Lemon Yogurt Bread

Lemon bread is one of the baked goods my mom made growing up that I loved, devoured, and ate without caution.

I think of my mom every time lemon bread crosses my path. Sad to say, though, it seems that lemon bread has come and gone in popularity. Is it just me or does anyone else feel that way?

It seems like lemon bread used to pop up at nearly any occasion (especially the girlie ones) but at least in my neck of the woods, it has long since been usurped by other baked treats.

When my sister sent me the lemon bread recipe you see here claiming it was even better than mom’s (which is saying a lot) and I would never go back to another lemon bread recipe, I had to take the challenge and make it.

And, um, wow.

There is a reason lemon bread needs to be part of your life. And this is it.

Light and extremely moist, this lemon bread seriously rocks. The bread itself is tender with a lemony fragrance and combined with the killer lemon and sugar glaze, it is crazy delicious.

Whether you want to see lemon bread come back into food fashion or not, this recipe is worth making. We’ve taken to enjoying it for mid-morning snacks, after-dinner treats and anywhere in between.

Lemon Yogurt Bread

One Year Ago: Grilled Steak Burgers
Two Years Ago: Savory Spiral Stuffed Rolls
Three Years Ago: Sausage and Spinach Penne Skillet Supper

Lemon Yogurt Bread

Yield: Makes 2 loaves

Lemon Yogurt Bread


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon zest from about 3 large lemons
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt, lowfat or regular
  • Glaze:
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from the lemons that were zested for the bread)
  • 4 tablespoons sugar, more or less according to how sweet you want it


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat two 8 1/2-inch by 4 1/2 inch pans with cooking spray (I always use the Baker's Joy spray with flour in it). You may have a bit of batter leftover to also make 1-2 mini loaves or a few muffins.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest and rub the mixture together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Stir in the eggs, vanilla, oil, applesauce and yogurt. Fold in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pans about 2/3 full (if you have leftover batter you can make mini loaves or a few muffins) and smooth the top. Bake the bread until the top of the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 45-55 minutes for a normal sized loaf and anywhere from 16-25 minutes for muffins or mini loaves.
  3. While the bread is baking, combine the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan and let it come to a boil. Take it off the heat until the bread is finished baking. When the bread is done baking, carefully turn it out onto a cooling rack. Gently pour the warm glaze over the top of the warm bread (if the glaze runs off without soaking in, poke tiny holes with a toothpick over the top of the bread and then pour on the glaze). Let the bread cool completely. Store in an airtight container. It will stay moist for 2-3 days at room temperature.

Recipe Source: adapted from a recipe my sister, Em, sent, originally adapted from Bon Appetit

101 Responses to Lemon Yogurt Bread

  1. Linda Darling says:

    This sounds so delicious but can I sub the 2 loaf pans for 1 bunds pan

  2. Midge says:

    Mel – Another winner. We have been looking for the best Lemon Bread recipe and we found it. Best ever.

  3. […] Recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. […]

  4. Jackie says:

    Thank you for sharing. Please let me know what I can use as a substitute for apple sauce.

    • Mel says:

      You can substitute oil.

    • Janet says:

      This recipe would have 1 cup if oil if you used all oil and no applesauce. That’s a LOT of oil.
      I’m going to use 1/4 cup oil and 3/4 cup milk. NO applesauce.
      I do this in my pumpkin bars that originally had 1 cup of oil. It works great!!

  5. Christa Kuckhahn says:

    This was so delish! I love all things lemon and this bread is perfect for breakfast. Even the kiddos enjoyed it! Thanks for the recipe

  6. Kris says:

    Just baked these loaves. I used melted butter for the 1/2 cup oil and reduced sugar to 1-1/2 cups total and it is perfect! So light, tender, and perfectly sweet. Thanks for the excellent recipe! Definitely making again.

  7. Maria Pressley says:

    Can you freeze this bread?

  8. Sharmila Sutaria says:

    This lemon loaf is truly amazing.
    added some black poppy seeds to the batter.
    Has turned out perfect. Soft and lemony.

  9. Patricia says:

    Thank you for your recipes, Mel. You are one of my go-to bloggers πŸ™‚

    Do you think it would turn out as good with coconut oil or butter instead of vegetable oil?

