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Indulge in citrus bliss with this fluffy lemon bread recipe! Its soft texture, vibrant lemon flavor, and zingy glaze make it an irresistible loaf for any season.

Lemon Bread recipe with lemon icing drizzle.
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Here’s a favorite in our extensive collection of lemon recipes that you must try: this glazed buttermilk lemon bread recipe! As an author of baking recipes for over 10 years, I’ve learned a thing or two about baked goods, particularly quick breads. I used these tips to create the moistest, fluffiest, zingiest lemon loaf possible, topped with a flavor-popping zingy citrus glaze! It’s easy to whip up with just 10 ingredients and no mixer required.

Jump to the recipe—now.

What people are saying about this lemon bread recipe

When we create a recipe, we often like to have an independent recipe tester take a crack at it to verify that it’s as delicious and fool-proof as we think it is. This lemon bread recipe was tested by reader Lexi, who gave this testimonial:

“This lemon loaf turned out wonderful! The texture is wonderful, slightly moist, with a nice crumb. The lemon flavor is bright and zesty, balanced well with the sweet lemon glaze. It is so good the next day as well. We had it for breakfast this morning!”

Overhead shot of lemon bread recipe with glaze and lemon slices.

3 key ingredients for perfect lemon bread

Here at A Couple Cooks Alex and I have been creating baking recipes for over 10 years, and we’ve learned a few things about quick breads. What we’ve learned? You can’t cut corners with baked goods: you’ve got to use the very best ingredients and techniques if you want the best flavor and textures! There are three key ingredients to make a perfect lemon bread in our opinion:

  1. Buttermilk: Turns out, buttermilk is the key to the fluffiest quick breads and muffins with the most tender crumb. Don’t be tempted to make a buttermilk substitution! I learned the importance of buttermilk from professional baker and author Sarah Kieffer, and after using it in recipes I’ve seen a big difference in the texture of our baked goods!
  2. Real lemons: In this recipe, you’ll need lemon zest in the bread itself and lemon juice in the icing. Using lemon juice in the bread isn’t necessary, since it can add a sour flavor instead of infusing a zippy nuance.
  3. Lemon extract: The other key to lemony baked goods is using lemon extract! Over years of testing, we’ve found a combination of extract and real lemon zest makes the very best lemon flavor. It’s easy to find in the baking aisle, and you only use small amounts at a time. This is what makes it taste like a Starbucks lemon loaf!
Squeezed lemons in a liquid measuring cup.

A few quick tips for baking

There are a few quick tips for baking this lemon bread recipe to make it the best loaf possible. After developing over 20 quick bread recipes and learning the tricks to a well baked loaf, here are a few tips we learned:

  1. Rub the lemon zest into the sugar first. Instead of adding the lemon zest right to the recipe, place the zest in the sugar and use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar. This activates the essential oils in the zest, helping it to taste more lemony.
  2. Use an aluminum baking pan for best results. Ceramic and glass pans don’t cook as evenly for quick breads. We recommend a 9-inch aluminum loaf pan. You can use an 8-inch pan as well: just increase the bake time slightly.
  3. Use parchment paper to easily remove the bread (and for quicker cooling). We cut the paper so it is the width of the loaf pan, then allow it to extend on either side of the pan to make a “sling” for easily removing the bread. This helps it cool faster, which is required before pouring on the glaze.
Lemon Bread recipe with lemon icing drizzle on cutting board with lemon slices.

That lemon glaze seals in the zingy flavor

The best part of this lemon bread recipe is the lemon glaze, which is the literal and figurative icing on the top! It makes the bread taste significantly more citrusy, almost like adding salt to a savory recipe to make it pop.

You can omit the icing if desired, but the bread will have a mellow quality. While it’s nice and lightly lemony, it doesn’t have the “BOOM” flavor that it does with the icing. Here are a few tips for applying the 2-ingredient lemon glaze:

  • Wait until the bread is cool prior to icing. Otherwise, the icing will melt into the bread.
  • Use a fork for drizzles, or a spatula for a smooth glaze. A fork makes the best drizzly lines: with a spoon it’s a bit too chunky. Use half the glaze for a drizzled look like this lemon blueberry bread. If you’re making the full glaze recipe, use a spatula to spread it on.

Make ahead and storage info

Because it’s made with buttermilk, this lemon bread recipe stays incredibly moist during storage! In fact, it gets even more moist over time. We tested this recipe with sour cream but it came out much drier especially over storage time. Buttermilk for the win!

Make ahead: You can make lemon bread in advance and cover in aluminum foil un-iced, then ice before serving.

