Starbucks Copycat Lemon Loaf

If you love lemon desserts – then you need to try this Starbucks Copycat Lemon Loaf! It’s buttery, moist, bursting with lemon flavor, and topped with sweet lemon glaze!

Slices of Starbucks copycat lemon loaf on a plate.

This lemon loaf tops the list of favorite lemon desserts, along with Lemon Pound Cake and Lemon Blueberry Muffins.

Starbucks Famous Lemon Loaf

Have you ever tried the lemon loaf from Starbucks? As much as I love homemade treats, I can’t turn down a slice of their lemon pound cake. It’s so tender and packed so much lemon flavor in every single bite.

When I was a student, I’d go to Starbucks on a Sunday to do homework. And without a doubt – I’d always order a slice of their lemon loaf. It has the perfect balance of delicious butteriness without being greasy, and the lemon flavor packs a punch without being sour whatsoever.

So I wanted to find the perfect Starbucks copycat lemon loaf recipe so that I could make a delicious lemon loaf at home and eat 3 slices without the embarrassment of ordering all 3 from the Barista.

Starbucks copycat lemon loaf with sweet lemon glaze.

Starbucks Copycat Lemon Loaf Recipe

To develop the perfect lemon loaf from scratch – I had to do some sleuthing. I first looked at the Starbucks website to see the ingredient list for their lemon loaf. While there’s a ton of ingredients I didn’t understand that are obviously only used in commercial kitchens, I did learn a lot about the ingredients they use.

  1. They use butter instead of oil for the fat.
  2. They’re using lemon juice, lemon peel and lemon oil for the lemon flavor.
  3. Both baking powder & baking soda to help it rise beautifully.
  4. There’s sour cream to keep it moist.

So in order to get a recipe that’s close as possible to the original – I wanted to make sure I had those ingredients in my recipe too. Obviously, they don’t show the exact proportions on their website, so from there it was time to start experimenting in the kitchen.

A freshly cut Starbucks lemon loaf with sweet lemon icing.

Developing the Perfect Lemon Loaf Recipe

The first lemon loaf recipe I tried was too dry – so I knew I needed a little more sour cream and an extra egg to keep it tender and moist. Then the next one wasn’t quite lemony enough. Finally, number 3 was just right. Tender, moist, and bursting with fresh sunshine lemon flavor.

To get a lemon flavor that was the most similar to the Starbucks version, I used lemon juice, lemon zest and lemon extract. I found that the lemon extract made the flavor the most similar to the Starbucks version. However – I know it’s a little harder to come by. So feel free to leave the lemon extract out. Your lemon loaf will still be delicious.

Whether you’ve tried the lemon loaf from Starbucks or not – you definitely need to try Starbucks copycat lemon loaf recipe. It’s perfect for breakfast, a midmorning snack, or even dessert. And the bright lemon flavor makes it taste like sunshine in delicious pound cake form.

Top Tips

  • We have received a lot of comments in regards to the icing. The proportions in the recipe include a note to add more powdered sugar as needed until you have a nice thick consistency. This can vary from kitchen to kitchen depending on personal preference, and what type of milk you use. I’ve updated the recipe with less liquid to start for the icing, but keep in mind that you may have to play around with it to get a flavor and texture that you love.
  • Check for browning as it bakes. If the top is getting too brown, cover with foil.
  • If you want more lemon flavor in the bread and the icing, use lemon extract along with the lemon juice. The flavor will be more intense. It can however have a “fake” taste so be cautious using too much.

Store and Freezing

Your Lemon Loaf will remain fresh for up to 5-6 days when properly stored, or up to 6 months in the freezer.

  • Store leftover Lemon Loaf in an airtight container at room temperature for 4-5 days. Do not refrigerate as this can dry out the cake.
  • For long term storage, you can freeze the Lemon Loaf and store in the freezer for up to 6 months. Place frosted lemon loaf (whole or slices) on a sheet pan and pop it into the freezer for 2-3 hours. Once it’s frozen, wrap it up in plastic wrap and a layer of foil, then into an airtight freezer container. Unfrosted lemon loaf you can just wrap and freeze.

A slice of moist Starbucks lemon loaf on a plate.