  10. susan says:

    Can you use whole wheat flour instead of all purpose?

    • Mel says:

      You could definitely experiment – I’ve never subbed 100% whole wheat so I can’t say for sure.

    • Janet says:

      I would not sub all the white flour for whole wheat, not in this lemon bread, as to me the whole grain taste would override the delicate lemon taste. But I’d maybe do 1/2 cup exchange.
      PLUS I suggest changing to unbleached flour instead of white. Do the research!

  11. heather bell says:

    Loved this! It’s on the “make again” list and that list is pretty short! It was great to have some lemon flavor in winter. I thought the glaze was kind of strange because it was so thin but it turned out perfectly!

  12. Milliantz says:

    Can I mix sugar with lemon juice instead of lemon zest?

    • Mel says:

      Milliantz – You could try that but I don’t know how it will affect the overall muffin since the lemon juice mixed with the sugar will turn it into more of a glaze instead of a light topping.

      • Milliantz says:

        Sorry I wasn’t being clear in my question. I meant to use lemon juice mixed with sugar in the step where we’re supposed to rub the sugar with zest before stir in the eggs etc?
        Thank you, I really appreciate your replies πŸ™‚

  13. Erica Layne says:

    Made this today, and it’s fantastic in cake form too! Thanks, Mel!

  14. Sally says:

    Hi there- Any idea if this ships well? With or even without glaze? Thanks so much!

  15. Michelle says:

    I made a half-recipe this morning for breakfast and got 11 good-size muffins for my efforts! I baked them at 350 for about 20 minutes (tested with a toothpick to make sure they were done). Delicious!

  16. Melissa says:

    Hi Mel – just a little question since I saw your sheet cake recipe. Could I use the icing for the sheet cake on this bread instead of the glaze for a change? Thank you.

  17. Melissa says:

    Delish! I had some Liberte lemon yogurt in my fridge that is about 2.9% that is really smooth and creamy…I also had sour cream, but opted for the lemon yogurt! It was delicious and moist! I would love to try a blueberry sauce or some kind of berry compote over the bread in the summer with some fresh whipped cream! Thanks Mel for the super bread!

  18. Linda Turco says:

    I made the lemon bread today exactly as written in the recipe and it was delicious! I brought it to an all girls party and everyone raved about it:-) The only thing I did differently was I left the bread in the pan to pour the glaze over it so ithe glaze wouldn’t spill anywhere. . After 10 or 15 minutes all the glaze was absorbed and the bread just slipped out of the pan with no mess πŸ™‚ Awesome recipe! Thank you !


  19. Linda Turco says:


    Have you ever made this substituting sour cream for the yogurt? Thanks,
    Also, I would love it if more of the comments from your followers would be “after” they made the recipe:-) Most people look to the comments to see how the recipe worked for them. Everything you post looks awesome, and truthfully, everything taste amazing, but I think it would be more helpful if people would post comments after trying thre recipes. Don’t you think ?

    Thanks !

    • Mel says:

      Hi Linda – I’ve never subbed sour cream for the yogurt but it’s definitely worth a try since sour cream and yogurt have similar properties. Sorry about your frustrations with comments. I understand what you are saying. Usually if you scroll to the newest comments first you’ll be able to see the reviews of the recipe (I’m unable to segregate out the people who have tried the recipe and those who haven’t, if that makes sense).

  20. Liz Adler says:

    This lemon bread is amazing. End of story. However, i am quite unhappy with how the glaze turned out.

    • Janet says:

      I will just be skipping the glaze, way too much sugar in my opinion.
      We try to stick to around 1/2 cup sugar per loaf for these kinds of breads, just a personal choice because too much sweet seems to hide the other flavors.
      I’ll just be adding some zest to the batter.

  21. […] Mel’s Kitchen CafΓ© featured this Lemon Yogurt Bread recipe, and I love a good lemon bread!  I baked two loaves of this recipe up for my book club meeting, and I think it was a hit.  The bread itself is not to dense and not too light…just the right texture and very moist.  A sweet & tangy syrup coats the crust and seeps into the bread, providing a punch of flavor right as you take your first bite.  Yum. […]

  22. Xueqi says:

    Hi Mel,

    Is it okay to omit th applesauce? If not what would be a good substitute for it?

