Better Than Starbucks Lemon Loaf

If you like Starbucks Lemon Loaf, then you'll love this moist, delicious Lemon cake! This easy to make recipe, is loaded with delicious lemon flavor, and topped with an amazing lemon frosting.

If you like Starbucks Lemon Loaf, then you’ll love this moist, delicious Lemon cake!  This easy to make recipe is loaded with delicious lemon flavor, and topped with an amazing lemon frosting.  It’s even BETTER than Starbucks!

Raise your hand if you love Starbucks Lemon Loaf!  Yes, I see you raising your hand – I’m right there with you!  There is something about that delicious, moist cake that keeps us all coming back for more.  Its rich, moist, perfectly flavored lemon cake topped with the perfect layer of lemon frosting, well…there is no way I’m sharing a slice.  I’ve come to tell you that you can make this delicious Lemon Loaf right at home, and it will taste EVEN BETTER than Starbucks!

If you like Starbucks Lemon Loaf, then you'll love this moist, delicious Lemon cake! This easy to make recipe, is loaded with delicious lemon flavor, and topped with an amazing lemon frosting.

A couple things – I tested a few recipes I found on line.  What I found were recipes that ended up either too dry, or had an odd balance of tart lemon flavor.  None really had the same moistness and perfectly balanced lemon flavor as the Starbucks cake.  Another thing was getting a frosting that had the same consistency as the Starbucks cake.  The one I have here, hits the spot perfectly!

If you like Starbucks Lemon Loaf, then you'll love this moist, delicious Lemon cake! This easy to make recipe, is loaded with delicious lemon flavor, and topped with an amazing lemon frosting.

While baking, I kept it in the oven a little longer than some of the other recipes I tried.  It needed a little longer to ensure that it wouldn’t sink in the middle.  Unlike other recipes I tried, I added Greek yogurt to this cake recipe, and a little more oil.  With these additions, this recipe is spot-on!  The ultimate moist, delicious lemon cake!

If you like Starbucks Lemon Loaf, then you'll love this moist, delicious Lemon cake! This easy to make recipe, is loaded with delicious lemon flavor, and topped with an amazing lemon frosting.

Here’s how this amazing Better Than Starbucks Lemon Loaf comes together:

4.8 from 30 reviews
Better Than Starbucks Lemon Loaf
If you like Starbucks Lemon Loaf, then you'll love this moist, delicious Lemon cake! This easy to make recipe is loaded with delicious lemon flavor, and topped with an amazing lemon frosting.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 10
  • 1½ c. flour
  • 1 (3.4 oz.) package, instant Lemon pudding mix
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. lemon extract
  • ⅓ c. fresh lemon juice
  • ½ c. oil
  • ¾ c. plain Greek yogurt
  • zest of one lemon
  • Frosting:
  • 3 Tbsp. Butter, soft but not melted
  • 1½ c. powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. lemon extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 5 x 9" loaf pan with a piece of waxed paper. (With a pencil, trace the bottom of the pan on a piece of waxed paper and cut out with scissors.) Spray the pan, and waxed paper with non-stick baking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, pudding mix, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With a stand or hand mixer, combine the eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, lemon extract, lemon juice, oil and yogurt. Mix until evenly combined. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the lemon zest, and mix until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 55 minutes, or until center is fully set, and a toothpick inserted comes out crumb free.
  3. After baking, let cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the pan, invert and remove from the pan, removing the waxed paper from the bottom. Cool completely on a cooling rack.
  4. For the frosting: Combine the butter, lemon juice and lemon extract with hand or stand mixer. Gradually add the powdered sugar, and beat until smooth and creamy. Evenly spread the frosting over the top of the loaf. Refrigerate to let frosting set completely before slicing. Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container.

I hope you enjoy this Lemon Loaf as much as my family and I have.  I think you’ll discover this recipe is definitely better than Starbucks, and maybe even save you a trip to the coffee shop in the future!

If you like this recipe, you’ll love some of my other recipes over at Delightful E Made!  Check these out:

Purple Ribbon Banana Bread -

Purple Ribbon Banana Bread by Delightful E Made

Fall Favorite Pumpkin Bread -

Fall Favorite Pumpkin Bread by DelightfulEMade 

Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake by

 Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake by DelightfulEMade

I would love for you to stop by and say hello via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!



Oh my! This Lemon Loaf look AMAZING!!!

And no yeast is involved, which is good for me since I still haven’t mastered using it. 😉

Thanks, Erin!

For more great recipes from her, be sure to go to Delightful E Made.

For more yummy quick bread recipes, check out:

Cream Cheese filled Banana Bread recipe - no yeast involved and SO delicious!! Oh yeah, and it's topped with cinnamon and sugar!

