Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

Total Time

Prep: 10 min. Bake: 35 min. + cooling


2 loaves (16 pieces each)

Updated: May. 04, 2022
The days that I have extra time for baking are few and far between. That's why this extra-quick lemon poppy seed bread is perfect. It's a breeze to make, your family will love it bright, lemony flavor and tender crumb.
Lemon Poppy Seed Bread Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 1 package white cake mix (regular size)
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant lemon pudding mix
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 4 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • Optional: Confectioners' sugar and lemon zest


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, pudding mix, water, eggs and oil; beat on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on medium 2 minutes. Fold in poppy seeds.
  2. Pour into 2 greased 9x5-in. loaf pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. If desired, mix confectioner's sugar with water to reach drizzling consistency and use to garnish bread along with lemon zest.

Lemon Poppyseed Bread Tips

Should you soak poppy seeds before baking? Or are there other ways to soften them?

It’s not a requirement to soak poppy seeds before baking, but it does have several benefits. The seeds have a hard outer shell that many people find hard to digest; soaking helps to soften that shell. Softening that shell also allows for better release of flavor and nutrients. If you do choose to soak your seeds, use water, milk or the same oil that the recipe calls for (canola oil in this case). Heat the soaking liquid first, then add the seeds and let them sit for at least 30 minutes.

What other lemon bread variations can I try?

Lemon goes beautifully with almost anything, so you have lots of options! The bright zing of lemon provides nice to earthy flavors like the poppyseed here, nuts and herbs. Try our Pecan Lemon Loaf or Lemon-Thyme Tea Bread. In the summer, when blueberries are in season, Lemon Blueberry Bread is a delicious treat.

How can I make this recipe without cake mix?

This recipe calls for a cake mix from a box, but if you don’t have a mix—or just would rather work from scratch—you can use our homemade substitute for a commercial mix using pantry ingredients (shortening, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt). The recipe makes 11 cups of mix, enough for three cakes, and keeps in your pantry for up to three months, so you’ll be set to make this recipe again whenever you like.

Hazel Wheaton, Taste of Home Editor

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 112 calories, 5g fat (1g saturated fat), 23mg cholesterol, 159mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate (9g sugars, 0 fiber), 2g protein.