Bread Breakfast

Lemon bread

Lemon bread DSC7425 1

When I first moved to New York, about once or twice a year my mom would send me a loaf of lemon bread. It was my favorite thing. The bread itself is a tender buttery loaf studded with lemon zest and pecans. It’s pleasant enough but not obvious in its charms. But what takes this bread over the top (and makes you reach for slice after slice) is the tangy and sticky glaze, which sweetly shatters with each bite.

The glaze is made with sugar and lemon juice and it’s generously spread all over the loaf after it’s cooled. The bread then goes into the refrigerator for a spell, which not only allows the bread to absorb some of the juice but also hardens the glaze. Each slice of bread is then sweet and tart with the glaze lending a satisfying crunch.

While I feel like I’ve been eating this bread all my life, I don’t think that’s the case as the recipe wasn’t passed along to my mom until I was in high school. We were on our way to Baylor for a spring school visit, and we stopped at my great-aunt Mary’s house in Bryan along the way. As we sat at her kitchen table listening to stories about Aunt Mary’s lively days as a Baylor Belle, she passed around slices of the lemon bread for us to enjoy.

Lemon bread | Homesick Texan

Perhaps a recipe was exchanged that day or maybe my mom asked for it soon after, but it wasn’t until after that visit that she started making the bread in our own home. The bread is very sweet, so at first it was only served on special occasions, such as Christmas morning. Then she started making it for birthdays but because our family loved it so much, before long there was almost always a loaf in the refrigerator, waiting to be sliced and enjoyed along with a cup of coffee for breakfast.

When I moved away from Texas, I collected a host of recipes and kitchen tools but I somehow didn’t get a copy of the lemon bread recipe. I told myself it was because you had to be a certain age in order to have the honor of making this very special bread—though I’m not sure if this is true or not. In hindsight, I could have just been saying this only to make the recipe more elusive and interesting in my mind. And since my mom sent me loaves often enough, there was no need to actually bake it myself as there was usually a loaf of lemon bread in my freezer, each slice carefully doled out.

A few years back my grandma gave me a binder filled with recipes and there it was—the family’s lemon bread. Because I’d lifted the bread to such mythic heights, I was a little surprised that the recipe was given to me without any fanfare. Instead, it was simply tucked into a book. But I didn’t mind, as simply seeing the recipe reminded me of watching my mom and my grandma in the kitchen baking loaf after loaf, coating them in that outrageous glaze, and then wrapping them in foil to either give as gifts or save for future breakfasts at home.

My family enjoys cooking and some of my fondest memories are of hanging out in the kitchen watching them create something for us to eat. I know I’ve said this before but it’s only because I believe it to be true—one of the finest gifts we can get from our parents and grandparents (and dear friends) are beloved family recipes. So I share this treasured lemon bread, which has brought my family much joy, with you.

Lemon bread | Homesick Texan

The important thing, if I haven’t been clear enough, is the glaze. As you mix it together it will appear soupy, but don’t fret. Just place the cooked bread on a sheet of foil, which will catch any that runs off the bread as you spread the glaze onto the loaf. You’ll then wrap up the loaf, place it in the refrigerator, and as the glaze hardens, any that ended up on the foil will find its way onto the bread. You’ll want to serve this bread cool, as that way the glaze will stay crisp. While I like to eat it for breakfast, it’s also a good afternoon snack, and makes for a fine dessert, too.

Lemon bread DSC7425 1
4.5 from 2 votes

Lemon bread

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Servings 1 loaf
Author Lisa Fain


Ingredients for the bread:

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 heaping tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Ingredients for the glaze:

  • 6 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • Foil


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease and flour a 9×5 bread pan, lining the bottom of the pan with parchment paper or wax paper.
  2. Stir together the buttermilk and the baking soda and set it aside. Cream together the butter and sugar. Beat together the eggs and slowly add to the creamed butter. Stir in the buttermilk and then slowly add the flour. Mix until a smooth batter is formed. Stir in the lemon zest and the pecans.
  3. Pour in the batter and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool the bread in the pan on a rack for 30 minutes.
  4. As the bread is cooling, mix together the lemon juice and sugar for the glaze. To apply the glaze, tear out a sheet of foil large enough to contain the loaf when wrapped. Remove the loaf from the pan by running a knife along the edges and gently tapping it out onto the sheet of foil.
  5. Spread the glaze evenly over the top of the loaf and on the sides. Don’t worry that the glaze is runny, just be sure to contain it all when you wrap the bread with the foil.
  6. Place in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours. Serve cold. It will keep refrigerated for one week and it also freezes well.
  1. Matt Robinson

    I love lemon bread and this recipe sounds amazing, especially the glaze!

  2. Lisa Fain

    Matt–Yep, it's that glaze that gets me every time!

  3. Aunty Pol

    Lisa…would this also work with orange zest ?

    Waving from Houston.

    Aunty Pol/Jane

  4. Lisa Fain

    Jane–While I've never tried it, I'm sure it would work with orange zest.