    Thank you!

  23. Erianne says:

    Am I reading the lemon zest measurement correctly? 3 Tablespoons? That seems like a lot to get from 3 lemons. Should it be teaspoons? Don’t get me wrong I think the more zest, the better when it comes to lemon breads, cookies and such. I just don’t think I have large enough lemons.

    • Mel says:

      Erianne – it is 3 tablespoons but you are right, the amount per lemon will vary depending on the size. You could definitely make the bread with less zest (obviously will be a bit less lemon flavor but that won’t ruin it)…I usually am able to get about a tablespoon per lemon if the lemons are big.

  24. CChar Riippi says:

    Does the lemon yogurt bread need to be refrigerated in the hot summer months?

  25. Desi Timko says:

    I didn’t have any lemons but I did have a lot of lemon yogurt and it turned out great πŸ™‚

  26. Amy says:

    Just made this for a new mom as part of the meal I took in and everyone LOVED it!! Every time I make anything off your site my husband says, “this is the best thing you’ve ever made!!” and this one made the same reaction! πŸ™‚ Thank you!

  27. brandy says:

    Made this….love it! Everyone that tried it loved it too! Thanks Mel!

  28. Sarah A says:

    Hi Mel! In the aftermath of these horrible past few day, I’m going to make as many loaves of this lemon yogurt bread for my 1st grader to bring to school for her teachers and other staff members as holiday gifts. I know lemon bread is nothing compaired to what the teachers should be receiveing but it’s all I can do.

  29. Mel says:

    Esther – try googling a recipe for applesauce. It’s usually pretty easy – something like cored,peeled apples cooked down with a bit of water. I’d try and use a sweeter apple (not a green apple). If you can’t make it work, you can always use oil in place of the applesauce.

  30. Esther says:

    H Mel, i would really like to make this, but i cant find applesauce. Can i make my own with green apples and water? If yes, what would the quantities be? Thanks,

  31. Mel says:

    Mimi – I always use applesauce with no-sugar added (so unsweetened).

  32. Mimi says:

    Did you use sweetened or unsweetened applesauce?

  33. Melanie says:

    Hey Mel,
    I recently found your site. I’m actually from Germany but I love baking, cooking and reading american recipes since I spent alot of time in LI New York. Yesterday this recipe was just perfect for my leftover applesauce. It was delicious although it’s always a bit tricky with the measurments ;).

    I’m glad I found your site.

    PS: Your kids are adorable πŸ™‚

    • Mjfluke says:

      Next time you are in New York you should pick yourself up some American measuring cups and measuring spoons. That should simplify the trickiest of the recipes measurements!

  34. Debra says:

    Growing up my Mom made us lemon pound cake. If I lived near her I would be begging for it and her lemon merinque pie. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  35. Mel says:

    Kim S. – I think the poppy seeds are a fabulous idea. I’d whisk them in with the other dry ingredients. As for muffins, I’m guessing it would work great but I haven’t tried it so I can’t weigh in on how many it will yield. Definitely keep an eye on the baking time – it will obviously be much shorter for muffins.

  36. Mel says:

    Junmay, you can sub canola or vegetable oil for the applesauce.

  37. Junmay says:

    Hiiiii! I really wanna make this cake for an Aunt, but I realised I don’t have applesauce on hand and I cant seem to find it at any store nearby. Is there any subsitute for it? Please help!

  38. Alison Wonderland says:

    Delicious bread! I made this today with great success, and even added frozen blueberries. I use glass loaf pans, so it did add several minutes to the cooking time. I tossed the blueberries in a tablespoon or so of the flour mixture so they wouldn’t sink, and they did just fine. Loved the tart/sweet glaze over the top. Will certainly be making again!

  39. Jackie says:

    This was so delicous. I love that it used yogurt. I have a really yummy chicken recipe that calls for 1/3c plain yogurt but I can only find it in a big container so then I am always trying to come up with ways to use the rest.

