Lemon Poppy Seed Zucchini Bread

Lemon poppy seed zucchini cake, sliced.

Lemon Poppy Seed Zucchini Bread ~ everybody’s favorite quick bread gets an upgrade with crunchy poppy seeds and fresh lemon. It’s the perfect light and breezy summertime bake!

A stack of lemon poppy seed zucchini bread slices.

Lemon poppy seed zucchini bread is a delicious change of pace

A classic zucchini bread is always right, but I adore this lemon poppy seed version for when you’ve STILL got zucchini coming out of the garden, or your neighbor’s gardens, or the CSA, and you need to shake things up a bit. This moist quick bread is easy to make and combines the bright flavor of lemon with crunchy poppy seeds and plenty of zucchini. It feels so fresh and summery.

Mixing the batter for lemon poppy seed zucchini bread.

One-bowl baking ~

One bowl baking is the best, isn’t it? Less to clean up, of course, and it just makes the whole thing feels so much more doable.  A surprising number of basic baking recipes can be easily converted to the one-bowl method:

  • Often the only reason you need the extra bowl is to sift dry ingredients together. The solution is to add your leaveners (baking powder and/or soda and salt) to your wet ingredients before folding in flour. Adding the leaveners first allows them to get evenly distributed into the batter without having to sift them with the flour first.
  • Recipes that aren’t good candidates for one bowl baking include any recipes where eggs are separated and the whites whipped on their own,
Glazed loaf cake on a baking rack.

How to make a lemony quick bread glaze ~

A lemon glaze is one of my favorite secret weapons when it comes to loaf cakes and quick breads. Just a simple mix of lemon juice and powdered sugar makes an intense sweet/tart topping that also helps seal in moisture.

  • For a glaze that’s thick enough to be noticed but still coats the top of your loaf cake nice and evenly, I use 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, and about 2 tablespoons of liquid. If you want a lighter, translucent glaze, add a little bit more liquid.
  • Sifting your sugar first helps avoid lumps, but if you do get them, let the glaze settle for a few minutes and whisk again, most lumps will dissolve on their own.
  • When I’m not sure about how the consistency of my glaze is going to look on the finished cake, I’ll do a little test on the edge of the cake. You should be able to wipe off the glaze quickly and adjust to make it a little thicker or a little thinner if needed.
  • You can add a little vanilla extract to your glaze, or scatter some more poppy seeds on top of the wet glaze for a nice pop of contrast and extra crunch.
Slices of lemon poppy seed zucchini bread.

The texture of this bread (or is it cake?) is just perfect in my book.

It’s moist but light and fluffy ~ not oily like some loaf cakes can be, and perfectly sweetened without being too over the top for breakfast or an afternoon snack. The cake has that lovely mellow lemon flavor from plenty of zest added to the batter, and the glaze provides the perfect sweet-tart contrast.

Sliced loaf of lemon poppy seed zucchini bread with lemons and zucchini blossoms.

For the prettiest presentation with loaf cakes, I always line my pan with a long sheet of parchment paper.

Grease the pan first, so the paper will stick and not slide around. You can lift the bread out after baking to let it cool completely. You’ll be able to glaze and slice it so much easier, and this is especially nice if you want a pretty presentation.

Slices of lemon poppy seed zucchini bread.

Remember, don’t peel or squeeze your zucchini for perfect zucchini bread!

You definitely don’t want to peel your zucchini, the peel is where all the flavor, color, and texture is. I love to see those little green flecks in my bread, yum! And there’s no need to drain or squeeze the zucchini, either. I formulate the recipe to take zucchini’s natural moisture into account, and it helps make this bread deliciously moist and tender.

A slice of lemon poppy seed zucchini bread with a fork.

Lemon poppy seed everything!

Lemon poppy seed zucchini cake, sliced.
4.96 from 61 votes

Lemon Poppy Seed Zucchini Bread

Course Breakfast, brunch, Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Yield 8 servings
Author Sue Moran


  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • zest of one large lemon
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini, lightly packed
  • 3 Tbsp poppy seeds

For the glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp (approximately) lemon juice, or a mixture of lemon juice and milk or cream to thin


  • Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9×5 loaf pan. I also line mine with parchment paper for easy removal after baking.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar until well combined.
  • Whisk in the baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Fold in the flour, and mix just until everything is well incorporated and there are no dry pockets of flour left.
  • Gently fold in the shredded zucchini and poppy seeds.
  • Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan, and smooth it out a little bit so that it fills the pan evenly. Bake for about 60-65 minutes until risen, turning golden on top, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out without wet batter clinging to it.
  • Allow the bread to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing and allowing to cool fully on a baking rack.
  • Once the bread is cool, make the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar with the lemon juice until pourable, but still relatively thick. You can use all lemon juice for a nice tart glaze, or a mixture of lemon juice and milk or cream to your taste for a slightly less tart glaze.
  • Pour the glaze over the cooled cake and use the back of a spoon or a butter knife to gently spread it over the top of the cake. Allow the glaze to harden before slicing.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
Lemon poppy seed zucchini bread pin.

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    June 20, 2022 at 12:47 pm

    5 stars
    My, oh my…….this is fantastic! I made it a few hours ago and my husband way watching it cool! I cut a few slices for a neighbor who cannot eat frostings, then frosted the rest and gave a few slices to two other neighbors. It is a good thing that I made it in King Arthur’s tea cake pan…it is longer and narrow…..goes further! Everyone loved it. After he made the deliveries, my husband had a slice……..Good thing I have more zucchini! More to be made in the morning……none to share! I made it with KA gluten free measure for measure flour. Perfection thank you

  • Reply
    June 13, 2022 at 6:27 am

    5 stars
    This is really really good!! I might have gone a little crazy with the zucchini but it still turned out great, my loaf needed an extra 5 mins in the oven. Do not skip the glaze, it is so good!

  • Reply
    Kelly Watling
    February 9, 2022 at 10:57 am

    5 stars
    I love this recipe! I make it once a week for myself and another loaf to give away to a neighbour or friend. People who do not even like the taste of lemons enjoy this loaf and comment on the pleasant crunch from the poppy seeds. I like the fact that an entire zucchini is used, so healthy! I cut the amount of sugar down to 1/2 a cup and it still tastes great! Thank you so much for offering this recipe!

  • Reply
    February 8, 2022 at 12:14 am

    5 stars
    The lemon poppyseed loaf was amazing.

  • Reply
    Klara Cutkova
    October 14, 2021 at 3:26 pm

    5 stars
    Many thanks for this simple, yet original and very tasty recipe?everybody who tried this cake asked for a recipe. I am very glad you found your blog, Sue. Can’t wait to try other recipes. Best regards from the Czech Republic. Klara

  • Reply
    Tresa Schroth
    September 2, 2021 at 7:55 am

    5 stars
    Just out of my oven! It is a clear winner! Light and delightful, I’m not even going to glaze it, it stands by itself! YUM

  • Reply
    Shelley Hoover
    August 31, 2021 at 4:27 pm

    5 stars
    This is the absolute best zucchini recipe ever!! My hubby and I ate a whole loaf in one day!! After having various chocolate zucchini cakes and pineapple zucchini cakes, I can attest to the fact that this cake is so good and flavorful that you wouldn’t even think there was zucchini in it. It is so moist and is delicious even without the icing. Thank you so much for a great recipe and even instructing us to turn down the oven when using glass baking pans and it’s even made all in one bowl.

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