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This easy Old Fashioned Lemon Bread recipe is such a classic! It’s fast, super lemony, and tastes like it’s straight out of your grandma’s kitchen.
Old Fashioned Lemon Bread
When life gives you lemons, you must make this old fashioned lemon bread. It’s just so good! I go through lots of baking phases, but I can never get sick of a good quick-bread like this. This lemon bread is made with a super simple batter, then it’s doused in a two-ingredient syrup to really amp up that lemon flavor. You’ll be excited to get out of bed in the morning to enjoy a slice of this bread for breakfast!
Lemon bread has been around for a very long time as a fast and easy way to feed large families. One slice of this dense, pound cake-like, bread is sure to keep you feeling full until lunch time rolls around. Rather than using yeast and waiting around for this type of bread to rise, it’s made of a batter using baking powder as a leavening agent. This will let it puff up as it bakes, giving it some light air pockets while maintaining a drool-worthy dense and rich bite.
Ingredients in Lemon Bread
Keep scrolling for the full recipe and ingredient amounts.
For the lemon bread you’ll need:
- All purpose flour – Bread flour will not be a good substitute in this recipe. It has a higher gluten content and will make the loaf too chewy. You can use gluten-free flour, but keep in mind that you will get a drier bread.
- Granulated sugar – You can use less or more sugar if you like. Changing the ingredients may affect the way your bread rises.
- Baking powder – This is what will give your bread some air pockets to make is rise. You can’t substitute baking soda – it will give your loaf an off taste when used on its own.
- Salt – There’s just a little bit of salt in here! It’s undetectable, and is meant to enhance that lemon flavor.
- Eggs – Use large eggs for this recipe.
- Evaporated milk – You can find this in the baking aisle beside the condensed milk. This adds incredible rich flavor to your loaf! You can replace it with regular milk if you prefer.
- Vegetable oil – Canola oil will also work. Use an equal amount of applesauce if you want to cut down some calories.
- Lemon zest – I used a microplane to get the zest. This gives your loaf awesome fresh lemon flavor.
For the syrup you’ll need:
- Lemon juice – Fresh lemon juice is always better. You’ll have to buy a lemon to get the zest anyway, so use that one for its juice.
- Granulated sugar – While you can use sugar substitutes if you prefer, using granulated sugar creates a much nicer and glossy syrup to coat your lemon bread.
Nothing fancy here, just an old fashioned lemon bread with a sweet lemon syrup!
How to Make Old Fashioned Lemon Bread
- Preheat your oven to 350F and generously grease a loaf pan.
- Make the batter: Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Beat the eggs, evaporated milk, sugar, oil, and lemon zest in a separate bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix.
- Bake: Let your loaf bake for 55-60 minutes.
- Make the syrup: Cook the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat just until the sugar dissolves. Poke holes in your freshly baked bread with a skewer, while still hot, and pour the syrup all over the bread and in the holes.
How to Tell When Your Lemon Bread Is Done Baking
Use a toothpick and insert it in the thickest part of your loaf. If the toothpick comes out clean, the loaf is all done! Is there some batter sticking to the toothpick? Let it bake in 5-10 minute increments, at your discretion, until the toothpick comes out clean. Test the loaf in a different spot each time.
What Type of Pan Can I Bake My Lemon Bread In?
I used an 8×4″ loaf pan for this recipe. You can also use a small 7.5×3″ bundt pan. This batter will also fit in an 8×8″ square pan or an 8×2″ round cake pan, but of course you will yield thin pieces.
Tips for Making the Best Lemon Bread
- Don’t over-mix! Just mix the ingredients until you no longer see dry flour. Spending too much time mixing your batter will result in a loaf that’s too dense and chewy. If your bread fails to create a dome as it bakes, that’s a sign the batter was over-mixed.
- Get yourself a microplane. This is the best way to get yourself some perfect lemon zest. The pieces are small enough to spread evenly throughout the loaf, and leave no texture behind.
- Spray any loaf pan you’re using generously with cooking spray- especially in the corners.
- Refrain from opening your oven door until you need to check the bread’s doneness.
- Make sure to poke your bread full of holes and soak it in the lemon syrup while it’s still hot. The warmer your loaf, the more syrup it’ll be able to absorb.
How to Make Icing for Lemon Bread
If you want your loaf to be more Starbucks-esque with a nice thick white icing coating the top, I’ve got you covered. Even if you want to top it with an icing, I would still soak the bread in the lemon syrup called for in this recipe. It adds such nice moisture and pops of lemon flavor all throughout the loaf.
Mix 1 cup powdered sugar (also known as confectioner’s or icing sugar) with 3 tbsp lemon juice. You can use more or less lemon juice depending on how thick you’d like the icing. Whisk well and pour over the bread after it has cooled down.
How to Store Old Fashioned Lemon Bread
Store your leftover lemon bread on the counter at room temperature tightly sealed. I usually wrap it in plastic wrap or cut it in slices and keep it in a covered cake plate. It will last anywhere from 3 to 4 days at room temperature.
How to Freeze Old Fashioned Lemon Bread
This lemon bread is great for freezing. Wrap it up tightly with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap and store it in the freezer for 4 to 6 months. I prefer to wrap slices individually so they can thaw easier. Let it thaw on the counter at room temperature 1-2 hours before you plan on eating it.
Looking For More Quick Breads? Try These:
- Marbled Banana Chocolate Bread
- Chocolate Pound Cake
- Pound Cake
- Olive Ham and Cheese Loaf
- Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Loaf
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Old Fashioned Lemon Bread
- 1/4 cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Preheat oven and prepare pan: Preheat oven to 350 ° F. Grease and flour 8 x 4-inch baking pan.
- Make batter: Combine flour, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Beat eggs, evaporated milk, sugar, oil and lemon zest together in medium bowl. Add the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Stir until just combined. Pour into prepared pan.
- Bake: Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until wooden skewer inserted in center comes out clean. Let it cool for 5 minutes in the loaf pan then remove the loaf from the pan and transfer it to a cooling rack.
- Make lemon syrup: While the bread is baking, combine 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup lemon juice (1 lemon) in small, heavy-duty saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and a light syrup is formed.
- Top bread with lemon syrup: While the bread is still warm, poke numerous holes using a wooden skewer, piercing all the way to the bottom. Slowly drizzle the hot lemon syrup over the bread (syrup will soak into the bread). Finish cooling the bread on wire rack.