Storage: The bread lasts at least 5 days at room temperature wrapped in aluminum foil or refrigerated for 10 or more days wrapped in foil (bring to room temperature before enjoying). You can also freeze un-iced bread for up to 3 months. We suggest slicing it into pieces and wrapping it in plastic wrap then a freezer-safe bag or container before freezing.

Lemon Loaf recipe showing slices of the loaf.

More of our favorite lemon recipes

There are so many fun lemon recipes try; here are a few of our favorites. Some favorites are our easy lemon cake, Grandma’s classic lemon bars, or lemon blueberry bread. Happy cooking!

This lemon bread recipe is…

Vegetarian. For vegan, try this Vegan Lemon Loaf. For gluten-free, try this Gluten Free Lemon Loaf.

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Lemon Bread recipe with lemon icing

Glazed Lemon Bread


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  • Author: Alex Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 slices 1x

Description

Indulge in citrus bliss with this fluffy lemon bread recipe! Its soft texture, vibrant lemon flavor, and zingy glaze make it an irresistible loaf for any season.


Ingredients

Scale

For the lemon bread

  • 1 3/4 [245 g] all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Zest of two medium lemons (about 1 ½ tablespoons)
  • ½ cup melted unsalted butter (or vegetable oil)
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract

For the glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar (120 g)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  2. Grease a 9-inch aluminum loaf pan. Line the pan with a piece of parchment paper, cut so that it extends on two sides to easily remove it from the pan. Grease the exposed parts of the pan with butter or oil to prevent sticking. 
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Place the lemon zest in a large bowl with the sugar. Use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar until it is fragrant (this activates the flavor of the zest).
  5. Whisk in the melted butter, then whisk the eggs one at a time. Whisk in the buttermilk and lemon extract. Switch to a spatula. Add the dry ingredients and stir until smooth. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake 53 to 55 minutes until the top springs back when touched and a toothpick inserted comes out clean (if the top is not set at this point, bake a few minutes longer). The exact timing will depend on your oven and baking pan.
  7. Cool the bread in the pan for 30 minutes. Then run a knife around the edge and invert the loaf onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool fully to room temperature (about 30 minutes to 1 hour).
  8. Mix the ingredients in a small bowl until it comes together into a smooth icing (if it is too runny add a bit more powdered sugar; if it’s too thick add a few drops more lemon juice). Use a fork to drizzle the top of the bread with the icing (½ recipe) or a spatula to spread it (full recipe).
  9. Make ahead / storage: You can make the bread in advance and cover in aluminum foil un-iced, then ice before serving. The bread lasts at least 5 days at room temperature wrapped in aluminum foil or refrigerated for 10 or more days wrapped in foil (bring to room temperature before enjoying). You can also freeze un-iced bread for up to 3 months (slice it into pieces and wrap it in plastic wrap then a freezer-safe bag or container).
  • Category: Quick Bread
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Bread
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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8 Comments

  1. mrsbourg says:

    Thanks for your recipe! I love your quick breads.
    Flavor is great, love the lemon. I had to opt for baking in my convection oven, and thought I set a timer to check early enough at 45 minutes, but it was totally done. In fact it looked beautiful, but it was a tad dry – my fault. But I kind of want to try to find the sweet spot with the convection oven if I can, so I’ll try reducing the time further and/or adding a little more oil. Glaze came out perfect consistency but more than I needed, so I might reduce a bit. Thanks as always, looking forward to you new cookbook coming out!

  2. Mary says:

    Please check your directions. I used a 9″ pan per your instructions and a lot of the batter over flowed the pan. Perhaps this needs two pans?

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      This should be a 9″ x 5″ inch loaf pan! We have tested it several times and it has not been close to overflowing. Do you perhaps have a shorter pan?

  3. Heidi raudszus says:

    I made this lemon bread, now two times. Both times the middle dropped. Baked it in stainless 9″ loaf pans, for one hour and then an additional 10 minutes. The texture and taste are both amazing. Just don’t know why it dropped in the middle. I whipped the sugar and butter with the mixer, then added the eggs one at a time, and then buttermilk and extract. Added the dry ingredients and mixed with a spatula. It is so good- I will make it again.
    Heidi

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Hi! Your oven must run a little cooler than ours. Next time, just give it the full 70 minutes before checking. It drops when it’s not baked and you open the door.

      Best!

  4. Lois Requa Dunn says:

    What is the nutritional value of the Glazed Lemon Bread. How many calories, etc?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Added to the recipe card!

  5. Lexi says:

    I made this lemon bread and it turned out wonderful! I baked it in a 9 inch loaf pan, it was done at 55 minutes, I did tent it with foil at 50 min, just to be safe. The texture is wonderful, slightly moist, with a nice crumb. The lemon flavor is bright and zesty, balanced well with the sweet lemon glaze. It is so good the next day as well. We had it for breakfast this morning!