Healthy Lemon Loaf (Starbucks Copycat)

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This Starbucks copycat healthy lemon loaf is made with whole wheat flour, maple syrup, Greek yogurt and avocado oil. It’s soft, moist, bursting with lemon flavor and topped with a delicious lemon glaze. It’s even better than Starbucks!

If you love lemon treats you need to try this healthy lemon loaf! It’s a Starbucks copycat recipe made healthier with whole wheat flour, Greek yogurt, avocado oil and maple syrup.

We don’t hit up Starbucks that often (usually at airports when traveling) but I’ve always loved getting their iced lemon loaf whenever I’m in the mood for a decadent treat. That said, it is quite decadent (one slice has 450 calories and 40 grams of sugar!) so I wanted to create a healthier EBF-approved version that I can easily make at home with simple ingredients.

The recipe I’m sharing today is less of a pound cake and more of a fluffy breakfast loaf, but the flavor is spot on! It’s seriously so good… I can’t wait for you to try it!

A lemon loaf topped with a lemon glaze and lemon zest. The loaf is cut so you can see the inside of the loaf.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It tastes like the Starbucks lemon loaf but is made with healthier ingredients like whole wheat flour, maple syrup, Greek yogurt and avocado oil.
  • It’s bursting with lemon flavor!
  • The lemon glaze is chef’s kiss and what takes this loaf to the next level!
  • No kneading or rising time is needed, this quick bread is super simple to make!
  • It’s perfect for breakfast, dessert or a mid-day snack!
Ingredients measured out to make a lemon loaf: whole wheat pastry flour, lemon juice and zest, salt, avocado oil, eggs, baking powder, baking soda, Greek yogurt, maple syrup and powdered sugar.

Ingredients Needed

  • whole wheat pastry flour – whole wheat pastry flour works better than regular whole wheat flour if you’re looking for the light and fluffy bread that regular all-purpose flour provides, but still want the nutrients of whole wheat flour. My go-to brand is Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour. If you can’t find whole wheat pastry flour you can also use white whole wheat flour, regular whole wheat flour or just regular all-purpose flour.
  • baking powder & baking soda – to help the lemon loaf rise.
  • salt – brings all the flavors together.
  • eggs – helps bind all the ingredients together!
  • avocado oil – a neutral oil to help keep the loaf moist. I like using avocado oil because it has a neutral flavor and is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which have been linked to lowering cholesterol. It’s also lower in saturated fat compared to other common baking oils like coconut oil. 1 Tablespoon of avocado oil has only 2 grams of saturated fat while coconut oil contains 11 grams!
  • pure maple syrup – my favorite natural sweetener that pairs perfectly with the rest of the flavors in this loaf! I’ve also tested this loaf with granulated sugar and it turned out great, so if you aren’t a maple fan or don’t have any on hand you can swap the maple syrup 1:1 with granulated sugar.
  • fresh lemon juice & zest – two key ingredients that give this loaf that signature lemon flavor!  I recommend using freshly squeezed lemon juice for the best flavor!
  • Greek yogurt – this will help keep your lemon loaf fluffy and moist without the need for a ton of oil. I recommend using full-fat whole milk Greek yogurt for the best results.
  • lemon glaze – top this loaf with a delicious lemon glaze made from powdered sugar (also known as confectioner’s sugar) and lemon juice.
Collage of six photos showing the steps to making a healthy lemon loaf: mixing the batter, baking the loaf in a bread pan and then making a lemon glaze.

How to Make

Preheat: Start by preheating your oven to 350°F and lining a loaf pan with parchment paper or greasing with cooking spray.

Mix dry ingredients: Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Whisk wet ingredients: Using a hand mixer combine wet ingredients (eggs, oil, maple syrup, lemon juice, lemon zest and Greek yogurt) in a large bowl until fully combined.

Combine: Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to combine using a wooden spoon or spatula. Don’t over-mix!

Bake: Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cool: Let cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from pan. Then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Make glaze: Once lemon loaf is cool and before serving, make lemon glaze by whisking together powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small mixing bowl. Top the loaf with the glaze, cut into slices and serve!

Spoon drizzling a lemon glaze over a lemon loaf.

Substitutions & Notes

  • Flour: If you don’t have whole wheat pastry flour, you can substitute all-purpose flour instead. I haven’t tested this lemon loaf with gluten-free flour, but you should be able to swap the whole wheat pastry flour with a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend.
  • Eggs: I haven’t tested this loaf with an egg substitute, but using flaxseed eggs might work. The loaf might not rise as much or might have a different texture. Let me know if you try it in the comments below!
  • Oil: If you don’t have avocado oil, you can substitute any neutral oil such as vegetable oil, canola oil, olive oil or melted coconut oil. You could also use melted butter if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Maple Syrup: Granulated sugar will work as a 1:1 substitute for maple syrup.
  • Greek Yogurt: For a dairy-free option, you can use a non-dairy yogurt instead of Greek yogurt.
An overhead image of a lemon loaf cut into 5 slices. The lemon loaf is topped with a lemon glaze and lemon zest.

