Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

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This lemon poppy seed bread is moist with a rich lemon flavor and a delicious lemon glaze. Lemon poppy seed loaf is a great treat to serve for breakfast, brunch or dessert!

a loaf of Lemon Poppy Seed Bread with 3 slices cut

I have fond memories enjoyed lemon poppy seed bread at my favorite bakery growing up, and worked hard to crate this recipe for the best lemon poppy seed bread.

It’s rich and moist but still has a perfect crumb. It’s loaded with lemon flavor and makes a delicious breakfast or dessert.

Topped with a homemade lemon glaze, (or slather it with homemade lemon buttercream frosting) this poppy seed loaf will quickly become a favorite treat you’ll make again and again.

3 slices of Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread: Ingredients & Substitutions

overhead view of the ingredients in this Lemon Poppy Seed Bread recipe
  • All-purpose flour. I don’t recommend making substitutions for the flour. I suspect gluten-free all-purpose flour would work, but I have not tested it with this recipe.
  • Salted butter. Unsalted butter works well too.
  • Granulated sugar. use regular white granulated sugar or organic cane sugar for the best results.
  • Sour cream. I suggest using full-fat ingredients for the best texture and flavor, you can use full-fat Greek yogurt in place of sour cream.
  • Whole milk. I suggest using whole milk or half and half. 2% milk is acceptable, but not preferred.
  • Canola oil. you can replace the canola oil with an extra 2 tablespoons of melted butter, however it will change the texture slightly.
  • Pure lemon juice. Use freshly squeezed lemon juice or organic lemon juice found in most juice aisles.
  • Poppy seeds. Obviously, I don’t recommend substituions here.
lemon poppy seed loaf with 3 slices cut out of it

How to Make Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

Let’s walk through this recipe step-by-step, and don’t forget to watch the video.

Begin by greasing or buttering and flouring a 9×5” loaf pan, then set it aside

Next, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt in a medium bowl and set the dry ingredients aside.

dry ingredients in a bowl to make this Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

Then, in the bowl of a standing mixer, or in a large bowl with a hand-held mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (1-2 minutes).

two photos showing how to make Lemon Poppy Seed Bread - beating butter and sugar

Then, add the eggs and vanilla and beat until fluffy, which will take about 1 minute.

two photos showing how to make Lemon Poppy Seed Bread - adding eggs and vanilla

Next, add the sour cream, milk, canola oil and lemon juice and beat on low speed until combined.

two photos showing how to make Lemon Poppy Seed Bread - adding sour cream and lemon juice

Then, add the ingredient mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until combined.

two photos showing how to make Lemon Poppy Seed Bread - combining wet and dry ingredients

Once the mixture is smooth, gently fold in the poppy seeds until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.

two photos showing how to make Lemon Poppy Seed Bread - stirring in poppy seeds

Then, pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and bake in preheated oven for about 1 hour.

You will know the lemon poppy seed bread is done when until the top is set and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few wet crumbs.

lemon poppy seed loaf in the pan before and after baking

Set the lemon poppy seed bread in the pan on a wire rack to cool for 1 hour.  Gently run a knife around the edges and the inside (all parts touching the pan) to release.

After 1 hour, remove the bread and let it cool completely on the wire rack.

lemon poppy seed loaf cooling on a wire cooling rack

Make the lemon glaze:

Once the lemon poppy seed loaf is cooled, make the lemon glaze. Or, you can serve it with this lemon frosting instead!

Begin by combining lemon juice and vanilla in a medium bowl.

lemon glaze being whisked together in a white bowl

Then add the powdered sugar and stir or whisk until smooth.

Immediately pour the lemon glaze over the cooled cake.

glaze being poured on top of Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

Then let it sit at room temperature until hardened (about 30-60 minutes). Or chill in the refrigerator.

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread with glaze

Serve

Serve the lemon poppy seed bread at room temperature or slightly chilled. I love serving it as a part of a complete breakfast or brunch with dishes like this egg casserole, quiche and fruit salad.

