Lemon Poppy Seed Summer Squash Bread

This delicious Lemon Poppy Seed Summer Squash Bread is the best way to use up all those giant yellow squash in the garden! 

If you love this bread, try these recipes: Easy Rustic Olive Bread, Honey and Herb Bread, Povitica Bread, Pan de Agua and Easy Brazilian Cheese Bread.

Yellow Squash Bread with lemon and poppy seeds in a loaf pan and slices on a white plate

Summer squash bread sounds kind of weird, doesn’t it?

I grew a garden for the first time this year, and like a total amateur I planted way too many squash and zucchini seeds and when I ended up with THREE plants of each, I didn’t have the heart to thin them back.

Those of you who have grown summer squash and zucchini understand how ridiculous that is. I’m swimming in vegetables over here and quickly running out of ways to use them.  I need more yellow squash recipes!

Since I essentially create recipes for a living, you would think I’d be the perfect person to deal with a huge basket of produce harvested from my garden each morning. Unfortunately, that just isn’t the case.

See, I plan out (most of) my recipes and posts weeks in advance, and I also work on a freelance basis to create recipes for other companies. Regardless of the time of year, or what I have lying around the kitchen, sometimes I’m just too busy working on specific recipes to make use of what’s in front of me.

Last week I came home from a camping trip and found about 10 gigantic yellow squash and zucchini out in the garden, each one roughly the size of a football. These extra-large varieties typically have a firmer texture and larger seeds than the more appropriately-sized specimens sold at the grocery store, so just about the only thing I could think to do was to turn them into yellow squash bread.

Zucchini bread is a given, but what to do with the squash? Uhhhh… how about Lemon Poppy Seed Summer Squash Bread?!

Yellow Squash Bread  slices on a white plate

Years ago when I acquired my first stand mixer, I also got the slicer/shredder attachment.

As far as attachments go, it might be the most basic of them all, but it’s one of my very favorites. It’s cheap, effective, easy to clean, and easy to store.

In 10 minutes, I had enough shredded squash and zucchini to bake close to 50 loaves of quick bread. I kept the squash and zucchini separate, and froze it all in 2-cup portions for future use.

This summer lemon squash bread recipe is so darn good, I think it qualifies as a dessert rather than a quick bread. I thought about covering it with icing, but honestly it doesn’t need it. It doesn’t even need to be slathered in butter, which is my natural instinct for zucchini bread.

Go grab those huge squash out of your garden and get ready for a treat!

Summer Squash Bread  slices on a white plate

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How to Make Yellow Squash Bread

Assemble your ingredients. For exact amounts please see recipe card below.

Yellow squash bread ingredients

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease or line two loaf pans; set aside.

Place the melted butter, sugar, lemon juice and zest, almond flavor and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. Cream together until fluffy and light in color, about 1 to 2 minutes.

melted butter, sugar, lemon juice and zest, almond flavor and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl

Add the eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to fully incorporate into the mixture before adding another.

eggs added into batter in clear bowl

Evenly sprinkle the salt, baking soda, and baking powder over the top of the mixture. Mix well.

Working in batches, add the flour a ½ cup at a time; mix in entirely between additions. Fold in the squash and poppy seeds. Divide the batter between the prepared loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

adding the flour into the batter and mixing it in

Serve and enjoy!

lemon poppy seed bread loaves on wire rack


There are several variations you can try with this recipe:

Lemon Glazed Bread

Here’s a simple lemon glaze recipe that pairs perfectly with the Lemon Poppy Seed Summer Squash Bread. It adds a bit of tang and sweetness that complements the flavors in the bread. This lemon glaze recipe is sufficient to lightly glaze two loaves. However, if you prefer a heavier glaze or want to ensure a thick coating, you might want to double this recipe.


1 cup of powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon (optional, for added flavor and decoration)


In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice. Stir until smooth and free of lumps. The consistency should be pourable but thick. If it’s too thick, add more lemon juice, a half-teaspoon at a time. If it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar, a tablespoon at a time.

After the bread has completely cooled, drizzle the glaze over the top of the bread. Use a spoon or a small spatula to spread the glaze evenly across the top, if desired, or let it naturally drizzle down the sides for a rustic look.

If using, sprinkle the lemon zest on top of the glaze before it sets. This will not only add a pop of color but also an extra hint of lemon flavor.

