Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Bread (Gluten-Free)

Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Bread
My mother in law, Anita, has the most beautiful citrus trees growing in her yard here in California. She grows everything from oranges to kaffir limes and Meyer lemons. Her entire backyard is nothing short of a citrus smorgasbord! Whenever we go to visit, she sends us home loaded down with big bags of all of the beautiful citrus fruits she grows and we spend the next few days soaking up all of the amazing flavors and aromas.

Last week Anita loaded our bags with Meyer lemons for the first time this season! I was so excited to get home and into the kitchen, my head was swimming with potential possibilities for them. Maybe an easy skillet cake or a pan of Meyer lemon bars. Meyer lemon curd crossed my mind too, because what is better than slathering everything that comes out of your kitchen with sweet, tangy lemon curd? Nothing, I tell you! Then as we were merging onto the 405 freeway it hit me, the perfect vessel for those Meyer lemons was a quick bread. Think Starbucks lemon loaf kicked up a notch and made gluten-free for all of us to enjoy. You with me?

Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Bread
Maybe you are thinking that gluten-free bread couldn’t possibly be as tasty as the real deal gluten-filled version. I assure you it can be! Gluten-free quick breads are pretty easy to make and delicious when you use the right flour. I like to keep good quality all-purpose gluten-free flour like Better Batter, Cup 4 Cup, or King Arthur on hand for recipes like this. They are pretty much interchangeable with regular all-purpose flour and produce a delightfully moist bread that has a great texture and crumb. No fuss, no blending flours and starches, and no worrying that it won’t turn out perfect every time.

When you are buying Meyer lemons, look for fruits that are plump and deeply yellow all over. If you see any hint of green, the lemons are under-ripe. The fruit should be firm but give under slight pressure and should feel a little bit heavy for their size. They will smell sweet and floral, like orange blossoms–totally intoxicating if you ask me. Meyer lemons are not true lemons, but believed to be a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange, which makes them sweeter than regular lemons. If you can’t find Meyer lemons, don’t fret. You can simply substitute regular lemon juice and zest in this recipe; just expect the flavor to be more tart than if you used Meyer lemons.

Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 55 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 1 large loaf (about 10 slices)

Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

This gluten-free Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed bread is perfect for a weekend breakfast, brunch, or even dessert! If Meyer lemons aren't available, feel free to use a regular lemon instead.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons for dusting the pan
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder (see note)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or refrigerated coconut milk (not the canned kind!)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon Meyer lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus 1 tablespoon for greasing the pan
  • For the glaze (optional)
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted if lumpy
  • 4 teaspoons Meyer lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, tapping out any excess flour.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds. Whisk until well-combined.
  3. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and add the melted butter. Gently fold with a silicone spatula until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
  5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula.
  6. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50-55 minutes.
  7. Leave the bread in the pan and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack before glazing.
  8. To glaze the bread:
  9. Whisk the confectioners' sugar and the lemon juice in a small bowl until completely combined and no lumps remain. If the mixture seems too thick you can add an additional teaspoon at a time of lemon juice to thin it out; you don't want it to be too thin or it will all drip off of the bread!
  10. Carefully remove the bread from the pan and place it back onto the cooling rack. Put paper towels or a plate underneath the rack to catch the drips. Pour the glaze evenly across the top of the bread and allow it to drizzle down the sides. Leave the bread undisturbed for 15-20 minutes for the glaze to set.

Notes

Not all baking powders or vanilla extracts are gluten-free. I use Bob's Red Mill baking powder, but Clabber Girl and Rumford baking powders are also gluten-free. For the vanilla extracts, I use McCormick or Nielsen-Massey.

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About Meg

Meg van der Kruik is the blogger, photographer, and recipe developer behind Beard & Bonnet, a gluten-free vegetarian blog that celebrates style, design, food, and family.   Read more from Meg →

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Comments

  1. Julia Mueller says

    I love lemon poppy seed everything, and this bread looks fabulous! I have everything I need except for the lemons, so I’ll be raring to go after a trip to the store today. I even have company over for the long weekend, so I’m sure my friends would love this for breakfast and snack! This bread looks perfectly moist and flavorful – I’ll be sure to let you know how it turns out! :)

    • Meg van der Kruik says

      Melissa, pre gluten-free living I was obsessed with the Starbucks lemon loaf cake and I can assure you that this one is just as good and better for you! I hope your friend likes it:)

    • Meg van der Kruik says

      Nadia, I have never tried to make this quick bread with an egg substitute, but I feel sure that it would work. Just know that it may alter the texture and the amount of rise that the loaf has.

  2. says

    Have I told you I’m a huge fan of anything lemon-based?! Plus, I SO love sweet bread, so this lemon poppy seed bread definitely needs to be made as soon as possible. Plus, it deserves a few bonus points since it’s gluten free!

    P.S. tell your mother in law she’s super lucky to be able to grow citrus trees in her backyard! I’d love to have a backyard where to plant my own little orchard!

    xo, Elisa

  3. says

    I have some meyer lemons that I bought at Denver’s newly opened Trader Joe’s and they would be perfect in a quick bread, thanks for this post! enjoy the bounty from your mother-in-law, that sounds heavenly to have citrus trees in her backyard.

  4. Kristi says

    I made this last night. I have a new oven so I am still trying to learn it’s quirks I may have overbaked this a tiny bit but was very good. I used regular flour (as we don’t have gluten issues at our house) and I used regular lemons. I will have to make an additional loaf tonight as my 6 year old ate 3 slices and the exhange students we have staying gobbled it up. One even said it tasted like the Starbucks kind.

  5. Ingrid says

    Hi!

    I don’t think I can find a gluten-free all-purpose flour in The Netherlands that easy. Could you tell me with what I can substitute it? I have spelt, buckwheat, coconut, and oatmeal flowers at home. Please help, because this cake looks delicious!

  6. Norine Stauske says

    This bread is delicious! I never heard of a Meyer lemon before this recipe. So good! Thanks for sharing, this one is a keeper!!

  7. Dennise Ziaja says

    I am not only gluten free, but diabetic and I have Crohns , so I would try to make this with a cup for cup sugar substitute but not frankin food splenda. Any thoughts of anything necessary to make this a success? Stevia seems to be the best sub for my stomach issues….

    thanks…the recipe and pictures are making my mouth water!

  8. Barb Bos says

    If my gluten free flour doesn’t have xanthum gum in it do I need to add xanthum gum to this recipe?

  9. Julie says

    Hi – I just made a William Sonoma gf lemon poppy seed mix and my sons loved it! I don’t have a william sonoma store close by so started looking for a recipe. This one looks amazing. The question I have though is that I thought that when using gf flour, you had to add xantham gum to it too – is that not the case?

    • Meg van der Kruik says

      Julie,
      It just depends on what you are baking really. A lot of the gluten free all purpose flours already have it mixed into them already so you do not have to add it again.

      • Juli says

        I used the Robin Hood GF flour – added a tsp of xanthem gum to it (it had a recipe on the bag of flour which added it in). Bread was delicious! I couldn’t find the right lemons but it’s still very good.

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