It’s citrus season! Use up all those fresh lemons with this super moist lemon poppy seed bread. Made in just one bowl, this zesty lemon poppyseed loaf is easy to make and even easier to eat 🙂
Lemon Poppy Seed Bread
Happy citrus season, love bugs! Today I’m sharing my favorite way to use up all those juicy in season lemons with a classic lemon poppyseed loaf recipe. Quick breads are one of my most favorite sweets to whip up for a special breakfast, to drop off for a neighbor, or just to have on hand to snack on all day long. This lemon poppy seed bread is ridiculously moist, packed full of lemon poppy seed flavor, and super easy to make!
Ingredients for Lemon Poppyseed Bread
I love a good quick bread. As the name implies, quick breads come together, well… quickly! And this lemon poppy seed bread is no exception. It’s made in bowl – no mixer required – and bakes up into a beautiful lemon loaf in under an hour. Even better? It stays moist and tender for up to 7 days or freezes well for up to a month!
So, like… you basically have to make it. Here’s what you’ll need to whip up this lemon poppy seed loaf:
Lemons: You’ll need fresh lemons to keep this bread light, zingy and fresh. You’ll need both lemon zest and juice!
Vegetable Oil: We tested this lemon bread with both vegetable oil and melted butter, so feel free to use whichever you prefer! We found vegetable oil gave the loaf a slightly silkier crumb!
Sugar: Granulated sugar will keep your lemon poppy seed loaf sweet enough to eat as an after dinner treat, but not so sweet that it feels wrong to eat for breakfast.
Eggs: You’ll need two eggs to give your bread the perfect amount of structure without being too cakey or too bready.
Flour: All purpose flour will provide the majority of the soft crumb in your lemon poppyseed treat.
Almond Flour: Almond flour is super soft and tender, and will give your cake the most magical, melt in your mouth texture.
Baking Powder: Baking powder is a stable leavener that will provide an even rise in your lemon poppy seed bread.
Baking Soda: Baking soda will activate with the lemon juice, giving your lemon loaf an extra boost to get that slightly domed quick bread top.
Sour Cream: Sour cream will keep your lemon poppy seed loaf uber moist and tender. You can also free to sub this out for greek yogurt for a lighter option.
Milk: You can always omit the milk and sub it out for sour cream if you don’t have any on hand, but we found a combination of the two gave this lemon poppy seed bread the perfect texture that was dense, but not too dense.
Poppy Seeds: Every lemon poppy seed loaf obviously needs a healthy dose of poppyseeds. Don’t have poppy seeds on hand? You can always omit them! If you’re looking to jazz up your bread you can add 1 cup fresh blueberries or raspberries as a fun fruity surprise!
What makes this lemon poppy seed cake recipe the best ever?
Now listen, I know the internet is full of superlatives, but this lemon poppy seed cake is truly the best I’ve ever had. I could go on about it for hours. Just promise me you’ll make it for yourself so that we can bond over how scrumptious it is, okay? Pinky promise?
Okay, now that we’re on the same page, I’ll let you in on the top three secret tricks to making the best lemon poppyseed loaf you’ll ever have:
Lemon zest infused sugar: This is a little trick I picked up working at a bakery. Instead of just folding the lemon zest into the sugar, use your fingers to rub the lemon zest into the sugar. This will release all the lemon oils from the zest into the sugar and intensify the lemon flavor. I think it makes all the difference in really deepening the lemon flavor of any lemon dessert.
Combination of milk and sour cream: I tested this recipe with just sour cream and just milk, but a combination of the two produces the perfect dense, but not too dense, texture for your moist lemon poppyseed bread.
Almond Flour: The almond flour is the real secret ingredient here. You won’t taste any almond flavor in your lemon bread, but the texture will thank you. You’ll only need 1/2 cup almond flour, but it will make all the difference in the soft and tender crumb of your loaf. If you don’t have almond flour on hand, you can sub it out for oat flour or all purpose flour, but for me, it’s a nonnegotiable.
How to zest a lemon:
Don’t sleep on the lemon zest! Lemon zest will provide just as much lemon flavor as the lemon juice, so it’s important not to skip out on it in your lemon poppyseed loaf.
So, how do you zest a lemon? No, it is NOT a stupid question! It’s actual super, super simple. Just wash your fruit and whip out your zester. If you don’t have a zester I would highly recommend investing in one, but you can also use a microplane. In desperate times I have even used a fine cheese grater and it does the trick. Hold the zester at an angle and pull your lemon across until you reach the white of the rind. Rotate your lemon, repeating until you’ve gone all the way around your fruit. All of the zest will gather on the back side, where you can just scrape it into your batter!
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 1 lb loaf pan with parchment paper or grease well. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the granulated sugar and lemon zest. Use your fingers to rub the sugar and the lemon zest together. This will help the zest to release and infuse the sugar with lemon flavor.
Add the vegetable oil to the sugar and mix well. Add the vanilla extract and the eggs in, one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
Add the sour cream, milk and lemon juice. Mix to combine.
Add the all purpose flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until the batter is smooth and no lumps remain. Do not over mix.
Last, fold in the poppyseeds until evenly distributed. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake at 350°F for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean.
If desired, make the lemon glaze while the bread cools. Combine all the ingredients for the lemon icing in a bowl and whisk together. If the glaze seems too thick, add in an additional teaspoon of milk until it reaches a drip-able consistency.
Once the bread is cool, remove from the pan and pour the glaze over the bread, allowing it to drip down the sides. Sprinkle with poppyseeds if desired. Let the glaze sit for a few minutes to se before slicing and enjoying!
Leave a comment and rate this recipe!
I don’t feel right rating this recipe before tasting it, however, I have a question while my load is still baking: Did anyone else experience the loaf becoming quite dark and completely baked around the edges mid-way through baking? I’m completely confused but continuing to bake the loaf, now tented with aluminum foil, for another 15 minutes as the middle was completely raw midway.
What could possibly account for this? The inclusion of almond flour?
Hi Jake! I’ve never had that happen before! Are you using a particularly dark loaf pan? I do find with lemon desserts they tend to brown on the outside, but stay light in the middle but not super dark!Try moving your pan down to the middle bottom rack in your oven if it’s browning too much on the top!
Thank you for the swift reply!
Thank you for the swift reply! This was an unsalvageable disaster. The taste lacking after all was said and done. The outer edge burnt before the middle baked fully. Never rose tall and completely cratered in the center. I used a light-colored loaf pan, baked at a lower temperature throughout (325C) for a shorter duration (50 minutes total) and the oven rack was in the middle of the oven. I followed the recipe exactly as written and I am an experienced home baker. Not sure why this was such a disaster. I have had great success with the chocolate chip muffins on this website.
Could you use all APF rather than almond flour if there is an allergy?
Yes! You can just swap it out cup for cup!
HOLY MOLLY this is the holy grail! I have tried MANY lemon poppy seed breads (as I’m crazy about anything lemon) and this is hands down the best one I have tasted. It is so incredibly moist and light as a cloud. Genuinely – sheer perfection! A crowd pleaser that I will make again and again. Thank you!
This made my day! So so happy you enjoyed this!
The cake was absolutely delicious! I made this for a friend who had a craving for lemon poppy seed and it turned out perfectly. Her mom even asked for the recipe! I used a tiny bit less sugar and made a lemon syrup instead of the glaze.
Could you use cup for cup gluten free flour instead of all purpose to make it gluten free? I have done it with all purpose and it was delicious but would like to make for some gf friends.
Yes definitely! I’ve had success making this with Bob’s 1:1 Gluten Free Baking Flour!