  40. Sherry says:

    I made this today and had to use lemon yogurt since I couldn’t find plain – it was delicious!!!! I had chunky applesauce so blitzed it in the food processor (getting the hang of this contraption). Unfortunately, I forgot to put the canola oil into the batter, but caught it in time (4 minutes in the oven) to dump all the batter out of the 4 mini loaf tins, add the oil, wash the tins, and put the corrected batter in. It still turned out great! I think it’s better than Starbucks!

  41. Angela @ AnotherBitePlease says:

    I seriously can’t wait to make this. I love lemon flavor in breads and bars. I was addicted to the lemon loaf at starbucks…now I can get addicted my own homemade lemon bread!

  42. Kim S. says:

    Do you think I could mix in poppy seeds to make a lemon poppy seed bread? What about making this recipe into muffins? Yay or nay?

  43. Just tried this recipe and it is delicious! Thanks for sharing! I used low fat greek yogurt instead and it worked out great.

  44. brye says:

    I have made this twice already and I used coconut oil (divine) and then I sliced it up and made it in to French toast with a strawberry sauce. AMAZING! Thanks.

  45. Cyndi L says:

    I made this tonight for dessert. I made a blueberry & raspberry syrup (from your blueberry muffin recipe) and served the lemon loaf with fresh blueberries and raspberries and then drizzled the syrup over top. A dollop of whipping cream and voila!
    Another excellent recipe. Thank you

  46. Beth says:

    This is delicious. I think I prefer it to a lemon pound cake because the crumb is so moist. I made it last night and served it with a mock sauce anglaise (softened frozen yogurt with a spoon of sour cream mixed in), and fresh strawberries for dessert. And because it’s lemon BREAD, I didn’t feel like a total hedonist eating it for breakfast. I wonder if it’s sturdy enough to be used in your lemon berry trifle (which I love). I may need to do some experimenting . . .

  47. Dana says:

    Maybe the yogurt would keep mine from turning out all crumbly, which it never used to do but now does all the time. Grrr. πŸ™‚

  48. Paula B. says:

    My mom made great lemon cookies, miss those. Do love all recipes lemon and agree their popularity appears cyclical. I’ve been making a variation on Ina Garten’s lemon yogurt bread and had great success – looking forward to baking your recipe!

  49. Jane says:

    This recipe is the best! The most fun is rubbing the zest into the sugar! Greek yogurt is also fabulous in here – this bread has been my ‘go-to’ for the summer – yummy with a variety of seasonal berries and fruit!

  50. carrian says:

    I love lemon yogurt bread. Sometimes we serve ours with a glaze, or with fresh berries. No matter how you serve it it’s delicious. I actually first tried lemon bread from an ex boyfriend. At least I got the recipe πŸ˜‰

  51. You’re right, lemon bread really has lost popularity over the years! I haven’t made it since my sister’s baby shower, her son is now 2 1/2. It looks like it’s time for lemon bread to make a comeback! I should figure out a reason to make it soon!

  52. Shannon says:

    I have the same memory of my mom’s lemon bread. The days she would make those golden delights were some of the best in her baking history (along with her chocolate hazelnut cheesecake). I am glad you brought it up again so I can fill my kitchen with that delicious aroma and subsequently my stomach. What a great memory!

  53. My family is coming to visit this weekend, and I think I’ll make this bread! Good timing Mel, it looks delicious πŸ™‚

  54. I don’t know about dwindling lemon baked goods popularity, but don’t understand how it could happen. Lemon bread, lemon cake, lemon anything is one of my favorite things. Especially if it’s extremely lemon-y. I don’t really like subtle. πŸ™‚ This recipe looks great! And I love the connection you have with it. I have the same thing with peanut butter pie. For me, that equals my grandfather. But these are nice connections, aren’t they? Much better than raw fish or stinky trash or something. πŸ™‚

  55. Cammee says:

    My mom never made lemon anything when we were growing up. I know, so sad and deprived. She claims she doesn’t like lemon stuff. I make everything lemon, I think because of the lemon famine of my childhood. The funny thing is, my mom eats it all! I can’t wait to try this recipe.

