Copycat Starbucks Lemon Loaf

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Copycat Starbucks Lemon Loaf recipe made at home. A moist lemon pound cake topped with a sweet lemon glaze. It’s freezer friendly too!

Love quick and easy bread recipes? Our Orange bread is bursting with citrus flavor, and delicious too. Or try our cranberry almond bread for a flavor explosion.

Loaf of lemon bread with lemon icing on top, sliced and plated.
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Why this Lemon Loaf is Best

Recreating coffee house drinks and desserts is my jam. Why not make a copycat of those when you can?

Because let’s be real, paying $8 for a cup of coffee and slice of lemon bread just isn’t realistic for me to do on a daily basis.

Imagine a loaf of Starbucks pumpkin bread with a pumpkin cream cold brew coffee, all made from scratch at a fraction of the price. Or a bowl of Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup, kitchen sink cookies, and a panera orange scone?

Today’s lemon loaf recipe is perfect.

  • Bursting with citrus flavor from the bread, to the simple syrup, to the sweet icing.
  • Recipe makes two loaves, which is perfect for freezing or sharing!
  • The sugar syrup on the bread adds extra moisture, keeping this bread fresh and moist for days longer than traditional sweet breads.

For more lemon desserts, be sure to give our lemon brownies a try next. Chewy like a brownie, without the chocolate.

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed for copycat starbucks lemon loaf.

Making copycat Starbucks Lemon Loaf starts with the familiar quick bread ingredients, including flour, butter and sugar.

  • Vanilla Greek yogurt. Gives the loaf a moist tender crumb and a hint of creamy vanilla flavor.
  • Lemons. You will need a LOT of lemons for that fresh citrus flavor you crave. The zest is used in the bread batter while the juice is reserved for the lemon icing and glaze. Use our guide on how to zest lemons properly!
  • Powdered sugar. Also known as confectioner’s sugar or icing sugar, this gets whisked with the lemon juice to create that familiar thick glaze on top of Starbucks lemon loaf.
  • Heavy cream. A few spoonfuls are used to thin the lemon glaze to the perfect pourable consistency.

Simple Syrup and Glaze

Step by step photos showing how to make lemon loaf.

Before you do anything else, go ahead and zest and juice all those lemons! Set aside the juice to use after the bread is done baking.

After making the lemon loaf batter, divide it into two prepared loaf pans and bake. Remove the loaf from the oven, then prepare the simple syrup.

Poke holes all over the warm lemon loaf. Pour simple syrup over the loaf immediately. It soaks into the center of the loaf for extra delicious lemon flavor, just like my Lemon Poke Cake.

Finally, whisk together the glaze ingredients. Once the bread is fully cooled, pour the glaze on top. It’s best to let it set for about 15 minutes before serving.

Tips and Tricks

  • Best lemon glaze consistency: Add more cream (a tablespoon at a time) for a thinner lemon glaze. If you want a thicker icing, add less cream.
  • Storing: This loaf is best stored covered at room temperature. It stays moist and delicious for up to 5 days.
  • Slicing: I recommend using a serrated bread knife for even, professional looking slices.
Loaf of lemon bread with icing sliced on a white serving plate.

Recipe FAQs

What’s the best way to zest a lemon?

Our complete guide to zesting and juicing lemons shows you our favorite ways to zest lemons for all kinds of lemon recipes.

Do you add the glaze before or after freezing?

You can do it either way! The glaze tends to look best when added fresh to the bread after thawing, but freezing it won’t affect the taste.

How long does lemon loaf keep in the freezer?

To keep your glazed lemon loaf freshest, double wrap it in the freezer bags before freezing. Stored tightly sealed it keeps well in the freezer for about 3 months.

What can I substitute for Greek yogurt?

Sour cream is an ideal 1-to-1 substitute for the Greek yogurt in this recipe. It adds moisture and tenderness to the bread in a nearly identical way.

More Lemon Recipes

Lemon pound cake sliced on a white platter.