Cream Cheese Filled Banana Bread

Delicious Glazed Almond Poppy Seed Bread - no yeast involved and so good! { } Glaze is made with almond extract, lemon juice, powdered sugar & milk.

Glazed Almond Poppy Seed Bread

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If you like Starbucks Lemon Loaf, then you'll love this moist, delicious Lemon cake! This easy to make recipe, is loaded with delicious lemon flavor, and topped with an amazing lemon frosting.

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Erin Indahl-Fink

Erin Indahl-Fink

Writer and Founder at Delightful E Made
Delighted to meet you! My name is Erin, and the "E" in Delightful E Made. I take great joy in cooking, baking, creating and sharing all the greatness that food brings to our lives and how it connects us as friends, family and community.
Erin Indahl-Fink
Erin Indahl-Fink

Latest posts by Erin Indahl-Fink (see all)

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  1. 1

    Holy Crap ! I am sooo trying this. I will post back here after I do. This is what I get at Starbucks every single time as my overpriced treat. I love lemon loaf. And I will not share with my husband or daughter, so maybe with this recipe I’ll have enough I can share. A big whopping thank you for creating this ! Cannot wait to try it. I think my mouth is literally watering. Just a PS for ya, I have tossed all my other sauce recipe’s and we use your kid friendly spaghetti sauce exclusively now. Because we all love it, not just my kid. Your site has been extremely helpful. Thanks for all your hard work ! It is appreciated.
    Michele recently posted..Cardinal Causes Minor Midol MomentMy Profile

  2. 2

    O.M.G!! Starbucks lemon bread is one of my absolute favorite snacks, I have GOT to make some of this STAT. But on a school day, when the kids are gone so I don’t have to share!

  3. 6

    Looks so wonderful! I love sweet breads and lemon is sure to please.
    Teresa recently posted..70 Easter Dessert RecipesMy Profile

  4. 7

    Yum – so many great bread recipes. Thank you and Happy Easter.

  5. 8

    Love anything lemon! This looks delicious! Thanks for the recipe. Pinned :)

  6. 9

    Oh my goodness…, so, so yummy! I can’t wait to make this delicious Lemon Loaf. I LOVE lemon flavored goodies and this one looks absolutely divine! Thank you for sharing! PINNED!
    [email protected] recently posted..Ribbon Easter BunnyMy Profile

  7. 10

    Oh my goodness this lemon loaf looks so delicious!!
    Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking recently posted..Are You Ready For Spring?My Profile

  8. 11

    Never had it from Starbucks but lemon is my favorite flavor every. Can’t wait to try this!!

  9. 12

    I made this yesterday!!! It is AMAZINGLY GOOD! I’ve been a long-time addict of Starbucks lemon loaf. In my opinion, this is AS GOOD OR BETTER! Delicious!

  10. 13

    Hi what brand of yogurt did you use?

  11. 14

    I LOVE Starbucks Lemon Loaf and just came home from a trip where we stopped and got some along with our coffee. It is such a treat but so expensive. I hope to try this recipe very soon however I do have a question. Being that I am somewhat of a novice at different techniques this one has me stumped. You said to use wax paper on the bottom of the loaf pan. I have read and have experienced that wax paper melts. I am not sure that I am comfortable using this technique only for fear of ruining my loaf. Please let me know if this is something all of you tried and what experience you had using the wax paper.

    • 15

      When using wax paper in the oven, you must make sure that it is completely covered by the batter you are trying to bake. You cannot leave the paper exposed directly to heat or it will melt. For instance, if you place a sheet on a cookie pan and try to bake cookies it will melt and smoke up your oven. When using it as a cake pan liner, it should work fine as the batter covers the entire surface of the paper. Hope this helps!

  12. 16

    I just made this. Of course,the local stores didn’t have Greek yogurt, so I went with plain yogurt. I doubled your recipe and it made a regular loaf and two mini loaves. The frosting was spot on! It turned out delish and just as beautiful. My family loved it. I almost didn’t want to share. Haha. Thanks!

    • 17

      Oh! Also, I used parchment paper because the idea of wax paper worried me…plus, I didn’t have any on hand anyway. Ha. Again, thanks!

  13. 18

    I would love to do this one… however, I can’t find any instant lemon pudding mix in our area. can anyone suggest a substitute? Would really appreciate it… thanks in advance!

