Lemon Coconut Bread

Lemon Coconut Bread

One of my favorite quickbread recipes is the Coconut Bread from bills, Bill Granger‘s restaurant in Sydney, Australia. It’s one of those recipes that works so well as-is that I am never really tempted to stray from making the recipe just as it is written. So, when I had the idea to add some lemon flavor into the bread for a really bright and spring-like loaf, I had to give myself a little pep talk. I knew that the lemon and coconut combination would be delicious, I just didn’t want to miss out on the original. I solved my problem by making both.

I added lemon to this bread in two ways: fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. There is enough to give the loaf a really fresh taste, but not so much that it overpowers the flavor of the coconut. The bread is somewhat dense, primarily because of the large amount of coconut in the batter, but it is still tender and not heavy at all. The coconut also contributes a nice chewiness and moistness to the bread. You can use sweetened or unsweetened coconut in this recipe. I usually use sweetened, shredded coconut, and the finished loaf is never too sweet or cake like, so don’t worry about ending up with something too sweet with the use of sweetened coconut.

This bread is excellent on its own, but it also slices and toasts very well. I think a thick, toasted piece with butter is a great breakfast or snack – and this just happens to be the way that the original bread is served for breakfast at bills.

Lemon Coconut Bread
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cups milk (lowfat is fine)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
2 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
1/3 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in sugar and coconut.
In a medium bowl or a large measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in egg mixture. Stir until just combined and only a few streaks of flour remain.
Add in melted butter and stir until just smooth, being careful not to overmix.
Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 60-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Turn loaf out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Makes 1 loaf.


  1. MMM this bread looks divine. Lemon and coconut sound fabulous. And the cake looks so moist and tender!

  2. thats a great combination of flavors

  3. ooooohhhhh, love that bread. that’s not too hard to make i think.

  4. i looovvve the combination of lemon and coconut!

  5. Wow! I’ve been looking for a good lemon/coconut combo, preferably a cake, but this bread looks like it will hit the spot. Thanks!

  6. This is in the oven as I type. And, the kitchen smalls so fresh. I am going to add a simple lemon glaze with a sprinkling of shredded coconut. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I made this last night and it’s already gone. My dad and brother loved it! It was so good and I hope others enjoy it as much as my family did.

  8. Looks delicious! I’m making either this, or your original coconut bread tonight, but which would you recommend more? Have a preference to one over the other? Thanks for the recipe!

  9. I love your addition of lemon and how packed it is with coconut! It looks like the perfect bread for spring!

  10. Looks delicious. I agree with you that lemon and coconut make the perfect pairing. I keep meaning to try some of Bills recipes, maybe this is the place to start!

  11. hi nicole!!! i´m wondering if i could sub half the flour for whole wheat and some of the sugar for honey….

  12. Sounds good! I’ll have to try this.

  13. Hi Nic,
    I’m in love with this bread! I just wrote about it on Farmgirl Fare here. Thanks for such a wonderful recipe. :)

  14. I made the recipe yesterday in 3 miniature pans. They baked about 37 minutes. I used 1% milk and I think I will try whole milk next time. While the loaf was certainly very good, it almost seemed to me there needs to be a little kick added to it. I haven’t decided what yet. But I may try ground dry lavendar leaves and only a very small hint. But I will certainly keep the recipe. Thank you.

  15. Oh wow that looks great, and I’m a total sucker for delicious home made breads. I gotta try it!

  16. This looks like such a yummy recipe. I can’t wait to try it with my kids. Thanks!

  17. To the person looking for unsweetened coconut, (if you do not want to shred a coconut yourself), you can locate bags of shredded fresh unsweetened coconut in the Goya Mexican/Spanish section of the frozen food aisle

  18. I made this last night – mine took 1 hr 20 min, but my oven is slow. It is very lemony, with a smooth texture, although I found the crust goes very crisp. I used unsweetened coconut and that was sweet enough for me. I tried it toasted with butter, and that’s ok, but it’s finer by itself as well.

  19. I made these a few nights ago, and they turned out wonderfully. Pair them with a nice dark cup of coffee, and you’re in heaven.

  20. Not sure I liked this… it was kinda nice when toasted though. Also I had to keep it in the oven for a bit longer than the recipe (like 75min) but that could just be my oven acting up. Other people in the household liked it though, so maybe it’s just my tastebuds :P Maybe I’ll glaze it next time. Thanks for the recipe.

  21. Delicious!! This went down really really well with my housemates. The top goes nice and crunchy, I sprinkled sugar over before baking and it was great.
    It came out more like a cake than a bread, and not too sweet which was great – I used desiccated coconut and it worked very well as that was what i had.
    Will definitely be making it again!

  22. Nicole,
    Thank you for posting!
    I just baked it and it is sooo deliciousssss!
    The lemon flavor is amazing, the recipe is perfect as is.

  23. In my opinion, coconut bread should have coconut milk, not regular milk! I’ll have to try out this bread that way. Sounds and look yummy! Thanks!

  24. Hi nicole , can i substitute some of the flour with whole wheat and bran. And also the milk with coconut milk ?

  25. Mariam – You can substitute a portion (up to half) of the flour with whole wheat flour. Adding bran to this recipe will really change the soft texture of the bread, but you could probably put in 1/4 cup to start with and see what suits your taste. You should be able to substitute the milk for coconut milk. I usually recommend low fat coconut milk for baking.

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