Home Copycat Recipes Starbucks Lemon Loaf (Copycat Recipe)

Starbucks Lemon Loaf (Copycat Recipe)

This Starbucks lemon loaf recipe is citrussy, buttery, and impossibly moist. Add a simple glaze, and there’s no way you’ll stop at one slice.

I have a serious addiction to this luscious lemon bread, which is why I searched the world for the best copycat recipe.

And out of hundreds, this one is, hands down, the best. It’s so good, I daresay it’s better than the original!

Homemade Sweet and Buttery Starbucks Lemon Loaf Bread
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Better than Starbucks Lemon Loaf

Lemon loaf is one of Starbucks’ most popular treats – and for good reason.

The cake is super tender and full of lemony goodness. It even has a sweet and zesty lemon glaze to top it off.

It’s a breeze to make, to boot.

Unlike other cake recipes that require you to sift the dry ingredients and cream the butter and sugar, this one doesn’t. 

You’ll simply dump all the ingredients in a bowl and give them a good stir. How easy is that?

Two slices of homemade starbucks lemon loaf bread in a blue plate


So, what’s the secret ingredient for this copycat lemon loaf? A box of yellow cake mix!

With a little tweaking, you can transform it into the best lemon bread you’ve ever had!

Here’s everything you’ll need. 

  • Yellow Cake Mix. The base of the cake. Just be sure to get the right size.
  • Lemon Pudding Mix. For richness and flavor. It adds moisture to the cake, too.
  • Vegetable Oil, Sour Cream, and Milk.  The trio of ingredients responsible for making the cake ultra-moist.
  • Eggs. They bind the ingredients together and give the cake structure.
  • Lemon Juice.  For maximum lemon flavor in the cake and the sweet lemon glaze. 
  • Powdered Sugar.  That delicious lemon glaze is just a combo of powdered sugar and lemon juice. 

How to Make Starbucks Lemon Loaf

Check out how easy this recipe comes together! And don’t worry, I’ll get into more precise details at the bottom of the post. 

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and liberally grease 2 loaf pans. 

2. Make the cake. Add the cake mix, pudding mix, oil, eggs, sour cream, milk, and lemon juice to a large bowl and mix until well combined. 

3. Divide the batter into the loaf pans. Then, place them in the oven and bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

4. Cool. Allow loaves to cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Then, take them out of the pan to cool completely. 

5. Make the icing. While the loaves cool, mix the lemon juice and powdered sugar in a small bowl until smooth.

6. Glaze. Pour icing over cooled loaves, slice, and enjoy!

Slices of starbucks lemon loaf bread on a wooden cutting board

Tips for the Best Loaf

I have to admit, most of the Starbucks recipes I’ve tried have been spot on. And they’re usually super easy!

That said, I do have a few tips and tricks below to take your lemon loaves over the top!

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  • Dial up the lemon factor. While the recipe calls for yellow cake mix, you can swap it out for lemon cake mix. It won’t adjust the baking time or texture, but it will add a double punch of lemon flavors. 
  • Always use fresh lemon. Fresh lemon is what helps transform a boxed cake mix into something spectacular. And for even more flavor, add some freshly grated lemon zest right into the batter. You’ll thank me later. 
  • Keep everything at room temperature. Room-temperature ingredients blend more easily. Take the eggs, milk, and sour cream out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before baking.
  • Try a bundt pan. This recipe also works in a bundt pan! Make sure you grease it liberally and bake the cake for 40 minutes. 
  • Avoid over-browning. If you find that your loaves are browning too quickly, make a tent with aluminum foil. It allows the loaves to continue baking while preventing the top from browning. 
  • Wait for the icing to set. I know it’s tempting to dive in right after adding the icing. But it’s important to wait at least 30 minutes to let the icing set before slicing. If you don’t, you’ll have a runny mess on your hands. 

How To Avoid a Dense Pound Cake

This copycat recipe already yields super tender and moist loaves. But here are more tips to ensure you don’t get a dense and dry cake:

  • Don’t over-mix the batter. Stir the ingredients at low speed just until combined. This will make your cake light and airy.
  • Don’t skip the sour cream. It’s the key to making this cake incredibly moist and tender. Sour cream is high in fat, which gives the cake that much-needed moisture.
  • Don’t leave out the lemon glaze. It helps lock in the cake’s moisture. 
Sweet and fluffy homemade starbucks lemon loaf bread, perfect for a delightful treat

How to Store Starbucks Lemon Loaf

It’s highly unlikely that you’ll have leftovers, but in case you do, here’s how to store it:

To Store. Tightly wrap the cooled loaf with plastic wrap or place it in an air-tight container. Store at room temperature for 4 to 5 days. 

To Freeze. Wrap the cooled loaf or slices in 2 layers of plastic and 1 layer of foil. Freeze for up to 6 months for the loaf and 3 months for the slices.

More Copycat Starbucks Recipes

Cranberry Bliss Bars
Starbucks Cake Pops
Starbucks Coffee Cake
Starbucks Blueberry Muffins

Copycat Starbucks Lemon Loaf

Course: BreakfastCuisine: American


Prep time


Cooking time





This Starbucks lemon loaf is so impossibly moist and tart! And with that sweet glaze, the flavors are perfect with a hot cup of coffee in the morning.


  • Cake
  • 1 (18.25-ounce) package yellow cake mix

  • 2 (4.3-ounce) package non-instant lemon pudding mix

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

  • 4 large eggs

  • 8 ounces sour cream

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • Icing
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, more to taste


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease 2 loaf pans with oil or butter.
  • In a large bowl, mix the cake mix with the pudding mix, oil, eggs, sour cream, milk, and 6 tablespoons of lemon juice. Beat the mixture in a stand or electric mixer at low speed until well combined, about 2 minutes.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans and bake for 50 minutes. To check for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it’s done baking.
  • Cool in the pans for 20 minutes. Then, transfer the cakes to a wire rack and let them cool completely.
  • While the cakes cool, whisk the powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth. Add more lemon juice for a thinner glaze.
  • Pour the glaze over the cooled cakes. Let the glaze set for 30 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!


  • For more lemon flavor, swap yellow cake mix for lemon cake mix.
  • Make sure to keep all ingredients at room temperature for better blending.


  • Calories: 499kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 76g
  • Protein: 5g
  • Fat: 20g
  • Saturated Fat: 5g
  • Cholesterol: 73mg
  • Sodium: 539mg
  • Potassium: 108mg
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugar: 44g
  • Calcium: 103mg
  • Iron: 1mg
Starbucks Lemon Loaf

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

3 thoughts on “Starbucks Lemon Loaf (Copycat Recipe)”

    • Hi Henry, if you scroll down to the recipe card, you’ll see the option to print on the photo. Just click that button, and it will print the recipe for you.


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