Recipe: Lemon Poppy Seed Quick Bread

updated Jan 21, 2020
Lemon Poppy Seed Quick Bread
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(Image credit: Jenny Huang)

The bright colors and flavors of citrus are one of the saving graces of long winters. So let sunny lemon take a starring role in baked goods when there aren’t many other fruit options available. The classic combination of tart lemon and crunchy poppy seeds come together in this quick bread that requires just two bowls and some elbow grease. Fresh lemon juice and powdered sugar are turned into a pretty glaze to drizzle over the finished quick bread for an extra layer of sweet-sour magic.

(Image credit: Jenny Huang)

The Magic of Zest

I love the outside of the lemon as much as the inside. There’s so much pure lemon flavor to be found in the zest that I try to use it in any recipes that use lemon juice, whether it’s a cake or salad dressings — and this quick bread is no exception. Use a Microplane to finely grate the zest before you juice the lemons, and you’ll add a punch of bright citrus flavor to the finished product.

This bread keeps quite well for a few days since it has yogurt and butter to keep it flavorful and moist. Toast up slices if you like crispy edges, or break out some lemon curd for a double dose of lemon tastiness to go with your afternoon tea.

Lemon Poppy Seed Quick Bread

Makes 1 (9x5-inch) loaf

Serves 8

Nutritional Info


For the bread:

  • Cooking spray or vegetable oil, for coating the pan

  • 2 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup

    plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons

    poppy seeds

  • 1 teaspoon

    baking powder

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    fine salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    baking soda

  • 1 cup

    whole- or low-fat plain yogurt

  • 6 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, melted

  • 1

    large egg

  • Finely grated zest of 2 medium lemons (about 1 tablespoon)

  • 2 tablespoons

    freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the glaze:

  • 1/3 cup

    powdered sugar

  • 2 tablespoons

    freshly squeezed lemon juice


  1. Make the bread: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Coat a 9x5-inch metal loaf pan with oil or cooking spray; set aside.

  2. Whisk the flour, sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl; set aside. Whisk the yogurt, butter, egg, lemon zest, and juice together in a medium bowl. Add the yogurt mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined and no streaks of flour remain. Do not overmix; the mixture will be very thick.

  3. Transfer the batter to the pan and spread into an even layer. Bake until golden-brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool 10 minutes, then flip the bread out of the pan and place back on the rack to cool completely, about 1 hour 15 minutes more.

  4. Make the glaze: Whisk the powdered sugar and lemon juice together in a small bowl until smooth. Drizzle over the cooled bread and let sit until the glaze hardens, about 15 minutes. Slice and serve.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 4 days.