More Lemon Desserts!

For more lemon desserts, make sure to try these other favorites!

And if it’s savory lemon recipes you’re after, these take the cake!

icon
If you’ve made this recipe, please come back and leave us a star rating or a comment below. Or, tag us on social media @yellowblissroad or #yellowblissroad for a chance to be featured.
Sweet lemon bread, sliced, with lemon glaze.

Starbucks Copycat Lemon Loaf

If you love the lemon desserts - then you need to try this Starbucks Copycat Lemon Loaf! It's buttery, moist, bursting with lemon flavor, and topped with sweet lemon glaze.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 slices
Calories 398kcal

Ingredients
  

Lemon Loaf

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted and at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract* or add additional ½ tablespoon of lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or buttermilk

Lemon Icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar add more until desired consistency is reached
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons cream or milk adjust as needed for consistency

Instructions
 

Lemon Loaf

  • Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Grease and flour an 9x5-inch loaf pan, or line with parchment paper.
  • In a medium size bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together. Set aside. 
  • In a large mixing bowl, with a electric mixer on medium speed, mix the granulated sugar and the eggs for 2 minutes. The extra time helps to incorporate air into the batter which makes the bread more fluffy.
  • Add the melted butter and the oil. Mix to incorporate.
  • Add the vanilla, lemon extract, lemon zest and lemon juice. Mix on medium speed until all ingredients are combined.
  • Add in the sour cream and mix well. 
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet, approximately ⅓ of the mixture. Mix until almost incorporated and add more. Continue until all the flour is incorporated in the wet mixture. Don’t over mix. Sometimes I will use my hand mixture but finish with a spatula when I only have a little bit of dry flour left.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean and the top feels firm to the touch. If after about 30-40 minutes the top is browning too much, tent a piece of aluminum foil over top and continue baking.
  • Cool completely. Once the loaf is cool, prepare your glaze by mixing all ingredients together

Lemon Icing

  • In a medium bowl whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and cream/milk until smooth. Add in more powdered sugar or cream as needed for desired consistency.
  • Remove the cooled loaf from the pan and drizzle or pour over top. 

Notes

  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3-4 days. 
  • Melt butter in the microwave then let it cool for a few minutes before adding to the batter. 
  • The original recipe used buttermilk, but I adjusted and now use sour cream instead. It provides more moisture, preventing the bread from turning out dry. 
  • This recipe uses a 9x5-inch loaf pan. The size is important! You can use an 8x4-inch pan, but will need to adjust the time and temperature. It would also result in a thicker loaf and you risk losing moisture.
  • This recipe was updated in May 2022 when we adjusted a few ingredients and swapped out buttermilk for sour cream, reduced the butter and added oil. This adds more moisture to the bread.
  • If you preferred the old recipe - use ½ cup buttermilk instead of sour cream, omit the oil and add an additional ¼ cup of melted butter, and reduce the amount of baking powder and vanilla to ½ teaspoon each. Bake in an 8.5x4.5 loaf pan. 

Nutrition

Calories: 398kcalCarbohydrates: 59gProtein: 5gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 139mgPotassium: 131mgFiber: 1gSugar: 41gVitamin A: 537IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 56mgIron: 1mg
Keyword lemon loaf

Fiona

Fiona blogs over at Just So Tasty where she shares easy, classic recipes for desserts & sweet treats. A peanut butter lover, chocolate connoisseur, and sprinkle addict - she hopes to make your life sweeter, one cookie at a time. She also teaches yoga, because life is all about balance.

Free Email Series
5 Secrets to Dinnertime Sanity
Free email series with tested, tasted & terrific dinner recipes!

You Might Also Like

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. I personally have never had Starbucks lemon cake but I made this yesterday as a friend was coming for dinner and we both love lemon desserts. I followed the recipe exactly and in her words I “nailed it”. I’m sure I will be making this again. Quite delicious.

  2. Hi, I just made this recipe. In the ingredients it lists oil but the instructions never tell you when to add it. There is no Buttermilk listed in the ingredients but the instructions say to add the buttermilk.
    I ended up adding 1/4 cup of Buttermilk since I wasn’t sure how much to add.
    Please advise.

