Lemon Poppy Seed Bread is a delightfully moist bread with a touch of tart lemon flavor, bursting with delicate, nutty poppy seeds!

It takes just five minutes hands on time and a few simple ingredients to make six miniature loaves for gifting or two large loaves.

This lemon poppy seed loaf is an incredibly easy sweet bread recipe that just takes five minutes hands on time!

A small loaf of lemon poppy seed bread in a white ceramic loaf pan, with a lemon placed beside it.
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It’s delightfully sweet, tart and filled with poppy seeds for a rich, nutty flavor. If you love all things lemon like lemon pound cake, lemon cookies, lemon shortbread cookies, no bake lemon pie, you’ll love this sweet bread!

It’s an amazing breakfast, beautiful addition to Easter or Mother’s Day brunch and makes an incredible snack! It’s simple, beautiful and oh so delicious.

Lemon poppy seed bread is a simple adaptation of my amazing Sweet Bread that has been made over 1,000,000 times to date! You’ll love this delicious twist.

You can make lemon poppy seed bread in standard loafs, miniature loafs (great for gifting or freezing) or even into lemon poppy seed muffins! Any way you make them, they’re incredible!

Small lemon poppy seed loaf in white ceramic loaf pans.

Why You’ll Love this Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

  • It’s made with staple ingredients (and a little lemon, of course).
  • It’s incredibly quick to make – just 5 minutes (hands on time).
  • It fills your kitchen with the most amazing aroma while baking.
  • Minimal cleanup – just a mixing bowl/mixer, and loaf pan.
  • It makes a beautiful gift for friends, family, teachers and neighbors!
  • It freezes incredibly well. You can freeze a loaf or a slice to enjoy later for breakfasts or snacks.

★★★★★

5 STAR REVIEW

“I really love how easy this is to make! Totally irresistible, too!”

— TONI—
A loaf of lemon poppy seed bread, sliced, with a lemon beside it.

Don’t skip our complete guide to the BEST Lemon Desserts too.

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Sugar – White granulated sugar adds sweetness.
  • Flour – All purpose flour, no need to sift.
  • Baking Powder – The leavening agent for this quick bread recipe that ensures a nice even rise.
  • Salt – A hint of salt brings out the flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Eggs – The binding agent.
  • Milk – Milk adds flavor to quick breads and gives it a beautiful brown color due to caramelization of milk and sugars! You can use whatever you have on hand from skim to Vitamin D, even Almond Milk to make it dairy free.
  • Vegetable Oil – Vegetable oil makes this bread incredibly moist. You can substitute with canola oil, melted butter or melted coconut oil.
  • Poppy Seeds – The star of the show! Poppy seeds pack a lot of flavor and crunch into this bread.
  • Lemon Extract – Adds bright flavor to this incredible bread! You can substitute with 4 tablespoons lemon zest.
  • Lemon Zest – Adds texture, color and flavor. You can replace it with 1 1/2 teaspoons additional lemon extract.
A small loaf of lemon poppy seed bread in a white ceramic loaf pan, with a lemon placed beside it.

Variations

  • Add Lemon Glaze – Drizzle or cover with a lemon glaze to take it over the top. Alternatively, an orange glaze is delightful as well!
  • Add Nuts – Make lemon poppyseed nut bread by simply folding in crushed walnuts, pistachios, pecans or almonds also work well.
A variety of gold cake pans, loaf pans and muffin baking pan sizes laid out on a marble surface.

Tools to Use

Lemon poppy seed loaves on a marble countertop.

How to Make Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

  1. Prep – Preheat oven and grease loaf pan.
  2. Combine Dry Ingredients – In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine sugar, flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Add Wet Ingredients – Add egg, milk, vegetable oil and lemon extract. Blend until just combined.
  4. Add Poppy Seeds – Fold in poppy seeds.
  5. Bake – Pour into a loaf pan (optional, sprinkle sugar on top). Bake until a toothpick comes out clean.

 Get a free copy the 10 Sweet Bread Recipes e book!

A loaf of lemon poppy seed bread, sliced, with a lemon beside it.

Tips

  • Don’t Overfill Your Loaf Pan – Fill 2/3 full to compensate for rise.
  • Use the Toothpick Test – Oven temperatures can vary. Insert a toothpick into the center. When it comes out clean it is done.
  • Use the Correct Loaf Pan – Learn more about Loaf Pan Sizes here.
  • Soak Poppy Seeds – To maximize poppy seed flavor, simply warm the milk and soak poppy seeds in a small bowl for 30 minutes. It softens the coating and releases even more flavor when baking. Then, add that milk and poppy seed mixture in as directed.
  • Toast Poppy Seeds – Alternatively, you can toast poppy seeds in a small skillet over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Then fold is as directed.
  • Poke Holes – If you’re adding glaze, poke holes into the top of the bread to allow it to seep in, just for kicks!

Need help with baking conversions? Check out my Essential Measurement Conversion Chart and Baking Substitutions.

Small lemon poppy seed loaf in white ceramic loaf pans.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have to soak poppy seeds before baking?

You can do this extra step, but it’s not necessary.
Poppy seeds are encased in a hard shell, so soaking them can soften that.

