Lemon Poppy Seed Bread


I’ve always loved poppy seed bread, but it always used to be almond poppy seed that I would crave the most. Since I’m now in love with lemon flavored everything that has changed. Lemon is one of my favorite flavors. It’s just so vibrant and refreshing. It’s bold and I love that.

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread | Cooking Classy

The lemon flavor in this bread shines. It has a generous amount of zest layered throughout the batter, lemon juice mixed into the batter and a generous coating of a fresh lemon juice glaze brushed along the top.

With all that lemon you are going to love the scent this brings to your kitchen. No candle or air freshener could come close to this natural lemony aroma.

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread | Cooking Classy

My favorite part is definitely that sugar coated topping. You’ll be wanting to steal that portion from your kids or that guy sitting next to you (just do it while they aren’t looking, like I did :)).

Or you could just be like my 3 year old, she’ll eat her slice of bread as she’s sitting there watching a cartoon and when it’s over she’ll say, “hey! Who ate my bread?” when really it was her and she just forgot.

But it’s a great attempt at a seconds slice though, just pretend someone stole it so you need another.


Lemon Poppy Seed Bread | Cooking Classy

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Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

4.79 from 14 votes

My favorite lemon poppy seed bread! It's brimming with bright lemon flavor, perfectly sweetened and it has a deliciously soft texture.

Servings: 10
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes


  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon zest (from about 3 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter , at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs , at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Lemon Glaze

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8 by 4-inch baking dish, set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt for 20 seconds, set aside. 
  3. Add sugar and lemon zest to the the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Rub lemon zest with sugar using your fingertips, until the mixture becomes moist and pale yellow. 
  4. Add butter to sugar mixture and whip on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in eggs one at a time, adding in vanilla with last egg.

  5. In (microwave safe) liquid measuring cup used to measure milk, whisk together the milk with sour cream. Heat mixture in microwave just until no longer cold (about room temp).

  6. Working in three separate batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, add 1/3 of the flour mixture (to the butter/sugar mixture) alternating with 1/2 of the milk mixture and 1 Tbsp lemon juice (each time), and mixing just until combined after each addition. 
  7. Bake in preheated oven 45 - 55 minutes, tenting with foil at 40 minutes (don't let foil touch loaf), until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean (or with a few small crumbs). 
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes in loaf pan, then invert loaf onto a wire rack.

  9. Combine lemon juice and sugar in a bowl and heat in microwave on HIGH power and heat in 15 second intervals, whisking between intervals until sugar has dissolve and mixture is hot. 

  10. Brush top of bread with the lemon glaze (it will take several coats but use it all. Give it a second between coats to absorb as needed). 

  11. Let loaf cool on wire rack (I also recommend covering it with a extra large bowl if you have one to seal in some of the moisture), then cut into slices. Store in an airtight container.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: lemon poppy seed bread
Author: Jaclyn

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread | Cooking Classy

Start with that up there. End with this lemon, sugary glazed deliciousness down here.

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread | Cooking Classy

Not to be confused with blueberries, these are poppy seeds – just up close and personal…

Poppy Seeds | Cooking Classy



  • Teri: I have made this loaf several times before and it’s always a big hit. I was thinking about using Meyer lemons instead of the usual eureka lemons this time though. Do you think it would be alright to use all Meyer lemons, or should I mix some Meyer and some eureka? Thank you. July 13, 2019 at 3:49am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Its definitely more mild so I may use a blend of the two for the juice needed. Then you could use all Meyer lemon zest. July 13, 2019 at 12:46pm Reply

  • olive: hi! can I bake this the night before and then leave it out, wrapped up, to bring to a friends house the next night? will it make it dry; affect it’s moist-ness? July 9, 2019 at 8:50pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: It should keep well for a day without drying. Hope you enjoy! July 9, 2019 at 9:26pm Reply

  • Kels: I REALLY wanna double this recipe but I only have 3 lemons!! Would it be absolutely terrible if I halved the lemon amounts in order to make a double batch???? July 9, 2019 at 8:02pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: It just won’t be quite as lemony but should still be delicious! July 9, 2019 at 8:06pm Reply

  • Tiff: I love lemon so this was perfect for me! Came out perfectly moist. Would be happy to eat it with or without the icing. Thanks for sharing! June 25, 2019 at 7:54pm Reply

  • Tanya: Hi Diane, I only see 1/4 cup milk listed once. The line item above, is specifically referring to the sour cream. June 19, 2019 at 11:14pm Reply

  • Pam: Delicious and very lemony. Looks just like the picture! May 22, 2019 at 4:39pm Reply

  • Diane Gabbard: Is 1/4 cup milk supposed to be listed twice? April 13, 2019 at 10:53am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Sorry I’m not sure where you’re referring to? April 15, 2019 at 3:30pm Reply

      • E: 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp sour cream
        1/4 cup milk April 20, 2019 at 10:55am Reply

  • Kelly: Can I make these as muffins? Would the recipe change at all? TIA March 23, 2019 at 4:29pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: It should be the same as muffins just reduce the bake time I’m guessing about 20 mins. March 23, 2019 at 6:50pm Reply

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