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Bread Machine Lemon Bread: Eating it is the Best Part

Sneak Peek: This bread machine lemon bread recipe is a sweet yeast pull-apart bread flavored with lemon and orange zest. It’s ridiculously easy to make with a bread machine and a bundt pan.

If you think this sounds like monkey bread, you’re close, but no cigar.

My mom’s Christmas morning specialty was a cinnamon-sugar creation baked inside a round aluminum pan with a hole in the middle. Maybe an old jello mold? (See the picture at the end of this post.)

Using a biscuit cutter, she produced round discs of yeast dough. After dipping each piece in melted butter, she double-dipped them into a bowl of cinnamon and sugar just like monkey bread.

The way she arranged the dough pieces made all the difference.

The sugary circles of dough were positioned vertically inside the pan around the whole like little toy soldiers lined up at attention.

Eating it was the BEST part. We loved pulling the fragrant and buttery slices off one by one, like pulling off segments of a juicy orange.

No worries if you don’t have a bread machine. You can make it by hand or with a stand mixer– directions in the recipe notes.

Lemony Pull-Apart Bread -- in a loaf pan.

Recipe inspiration:

My daughter-in-law recently asked me if I thought she could make a certain lemon pull-apart bread seen on Pinterest in her bread machine

Most regular yeast bread recipes can be converted so I took the bait. In the end, I actually adapted my own Monkey Bread recipe because…well… I think it’s better. I hope you agree.

However, I procrastinated because the original instructions for assembling the bread seemed rather complicated.  Surely there was an easier way than cutting long strips, stacking them, slicing the stacks, etc.

My mom’s cinnamon pull-a-part bread described above provided the inspiration to make this recipe faster and simpler without sacrificing taste or appearance.

Lemon Pull Apart Bread Made Easy with a Bread Machine - pieces on plate

Ingredients and substitutions:

  • MILK: Use whatever milk you have on hand. The higher the fat content, the richer and tastier your bread will be.
  • SUGAR: Granulated sugar is best. If you want to substitute honey, only use 3 tablespoons as honey is sweeter than sugar.
  • SALT: The recipe was tested with table or sea salt. If you use Kosher salt, add 1/4 teaspoon more.
  • BUTTER: The butter in the bread should be softened, not melted. The dipping butter must be melted.
  • EGGS: I use large eggs in all of my bread recipes. If you use something smaller or larger, you may need to adjust the liquid accordingly.
  • FLOUR: This recipe was tested with unbleached, all-purpose flour. You could substitute bleached all-purpose flour. You may need less liquid or a little more flour if you do that so check your dough as it’s kneading. Bread flour is also an option but will make the bread a bit chewier.
  • YEAST: I use bread machine or instant yeast. If you want to use active dry yeast, add 1/4 teaspoon extra as it is slower to act.

bread machine crash course sign-up

Can I prepare this bread ahead of time?

I can’t wait to serve this delicious bread for my family on Christmas morning, but I won’t be getting up early to put it together.

See the notes at the end of the recipe for how to prepare this recipe a day ahead and then bake the next morning.

How to assemble and bake this Bread Machine Lemon Bread Recipe:

transferring the dough from the breadmachine pan to a floured silicone mat
Remove dough from bread machine pan to a floured surface.
rolling out the dough into a rectangle
Roll dough into a generally rectangular shape measuring approximately 8 x 10 inches.
cutting dough with a pizza cutter
Cut dough into large diamonds with a knife or pizza cutter.
arranging dough inside a bundt pan
After dipping each diamond into butter first and then sugary/lemon mixture, place each piece on its side in an upright position in a bundt pan. (Please ignore the cinnamon-pecan streusel mixture pictures and pretend it is a sugary/lemon streusel-like mixture.)
Continue until all diamonds are lined up around the pan.
Cover with a plastic shower cap, plastic wrap, or a tea towel.
pull-apart bread after it has been proofed
Allow bread to rise until almost double in size before placing it into a preheated oven to bake.
showing the layers in this pull-apart bread machine lemon bread
After baking, turn the bread out onto a plate and flip upside down so you can see the crusty top. Drizzle icing overall.

My mom’s old pan. Doesn’t this look like a jello mold? Wonder how old it is…

If you enjoyed this recipe, it would help others and me if you gave it a five-star rating inside the recipe card below. 🤩 No comment required. Thank you.

