This vegan lemon loaf is easy to make, uses simple ingredients, and tastes delicious. No one would ever know this Starbucks copycat is vegan! Plus, it's a great use for those homegrown lemons.
If you’re a fan of Starbucks lemon loaf then you’ve got to try this vegan alternative.
It’s bursting with tangy lemon flavor, it’s light and fluffy in texture, and it's addictingly delicious.
I adapted this recipe from my vegan blueberry breakfast cake. The breakfast cake uses yogurt making the cake perfectly soft and moist.
I knew I wanted this lemon bread to have a similar texture as the breakfast cake.
So I made a few changes to the recipe. I replaced some of the non-dairy milk with lemon juice and add lemon extract. Then, I topped the loaf with a tangy lemon icing.
The outcome was this amazing vegan lemon loaf cake.
This vegan lemon loaf uses the 12 simple ingredients below. No weird or hard-to-find ingredients in this recipe.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutes
- Flour – I used all-purpose flour for this vegan lemon loaf. For a gluten-free option use a 1:1 ratio gluten-free all-purpose flour.
- Lemon juice – Fresh lemon juice adds a mild lemon flavor to the loaf. It also adds a flavorful tangy to the glaze. You’ll need about 2-3 lemons. I used homegrown Meyer lemons.
- Lemon zest – Use a lemon zester to zest 2-3 lemons. If you don’t have a lemon zester the small side of a grater will also work.
- Cane sugar – You can substitute the cane sugar with any granulated sugar you like.
- Yogurt – Use plain or vanilla-flavored non-dairy yogurt. Any brand and type (almond, cashew, coconut, etc.) will do.
- Coconut oil – Use refined coconut oil for a neutral taste. Or, substitute with any neutral oil.
- Plant Milk – Any kind of unsweetened non-dairy milk will do —almond, cashew, soy, etc. I used almond milk.
Step By Step Instructions
This vegan lemon bread comes together in these 9 easy-to-follow steps.
Step 1: Sift the flour into a medium mixing bowl. Then, add the remaining dry ingredients to the bowl.
Step 2: Whisk the dry ingredients together until well combined. Set aside.
Step 3: In a large bowl whisk together the wet ingredients.
Tip: The plant-based milk and yogurt should be added close to room temperature to keep the oil from solidifying.
Step 4: Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients.
Step 5: Carefully fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until there is no dry flour visible. Small lumps in the batter are perfectly fine.
Tip: Do not over-mix the batter or the texture won’t be as soft and fluffy.
Step 6: Transfer the batter to a prepared loaf pan lined with parchment paper.
Step 7: Bake the vegan lemon loaf at 350ºF for 45-55 minutes. Allow the loaf to cool for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan.
Tip: The parchment paper flaps make it easier to remove the loaf after baking.
Step 8: Completely cool the loaf before icing.
Step 9: Spoon the icing over the top of the lemon loaf covering as much of the top as possible. Use a flat spatula, knife, or the back of a spoon to spread the icing out to the edges.
Serve this Spring recipe on any occasion. It's perfect as an Easter sweet treat, a Mother’s Day gift, or with a simple morning cup of coffee or tea.
Tips for Success
- To boost the lemon flavor in the bread: Add the optional lemon extract along with the wet ingredients.
- For a lemon-yellow tint to your bread: Add up to ⅛ teaspoon of turmeric. Without the turmeric, the loaf is pale in color.
- Fold the ingredients together: This is the key to keeping this vegan lemon loaf moist and fluffy. You'll want to slide a sturdy flat spatula along the side of the bowl to scoop the ingredients from the bottom of the bowl up to the top. Turn the bowl and repeat until the ingredients are well combined with no patches of dry flour.
- For best results: Use a kitchen scale and the gram measurements in the recipe card below to measure the ingredients.
Frequently Asked Questions
This lemon loaf is best kept at room temperature for up to 3 days. After 3 days it is best stored in the refrigerator for an additional 3-4 days.
The lemon bread takes about 45-55 minutes to bake. You can begin checking if it is done at the 45-minute mark by poking the center with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean the bread is done. If there is sticky batter allow the bread to bake another 5-10 minutes before testing it again.
Any type of homegrown or store-bought lemon will do--meyer, eureka, lisbon, etc. I used homegrown meyer lemons in this recipe.
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- 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted (245g)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 Tablespoon lemon zest, about 2-3 lemons
- ¾ cup non-dairy milk (164ml)
- ¾ cup cane sugar (162g)
- ½ cup non-dairy yogurt, plain or vanilla flavor (128g)
- ¼ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed (45ml)
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted (50g)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract, optional (see notes)
- ⅛ teaspoon turmeric, optional for color
- 1 cup powdered sugar (125g)
- 2 and ½ teaspoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed (10ml)
- 2 teaspoons non-dairy milk (10ml)
To make the loaf
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF and line an 8x4-inch loaf pan with parchment paper. You can see how I lined my pan in steps 6 and 7 in the post above. Set the pan aside.
- Add the dry ingredients to a medium bowl and mix them together. Set aside.
- In a large bowl mix together the wet ingredients.
Tip: The milk and yogurt should be added close to room temperature to keep the oil from solidifying.
- Pour the dry ingredients into the large bowl of wet ingredients.
- Carefully and gently fold the dry flour mixture into the milk mixture until there is no visible flour at the bottom of the bowl. Small lumps in the batter are perfectly fine and expected. No need to mix them down.
- Transfer the batter to your prepared loaf pan.
- Bake at 350ºF for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean. If there is sticky batter on the toothpick after baking for 45 minutes allow the bread to bake another 5-10 minutes before testing it again.
- Cool the lemon loaf for about 15 minutes, then use the parchment paper “wings” to remove the loaf from the pan and place it on a cooling rack.
- Allow it to fully cool before adding the icing.
To make the icing
- Add the powdered sugar to a small bowl.
- Pour in the milk and lemon juice and whisk until there are no lumps. The consistency should be thick and easily break when drizzled off of a spoon.
- If the icing is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it’s too thick, add more milk or lemon juice.
To ice the lemon loaf
- Spoon the icing over the top of the lemon loaf covering as much of the top as possible. Use a flat spatula, a knife, or the back of a spoon to spread the icing out to the edges.
- The icing consistency should be thick enough that it won’t drip down the sides of the loaf. If you like the drips or want a thin glaze, add more non-dairy milk or lemon juice to the icing to thin it out.
Serve immediately after icing or store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. Be sure to leave room for the icing so it doesn't get smashed when storing.
- Weigh the ingredients: For best results use a kitchen scale and the gram measurements above to measure the ingredients.
- To measure the flour without a kitchen scale: Spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it off with the back of a knife. Don’t tap or pack the flour into the cup.
- Fold the ingredients together: This is the key to keeping this vegan lemon loaf soft and fluffy. You'll want to slide a sturdy flat spatula along the side of the bowl to scoop the ingredients from the bottom of the bowl up to the top. Turn the bowl and repeat until the ingredients are well combined with no patches of dry flour.
- Lemon extract: To boost the tangy lemon flavor, use the optional lemon extract. Without it the loaf has a very mild lemon flavor and the lemon flavor will be in the icing. You can also add lemon zest to the top of the icing for more flavor.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 220Total Fat: 1gSodium: 238mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 2gSugar: 28gProtein: 4g
**Nutritional info is provided as an estimate based on the ingredients I used and for convenience and as a courtesy only.**
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