This is the BEST recipe for Lemon Bread! It comes straight from my great grandma's recipe box and produces a Lemon Loaf that is tender, moist, and full of bright lemon flavor.
Lemon bread is a sweet treat that is perfect year-round, but especially delightful in the Spring. It makes a sweet addition to an Easter Brunch when served with an Asparagus Frittata and Oven Baked Bacon, or finishes a meal, like Honey Lemon Chicken, on a sweet note.
This easy lemon bread recipe comes straight from the hand-written recipe card from my great-grandma.
My family has been making this lemon loaf for years, and after one bite, I think you will agree, my Great-Grandma's recipe is truly the best.
This lemon bread is soft, tender, buttery, and bursting with lemon flavor. Finished with a sweet lemon glaze, that gives the soft bread a slightly crispy exterior, this is the lemon bread of your dreams!
Note on Ingredients
- Flour: All-purpose flour is best for this recipe, but I have made with whole white flour with good results.
- Butter: Be sure to use unsalted butter.
- Milk: Use any fat percentage of milk or buttermilk.
- Salt: Most of my recipes use kosher salt, but in this recipe, it is best to use iodized salt (table salt.)
Pro-Tips for Making Lemon Bread
Before we get to the recipe for Lemon Bread, let me give you some tips that will ensure you have perfect results.
- Start with room temperature butter and eggs. This is key to a tender quick bread recipe!
- Use ONLY fresh lemons. For the best lemon flavor, you need fresh lemons. Never use jarred lemon juice or lemon extract.
- Zest the lemon BEFORE slicing it open! It is next to impossible to zest any fruit after it is has been sliced open.
- Microwave your lemons. This may sound crazy but I find it extremely helpful to microwave my lemon for 30 seconds before juicing. This gets the juices flowing plus the warm lemon juice helps to dissolve the sugar when you prepare the glaze.
- With a hand-held mixer or stand mixer, cream together butter, eggs, and sugar together until light in color and fluffy.
- Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt into a separate bowl. Mix to fully incorporate baking powder through the flour.
- Add sifted flour, milk, and lemon zest into creamed ingredients and fold the batter until just combined.
- Grease a 9-inch loaf pan with butter. Add a half tablespoon of flour to the pan and shake to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Shake out excess flour over a trash can or sink. This will truly help your lemon bread not stick to your pan.
- Pour the lemon bread batter into the prepared pan. Tap on the counter to distribute the batter and remove air bubbles.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or until the bread is set. You can test this by inserting a toothpick into the center of the loaf. When it comes out dry your bread is done baking. Or you can gently touch the top of the bread, if it springs back, it is ready.
- While the bread is baking, whisk together lemon juice and sugar unti the sugar is dissolved and a simple syrup is formed.
- Once your lemon bread is done baking, place it on a cooling rack and immediately poke holes into the bread using a wooden or metal skewer, halfway down the loaf.
- Pour the lemon glaze over the bread, allowing the glaze to sink into the bread.
- Let the bead sit in the loaf pan for 10 minutes to cool. Then loosen the sides with a butter knife and remove lemon bread from pan. Let cool completely before serving.
How to Store
Lemon bread will keep in a sealed container for 3 days at room temperature and for 5 days if refrigerated.
If desired, you can freeze this loaf of lemon bread for up to 1 month. Allow the bread to cool completely after being baked and glazed. Wrap in several layers of plastic wrap and place into a freezer-safe bag. Freeze for one month. I have found if frozen any longer, the intensity of the lemon flavor begins to fade. Allow the bread to defrost in the refrigerator.
Yes! I have made this bread several times and used an all-purpose 1:1 Gluten-Free flour with success.
Unfortunately, no. I have not had success replacing the butter with canola or coconut oil.
Yes! I have found that the best egg replacement for this lemon bread is to use plain Greek yogurt. To replace the eggs, use ⅓ cup of plain Greek yogurt. Keep in mind the texture of the bread will be denser.
My great-grandma and my entire family would say YES!!! But honestly, this bread is delicious without the lemon glaze, but the lemon flavor will be much more subtle.
You can test if your bread is baked through by inserting a toothpick. When it comes out dry your bread is done baking. Or you can gently touch the top of the bread, if it springs back, it is ready.
More Quick Bread Recipes
If you enjoyed this recipe straight from my great grandma's kitchen, I would love for you to leave a comment and review.
The Best Lemon Bread
- ½ cup butter softened (this is one stick of butter)
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup milk or buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease a 9-inch loaf pan with butter on the bottom and sides of the loaf pan. Add 1 tablespoon of flour to the pan, shaking to coat. Be sure to shake out any excess flour.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, eggs, and sugar until light and fluffy.
- In a smaller bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder and whisk to evenly distribute salt and baking powder.
- Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, along with the milk and lemon zest. Fold to evenly incorporate batter. Be careful to not overmix, just mix until the flour is fully moistened.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a lemon loaf comes out clean.
- While lemon bread is baking, whisk together lemon juice and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Tip: it may help to warm up your lemon juice for20-30 seconds in the microwave before whisking with sugar.
- After the bread is baked, leave your lemon bread in a loaf pan and poke holes halfway to the bottom of the pan evenly along the top of the bread. Pour the glaze over the lemon bread.
- Let the bread sit in the loaf pan for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, loosen the sides of the bread from the edges of the pan with a butter knife, then remove the bread from the pan and transfer it to a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.
I doubled the recipe and follow directions. Both loaves fell in the middle. Any idea why?
Hi JoAnn! I am sorry that happened. Can you let me know what size pan you used? It may have been that your pan was slightly too large OR that your baking powder may be past its prime.
The absolute best! Mine was a little on the dry side. I followed the directions to a T and used milk. My eggs and butter were at room temp. Could I have over/under beat the butter, eggs and sugar?
Hi Paula! I am glad you enjoyed this recipe, despite it being a bit dry for your liking. It could have to do with the humidity (or lack of humidity) in the air, but more liking that the batter was overworked when the flour was added. You can also add 1-2 tablespoons more milk to the batter if you feel it looks really thick.
Thanks Kristen! I tried making the lemon bread with adding 4 teaspoons of poppyseeds and it turned out delicious!
Thank you for all your fantastic recipes and advice ...5+ stars!
So happy you enjoyed Harold! I may try adding them myself the next time!
Hi Kristen, did you ever try adding poppy seeds to your lemon bread recipe? If so how much should I add? I love lemon poppyseed flavour.
Hi Harold! I have not added poppyseeds to this recipe myself, but based on my lemon poppyseed muffins, I would suggest adding in 4 teaspoons to the flour mixture.
This was so amazing!
I love lemon bread! This was delicious!
Something looks wrong with mine. It’s very flat. I just went back and checked to make sure i used the correct measurements and I can’t figure out what happened.
It may have been that the size of your pan was larger than mine. Check to be sure you use a 8 or 9 inch loaf pan.
Delicious! I doubled this to freeze a loaf, but the second one did not have a chance to make it to the freezer before it also got devoured by my kids - hubby and I may have helped a bit too! 🙂
I am so glad you enjoyed! We actually just made this today ourselves--one of my son's favorites.
I love lemon bread, this recipe did not disappoint. So tasty and moist.
I loved this lemon bread! Great addition to my breakfast.