More Bread Recipes

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Copycat Starbucks Lemon Loaf

4.69 from 72 votes
By: Aimee
Copycat Starbucks Lemon Loaf recipe made at home. A moist lemon pound cake topped with a sweet lemon glaze. It's freezer friendly too!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 20 slices


For the Bread:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 5 lemons zested and juiced (save the juice)
  • 2 cups vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Simple Syrup:

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup reserved lemon juice from your fresh lemons above

For the Lemon Glaze:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup reserved lemon juice from your fresh lemons above
  • 2-4 Tablespoons heavy cream or milk
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  • Zest and juice all the lemons first. You should have approximately 1 cup juice from your lemons. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine your flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl beat butter with sugar until fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, beating until fully incorporated. Beat in lemon zest, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, and vanilla extract.
  • Beat in flour mixture and yogurt alternatively until fully combined (in about 3 additions).
  • Pour batter into TWO 9×5-inch loaf pans that have been greased with baking spray. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 40 minutes. Cover loosely with foil and bake an additional 20-30 minutes until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven. In a small saucepan, whisk together the simple syrup ingredients over low heat. Whisk until sugar is dissolved. Poke holes in lemon loaf using a toothpick. Pour syrup over loaves. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.
  • For the glaze, whisk together the sugar, lemon juice and heavy cream. Add more or less cream to get desired consistency. Pour over cooled bread. Allow to set (about 15 minutes). Slice and enjoy. Store in airtight container for up to 5 days. ENJOY!


  • Use our tips and tricks on how to zest a lemon.
  • Best lemon glaze consistency: Add more cream (a tablespoon at a time) for a thinner lemon glaze. If you want a thicker icing, add less cream.
  • Storing: This loaf is best stored covered at room temperature. It stays moist and delicious for up to 5 days.
  • Slicing: I recommend using a serrated bread knife for even, professional looking slices.



Calories: 375kcal, Carbohydrates: 61g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 78mg, Sodium: 236mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 44g
Course: Breads
Cuisine: American
Did you make this recipe?Mention @shugarysweets or tag #shugarysweets!

Skip the line and the strain on your wallet when you make Copycat Starbucks Lemon Loaf at home!

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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on April 4, 2022

Comments & Reviews

  1. Hi! I made the Lemon Loaf last night. It was very good, not quite what I expected. I have never having tried Starbucks cake. Thank you!

  2. I have to say this is one of my favorite treats from Starbucks as well. But I always have to tell the server to put it in the bag with the glazed side UP! For some stupid reason every single one of them put it in the bag glaze down so it gets stuck in the bottom of the bag. I think they are jealous and want to punish the people who are lucky enough to get the Lemon Loaf 🙂

  3. I also love Starbucks lemon cake! I live overseas and the Starbucks branches here don’t carry it, but like you I often get it in the airport in the US (on layovers on the way back to my home in MI).

    I was very excited to make this recipe today and it turned out OK, but not quite what I was expecting. It wasn’t quite as even-textured as at Starbucks – almost a bit eggy?

    It might be my fault though. I realized halfway through that I didn’t have quite enough granulated sugar, so I had to substitute powdered sugar for about 1/3 cup of it. Normally I’d go out and grab some, but I’m trying to stay in because my neighborhood is going through a pretty bad covid wave right now.

    Anyway, the flavor is good and I’ll still finish it. I’m thinking it might improve overnight too. Maybe I need to try it again when I have 100% of the ingredients.

  4. Could you make this in mini cupcake pans?  I’ve been asked to make a school treat for a 12 year that loves the Starbucks Lemon Loaf  Cake.

  5. 5 stars
    This is my son’s favorite and I used to take him there for a special treat. This recipe is even better!

  6. I’ve never actually tried the lemon loaf at Starbucks, but your version has me drooling. I love all things lemon and can’t wait to try it!

  7. Do you have a recipe for Chewy Blondie Brownies,,,nothing added just the blondies?? and chewie cookies??

    1. For this blondie recipe, just skip the candy!

4.69 from 72 votes (69 ratings without comment)

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