A lovely, lemon poppy seed loaf, made with yogurt and topped with a sweet-tart lemon glaze. This is a light, moist and muffin-like loaf, perfect for snacking.

lemon poppy seed loaf, sliced on cooling rack

Why you’ll love this lemon poppy seed loaf

This lemon poppy seed loaf has the perfect amount of lemon flavour and a lovely, lighter texture, thanks to the yogurt. I feel like it’s a bit muffin-like, certainly not the heavier pound cake type of loaf. It’s a great snacking loaf!

I love the tart-sweet lemon glaze, but you can also enjoy it plain, if you prefer. This loaf keeps well on the counter for several days or freezes nicely up to 2 months.

Key Ingredients

Lemon – as you will need both lemon juice and lemon zest, you will need fresh lemons for this one. You’ll need about 2 lemons if you are making the glaze. If you are planning to skip the glaze, you’ll need just one lemon. If skipping the glaze, which adds some additional lemon flavour to this loaf, you may want to increase the amount of lemon zest in the loaf from 1 to 2 teaspoons.

Greek Yogurt – I have whole milk thick Greek Yogurt here (3%-ish b.f). A higher fat Greek Yogurt will certainly work just fine. I haven’t tested with lower or no-fat Greek Yogurt. Sometimes no-fat products have a large amount of water, which can affect baking.

You can substitute sour cream for the Greek Yogurt. “Light” (5%) sour cream or full-fat sour cream should work fine here. I’m not as sure about no-fat sour cream, as I haven’t tested it.

How to make Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf: Step-by-Step

photo collage of steps to make lemon poppy seed loaf 1

Before starting, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together, then set aside.

Make the batter by creaming together the room temperature butter and the white sugar, mixing at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat in. Add the milk, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla and mix together. Finally, add the yogurt and mix in.

With the mixer on low, spoon the flour mixture to the batter and mix until well combined. Add the poppy seeds and give it one, brief, final mixing at medium speed, for just 5-10 seconds.

photo collage of steps to make lemon poppy seed loaf 2

Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan and level the batter, creating a slightly mounded shape by running a spatula around the outside, as shown. Bake, cool and enjoy!

Baker’s Tips

  • I love to make loaves in a “Tea Loaf Pan”, which is roughly 4×11-inches. That is the loaf pan I used here. It makes a longer, narrower loaf. Alternately, a 9×5-inch loaf pan will work just fine. I haven’t tested this loaf in an 8×4 loaf pan. It will work, though I’m not sure if all the batter will fit. If that’s your only option, be sure to fill the pan only about 2/3 full, which may not be all the batter.
  • Sometimes when adding an egg to the creamed butter and sugar mixture, it will appear to curdle. This usually results due to temperature differences between the butter mixture and the egg. You can avoid this by taking your egg out of the fridge at the same time you take your butter out of the fridge. You can “fix” this by adding a tablespoon or two of the dry, flour mixture and adding it to the bowl and mixing in, before proceeding to add the rest of the ingredients.

Making ahead, storing and freezing

This loaf keeps well stored at room temperature for 2-3 days. Be sure to wrap the cut-end well with plastic wrap.

This loaf will also freeze well. If it’s an option, I would wait to glaze it until after freezing and thawing, as the glaze can get damp during the freeze/thaw process.

lemon poppy seed loaf, sliced on cooling rack

lemon poppy seed loaf, sliced on cooling rack

Get the Recipe: Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf

A lovely, lemon poppy seed loaf, made with yogurt and topped with a sweet-tart lemon glaze. This is a light, moist and muffin-like loaf, perfect for snacking.
5 stars from 4 ratings
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Total Time: 1 hr
Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk, whole milk recommended, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, you can increase to 2 tsp if not using the glaze
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice, about 1 lemon
  • 1 cup plain thick Greek Yogurt, whole milk yogurt recommended, or sour cream
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour, measured with the spoon and level method
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, *reduce to a pinch if using salted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons poppy seeds

Optional Glaze:

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 2-3 Tablespoons lemon juice, or as needed to thin

Instructions
 

  • Remove the butter, egg and milk from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature before starting the prepare the batter. Be sure the butter is just at room temperature (which is about 68F). Do not melt the butter or try to soften in a microwave.
  • Preheat oven to 375F (regular bake/not fan assisted) with rack in the centre of the oven.
  • Grease a 9x5 or 4x11 loaf pan with cooking spray or baking spray and line the bottom and long sides with a sheet of parchment paper, allowing the long side of the parchment to overhang the edges by about 1-inch (to use as handles to lift the baked loaf out of the pan.) I haven't tested this loaf in an 8x4 loaf pan. It will work, though I'm not sure if all the batter will fit. If that's your only option, be sure to fill the pan only about 2/3 full, which may not be all the batter.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and poppy seeds. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl with an electric mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the room temperature butter with the white sugar at medium speed, until light and fluffy, about 2 -3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the egg and beat in well. Add the milk, vanilla lemon zest and lemon juice and mix in. Finally, add the Greek yogurt and mix in.
  • Add the flour mixture to the bowl, mixing at low speed until combined well. Add the poppy seeds, then give it a brief mixing at medium speed (5-10 seconds is all it needs).
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and level the batter. You can mound the batter slightly by running a spatula around the outside edges, so that the centre is a little higher (refer to Step-by-Step photos to see this).
  • Baked in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, or until golden and a tester inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and let cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan by pulling up from the parchment paper. Place on a cooling rack. Fold down the sides of the parchment and allow to cool a bit further before removing and discarding the parchment. Cool completely on wire rack before glazing.
  • For the glaze, add the icing/confectioners' sugar to a small bowl. Add lemon juice to the icing sugar, 1 Tablespoon at a time, stirring well after each addition, until you have a thin glaze. Drizzle glaze over cooled loaf.

Notes

Be sure to read the Ingredient Notes above for substitution suggestions. You'll also find Step-by-Step photos there, as well as a few Baker's Tips.
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Course: Dessert
Author: Jennifer
Calories: 286kcal, Carbohydrates: 47g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 37mg, Sodium: 111mg, Potassium: 153mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 28g, Vitamin A: 273IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 86mg, Iron: 1mg
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