  14. 20

    I would like to make this recipe but it is for a tea party on Thursday, but I only have time to bake it on Sunday. If I freeze it would it still be okay? Can someone help? Thanks

    • 21

      I think it would be okay to freeze, although I haven’t tried it myself. I would bake it Sunday, freeze it and then pull it out Wednesday night and then be sure to make the frosting for it the day of. :)

    • 22

      For anyone wondering about freezing this, I was once told by a Starbucks employee that their loaves come to the store frozen and they thaw them as they need them. So, I would guess that freezing would work fine. Definitely trying this recipe and will try freezing half the loaf, to keep hubby and I from eating it all in one sitting (we adore SB’s lemon loaf)! Will report the results here.

  15. 24

    Was super excited to make this because starbucks lemon loaf is my FAVORITE!
    I made it according the recipe and used a metal loaf pan and it cracked right in the middle and browned on the outsides almost to a crisp and was still doughy in the middle! Is there a good way to avoid this?

    • 25

      The last time i made this the same thing happened to me. But i realized it after i finally tested the cake at 45 minutes. If i had tested it sooner it would have come out perfectly. So next time, Karli, poke the cake in several spots around 35-40 minutes (closer to 40, so it won’t fall) that way the heat will get to that center area. It still tasted wonderful tho! !! My only problem was getting the icing to stop looking so grainy. .

      I blame the uneven cooking on my electric oven. ..

  16. 26

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I am currently enjoying a slice while writing this. I love Starbucks lemon loaf and this tasted A LOT like it. I tossed in some poppyseeds and it was delicious! This will definitely be a staple recipe in my house. THANKS!

  17. 28

    Starbucks lemon loaf is my absolute go too….but I now found yours and it is better, not so dry. I had to substitute sour cream for the yogurt…turned out great. Thank you for the recipe.

  18. 29

    Wow!!!! I usually stay away from copycat recipes that claim to be as good as or better than the original, because they usually don’t compare to the original. (In my opinion) However, this one far exceeded my expectations. I followed the recipe exactly and wouldn’t change a thing. Perfect luscious, lemony flavor that I love and crave from Starbucks. Thank you for passing this recipe along! It is a hit with everyone in my family.

  19. 30

    This recipe was perfect! Starbucks’ lemon loaf is my favorite sweet on the go! So i wanted to share it with everyone but wasnt willing to buy 15 pieces from Starbucks! !!i made this one and it topped even theirs! I served it at a church function! Everyone loved it! I followed the recipe to the T, i am about to make it again but i only have regular ( vanilla activia) yogurt on hand. I saw another reviewer say she used regular yogurt and it came out great. i will let you know how it turns out for me. I’m hoping i don’t have to do a do over and go to the store to get real Greek yogurt. …we shall see! Look out for my update!

    • 31

      I love hearing the recipe turned out great!! Let me know how it goes with the regular vanilla yogurt. 😉

      • 32

        Did not go great using the regular yogurt. It is possible that i should have used more dry ingredients to compensate for the extra moisture…. it tasted ok, just never dried out while cooking. I did remake with Greek yogurt and had to use the foil method to keep the outside from burning while the center got a chance to cook. Do you think a water bath would help it cook more evenly?

  20. 33

    Made this today! Was very moist and good! I think the frosting/icing was too lemony for me though. Perhaps next time, I’ll just make regular icing and add lemon zest for a touch of lemon flavor.

  21. 34

    Re: Starbucks Lemon Loaf
    In the ingredients list of recipe for lemon juice is just show a square with cup next to it. Could you please tell me how much lemon juice to use.
    Thank You.

  22. 36

    Nice recipe! But is there anything I can use to substitute the instant pudding mix? Like cornstarch? Or can I leave it out?

    • 37

      You can substitute the Instant Pudding (and it’d be healthier to do so if you just take a look at the ingredients of the instant pudding) with 40g of cornstarch, 50g of sugar and a tsp. (or more; just take in consideration you have to give lemon flavoring to 2 cups of milk/water) of lemon extract/lemon zest/lemon juice.

  23. 38

    The best! This recipe is exactly what I was looking for. Everyone loved it. Definitely no need to change anything.
    Thank you!

  24. 39

    Wow! I made this recipe today and it was absolutely WONDERFUL! I love Starbucks’ version already and this is definitely better. My only change I had to do was put in a single-serve lemon flavored Greek yogurt because the store I was at didn’t have any plain ones. It did the trick and it was really, REALLY good! Thank you so much for a fantastic recipe.

  25. 40

    Just made this yummy looking recipe. Not sure what happened but it came out dense, not light and airy, like cake. Disappointed :(

  26. 41

    Hie there! Which flour do l use for the cake, all-purpose flour, cake flour or self raising flour

  27. 42

    I made this today and it didn’t disappoint! It has sunk a bit and cracked in the middle but that’s just cosmetic issues and after covered with frosting you can’t see the imperfections. Thank you for sharing the recipe. A keeper for sure!