Tips For Success

  • Be sure to mix the wet and dry ingredients separately before combining them, to ensure that the batter is evenly mixed.
  • When combining your dry and wet ingredients make sure you mix until just combined and don’t over-mix, otherwise, your bread could turn out too dense or rubbery.
  • Once done cooking let the loaf cool for about 15 minutes in the pan and then remove to cool completely on a wire rack. Don’t leave the loaf in the pan for too long because it’ll continue to bake and could dry out.
  • Make sure the loaf has cooled completely before adding the glaze otherwise the glaze will melt into the loaf.
An overhead image of a lemon loaf topped with a lemon glaze cut into 5 slices

What to Serve With Lemon Loaf

This lemon loaf is perfect for any occasion, but would be especially perfect for a special bunch like Easter or Mother’s Day! Here’s a few ideas of what you could serve alongside this loaf:

4 lemon loaf slices topped with a lemon glaze and lemon zest stacked. The top slice is turned and a bite is taken out of it.

How to Store

After allowing your loaf to cool completely, you can either frost it with the icing before storage or wait to frost it right before serving.

Store any leftovers in an airtight container (I like to use my Stasher bags for storage) at room temperature for 3-4 days, in the fridge for 5-7 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can also wrap the loaf in plastic wrap or tin foil for storage.

If freezing, you can freeze the full loaf or pre-slice it for easy serving when you’re ready to thaw and enjoy. To thaw, place the loaf in the fridge overnight or at room temperature for a few hours.

More Lemon Recipes to Try

More Quick Bread Recipes to Try

Be sure to check out all of the quick bread recipes as well as the full collection of breakfast recipes on EBF!

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4.81 from 31 votes

Healthy Lemon Loaf (Starbucks Copycat)

This Starbucks copycat healthy lemon loaf is made with whole wheat flour, maple syrup, Greek yogurt and avocado oil. It's soft, moist, bursting with lemon flavor and topped with a delicious lemon glaze. It's even better than Starbucks!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 10

Ingredients  

  • 1 ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup avocado oil
  • ¾ cup pure maple syrup or granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ Tablespoon lemon zest
  • ¾ cup full fat Greek yogurt

Lemon Glaze

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and line a loaf pan with parchment paper or grease with cooking spray.
  • Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.
    The dry ingredients for the lemon loaf combined in a white mixing bowl.
  • Using a hand mixer whisk eggs, oil, maple syrup, lemon juice, lemon zest and Greek yogurt in a large mixing bowl until fully combined.
    The wet ingredients for a lemon loaf combined in a white mixing bowl.
  • Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir to combine using a wooden spoon or spatula.
    Woman's hand mixing the dry and wet lemon loaf ingredients with a spatula.
  • Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 40-45 min until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from pan. Then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
    A fully baked lemon loaf that's lined with parchment paper cooling in a loaf pan.
  • Once loaf is cool, make glaze by whisking together powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small mixing bowl.
    The ingredients for the lemon glaze combined in a small bowl with a whisk.
  • Top loaf with lemon glaze and serve!

Video

Notes

  • Flour: If you don’t have whole wheat pastry flour, you can substitute all-purpose flour instead. I haven’t tested this lemon loaf with a gluten-free flour, but you should be able to swap the whole wheat pastry flour with a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend.
  • Eggs: I haven’t tested this loaf with an egg substitute, but using flaxseed eggs might work. The loaf might not rise as much or might have a different texture. Let me know if you try it in the comments below!
  • Oil: If you don’t have avocado oil, you can substitute any neutral oil such as vegetable oil, canola oil, olive oil or melted coconut oil. You could also use melted butter if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Greek Yogurt: For a dairy-free option, you can use a non-dairy yogurt instead of the Greek yogurt. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1 slice | Calories: 248kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 39mg | Sodium: 249mg | Potassium: 84mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 27g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Equipment

Additional Info

Course: Baked Goods, Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: healthy lemon loaf
Did you make this recipe?Mention @eatingbirdfood and tag #eatingbirdfood!

About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

More about Brittany
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Recipe Rating




30 Comments

  1. 1 star
    This didn’t work out for me at all and ended up in the bin. It collapsed in the middle and the bottom never quite cooked. I had high hopes though and might try again with regular flour (not sure if that was the issue). My son said it wasn’t lemon-y enough either. Sorry!

    1. Hi Nicole – Thanks so much for sharing your feedback. Did you change anything about the recipe? It is really important to make sure all of your ingredients are fresh, If it sank in the middle, it might have been a bit over mixed. What was the texture of your batter before baking?

  2. 5 stars
    Great recipe! Very easy to do, and just delicious! I’ve used all purpose flower+sugar and it was delicious!

    1. YUM! So glad this recipe turned out great for you and you are loving it, Rita. Thanks so much for sharing your review & star rating, I appreciate it so much!

  3. 5 stars
    I absolutely love this lemon loaf recipe! I used all purpose flour and it turns out divine.

    I was wondering if anyone has tried adding poppy seeds to make it Lemon Poppy Seed, or tried making the recipe into muffins. I’ve seen the other lemon poppy seed recipe on the website but it’s gluten free and I don’t have some of the ingredients!

    1. Hi Megan! I am so glad you are loving this recipe and it turned out great for you. I bet you could easily add some poppyseeds to this recipe. I haven’t tried making these as muffins, so I am not sure how long you would need to bake them for, but it would be significantly less time. Let me know if you give it a try as muffins!

  4. 5 stars
    This recipe is the best! My husband loved it and I think it was actually better than the Starbucks version. So easy to make and all ingredients I usually have on hand. Definitely a winner!

    1. WOO! I am excited to hear that you are both loving this recipe, Andrea. Thank you so much for sharing your review + star rating, it means so much to me!

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