Allow the glaze to set before slicing into the bread, about 15-30 minutes. This will ensure that the glaze doesn’t get smeared or absorbed too much into the bread when cutting.

Enjoy your Lemon Poppy Seed Summer Squash Bread with Lemon Glaze!

Different Squash: While this recipe uses summer squash, you could also try it with zucchini, butternut squash, or even pumpkin for a different flavor profile.

Add Nuts: Adding in chopped walnuts or pecans can provide a nice crunch and additional flavor.

Different Citrus: You can replace the lemon with other citrus like orange or lime for a unique twist.

Spices: Adding a teaspoon of cinnamon or a bit of nutmeg or clove can give the bread a warm and cozy flavor.

Add Dried Fruits: Try adding some raisins, dried cranberries or apricots for additional sweetness and texture.

Add Chocolate: If you want a sweet treat, fold in some white chocolate chips into the batter before baking.

Cream Cheese Swirl:

For a cream cheese swirl, you need to make a cream cheese filling. Here’s how you can make a basic cream cheese filling for this bread:


16 ounces of cream cheese, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


In a medium bowl, mix together the softened cream cheese and sugar until smooth and well combined.

Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until the mixture is creamy.

Then, to create the cream cheese swirl in your Lemon Poppy Seed Summer Squash Bread:

Pour half of the bread batter into each loaf pan.

Spread half of the cream cheese mixture on top into each loaf pan, taking care not to touch the sides of the pan.

Pour the remaining batter over the cream cheese layer, smoothing it out to cover the cream cheese.

Bake as directed in the original recipe, but start checking it at 50 minutes and don’t let the loaf get too brown. To check to see if the bread is done, insert a toothpick or skewer into the bread. If it comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs (but no wet batter), the bread is done. Remember, every oven is different, so the baking times may vary. Keep a close eye on your bread. If the bread starts to get too brown before it’s fully baked, you can lightly cover the top with a piece of aluminum foil to prevent further browning.

The cream cheese layer will bake into the bread, creating a delicious, creamy swirl.

Remember that any additions or substitutions can alter the cooking time slightly, so keep an eye on your bread as it bakes.

Lemon poppy seed yellow squash bread  slices on a white plate with lemons, yellow squash and bread loaves around it

Dietary Variations

Making this yellow summer squash recipe suitable for various diets can be done with some adjustments:

Gluten-Free: Substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend. Look for one that substitutes 1:1 for regular flour. King Arthur Flour makes a good one. I’ve also mentioned in the recipe notes that you can use Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose gluten-free flour, and add 1 ½ teaspoons of xanthan gum for structure.

Dairy-Free: Use a dairy-free butter substitute in place of regular butter. Earth Balance or Melt are two good brands. You could also use coconut oil but it may add a slight coconut flavor to the bread.

Vegetarian: The recipe is already vegetarian, as it doesn’t contain any meat, poultry, or fish.

Vegan: To make this recipe vegan, you will need to replace the eggs and butter. For the eggs, you could use a commercial egg replacer, or use flax eggs (1 flax egg = 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds + 3 tablespoons water, let it sit for 5-10 minutes before using). For the butter, use a vegan butter substitute or coconut oil as mentioned above.

Remember, changing ingredients can affect the texture and flavor of the bread, so you may need to experiment a bit to get it just right!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use frozen squash?

Yes, you can use frozen squash. However, thaw it and drain any excess liquid before using to prevent the batter from getting too wet.

What can I use instead of sugar?

You can use honey, maple syrup, or a sugar substitute like Stevia or Erythritol. Note that the taste and texture may change slightly with each of these substitutions.

What can I use if I don’t have a loaf pan?

You can use a cake pan or muffin tins, but keep in mind that cooking time will vary.

Can I omit poppy seeds?

Yes, the poppy seeds can be omitted.

What does almond flavor do in this recipe?

Almond flavor adds a hint of nuttiness that complements the lemon flavor well.

Can I make this bread without a stand mixer?

Yes, you can. You will need to cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy using a hand mixer or a whisk and some elbow grease.

How can I make my bread more moist?

Adding a little bit more fat (in this case, butter) can make your bread moister. Also, be careful not to overbake, as this can dry out your bread.

Why does the recipe use both baking soda and baking powder?

Baking soda is used for its browning properties and to neutralize the acidity from the lemon, while baking powder helps the bread rise.