Hope to see you again soon!

p.s. Questions or suggestions? Please email me: Paula at

Yield: 1 bundt loaf

Bread Machine Lemon Bread Recipe

Bread Machine Lemon Bread Recipe

A simple pull-apart bread flavored with lemon and orange zest that you can make in your bread machine

Prep Time 3 hours 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes


  • 5/8 cup (150 grams) milk
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (6 grams) table salt
  • 1/4 cup (57 grams) butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 1/4 cup (390 grams) unbleached flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon (7 grams) bread machine or instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup (57 grams) melted butter (for dipping dough pieces)
  • Lemon zest from 3 medium lemons and 1 orange mixed + 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar


  • 1 cup (227 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons (14-28 grams) whipping cream, milk, or coffee


  1. Dump first 7 ingredients into bread machine pan in order listed. Select dough cycle. After 5 minutes, lift lid and check dough. It should stick to the side, then pull away. If dough is too dry, add milk one tablespoon at a time. If too wet, add flour one tablespoon at a time.
  2. When dough cycle completes (dough should be doubled in size), remove dough to a floured surface and roll into a rectangle roughly 8 x 10 inches in size.
  3. Use a pizza cutter or knife to cut the dough into large diamonds.
  4. Dip each diamond into melted butter, then into sugary lemon/orange zest mixture.
  5. Place first piece on its side in bundt pan. Lay second piece upright against first piece and repeat until all pieces have been lined up around the pan. You may have to push them together to squeeze in the final pieces. Perfection is not required.
  6. Cover with shower cap, plastic wrap or a tea towel and allow to rise in warm place until almost double.
  7. Uncover and bake in oven preheated to 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F. Lay a piece of foil loosely on top to prevent over-browning about halfway through baking time.
  8. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before turning out of pan. Flip upside down so crusty top is visible.
  9. While bread is still warm, mix powdered sugar with liquid of choice and drizzle over the top.


To prepare a day ahead:

follow instructions above through step 5. Cover dough that has already been arranged in a pan with plastic wrap or shower cap. Chill overnight. About 2 hours before you want to serve bread, remove bundt pan from the fridge and set aside in a warm, cozy place until the dough has almost doubled in size. Bake as directed above. You can control the rising process somewhat by moving the pan to a warmer or cooler location, depending on when you want it to be ready to bake.

    Alternate Mixing Instructions:

    Directions for making bread with a stand mixer or by hand: 

    • To make this recipe in a heavy-duty stand mixer, add ingredients to the bowl in the same order. Turn on low to mix until all ingredients are moistened. Using a dough hook, turn speed to 2 or 3 and continue beating/kneading until dough becomes smooth and elastic (about 5-10 minutes). Cover and allow to rise in a warm place. Deflate dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
    • If making by hand, combine all ingredients into a shaggy ball in a large bowl. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead with your hands until dough becomes smooth and elastic, a process that will likely take 10-20 minutes depending on your experience. Place the dough ball into a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until double. Deflate dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
    • Please note: You can substitute active dry yeast for instant or bread machine yeast. There is no longer any need to dissolve it according to King Arthur ( Be aware that it may be a little slower acting than instant yeast, but it'll get there. 

    If you only have active dry yeast, use 1/4 teaspoon more than called for in the recipe. It no longer needs to be dissolved first, but you can if you prefer.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest


    Monday 22nd of February 2021

    I just made this bread this weekend (first recipe from your site) and it was a HIT! I made it with all oranges because that's what I had on hand and I will definitely be making the lemon version ASAP! I can't wait for the week lemons go on sale!


    Monday 22nd of February 2021

    Hi Cathi,

    So glad you like the Lemon Bread. I can imagine it's also good with all oranges. Thanks for coming back to say so!


    Thursday 16th of April 2020

    Genius simply genius to use a pizza cutter for making monkey bread. I never would have thought of that


    Tuesday 11th of February 2014

    I think I may have cooked to long. I will try again. This had a really great taste.


    Tuesday 11th of February 2014

    Loved the taste of this, but mine turned out dry. Not sure what I did wrong.


    Tuesday 11th of February 2014

    Hi Julie, Sorry about your bread. Is it possible you left out the butter or egg? Or maybe over baked it? Was the dough the right consistency when kneading--sticks to the side and then pulls away? Do you test your bread with a thermometer when baking? That really helps, especially with sweet breads that brown quickly.


    Thursday 19th of December 2013

    Just showed kent your website. For the record, he doesn't think this looks good. He's crazy! He told me to make cinnamon rolls.

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