Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

Published July 18, 2014. Updated December 14, 2018

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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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4.75 from 28 votes

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

My favorite lemon poppy seed bread! It's brimming with bright lemon flavor, perfectly sweetened and it has a deliciously soft texture.
Servings: 10
Prep25 minutes
Cook45 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour 15 minutes


Lemon Glaze


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8 by 4-inch baking dish, set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt for 20 seconds, set aside. 
  • 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. 
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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. 
  • 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). 
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes in loaf pan, then invert loaf onto a wire rack.
  • 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. 
  • 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). 
  • 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.
Nutrition Facts
Lemon Poppy Seed Bread
Amount Per Serving
Calories 308 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Cholesterol 79mg26%
Sodium 164mg7%
Potassium 155mg4%
Carbohydrates 43g14%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 26g29%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 425IU9%
Vitamin C 5mg6%
Calcium 90mg9%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.

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


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  • Laura

    Not everyone has a stand up mixer I wish you would add can be made with a hand held mixer .

  • Karen

    It’s my first time I ever made Poppy seed lemon bread.. this is so good turned out perfect. It is a keeper and will be making this again.Thank you for the amazing recipe.

  • Rebecca k

    This bread is so delicious!! I’m picky with my lemon poppy seed recipes but this one was perfect, especially with the glaze. My boyfriend couldn’t stop eating it :) will def be making this again!!

  • Zayna

    Hi Jaclyn,

    This looks like an awesome recipe! I just had one problem—I do not have a 4×8 loaf pan, but only a 5×9 one. How would you suggest changing the baking time / temperature to fit this?


    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      The oven temperature should remain the same, then just reduce the bake time by about 10 minutes I’m guessing.

  • Anya

    Wow this turned out amazing!! I will definitely be making it again. My oven is weird so I had to kind of guess the baking time but I think I did a good job because the bake was perfect. I skipped the glaze bc I was too lazy and even though it was still delicious I won’t skip it next time. I also used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

  • Haley B

    Super tasty! The cooking time needed to be 20-30 minutes longer for mine to be fully cooked but it’s SO worth it and I recommend! My family kept fighting for each piece!

  • Myrna

    I was looking forward to a moist lemony bread but instead it was dry and too dense and not much lemon flavor. It was the first time for me so I measured the all the ingredients and put them in little containers then went over the ingredients one more time before mixing the ingredients. I even set the timer for 40 min. so as not to forget the aluminum foil tenting.
    after the 55 min the bread was still very pale and flat. What do you think I did wrong.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Are you sure all ingredients were properly measured? It sounds like there may have been a bit too much flour if it was dry. You could try moving oven rack up one level in the oven to encourage browning on top as well, does your oven normally cook things properly?