    1. Hi Diane, I’m sorry for the confusion. I was in the process of updating the recipe and you must have caught it mid-update where I swapped out the buttermilk completely in favor of sour cream due to some comments that the bread was a little too dry. I’m sure your bread still turned out great though!

  3. Love this recipe. I tried to follow everything except I didn’t have the lemon extract and it turned out super moist and yummy. I only used the zest of one lemon but next time, I’ll try to either add more as the recipe suggested or actually get the extract just to see the difference. Either way, this recipe is a keeper!

  4. I followed the recipe exactly as said. It looked beautiful in the pan and as it was baking. But it turned out so doggone dry! I was really disappointed!

    1. Agree Michelle. I love Starbucks Lemon Loaf and this looked like it would be a winner. Based on the reviews I made a couple adjustments to try to counteract the dryness, adding 1/4 cup oil and increasing the sour cream to 1 cup. Despite this it was still too dry for me. I weigh ingredients so I am certain about the amount used.

      I found another recipe that uses 2 Tablespoons (not teaspoons) of lemon extract. I used that amount and still thought Starbucks has a more lemony flavor. I may try again, but would further increase the additional oil or decrease the flour a bit and add the lemon juice in addition to the lemon extract for more lemon flavor (I never have lemon zest).

  5. I just LOVE this recipe! I substituted monk sugar for regular sugar. It was a 1:1 sub which worked out perfect! I didn’t have any zest but used the juice and extract. I also used the sour cream as you suggested. This one is definitely a keeper and very easy to make!

  6. Can’t find or don’t have lemon extract on hand; no problem. Just soak your lemon peels in vodka and you will have lemon oil

  7. Just a question what is the mixture of buttermilk sour cream or is buttermilk sour cream an actual product?

  8. Delicious! I’ve never had Starbucks’s, but this was wonderful. I did add the 1/4 cup of additional vegetable oil, lots more zest and lots more juice too, and I doubled the glaze recipe. I like glaze. 😀

    This weekend I’m making this but ORANGE. Very summery. I have cabin fever.

  9. This is my go to because it turns out perfectly every time.. and I make it a lot! I like to add a couple tablespoons of poppy seeds. I find they add a nice crunch.

  10. I’ve tried this recipe and I have to say this is the BEST lemon loaf I’ve tried!!! My forever recipe now! Thank you for sharing it!🤗🤗🤗

  11. Love the flavor but it wasn’t moist – I took it out at the earliest time but it was still too dry.

    I’m going to try to add a 1/4th cup of vegetable oil to try to add some wet ingredient.

  12. My son is obsessed with the Starbucks Lemon Loaf so I attempted to make this early one Friday morning. I’ve never made pound cake so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was so quick and easy! This recipe is spot on and I think it tastes better than the Starbucks one. I actually used the Namaste Gluten Free flour and it tastes amazing! I did have a little bit of a cave in in the middle but nobody cared. Will definitely be making this again. Thanks Fiona!

  13. Yummy! This is what I’ve been dreaming of! I use more lemon zest, and no lemon extract. I skip the vanillla too So yummy! Thank you!

  14. My son wants this for his birthday cake, two tiers and decorated with fondant. Have you ever made it like this? Does it taste good with fondant?

    1. I’m personally not a fan of fondant, so I couldn’t tell you how that would work. I’m also not sure how this would work as a two tiered cake because it’s actually a quick bread. Your best option would be to search google for a great lemon cake recipe.

  15. This is my go to recipe now! Every time I have people over or go to a party, everyone loves the lemon loaf . I make them in to cupcakes as well. So delicious!

    Thank you so much for this fantastic recipe !

    Xox rosa

  16. Has anyone else had trouble printing this recipe, I click print but it just opens up the same window over and over again

  17. Ordering 3 slices of Starbuck’s Lemon Ice from the Barista made me smile. When my youngest daughter was a teen, we would always order 3 slices, spitting the 3rd. But there would always be an argument over who got the biggest slice or the most icing. Thanks for making me remember.

    I have not tried your recipe yet but I have tried to replicate before and I can tell by your ingredients that yours will be much better.