  28. 43

    Any substitue for lemon pudding . We dont have it where i live only vanilla egg pudding 😕sorry for weird request

    • 44

      This cake is amazing – I had problems with the top cracking and used a #7 Wilton flower nail which helped. But I also made it in my Zoirushi 2lb Breadmaker and it came out perfectly! As far as the Jello Instant Lemon Pudding – it does not exist in any store, however I found it online and shared the links below. I did try Jello Vanilla Instant pudding which worked and used more of the lemon juice in the cake.

      I love this recipe and thanks so much for sharing it!

      Amazon –

      or on

      • 45

        Thanks for posting those links! Vanilla is a great substitution, then adding more lemon juice:) Thanks so much for sharing…so happy you like it!

      • 46
        Michelle Ficklin :

        I made this and LOVED this! The lemon loaf came out perfectly, even better than Starbucks!! I don’t know what I did wrong with the frosting but it came out runny and “curdled”. I did soften the butter in the microwave so maybe that was it? I made it after I made the cake so it sat for an hour and a half or so as the cake cooled, maybe that was it? It still tasted great, but I couldn’t seem to make it creamy. Ideas?? Will definitely be making this again!!

        • 47

          Hi Michelle – I had the same problem at first. But butter needs to be soft by letting it sit out at room temp for a few minutes. It needs to be pliable not too soft or runny. Definitely no microwave. After I mix the icing I put it in the refrigerator for about 10-15 mins so that it is spreadable and not pourable. Make sure your cake is COMPLETELY cooled. Ice the cake and put it in the refrigerator to set the icing completely. I then cut it into individual slices and cover each slice with plastic wrap and keep it in the refrigerator until I serve it. I personally love it cold, but a lot of people like it at room temperature. In any event, this is what worked for me! Everyone raves about the icing and the moistness of the cake! I can’t even eat the one at Starbucks anymore!

      • 48

        We found instant lemon at Walmart. Maybe a seasonal product? We are making it for 4H project right now. Will post what ribbon she gets.

  29. 50

    I made this and it came out horribly soggy and egg-y in the middle. I stopped in the middle of cooking to make sure I had instant lemon pudding (those of you looking–Jell-o makes it, and it costs more) after almost using cook-and-serve, but this still came out soggy in the middle after at least an hour and ten minutes at 350.

    To be fair, I used sour cream over Greek yogurt. I also subbed a quarter cup of butter for oil (then added oil to come to 1/2 cup fat) but if anything I worried this would come out drier subbing butter for corn oil. Didn’t add the additional 2 Tbsp butter because I forgot but something tells me it would have come out even worse.

    What am I missing?

  30. 52

    First time poster here. But I’m such a big believer in giving credit where it’s due. I’ve made this recipe twice now. It is absolutely AMAZING!! It is pretty lemony and it gets a little less so the second day. But it was excellent and now my family is requesting it on special occasions. In fact, they agree that this version is FAR better than Starbucks! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  31. 54

    I have tried for years to find a good lemon cake recipe that did not include a boxed lemon cake mix. This cake did not disappoint. It was very moist and the icing was scrumptious. My family loved it. I baked it on Saturday and it was gone by Sunday night. This was my first time visiting this web site but I will definitely try other recipes from Lil Luna.

  32. 56

    I just got a loaf of the lemon bread out of the oven. The house smells heavenly. My only problem was I’m glad I checked at 45 minutes because it was over baked (very brown) and the middle sank way before the 45 minutes :( I used all fresh ingredients, checked the date on my baking powder, soda etc its all good so not sure what happened with the raise, but hoping it didnt over bake and dry it out, on the inside. Still need to make the icing. Crossing fingers it taste as good as it smells. Thanks for the recipe.
    Gen recently posted..Chair MakeoverMy Profile

  33. 58

    OMG. YUUUUMMMMEEE! Is all I have to say.
    And thank you for the recipe.

  34. 60

    This cake is so tasty!!! I loved the cake part the most. The frosting was a little to lemony for me. But still totally good. My whole family loved it. Thanks

  35. 62

    this was amazing! made it last night and followed the recipe exactly. LOVE it, thank you so much!

  36. 64
    Renea Crapse :

    What type of flour should I use for this recipe?

    • 65

      I’m thinking all purpose flour (otherwise she may have noted if it were a special flour), but really not sure. You can ask Erin at Delightful E Made for the specific flour, if you want to make certain. I wish I knew?!

