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Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

Author: Adapted from Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines



  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbs poppy seeds
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 ⅔ cups white granulated sugar
  • cup whole milk
  • ½ cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp lemon zest OR the zest or 1 lemon + ½ tsp lemon extract
  • 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract


  • ½ cup + 2 tbs powdered sugar
  • Zest of 2 large lemons
  • 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbs water, plus more as needed



  • Preheat your oven to 350℉. Generously grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In a large bowl, combine the sugar, milk, oil, eggs, lemon zest, lemon extract if using, lemon juice, and vanilla. Whisk until blended. Add the dry ingredients to the liquid and whisk just until combined. Don’t overmix.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a cake tester inserted sideways into the center of the bread comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Let the bread cool on a rack at least 15 minutes before unmolding onto a rack to cool completely. Though I must confess I frequently forget to unmold after 15 minutes and cool it completely in the pan, and nothing bad has ever happened.


  • Add powdered sugar to a small bowl. Add the lemon zest and stir to distribute. Stir in the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of water. Whisk until smooth, then assess. Add more sugar if it’s too thin and more water if it’s too thick. I like a just pourable icing, but how thin or thick is subjective to your preferences. I’d caution that if it’s too thick and needs more liquid, use water instead of lemon juice. You run the risk of making it way too tart otherwise, thanks to the zest. I may or may not know this from experience.
  • When the bread has cooled completely, unmold onto or transfer to a plate or cutting board. Liberally drizzle the lemon glaze all over and let it drip down the sides. Slice and serve.


Recipe is adapted from Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines. I decided I had to have a lemon bread recipe on my site, then remembered that while I always love the idea of it, most lemon breads just don’t live up to their potential. So I tested three different recipes from my cookbook arsenal, and this was (surprisingly?) the clear winner. Best texture, best strong lemony flavor, and the best golden brown, crackly edges. I made a few changes to the original. First, I doubled the amount of poppy seeds called for, because I’m of the firm belief that if you’re not able to fail a drug test at work after eating the treat, then it just didn’t have enough. Secondly, I halved the amount of glaze because I’m sick and tired of these glaze recipes that make way too much and waste your powdered sugar. A note on glazes in general: the amounts are suggestions. You are the ultimate judge. If it’s too thin, add powdered sugar until it’s not; if it’s too thick, keep adding liquid. The ballpark amounts matter, the exact amounts do not.