Lemon Poppy Seed Bread with Cake Mix is the ultimate lemon loaf! Made with a lemon cake mix and lemon instant pudding mix, you get the most amazing lemon flavor and deliciously moist texture without all the hassle of creating a loaf from scratch — and in a fraction of the time, too! 

Making desserts with a doctored cake mix is a great way to simplify your from scratch baking, but elevate things so you aren’t just eating desserts from the box! My Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Cake Mix and Lemon Jello Cake recipes are some of my family’s favorite doctored cake desserts! 

Overhead photo of Lemon Poppy Seed Bread on a white rectangle plate resting on a blue cloth.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Cake mix lemon bread. Using a lemon cake mix to make this easy lemon poppy seed bread is my favorite trick! The sweet bread recipe turns out amazing, and there are less ingredients to prep and less dishes to do. 
  • Made with instant pudding mix. The gelatin in the lemon instant pudding mix makes the moist bread texture and adds lemon flavor as well. 
  • Glazed lemon poppy seed bread. Adding a sweet lemon glaze on top of the bread adds the perfect notes lemon with each slice! 

Ingredient Notes

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread ingredients portioned into glass bowls on a metal baking sheet.
  • Lemon Cake Mix Box: Making lemon poppy seed bread with cake mix is the perfect baker’s hack! It really puts the quick in quick bread recipe. Also, we use a LEMON cake mix instead of a yellow cake mix to really deliver on the lemon flavor. 
  • Package Dry Instant Lemon Pudding Mix: Make sure it’s the dry lemon pudding mix and not the already-made-into-pudding option. This adds an additional lemony flavor and a soft consistency to the bread.
  • Poppy Seeds: For the iconic look and taste! 
  • Vegetable Oil: The oil will make the cake mix lemon bread moist and tender. 
  • Eggs: Acts as a binding agent and aids in the rise.
  • Lemon Juice: I love using fresh lemons because the flavor tastes better, but if you only have store-bought lemon juice, that is fine. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Prepare your bread pans. Spray two 8×4-inch or 8×5-inch bread pans (or four mini bread pans) with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Combine the bread ingredients. Add 1 box lemon cake mix, the dry powder instant lemon pudding mix, 2 tablespoons poppy seeds, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1 cup water and 4 eggs to a large bowl. Using a hand mixer, mix on medium speed until combined (about 2 minutes). 
  1. Pour batter into prepared pans. Divide the batter evenly between each prepared loaf pan and bake for 20-25 minutes for mini pans and 35-40 minutes for the regular bread pans. The lemon poppy seed bread with cake mix is done when a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaves comes out clean. 
  2. Let cool. Remove the bread loaves from the oven and let cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 
  3. Make the simple lemon glaze. While the bread is cooling, add 1 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon milk to a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Spoon the glaze over each loaf while still warm but not hot. Let the glaze set. Slice and serve. Enjoy! 

Recipe Tips

I use nonstick cooking spray that contains flour to ensure there is NO sticking to the pans. 

The glaze should pour or drizzle well. You shouldn’t need to spread it. Add more milk or lemon juice until it reaches a drizzle consistency. 

To amp up the lemon flavor you can add lemon zest to the bread and/or glaze.

Add some fresh lemon zest as a garnish on top just before serving! Or dress it up even more (if you’d like) with some candied lemon slices on top!

You can use chia seeds instead of poppy seeds if you’d like, too.

Let the bread cool to about room temperature (if you can wait that long!) until cutting — this will keep it from breaking as you cut.

Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing

Store the lemon poppy seed loaf at room temperature in a ziplock bag or airtight container to stay moist. The bread will keep for up to 3 days (for best results). 

If freezing, it’s best to freeze the bread without the glaze. Let cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap then in aluminum foil. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Remove from the freezer and remove the aluminum foil. Store in the fridge to thaw overnight or thaw at room temperature. Prepare the glaze and enjoy! 

You can also freeze single slices of the lemon poppyseed bread if you want too! 

A loaf of Lemon Poppy Seed Bread drizzled with a white glaze against a white background, with yellow lemons stacked on a plate near the loaf.

Recipe FAQs

Why does my quick bread have a crack on top?

That’s a good sign! When quick breads expand properly, a crack will form on the top. This is due to the top of the bread cooking quicker than the inside. While the inside is cooking, steam escapes out of the top, forming the crack. However, if you don’t have a crack, that doesn’t mean that your bread hasn’t performed well in the oven. Your oven temperature, altitude, bake time, oven rack location, etc. can all affect the bake.

Can you freeze lemon poppy seed bread?

Yes! Don’t glaze your bread, and let it cool completely. Once cooled wrap the loaf/loaves in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. Place in the freezer. The quick bread will last up to 3 months in the freezer. On the day you want to eat it, pull it from the freezer, remove the aluminum foil (keep the plastic wrap on) and let the bread thaw completely. Prepare the drizzle and apply to the top of the bread. (You can warm the bread for 20-30 seconds in the microwave if you’d like so the drizzle warms on the bread a bit.)

What is a quick bread?

Quick breads are loaves that use baking powder or baking soda (or both) as leavening agents instead of yeast.

What if I don’t have lemon instant pudding mix?

You’ll need to get it in order to make this recipe! It’s a key ingredient in this lemon poppy seed loaf cake.

A fork cutting into a slice of lemon poppy seed bread on a white plate.

More Lemon Poppy Seed Recipes

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Lemon Poppy Seed Bread on a white rectangle plate.
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5 from 2 votes

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread with Cake Mix

This easy lemon bread is so soft, fluffy, and moist and it's topped with a sweet lemon glaze. This recipe is bursting with lemon flavor! Perfect for spring and summer or whenever you need a cheerful snack or treat. You won't believe how fast it comes together (5 minutes). This recipe makes 2 regular size loaves or 4 mini loaves.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 2 loaves



  • 1 box lemon cake mix
  • 3.4 oz instant lemon pudding mix - dry
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 eggs

Lemon Glaze

  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice - freshly squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon milk




  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 2 — 8"x4" or 8"x5" sized loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray (or you can spray 4 mini sized loaves instead). I use the kind with flour in it to ensure there is NO sticking.
  • Place all of the “bread” ingredients in a large bowl and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. 
  • Divide the batter amongst the loaf pans and bake for 20-25 minutes for mini pans and 35-40 minutes for the larger loaves. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. 
  • Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes before removing them from the pan. 

Lemon Glaze

  • Whisk the glaze in a bowl until smooth. Add more powdered sugar or more milk/lemon juice for a thinner/thicker glaze. Spoon the glaze over each warm loaf. Let glaze set before slicing and serving. 


Add lemon zest to the bread or the glaze for added lemon flavor. 
Store the bread in an airtight container or ziplock bag at room temperature for up to 3 days. 


Calories: 1236kcal (62%)Carbohydrates: 154g (51%)Protein: 13g (26%)Fat: 67g (103%)Saturated Fat: 48g (240%)Cholesterol: 328mg (109%)Sodium: 383mg (16%)Potassium: 209mg (6%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 104g (116%)Vitamin A: 475IU (10%)Vitamin C: 9mg (11%)Calcium: 187mg (19%)Iron: 2mg (11%)
Course: bread, Dessert
Cuisine: American
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