  5. I'm making this right now!

  6. Lisa Fain


  7. Caroline @ shrinking single

    Would this still be delicious minus the nuts? It sounds like it would give the glaze is the hero? I normally share my baking with a friend who has a son with a nut allergy and I think he would love the lemony goodness.

    • rhonda bowling

      I definitely think it would go better without the nuts, I don’t really know why but pecans and lemons don’t seem to mix in my book.

  8. Kay Whitt

    This sounds so good, I can almost taste it right now! Thanks for passing along the recipe…it is on my "to bake" list!

  9. Anonymous

    Will make this recipe-most things are improved by adding pecans, it seems! Now in DC, but growing up in Lubbock, the county extension agent, during local TV recipe demos, always suggested doubling the amt. of pecans called for in a recipe. Wonder if she had pecan orchards?

    David P.

  10. shoreacres

    I have a good bit of Meyer lemon juice in the freezer. I've been looking for a good lemon bread recipe for some of it, and this will do nicely. Thank you!

  11. TexasDeb

    I have frozen lemon juice and zest saved from our Meyer Lemon trees and cannot wait to use both in this recipe. I'm totally on board with the idea of that glaze. Heading to the store for fresh buttermilk!

  12. Lisa Fain

    Caroline–Yes, you can absolutely make it without the nuts. The glaze is the true star!

  13. Lisa Fain


  14. Lisa Fain

    Donald–That is too funny! Though more nuts never hurt a dish.

  15. Lisa Fain

    Shoeacres–Happy to help!

  16. Lisa Fain

    TexasDeb–There's nothing better than making a dish with something you've grown!

  17. Delicious! I think this one's going to be in regular rotation for me too 🙂

  18. This is exactly the type of bread I like. That glaze you talk about is one of my favorite dessert components of all time.

  19. Jessica Holmes

    Wow I've never had lemon bread ever! This looks lovely.

  20. Anonymous

    Yum, love just about anything lemon. Thanks for this treasured recipe! I can't wait to make it.
    Diane M.

  21. Virginia

    Doesn't the lemon react with the foil? I have had problems with foil reacting with an acidic food before. The recipe reminds me of one we made at Christmas time. I am excited to try it!

  22. Thank you for sharing something that is such a special part of your family's food history! I have family coming into town for a wedding this weekend, and this is perfect to make for all of the people that I love. Also, see you at the Twig! Can't wait.

  23. I just made lemon bars like thrice in a week!! This bread is next on my list! I can't get enough of lemon this summer!

  24. Julie @ Texan New Yorker

    I'm drooling just imagining that glaze… And, sic 'em!!! 🙂


    I love family recipes, passed down through generations. Sometimes the simpler the better. This one looks delish, especially that glaze!

  26. Lisa Fain

    Clare–I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine has!

    Devon–It is indeed good stuff!

    Jessica–Well now is the time to try it!

  27. Lisa Fain

    Diane–You're welcome. I hope you enjoy it!

  28. Lisa Fain

    Virginia–We've never had a reaction in all the years we've been making it, but if you're concerned you could first wrap the bread in wax or parchment paper before wrapping it in foil.

  29. Lisa Fain

    Stacey–I look forward to seeing you!

    Ami–Lemon is one of my favorite flavors–it's so bright!

    Julie–It's definitely drool worthy!

    Myfoododyssey—Family recipes are the best!

  30. Is there any other yellow like that yellow?

  31. Tried it with orange zest and juice for the glaze. The cake was gone in 10 minutes with all favourable reviews. Also made one with apple and it went well also. Thanks!

  32. Caroline {TheBarbeeHousewife}

    This lemon cake looks delicious!

  33. purplerangerfood

    One suggestion — Key Lime Bread.

  34. Hello there! Just wanted to say I made this loaf yesterday and today my department is overjoyed! I made one small modification, using pistachios instead of walnuts (one of our grad students asked me for something with pistachios, as it's his favorite nut)…

    anyway, absolutely delicious, I will blog about it sometime next month and will let you know, of course will give you full credit!

    delicious recipe!

  35. Anonymous

    I posted a few weeks ago & my post never appeared, so I'll try again. As I mentioned the first time, I think I was "glazed" over by this recipe. By that, I mean I was so focused on that word that when preparing the glaze and not thinking, I used powdered sugar instead of granulated. My "version" of glaze soaked into the bread, but the essence of lemon was not lost. The lemon flavor of this bread is wonderful. I'll be trying it again very soon with the correct sugar when my brain is not "glazed" over (grin). Judy H

  36. Has anyone tried using this to make French toast?

  37. Montie K Marvin

    My mom and I love all things lemon, and would not want the pecans to detract from the lemonness. I will be making this for Mother’s Day this weekend! Thanks Lisa!

  38. Tracy La Haise

    What about adding some fresh or dried blueberries? I love lemon blueberry scones.

    • Lisa Fain

      Tracy–Blueberries, fresh or dried, would be an excellent addition!

  39. This sounds delicious, I can’t wait to try it. Love anything of Lemon flavor.

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