Home Copycat Recipes Starbucks Lemon Loaf (Copycat Recipe)

Starbucks Lemon Loaf (Copycat Recipe)

This easy-peasy Starbucks lemon loaf recipe makes it possible to have your favorite drive-thru treat at home!

Whenever I’m at Starbucks, my number one priority is the lemon loaf, not the coffee. It’s so ridiculously moist and packed with lemon flavor!

Homemade Lemon Loaf Bread

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

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

From the look to the flavor and texture, this lemon loaf is spot on. Trust me, this will disappear in minutes. Good thing one recipe makes two loaves. 

Attention lemon lovers: this loaf is love at first bite.  

Starbucks Lemon Loaf

Lemon loaf is one of Starbucks’ most popular confections, and for good reason.

The cake is insanely moist 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.

Pour the mixture into a pan and pop it in the oven. It couldn’t get any easier than that. 


For the Cake

  • Yellow Cake Mix – The base of the cake. For more lemon flavor, use a lemon cake mix.
  • 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.

For the Lemon Glaze

  • A combination of powdered sugar and lemon juice makes a thick glaze that’s perfectly sweet and tangy.

Tips for the Best Loaf

  • The recipe calls for yellow cake mix, but for more lemon flavor, use a lemon cake mix instead.
  • Can’t find lemon pudding mix? You can use vanilla pudding mix instead, but add more lemon juice or extract to compensate.
  • For maximum lemon goodness, add lemon zest and extract to the batter. 
  • Use room temperature ingredients so they blend easier. Take the eggs, milk, and sour cream out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before baking.
  • Use freshly squeezed lemons for a deeper flavor.
  • Hacks to get the maximum amount of juice from lemons:
    • Take the lemons out of the fridge 30 minutes before squeezing. 
    • Pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds. 
    • Submerge them in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes.
    • Roll them on the countertop for several seconds.
    • Slice them lengthwise for a better grip.
  • Instead of a loaf pan, you can bake the loaf in a bundt pan for 40 minutes. Be sure to grease the pan well for easy release.
  • For individual servings, bake the batter in a muffin tin for 22 minutes. The recipe will yield 22 large cupcakes.
  • To avoid over-browning, loosely cover the pans with aluminum foil halfway through baking.
  • Whisk the sugar and lemon juice well for a smooth, grain-free icing.
  • Let the icing set for 30 minutes before slicing. But if you don’t mind a runny icing, slice right ahead!
Lemon Loaf Bread

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:

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

If you want to keep it around much longer, store it in the freezer. Place the frosted loaf or individual slices on a sheet pan and freeze for 2 to 3 hours. 

Once frozen, double wrap it in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, and place in a freezer-safe air-tight container. Freeze for up to 6 months.

If freezing without the frosting, there’s no need to flash freeze. Just double wrap in plastic wrap and foil and freeze for up to 6 months.

Thaw for 15 to 20 minutes at room temperature and enjoy.

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:

  • Do not over-mix the batter. Stir the ingredients at low speed just until well-combined. This will make your cake light and airy.
  • Do not 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, either. It helps lock in the cake’s moisture. 

Starbucks Lemon Loaf (Copycat Recipe)



Prep time


Cooking time






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

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

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 vegetable oil

  • 4 large eggs

  • 8 ounces 8 sour cream

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 milk

  • 6 tablespoons 6 freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • Icing
  • 2 1/2 cups 2 1/2 powdered sugar

  • 3 tablespoons 3 freshly squeezed lemon juice, more to taste


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 2 loaf pans with oil or butter.
  • In a large bowl, add cake mix, 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 just until well-combined, about 2 minutes.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans. 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. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and let them cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, make the icing. In a bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice 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!
Starbucks Lemon Loaf

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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 :)

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