  37. 66

    I’m going to make it for Mother’s Day, thank you so much! Star bucks lemon cake is my favorite. I’m truly grateful 💕

  38. 68

    First time here. I’d seen this last week because my Cousin had pinned it. I made it today. It’s fairly easy, but it takes awhile. I tried it out on the family. They liked it. I think this recipe is a keeper.

  39. 70

    It sounds too delicious, I will try it and let you know how it come out. I wonder how will taste adding coconut.
    Thanks a million for sharing the recipe.

  40. 72

    Don’t let the stars deceive you, the website would not allow me to rate this recipe 1 star. Made this tonight. Followed the recipe to a T, and it all came out completely wrong. Icing came out extremely runny. Middle caved in, raw batter even after 55 minutes, while I had to cover the outside edges with aluminum foil to prevent it from burning. Would not recommend. Extremely disappointed.

    • 73

      I’m sorry that it didn’t work for you. I’m not sure what could have made it turn out that way. I will pass this on to my contributor. Thanks.

  41. 74
    Peggy Starkey :

    I made two of these last night, sent one to my family and we are hooked. Oh my gosh it is fantastic if anybody loves lemon this is the recipe for you. The recipe is right on. I went right by the recipe time and it came out perfect. Thank you

  42. 76
    Claudia martinez :

    Hi! This looks amazing! I have been looking for a tasty lemon cake and I think this is it! Question….I need to make a round cake, and cover it with fondant, will this recipe work for that?
    Thanks a lot in advance!!!!!

    • 77

      I wish I knew. This was a guest post, but you could check out DelightfulEMade and ask Erin, who made this. She would be able to answer that better than I could. Hope you find what you need :) It is delicious though!!

  43. 78

    Yes! Thank you, it’s delicious!

  44. 79

    Hi I’ve tried to make this twice and I’m having problems getting it to fully cook in the center. Please help!

    • 80

      I’m sorry you’re having problems!! I know every oven is different, so it may need to cook longer than what it says. This was one of my contributors post, so if you keep having the same issues, you could try sending her a message or comment on her blog at DelightfulEMade. Hope that helps!! Good luck!

  45. 81

    Hi, are you using fresh lemon juice (that you pressed from lemon), or store bought (like in a bottle)?

  46. 83

    When making starbucks lemon loaf, do you make the instant pudding first. Or just use the dry pudding powder to dry ingredients?

  47. 85

    Is that any way it can be done without lemon pudding mix? It doesn’t exist in my country (we only have vanilla, chocolate and caramel pudding mix) and I really want to try this cake…

  48. 87

    Thank you!!!
    Was considering using limoncello instead of lemon flavoring – was wondering if you’ve tried that? (My neighbor makes it, and it’s awesome!!)


  49. 89
    Sarah Husseini :

    If i were to use yellow cake mix, which of the ingredients you listed would that substitute?

    Also, im lactose intolerant. What can i sub yogurt for?

  50. 91

    Can i substitute splenda for ur sugar or any other suggestions would be appreciated. thnx

  51. 93

    Id love to try this but live in colorado s we often have our cakes not turn out as well. I am typically good at baking but my last lemon pound cake completely shriveled and caved in horribly, any suggestions what to add or leave out fr high altitude? Thank you!! :)

    • 94

      I don’t know too much about cooking in higher altitude, other than you will probably need to cook things longer. I would maybe use google for more tips. Sorry, I don’t know more. Good luck!!

      • 95

        Actually I made the cake today and as im 7000 ft above sea level I figured it has enough wet and dry ingredients to not having to worry about the atitude, anyways google search revealed I should use less baking power and bake at a higher temerature and all that jazz, luna I can tell you this recipe is even good for high altitude, didnt crack didnt get too dry came out perfect other than a light crusty crust since I did go ahead and raised the temp but the cake wasnt done at 45 min, but at 55 it was. So yeah next time I use the temp as stated in the recipe and dont worry about high altitude since your recipe is good for it as is :)

  52. 98

    Your lemon loaf recipe is AMAZING. I love it. Easy to make, and so delicious to eat! Thank you!

  53. 100

    Did you use all purpose flour or something else? ????

  54. 101

    Can you bake this loaf in a bundt pan instead while receiving the same final products as you would if you baked it in a loaf pan?

  55. 102

    Can you use this recipe but bake it in a bundt pan and receive the same final product as you would if you baked it in a loaf pan?

  56. 104

    hi there
    I want to try baking your above recipe lemon cake but I couldn’t find lemon pudding you mention in your recipe all what I found is lemon filling for pie and dessert mix from Dr aokter is that work or not anyway I love in Canada and the grocery store doesn’t carry instant lemon pudding

  57. 106

    Is Greek yogurt optional ?