I also serve it as a dessert with some of my other favorite lemon treats like lemon pie and lemon poppy seed cake.

Store

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread with 3 slices cut out of it

Freeze

You can freeze individual slices of the bread in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Or you can wrap the entire loaf (without glaze) in plastic wrap, then transfer it to a freezer-friendly airtight container or storage bag, and freeze for up to 2 months.

To serve, remove the lemon poppy seed loaf from the freezer and let it thaw to room temperature. Then make the glaze and pour it over the bread.

a slice of Lemon Poppy Seed Bread with a bite taken out of it

Recipe FAQs

Do you soak poppy seeds before baking?

No, this recipe does not call for soaking the poppy seeds. They are added directly to the batter from the spice jar.

How many lemons does it take to make ¼ cup lemon juice?

About 1 to two lemons makes ¼ cup lemon juice.

How long do poppy seeds last?

I suggest adhering to the expiration date on your spice jar. They can last up to 2 years when stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

a loaf of Lemon Poppy Seed Bread with glaze and 3 slices cut out of it

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Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

Laura
This lemon poppy seed bread is moist with a rich lemon flavor and a delicious lemon glaze. Lemon poppy seed loaf is a great treat to serve for breakfast, brunch or dessert!
5 from 1 vote
Course bread, Breakfast, brunch, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 Servings
Calories 273
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Cooling1 hour
Total Time2 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients 
 

Lemon Glaze

Instructions 

Make the Poppy Seed Bread

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grease, or butter and flour a 9×5” loaf pan, set aside
  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt. Set aside
  • In the bowl of a standing mixer, or in a large bowl with a hand-held mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy (1-2 minutes).
  • Add eggs and vanilla and beat until fluffy (60 seconds).
  • Add sour cream, milk, canola oil and lemon juice and beat on low speed until combined.
  • Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined.
  • Gently fold in poppy seeds until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.
  • Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan and bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes , or until the top is just barely set and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few wet crumbs (it will look wet, test the loaf at 55 minutes to ensure you don’t over-bake).
  • Set the poppyseed bread in the pan on a wire rack to cool for 1 hour. Gently run a knife around the edges and the inside (all parts touching the pan) to release.
  • After 1 hour, remove the bread and let cool completely on the wire rack.

Make the glaze:

  • In a medium bowl, combine lemon juice and vanilla.
  • Then add the powdered sugar and stir or whisk until smooth.
  • Immediately pour it over the cooled cake.
  • Let sit at room temperature until hardened (about 30-60 minutes).
  • Serve at room temperature.

Video

Notes

Ingredient Substitutions
  • All-purpose flour. I don’t recommend making substitutions for the flour. I suspect gluten-free all-purpose flour would work, but I have not tested it with this recipe.
  • Salted butter. Unsalted butter works well too.
  • Granulated sugar. use regular white granulated sugar or organic cane sugar for the best results.
  • Sour cream. I suggest using full-fat ingredients for the best texture and flavor, you can use full-fat Greek yogurt in place of sour cream.
  • Whole milk. I suggest using whole milk or half and half. 2% milk is acceptable, but not preferred.
  • Canola oil. you can replace the canola oil with an extra 2 tablespoons of melted butter, however it will change the texture slightly.
  • Pure lemon juice. Use freshly squeezed lemon juice or organic lemon juice found in most juice aisles.
  • Poppy seeds. Obviously, I don’t recommend substituions here.
Store
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Freeze
You can freeze individual slices of the bread in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Or you can wrap the entire loaf (without glaze) in plastic wrap, then transfer it to a freezer-friendly airtight container or storage bag, and freeze for up to 2 months.
To serve, remove the lemon poppy seed loaf from the freezer and let it thaw to room temperature. Then make the glaze and pour it over the bread.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 273kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 224mg | Potassium: 123mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 361IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you enjoy this recipe? Have a question? Leave a comment below!

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