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How to Make Lemon Loaf Bread (That’s Better than Starbucks’)


How to Make Lemon Loaf Bread (That’s Better than Starbucks’)

This easy-to-make, delicious, homemade lemon loaf bread is full of REFRESHING lemon flavor. It is the perfect spring and summer recipe. It’s even better than Starbucks’ Iced Lemon Loaf Cake. 

Lemon Loaf Bread

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How to Make Simple, Delicious, HOMEMADE Lemon Loaf Bread

It’s almost spring!!! Warm weather screams lemonade, lemon cake, lemon cookies, and lemon loaf bread!

Last year, my best friend bought lemon cupcakes for my birthday. I instantly fell in love. I ate them all. I’ve been obsessed with lemon desserts ever since. 

This, of course, includes the famed Starbucks’ Iced Lemon Loaf Cake. It’s my favorite Starbucks treat. Unfortunately, I think it’s a little too oily or greasy. I decided NOT to use any oil in my recipe and to limit the amount of butter. Best decision ever. My lemon loaf bread is still moist, soft, and dangerously good. 

Better than Starbucks!

This lemon loaf bread recipe includes FRESH lemon juice and zest, which creates a refreshing, more subtle, natural lemon-y flavor. Sometimes, the Starbucks’ Lemon Loaf can taste a little too tangy and chemical-like to me. I wanted to make a more natural, clean version. 

I also wanted to create a lemon bread recipe that is incredibly easy-to-make and uses ingredients that are already in a lot of homes. This is why I chose to use milk. A lot of lemon bread recipes use buttermilk, greek yogurt, or sour cream. I didn’t have any of those in the house!

Homemade buttermilk is made with just milk and lemon juice. I was already using lemon juice, extract, and zest… so I just added regular milk to the mix. My hope was that it would keep the bread moist. It worked!

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Lemon Glaze

This lemon loaf bread includes a sweet AND tangy glaze. I wanted the glaze to be thick, so it would sit on top of the cake and not leak everywhere. It took awhile to figure out the perfect proportions for the right texture and taste. 

At first, the glaze was waaaayy too tangy. It was overpowering. I added vanilla extract to soften and balance the flavor. It’s DELICIOUS! The glaze packs the perfect punch of lemon delicious-ness in a delightful way. 

Ingredients for Lemon Loaf Bread

It’s important to use FRESH lemon juice. I learned the hard way that a cheap, plastic bottle of lemon juice can RUIN a recipe. The flavor is TOO acidic, tart, and artificial. Fresh lemon juice creates a natural, delicious, refreshing taste to your lemon desserts. This Manual Citrus Press Juicer makes squeezing lemons easy, quick, and effective. 


1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. lemon zest*
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice*
.5 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
.5 cup milk
2 eggs
1 tsp. lemon extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract


1.5 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice*
1-2 Tbsp milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

*I use 1.5 lemons for this recipe. You will need at least two. 

How to Make Lemon Loaf Bread

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a loaf pan. You can use a 9” x 5” one like this Porcelain, Nonstick Bread Pan or 8.5” x 4.5” pan like this Boxiki Kitchen Loaf Pan with Silicone Handles. Side note: This Silicone Loaf Pan is ADORABLE. I haven’t used it (yet), but the reviews are great.
  2. Zest a fresh lemon. Gather the zest into a small bowl. 
  3. Squeeze the lemon over another small bowl to prepare the juice. 
  4. In a large mixing bowl (I am a fan of these Mixing Bowls for several reasons. Check them out here – 13 Budget-Friendly Baking Essentials), cream the butter and sugar together. 
  5. Add the milk, eggs, lemon juice, lemon extract, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. 
  6. Add the flour, baking powder, and lemon zest. Mix until combined. 
  7. Pour the mixture into the lightly greased loaf pan. 
  8. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until done. You can check if it’s done by inserting a toothpick in the center of the loaf. If it comes out clean (without any batter), it’s good to go (a.k.a done). 
  9. Let cool completely. 

Glaze Time

Once the lemon loaf bread is cool, it’s time to add the glaze. If the bread is not cool, the top layer will peel off and the glaze will run. It’s important to wait… no matter how bad you want to eat it!

This glaze hardens pretty quick. I recommend making it right before you are ready to glaze the loaf. 

Last Steps to the PERFECT Lemon Loaf Bread

  1. Combine powdered sugar, lemon juice, milk, and vanilla extract in a small bowl. If the glaze is too thick, add more milk. If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar. 
  2. Spread the glaze on top of the loaf, evenly and fully. You could even cover the sides, if you want. It’s like frosting a cake!
  3. Allow the glaze to harden for about 15 minutes. 
  4. Slice and… 


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(1) Comment

  1. Rania says:

    This lemon loaf came out perfect! It was moist and full of just the right amount of lemon flavor. I didn’t have lemon extract so used an extra tablespoon of lemon juice to improvise. We went back for seconds!

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