Can I double this recipe?

Yes, you can. Just make sure to evenly divide the batter between the appropriate number of loaf pans.

Can I use bottled lemon juice instead of fresh?

Fresh is best for flavor, but if you only have bottled on hand, it will work.

Is there a reason the salt, baking soda, and baking powder are sprinkled over the top?

Sprinkling over the top helps to distribute these ingredients more evenly when they’re mixed in.

What does it mean to “cream” butter and sugar?

Creaming butter and sugar means to beat them together until the mixture is light and fluffy. This process helps to incorporate air into the batter, making your bread rise better as it bakes.

Yellow summer squash bread on a white plate.

Storage Info

If you will be eating the bread in a couple of days, just store it on the counter, double wrapped in plastic wrap. It will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic.

You can freeze this bread! To freeze a whole loaf, first, let the loaf cool on a wire rack. Then double wrap the loaf in plastic wrap. Place the wrapped bread in an airtight, freezer-safe plastic bag. Write the date on the bag and then put it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

You can also freeze individual slices by double wrapping them in plastic wrap and putting them in a freezer bag. This makes it easy to heat up an individual slice whenever you want.

Drinks to Pair with this Lemon Summer Squash Bread

This recipe definitely makes me want to sit on a porch with a slice of this bread and a delicious drink to pair it with. Here are the ones I would recommend:

Raspberry and Honeydew Agua Fresca – The perfect Summer Bread with the Perfect Summer Drink!

Boozy Iced Coffee – Perfect to pair for that Summertime afternoon when you need a little bit of caffeine and fun added to the day.

Mango Lassi – A smooth and creamy fruit drink on a warm summer day, need I say more?

More Delicious Recipes to Try:

Did you try this recipe? Leave a ⭐️ rating below and share it on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest!

Slices of summer squash bread served on a plate.

Lemon Poppy Seed Summer Squash Bread Recipe

Brighten up your baking with our Lemon Poppy Seed Summer Squash Bread – a unique, garden-inspired treat that turns ordinary squash into an extraordinary treat!
4.4 from 932 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Breads
Cuisine: North American
Diet: Vegetarian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 18 servings
Calories: 268kcal
Author: Linda
Print Recipe



  • 1 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • Juice and zest of 2 small lemons
  • 1 teaspoon almond flavor
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups grated summer squash
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds


  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (163 degrees Celsius). Grease or line two loaf pans. Then, set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, place the melted butter, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, almond flavor, and vanilla extract. Cream them together until fluffy and light in color, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to fully incorporate into the mixture before adding the next.
  • Evenly sprinkle the 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp baking soda, and baking powder over the top of the mixture. Mix well.
  • Working in batches, add the flour ½ cup at a time; mix entirely between each addition. Fold in the squash and poppy seeds. Divide the batter and pour on the prepared loaf pans.
  • Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Serve and enjoy!



Storage Info:
To store Summer Squash Bread, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil or keep it in an airtight container. It stays fresh at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can freeze it for up to 3 months; just wrap it securely to prevent freezer burn. To reheat, thaw if frozen, then warm in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius) for about 10-15 minutes or until heated through.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 268kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 215mg | Potassium: 73mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 380IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg

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  1. 4 stars
    Great recipe but imo needs more lemon flavor. I’ve made it several times now but I add lemon extract to boost the lemony goodness.

    1. Hi Kelly, yes you can. The bake time should be about the same, but I would start checking it at 50 minutes to see if it is done. – Linda

  2. 5 stars
    This is a great recipe! Made 2 delicious loaves yesterday. I used to make a similar recipe with zucchini, but always had an issue with the centers being too moist even as the edges were getting overdone. The yellow squash seemed a bit less juicy and the breads came out moist but without the too moist centers. I did add a glaze on top (just a cup of 10x sugar with a tablespoon or two of lemon juice) as that’s always an added treat! They were even better today (day after being baked)! One request, though, would be to add some specifics – the size of the loaf pans to use, for example, as there are a couple of choices. And the measurements of lemon juice and zest – not sure exactly what makes a lemon small and the amount of juice you get from any lemon varies a lot. Thanks a bunch for sharing this recipe as I foresee making it weekly during squash season!

  3. 5 stars
    This is delicious! We’ve made it several times now as we have an abundance of yellow squash from the garden. Thanks for a great way to use it up!