatile breakfast, dessert, and snack recipes that home cooks can keep at their disposal. Not only are these bread recipes fairly effortless to prepare, they usually take about an or less to bake up to golden perfection.

Some of our favorites are a Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake, Peanut Butter Bread, Apple Cinnamon Bread, and Orange Cranberry Bread.

Front view of sliced poppy seed bread.

When it comes to loaf cake recipes, the perfect texture is important. You want your bread to be moist and tender, but not overly dense or dry. This Lemon Poppy Seed Bread recipe is just that – the perfect balance of moist and tender, with a light and airy texture!

This bread is flavored with the freshness of lemon and the nuttiness of poppy seeds. The combination is truly delicious! And, it’s so easy to make! Just mix all of the ingredients together, pour the mixture into a loaf pan, bake, and top with a simple sweet lemon glaze.

The result is a delicious and refreshing bread that is perfect for spring and summer that you can enjoy for breakfast, snacks, and dessert!

Give this recipe a try and enjoy the taste of spring!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • The flavor combination of fresh lemon and poppy seeds is nutty and refreshing.
  • This bread is easy to make and only requires a few simple ingredients you can find in any grocery store.
  • The bread is moist, tender, and has the perfect balance of texture and flavor.
  • It’s the perfect recipe for spring and summer and great for an Easter brunch!

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • All-Purpose Flour – This important ingredient makes up the structure of the bread by allowing the rest of the ingredients to interact and turn it into bread.
  • Granulated Sugar – Sweetens up the base of this lemon bread.
  • Baking Soda & Baking Powder – Helps the bread rise giving it a light airy texture.
  • Salt – Activates the leavening agents while giving a contrasting flavor to the sweetness.
  • Lemon Zest – Adds natural lemon flavor from the essential oils in the zest of the lemon.
  • Poppy Seeds – Gives this bread texture, color, and a slightly nutty taste.
  • Milk – Thins out the bread while still keeping it moist and creamy.
  • Eggs – Binds everything together allowing the bread to set and be sliceable when cooled.
  • Canola Oil – Adds additional richness and moisture to the bread.
  • Vanilla Extract – Gives the bread a light vanilla flavor.

Lemon Sugar Glaze

  • Powdered Sugar – Sweetens up the glaze and mixes in with the liquid smoothly.
  • Lemon Juice – Adds a complementary lemon flavor to the glaze.
  • Warm Water – Thins out the sugar mixture making it easy to use.

How To Make Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf

  1. Prepare for baking: Preheat the oven to 350°F, and spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients: In a mixing bowl, sift the flour and whisk in the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, lemon zest, and poppy seeds.
  3. Combine the wet ingredients: In a second bowl, combine the milk, eggs, canola oil, and vanilla extract until fully combined.
  4. Assemble the cake batter: Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir just until combined. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan, and smooth into an even layer.
  5. Bake the lemon bread: Bake for 30-40 minutes until the surface cracks and has a golden color. A knife inserted in the center should come out clean when the bread is cooked through.
  6. Prepare the lemon glaze: Combine the powdered sugar with the lemon juice. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. If needed, add warm water one tablespoon at a time until the desired texture is reached. For a thicker glaze add more powdered sugar.
  7. Cool, glaze, and serve: Remove the loaf from the oven and cool on a rack for 10-15 minutes before removing it from the pan and transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely. After the bread cools completely, drizzle with the lemon-sugar glaze. Optionally, sprinkle with extra poppy seeds. Slice, serve, and enjoy!
Collage showing how to make lemon poppy seed bread.

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread Tips

  1. When combining the wet and dry ingredients, be sure not to overwork the mixture as this will result in tough bread.
  2. The glaze should be thick but still pourable. If it’s too thick add more warm milk or water one tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
  3. Cool the bread completely before adding the glaze.

Variations

  • Folding in some shredded coconut into the batter for a tropical twist.
  • If you want an extra lemon flavor, add in the lemon juice and zest from one additional lemon.
  • Omit the poppy seeds to make lemon bread with a sweet lemon glaze.
Sliced poppy seed bread on a cutting board.
Where can I find poppy seeds?

Poppy seeds can be found in the baking aisle of most grocery stores. You can also order them online.

Can I use a different type of milk?

Yes, any type of milk will work in this recipe including whole milk, almond milk, or soy milk. Be aware that the texture may vary depending on the fat content of the milk.

My glaze is too runny, what should I do?

If your glaze is too runny, add in more powdered sugar one tablespoon at a time until it reaches the desired consistency. If your glaze is too thick, add in more lemon juice or warm water one tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

Storing and Freezing

Storing: Lemon poppy seed bread can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to four days.

Freezing: This bread freezes well, too. Allow the bread to cool completely then cover in plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil. When ready to enjoy, thaw overnight on the counter or in the microwave. Add the glaze just prior to serving.

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Sliced loaf of lemon bread on a cutting board.

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

5 from 3 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Cool Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings: 10 Servings

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Ingredients

Bread

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Lemon Sugar Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar or more for thicker glaze
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • Warm milk or water as needed, for a thinner glaze

Instructions 

For the Bread

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F, and spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, sift the flour and whisk in the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, lemon zest and poppy seeds.
    1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
    ¾ cup granulated sugar
    ½ teaspoon baking powder
    ½ teaspoon baking soda
    ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    2 teaspoons lemon zest
    1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • In a second bowl, combine the milk, eggs, canola oil and vanilla extract.
    ½ cup milk
    2 large eggs
    ¼ cup canola oil
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir just until combined.
  • Pour the mixture into the loaf pan, and smooth into an even layer.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes until the surface cracks and has a golden color. A knife inserted in the center should come out clean when the bread is cooked through.

For the Lemon Glaze

  • While the bread bakes, make the lemon glaze. Combine the powdered sugar with the lemon juice. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. If needed, add warm water one tablespoon at a time until the desired texture is reached. For a thicker glaze add more powdered sugar.
    1 cup powdered sugar
    4 tablespoons lemon juice
    Warm milk
  • Remove the loaf from the oven and cool on a rack for 10-15 minutes before removing it from the pan and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • After the bread cools completely, drizzle with the lemon-sugar glaze.
  • Slice and serve. See post for storage options.

Notes

*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1 slice of bread. Actual calories will vary.
 
*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.
 
*Adjust the cooking time accordingly depending on your oven and loaf pan.
 
*Doubling or tripling this recipe has not been tested. Therefore, we can not guarantee the outcome of adjusting the ingredients.
 
*Photos courtesy of Shannen Siramarco Photography.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Slice | Calories: 250kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 189mg | Potassium: 85mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 68IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1mg
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