Lemon Bread – Rachel Cooks®

Bright, zippy lemon bread is an absolute multitasker, going from breakfast to snack to dessert with ease! The addition of Greek yogurt makes it super moist, as does an optional lemon glaze.

Recipe Overview

Why you’ll love it: Greek yogurt gives this lemon bread a tender crumb while lemon juice and zest add lots of citrus flavor.

How long it takes: 20 minutes to prep, 45 minutes to bake
Equipment you’ll need: loaf pan and mixing bowls
Servings: 10 slices

Glaze being drizzled on a cut loaf of lemon bread.

 

Quick breads like banana bread, pumpkin bread, and this lemon bread may not have the glamour of vanilla cupcakes piped with elegant swirls of buttercream, but what they lack in fanciness, they make up for in texture, flavor, and easy preparation.

Take this lemon yogurt bread, for example. It’s supremely moist, and a combination of lemon zest, lemon juice, and a bright lemon glaze on top means that citrus flavor shines through in every bite, no artificial lemon flavor needed!

Reasons to Love This Lemon Bread

  • Bright, cheery flavor. If you could bottle up the flavor of sunshine and distill it into a baked good, I think it would be this lemon bread.
  • An everyday kind of treat. Don’t get me wrong—I do love a decadent chocolate dessert like this chocolate lava cake recipe. But I also appreciate a lemon dessert, which satisfies my sweet tooth in a way that feels a little less over-the-top. You really can get away with serving a slice of this lemon loaf for breakfast!
  • Simple to make. Quick breads are, well, quick! And it’s not just because you don’t have to fuss with yeast. You don’t need a mixer either. Simply whisk the dry ingredients, mix the wet ingredients, then combine the two, and bake. Easy!
  • Homemade versus store-bought. You can buy a box of lemon bread mix but you’ll find that making your own is much less expensive (you probably have most of the ingredients already in your pantry). Making your own ensures that the ingredients are fresh, natural, and without additives or preservatives. And really, this recipe is almost as easy!

Baking Tip

Want to add poppy seeds to this lemon bread? You absolutely can! Simply add them with the dry ingredients. Or, make this lemon poppy seed bread recipe.

Overhead view of ingredients needed for recipe.

Ingredient List

  • All-Purpose Flour: I use regular white flour, usually unbleached. If you’d like to make whole wheat lemon bread, I would suggest using a white whole wheat flour to substitute for half of the all-purpose flour. I haven’t tested gluten-free flour but I believe you could swap in a measure-for-measure gluten-free flour with success.
  • Lemons: You’ll need both zest and juice of one or two lemons, depending on their size. Be sure to zest the lemons before you juice them; it’s much easier to do.
  • Baking Powder and Soda: Quick breads use baking powder and/or soda instead of yeast to get their rise.
  • Salt: Just a bit is needed to enhance and balance the flavor.
  • Eggs: Let the eggs come to room temperature, if possible; they’ll hold more air when beaten and give your lemon bread a little extra lift.
  • Oil: You can use canola or vegetable oil.
  • Plain Greek Yogurt: Old school quick bread recipes have lots and lots of oil, but this recipe gets away with cutting the oil by substituting yogurt for a good share of it. Don’t use flavored yogurt because it has lots of added sugar and will affect the flavor of the bread.
  • Granulated Sugar: AKA white sugar.
  • Powdered Sugar: An optional ingredient, only needed if you decide to add the glaze. (But I highly recommend adding the glaze.)
Stack of lemon bread slices, the top slice being lifted by a hand.

How to make Lemon Bread

Preheat your oven to 350°F and coat a loaf pan with nonstick spray.

Mix dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, zest, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl.

Mix wet ingredients and sugar. In a second mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Mix in the oil, yogurt, and lemon juice, then stir in the sugar.

Combine. Stir the dry ingredients into wet mixture until mostly smooth (a few lumps are okay). Don’t over stir the mixture; stir it just until the flour is completely mixed in.

