This lemon bread is soft, moist, and filled with bright and zesty citrus. In true quick bread style, it’s easy to make in one bowl with just three steps. And if you’re craving even more lemony flavor, don’t forget the glaze!

Looking for more fuss-free quick bread recipes? Try my moist homemade banana bread and this zesty orange cranberry bread.

Glazed lemon bread with a slice cut from the end on a wooden cutting board lined with parchment paper, with a lemon half in the background.

Easy Homemade Lemon Loaf

This homemade lemon bread tastes just like the glazed lemon loaf from Starbucks! It’s super soft and lemony, and not too sweet. All it takes is one bowl to mix up the batter, and you can leave the rest to your oven. Afterward, sweeten it up with a drizzle of creamy citrus glaze. I love making this lemon bread for weekend brunches, but it’s so easy that I’ll whip one up any day of the week. Especially when lemons are in season!

Why You’ll Love It

  • Quick and easy. Quick breads are some of my favorite recipes to make because they’re so forgiving. This bread loaf is ready for baking in 15 minutes or less, with no yeast or rising time. It’s perfect as a last-minute dessert, snack, or sweet breakfast treat.
  • Moist and lemony. This homemade lemon bread is bursting with bright lemon flavor between the lemon juice, lemon zest, and a touch of lemon extract. It also has the softest and most tender crumb ever! It’s like a denser, loaf pan version of a lemon bundt cake.
  • Glazed with lemon icing. If you’d like to play up the sweetness even more, you can make a simple lemon glaze for the top.
  • Versatile. Enjoy this for breakfast or brunch with a cup of coffee, or for dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Quick breads also transport well, so I love gifting these types of breads for holidays or hostess gifts.

    Lemon bread slices on a blue dotted plate.

    Ingredient Notes

    These are some notes on the important ingredients in this easy lemon bread recipe. Scroll down to the recipe card after the post for a printable ingredients list.

    • Oil – Vegetable oil makes this bread ultra-tender. I highly recommend it over melted butter! You can use a mild-flavored cooking oil, or you can use olive oil for a more unique taste (it works so well in my lemon olive oil cake!).
    • Sour Cream – Sour cream keeps this bread moist, so don’t skip it! If you don’t have sour cream, you can use Greek yogurt or plain yogurt instead.
    • Lemon – You’ll need the juice and zest from fresh lemons. Zest the lemons before you juice them. If you don’t have a zester, this tutorial will show you how to zest a lemon without one.
    • Lemon Extract – Lemon extract gives this bread an extra punch of citrusy flavor. If you don’t have it, substitute 1 teaspoon of lemon juice instead. You can also use vanilla extract for a more mellow flavor.

    How to Make Lemon Bread- Quick Overview

    Now that you’ve assembled the ingredients, your lemon bread batter comes together in minutes. Get out your mixing bowl and follow the directions below. You’ll find printable instructions in the recipe card.

    • Mix the dry ingredients. First, you’ll add your dry ingredients to the bowl and give them a whisk. 
    • Add the wet ingredients. Next, crack in the eggs and add the oil, sour cream, lemon juice, zest, and extract. Mix everything together to form the batter. 
    • Bake. Transfer the bread batter to a greased 9” loaf pan. Bake at 350ºF for 40-45 minutes. Afterward, let the lemon bread cool before you top it with glaze.
    • Glaze. Whisk together powdered sugar, milk, and lemon zest (you can also sprinkle the zest over top of the bread afterward). Once you have a pourable consistency, drizzle the glaze over the bread.

    Tips for Success

    Since there’s no yeast involved, this lemon bread recipe is super friendly to beginning bakers. These are some bonus tips for getting the bread and glaze just right:

    • Don’t overmix the batter. Mix the ingredients until the flour is just incorporated into the wet batter, and be careful to not overmix. Overmixing quick bread batter leads to a dense, chewy loaf that won’t rise in the oven.
    • Get the right consistency. If you’re adding a glaze, you want the consistency to be similar to corn syrup. This way the glaze gets a light crust as it sets, and eventually hardens all the way through.
    • Thicken the icing as needed. I give ranges for the amount of powdered sugar and milk in the glaze so you can adjust as needed. Add more powdered sugar to thicken the glaze, and more milk to thin it out. 
    • For a zestier glaze. Substitute the milk in the glaze with water or lemon juice. Lemon juice will give you a bigger punch of lemon flavor, while the milk tones it down a bit.
    A baked lemon loaf on a wooden cutting board lined with parchment paper, with lemon halves in the background.