  56. auntiepatch says:

    My mom would make Lemon Bread and toast it the next day. Melted butter on Lemon Bread……………..mmmmmmm………

  57. I am trying not to curse you today because I LOVE LEMON BREAD, and you just happen to post it on the day of my new diet plan. It is a test I am sure. I made a goal that if I lose my 7 lbs. this will be the treat I make myself. I think I just might run that extra mile on the treadmill thinking about how much faster I can get it into my mouth. Thanks as always for sharing all of the amazing recipes you do. Can’t wait to try this one.

  58. teresa says:

    it is funny how foods trend in and out. i’ll always love a bread like this though, delicious!

  59. Mel says:

    Jamie – yes, if you want one loaf, I’d recommend halving the recipe and using a 9X5-inch pan so you don’t have to figure out what to do with the little bit of leftover batter (there is a bit too much for one 8 1/2-X4 1/2-inch loaf).

  60. Jamie says:

    If I wanted only one loaf, can I just half the recipe?

  61. I love lemon loaf and this recipe sounds lovely!

  62. Mel says:

    Christine – I use granulated sugar in the glaze.

  63. Shannon says:

    My granddaughter’s favorite treat is “lemon loaf” from Starbucks. She will LOVE this, and me too!

  64. Kristin says:

    Thank you!! I will be trying this!

  65. Mel says:

    Hi Kristin – yes Greek yogurt will work great. In fact that is what the original recipe called for but I’ve only ever had regular yogurt. Either will work!

  66. Kristin says:

    YUM! I love your blog Mel!! Thank you for sharing- I am blown away by how you come up with awesome recipes for everything. I come HERE for awesome recipes… where do you go? (I’m sure it’s a compilation of several places, but thanks for organizing them into one easy location for us! πŸ™‚ I’ve been a follower for awhile- and always will be! πŸ˜‰

    Do you think greek yogurt would work instead of regular yogurt? Thanks!

  67. Julia Mason says:

    I can’t call this bread with 2 cups of sugar in it, it is a lemon cake . But other than the name I love it.

  68. Mickie says:

    MmmmMMmmmm I LOVE Lemon, it’s my big weakness. I am the one who doesn’t really like the reds and purples and goes straight for the lemons and limes in the candy dish. My husband loves it since he picks out all the citrus flavors. I am going to make this sometime this week for sure since I wont be able to get my brain off of it until then. Thanks for sharing the recipe! I can’t wait!

  69. Teresa R. says:

    I absolutely love lemon bread and I can’t wait to try this. Thanks again for sharing. Food is such a wonderful thing!

  70. Christine says:

    Oh this looks so good! I can’t wait to try it.

    I did have on question, on the icing/glaze, is it granulated sugar or powdered sugar that was used?


  71. Mel says:

    Emily – yes, this bread freezes fine. I wrap the cooled bread in plastic wrap and then seal in a freezer ziplock bag.

    Julia – my sister has subbed applesauce for all the oil and says it was great. I think this bread is really adaptable to changes.

    Erin – sure…try it! I’d toss the blueberries with a little flour before folding into the bread do they don’t sink.

  72. Do you think it would be good with blueberries? I’m sold on blueberry lemon bread.

  73. Julia M. says:

    I’ve never made lemon bread and I do love quick breads. Do you think that the texture would be compromised if I replaced the oil with more applesauce and yogurt?

  74. Emily says:

    I love anything lemon. Do you know if this bread freezes well?

  75. Esther says:

    I love all things lemon, and this sounds great! Will definitely try to learn making this. Thanks for sharing the recipe πŸ™‚

  76. Sandy W says:

    Lemon bread is great and you really don’t see it very much anymore. Your recipe looks great and I need to try it soon. Thanks!

  77. Amy P. says:

    I love lemon bread!!! There used to be a little cafe – The Flamingo room – who brought out sliced mini loaf sandwiches of lemon bread and strawberry bread with sweetened cream cheese filling. I loved those! I’m going to try that with this!
    Love everything you do! Thanks for sharing!!

  78. Janel says:

    This recipe came at the perfect time – I just bought a bag of lemons from Costco and was wondering what to do with all of the extras. I can’t wait to try this!

  79. Charlotte Moore says:

    I LOVE lemon bread,cookies, etc. This looks yummy.

  80. Kim in MD says:

    Oh…I love lemon bread! This looks so delicious, and I can’t wait to make it!

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