Bake. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out mostly clean, with just a few moist crumbs.

Cool. Let the bread cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then carefully transfer the lemon loaf directly to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Add glaze. For the optional lemon glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice. If you have extra zest, you can stir that in, too. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled lemon bread.

Recipe Tips

  • Be sure to zest the lemons before juicing. It’s much easier that way!
  • No zester? Use the small holes of a box grater if you have one. Another option is to use a paring knife or vegetable peeler to cut thin strips of peel from the lemon. Scrape off the white pith, then slice the peel as finely as possible.
  • Don’t over-mix. One of the most common issues with quick breads is over-mixing, which over-activates the gluten and affects the texture.

How to make This Lemon Bread your own

  • Add fruit: Strawberries (chopped), raspberries, or blueberries are delicious folded into the batter. Fresh or frozen (unthawed) are fine. Mix 1 to 1 ½ cups into the dry ingredients before folding them into the wet ingredients.
  • Go herbal: If you have fresh lavender in your garden or food-grade dried lavender, stir a teaspoon into the batter. It can be added to the glaze, too.
  • Try a different glaze: A cream cheese glaze is fantastic with this lemon yogurt bread, or use a simple vanilla glaze.
  • Skip the glaze: Instead, dust the top of the cooled bread with powdered sugar or sprinkle sanding sugar over the top before baking for a crispy, sweet finish.
Lemon bread slices arranged on parchment paper.

Storage Tips

Once the glaze has set, you can wrap the lemon bread in plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container. It will keep at room temperature for about 3 days or in the fridge for a week.

If you’re not going to eat it within that time frame, I recommend freezing it. The loaf will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let it thaw at room temperature before serving. Slice the loaf and wrap the slices individually before you freeze it for a quick snack or lunchbox treat. The slices thaw quickly.

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Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @rachelcooksblog on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!

Two slices of lemon bread on a plate with lemon wedges.

Recipe

Get the Recipe: Lemon Bread

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Additional Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

10 slices

Prevent your screen from going dark

Bright, zippy lemon bread is an absolute multitasker, going from breakfast to snack to dessert with ease! The addition of Greek yogurt makes it super moist, as does an optional lemon glaze.

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine flour zest, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

  • In a large mixing bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add oil, yogurt, and lemon juice. Mix well to combine. Stir in sugar until combined.

  • Add dry ingredients to egg mixture. Stir until combined and fairly smooth. Some lumps will remain.

  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread into an even layer.

  • Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, with only a few crumbs clinging to it.

  • Allow the bread to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then carefully remove it from the pan and place it on a wire rack to cool completely.

  • Optional: Once the bread has cooled, you can drizzle it with a simple lemon glaze. To make the glaze, combine 1 cup powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, adding more lemon juice if necessary to thin. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the bread. Leave the bread uncovered until the glaze has set.

  • Slice and serve!

Notes

  • Storage: Once the bread has cooled and the glaze is set, wrap the lemon bread securely or place in a covered container. Lemon bread will keep at room temperature for about 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to a week. It can be frozen for up to a month, either sliced or whole.
  • Add fruit: If you like, add 1 to 1 ½ cups of strawberries (chopped), blueberries, or raspberries, fresh or frozen (unthawed). Stir into the dry ingredients before adding to the wet ingredients. If the berries are frozen, add a couple extra minutes to the baking time.
  • Glaze options: Skip the glaze and dust with powdered sugar instead. A cream cheese glaze is wonderful, too. 

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1slice, Calories: 310kcal, Carbohydrates: 53g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0.03g, Cholesterol: 38mg, Sodium: 278mg, Potassium: 80mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 33g, Vitamin A: 56IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 80mg, Iron: 1mg

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.

Did You Make This?Be sure to upload a photo & tag me at @RachelCooksBlog. I love seeing what you made!




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