This delicious Lemon Poppy Seed Summer Squash Bread is the best way to use up all those giant yellow squash in the garden!
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?!
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!
How to Make Yellow Squash Bread
Assemble your ingredients. For exact amounts please see recipe card below.
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.
Add the eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to fully incorporate into the mixture before adding another.
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.
Serve and enjoy!
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.
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
Yes, you can use frozen squash. However, thaw it and drain any excess liquid before using to prevent the batter from getting too wet.
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.
You can use a cake pan or muffin tins, but keep in mind that cooking time will vary.
Yes, the poppy seeds can be omitted.
Almond flavor adds a hint of nuttiness that complements the lemon flavor well.
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.
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.
Baking soda is used for its browning properties and to neutralize the acidity from the lemon, while baking powder helps the bread rise.
Yes, you can. Just make sure to evenly divide the batter between the appropriate number of loaf pans.
Fresh is best for flavor, but if you only have bottled on hand, it will work.
Sprinkling over the top helps to distribute these ingredients more evenly when they’re mixed in.
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.
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:
- Easy Rustic Olive Bread
- Honey and Herb Bread
- Beef Curry with Butternut Squash
- Summer Panzanella Salad
- Moroccan Lentil and Roasted Yellow Pepper Soup
Lemon Poppy Seed Summer Squash Bread 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. 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.
- Add the eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to fully incorporate into the mixture before adding another.
- 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.