Is lemon extract the same as lemon juice?

No, they are not the same. Lemon extract uses a little alcohol to absorb more lemon flavor, making it more concentrated. Lemon juice is just the juice squeezed from lemons, although sometimes it has added water and preservatives if you’re purchasing a store bought version.

Baking Alternatives

  • Mini Loaves – Try this recipe in mini loaf pans, perfect for gifting! Bake 40 minutes for 6 miniature loaf pans or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. 
  • Make Muffins – If you prefer to make them into muffins, just grease miniature muffin tins and fill each to 2/3 full. Bake 12 minutes.
  • Make it Ornate – Alternatively, you can also bake it in an ornate loaf pan with the same minimal effort!
A small loaf of lemon poppy seed bread in a white ceramic loaf pan, with a lemon placed beside it.

Dietary Considerations

  • Vegetarian

  • Nut Free

  • To Make Gluten Free – Substitute with a 1:1 gluten free flour alternative.

How to Store

  • Room Temperature – Store quick bread in an airtight container, sealed plastic bag or covered in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to five days.
  • Refrigerate – Up to one week in an airtight container, sealed plastic bag or covered in plastic wrap.
  • Freeze – Wrap them tightly in heavy foil, plastic wrap or place them in freezer bags (I like to do at least two to prevent freezer odors from seeping in), and freeze for up to three months. Bring to room temperature to serve.
A loaf of lemon poppy seed bread, sliced, with a lemon beside it.

More Lemon Recipes

Small lemon poppy seed loaf in white ceramic loaf pans.
5 from 17 votes

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

A delightfully easy sweet bread recipe with tart lemon flavor balanced with a nutty bite of poppy seeds.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 24
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Ingredients  

  • 2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest about the zest of 1 lemon
  • tablespoons poppy seeds

Instructions 

  • Grease six miniature loaf pans and preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, beat eggs, milk, oil, lemon extract and zest.
  • Fold in poppy seeds.
  • Gradually add dry mixture to wet until just moist.
  • Pour batter into loaf pans (an inch below the top to compensate for rise).
  • Bake until a toothpick comes out clean. Bake for 40 minutes for mini loaves and up to 60 minutes for full size loaf pans.

Julie’s Tips

Substitutions

  • Milk – Milk adds flavor to quick breads and gives it a beautiful brown color due to caramelization of milk and sugars! You can use whatever you have on hand from skim to Vitamin D, even Almond Milk to make it dairy free.
  • Vegetable Oil – Vegetable oil makes this bread incredibly moist. You can substitute with canola oil, melted butter or melted coconut oil.
  • Lemon Extract – Adds bright flavor to this incredible bread! You can substitute with 4 tablespoons lemon zest.
  • Lemon Zest – Adds texture, color and flavor. You can replace it with 1 1/2 teaspoons additional lemon extract.
Variations
  • Add Glaze – Drizzle or cover with a lemon glaze or cream cheese glaze to take it over the top. Alternatively, an orange glaze is delightful as well!
  • Add Nuts – Make Lemon Poppyseed Nut Bread by simply folding in crushed walnuts, pistachios, pecans or almonds also work well.

Baking Alternatives

  • Large Loaves – You can also make this Poppyseed Bread recipe in two – one pound loaf pans or cut the recipe in half for just one loaf pan and bake 50 minutes or until it a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.
  • Make Muffins – Grease miniature muffin tins and fill each to 2/3 full. Bake 12 minutes.
  • Make it Ornate – Bake it in an ornate loaf pan with the same minimal effort!

Tips

  • Don’t overfill loaf pans. Allow plenty of room to compensate for rise. Discard excess batter or use for muffins.
  • Use the toothpick test – This is the best way to ensure it’s ready as oven temperatures, baking dishes and altitudes vary and effect the bake time. Insert a toothpick into the center. When it comes out clean it is done!
  • Poke Holes – If you’re adding glaze, poke holes into the top of the bread to allow it to seep in, just for kicks!

To Store

  • Room Temperature – Store quick bread in an airtight container, sealed plastic bag or covered in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to five days.
  • Refrigerate – Up to one week in an airtight container, sealed plastic bag or covered in plastic wrap.
  • Freeze – Wrap them tightly in heavy foil, plastic wrap or place them in freezer bags (I like to do at least two to prevent freezer odors from seeping in), and freeze for up to three months. Bring to room temperature to serve.
Calories: 210kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 112mg | Potassium: 162mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 58IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 1mg

Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.

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12 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I don’t have any lemon zest or extract, but I do have lots of fresh squeezed lemon juice. Could that be used as a substitute somehow? Thanks!
    P.S. Your cinnamon bread recipe has become a staple in our house 🙂

    1. Hi Maria!
      Thanks so much for your question! Unfortunately lemon juice is not a suitable substitute for this recipe. Too much liquid would be required to make an impact in flavor for the success of the bread.
      I hope that helps, and I hope you enjoy this recipe!
      Julie

    1. Hi Karen,
      I am so happy to hear that they enjoyed this!
      Sending you all our wishes for good health and happiness in 2024,
      Julie

  2. Have you ever tried this recipe using half almond milk (or any other milk) and half water? It is delicious, just very rich. Wondering how it would come out…