    To Glaze, or Not to Glaze?

    I love my glazed lemon loaf slices topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert (strawberry ice cream is another favorite). That being said, there’s a time and a place for skipping the glaze, too! Unglazed lemon bread can be toasted and topped with butter and honey for a sweet breakfast with a morning coffee. So, glaze or no glaze, it’s up to you. You’re in for a delicious slice no matter what.

    Are you planning to make ahead? If you’re making this lemon bread a day or two ahead of serving, I recommend waiting to add the glaze. Just make sure that you give it enough time to set before slicing.

    Glazed lemon bread on a wooden cutting board lined with parchment paper, next to a lemon slice.

    Storage Instructions

    • To Store. Store your lemon loaf in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3-4 days.
    • Freeze. Freeze the unglazed lemon bread for up to one month. Cool the bread completely, and tightly wrap it twice in plastic wrap before freezing. Thaw the bread at room temperature and then add the glaze before serving.

    More Quick Bread Recipes

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    Glazed lemon bread with a slice cut from the end on a wooden cutting board lined with parchment paper, with a lemon half in the background.

    Easy Lemon Bread

    5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 6 reviews
    • Author: Julianne Dell
    • Prep Time: 15 minutes
    • Cook Time: 42 minutes
    • Total Time: 57 minutes
    • Yield: 10 slices
    • Category: Bread
    • Method: Baked
    • Cuisine: American

    Description

    This homemade lemon bread is soft, moist, and filled with zesty citrus. It’s an easy quick bread recipe, made in one bowl! Take this lemon loaf over the top with a creamy lemon glaze. You won’t regret it!


    Ingredients

    For the bread

    • 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
    • ¾ cup (143g) granulated sugar
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 2 large eggs
    • ½ cup (118ml) vegetable oil
    • ½ cup (118ml) sour cream
    • 1 tablespoons (30ml) lemon juice
    • 1 large lemon, zested
    • 1 teaspoon (5ml) lemon extract

    Glaze (optional)

    • 11 ½ cups (130-195g) powdered sugar, sifted
    • 24 tablespoons (30-120ml) milk
    • Additional lemon zest

    Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 9-inch loaf pan and set aside. You can also line the pan with parchment paper if desired.
    2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl: flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine.
    3. Next add the wet ingredients: eggs, oil, sour cream, lemon juice, zest, and extract. Beat all the ingredients together until well combined. Set aside.
    4. Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool for at least 1 hour before slicing.
    5. Glaze: Combine 1 cup powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons milk and whisk to combine. Add additional milk to thin it out until desired consistency. If it becomes too thin, add additional powdered sugar. Add additional lemon zest on top if desired.

    Equipment


    Notes

    • Sour cream substitute: Greek or plain yogurt is the best option
    • Lemon extract substitute: Add a teaspoon of lemon juice instead.
    • Freezing this bread: You can make this loaf ahead of time and freeze for up to one month. Bake and cool the bread completely, do not add a glaze. Tightly wrap twice in plastic wrap and store in the freeze. Thaw to room temperature before serving. To add the glaze, wait until the bread has completely thawed.
    • How to keep this bread fresh: Store this in an airtight container at room temperature. If you’d like to prepare it ahead of time, prepare it up to two days in advance, store it in an airtight container, and add the glaze before serving.

    Nutrition

    • Serving Size: 1 slice
    • Calories: 242
    • Sugar: 15.8g
    • Sodium: 141mg
    • Fat: 13.7g
    • Carbohydrates: 28.3g
    • Fiber: .5g
    • Protein: 3.5g
    • Cholesterol: 41mg

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    26 comments on “Easy Lemon Bread”

    1. We Love anything lemon in our household. This looks Scrumptious! I can’t hardly wait to try this.
      As per other comments, you answered that it isn’t a large loaf. Can I double the recipe? Will it fit into a regular size loaf pan, and how much longer would I have to bake it?
      Thanks in advance for any help. 😊