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Lemon poppy seed bread is a tart and sweet quick bread that’s perfect for breakfast or snack time. This crowd-pleasing bread comes together quickly.
I always, always get something from the pastry case when I visit our local coffee shop.
It’s hard not too when everything looks so good! One of the things I gravitate toward is any quick bread slice, and lemon poppy seed loaf is a favorite.
Tart and sweet, lemon poppy seed bread is lovely alongside a hot cup of coffee or tea. I love the bright citrus flavor — it might wake me up even more than the coffee!
Lemon poppy seed bread is super easy to make at home, like all quick breads. Plus if you already know how to make lemon poppy seed muffins, you’re nearly there!
Ingredients for lemon poppy seed bread
Before you begin, do a quick check of the pantry to make sure you have everything on hand.
All-purpose flour – To make quick breads light and moist, all-purpose flour is your best bet.
Granulated sugar – I don’t like super-sweet lemon poppy seed bread, but sugar is needed to balance out the tart lemon.
Poppy seeds – Poppy seeds are easy to find in the spice section of your local grocery store. You can always leave them out to make this a regular lemon bread recipe instead, but I like the added bits of crunch and light nutty flavor it adds.
Baking powder and baking soda – For lift. A good rule of thumb for baking powder is 1 teaspoon per cup of flour.
Salt – Salt lifts up all the flavors, so don’t leave it out!
Sour cream – I love the tang the sour cream adds while also making the bread moist. You can swap in plain yogurt (preferably Greek-style).
Milk – I use 2% milk in all my recipes, but any variety you have on hand will likely work.
Egg – Use a standard large egg. If you only have medium or extra large eggs, that’s fine too!
Lemon – We use both lemon juice and lemon zest in this recipe. A large lemon should give about 3 tablespoons of juice and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest.
Butter – Melted butter is added to the batter just before baking. The extra fat helps keep the bread moist and prevents it from sticking to your pan. You can swap in vegetable oil if you prefer.
How to make this lemon bread recipe
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a loaf pan with nonstick spray or butter. You can also line the pan with parchment paper, leaving a small overhang on the sides to make it easy to lift out the baked loaf.
Melt the butter in the microwave (make sure to cover it so there are no spatters!) and let cool while you mix the rest of the batter.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In another bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, and egg.
Zest the lemon and juice it, discarding seeds. Mix into the wet ingredients.
Create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, then pour in the wet ingredients. Stir until no dry bits remain, but do not overmix.
If batter seems too thick, add a small amount of milk at a time until the batter is easily pourable.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread evenly to the edges.
Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 60 minutes, until golden brown.
Use a cake tester or a toothpick and insert in the center to ensure the lemon poppy seed loaf is cooked all the way through.
Let cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Make sure you let it cool before cutting, otherwise the bread can end up a bit gummy.
You can dress up the loaf with a simple lemon glaze made by whisking together powdered sugar and lemon juice.
I like it just as it is, or even with a smear of salted butter on top.
Other quick breads you’ll love
Enjoy this lemon poppy seed bread with your next cup of coffee!
Lemon Poppy Seed Bread
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup sour cream
- ½ cup milk
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a loaf pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
- Melt butter and let cool while you mix the batter.
- In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In another bowl, whisk together sour cream, milk, egg, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
- Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add wet ingredients. Stir to combine, just until no dry bits remain. If mixture is too thick, add a small amount of milk. Fold in melted butter.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, spreading to the edges. Bake about 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before slicing.