Tarragon Lemon Quick Bread

A slightly sweet lemon quick bread flavored with black pepper and tarragon #quick #bread | mjskitchen.com


The first time I made this Tarragon Lemon Quick Bread was out of curiosity.  A friend shared this recipe and after reading the list of ingredients I just couldn’t imagine how a bread with tarragon, lemon and black pepper would taste, so I had to make it.  Well…it was love at first bite!  Over the past year or so, I’ve made this bread several times, with a couple of minor changes to the original recipe, but nothing that affects the final flavor of the bread. The changes are noted in the Kitchen Notes.

If you love tarragon like I do, then you are going to love this bread. Not only does it just taste good, it’s so easy to make. You can have it in the oven within 20 minutes from the start, and, even with an ingredient change now and then, it never fails. It always comes out perfect and delicious.  It’s not a tall quick bread, but it’s not dense either.  It’s light and moist with a touch of sweetness, making it a wonderful breakfast bread as well as a nice complement for your afternoon tea.

A slightly sweet quick bread flavored with lemon and tarragon | mjskitchen.com


Tarragon Lemon Quick Bread Recipe

Yields 1 loaf
Prep Time:  less than 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 – 55 minutes


1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper (freshly ground or store bought)
2 Tbsp. sugar*
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh tarragon or 2 tsp. dried, crushed*
1 Tbsp. lemon zest (zest from 1 large lemon)
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup  sour cream or plain yogurt or ricotta*
1 large egg

Lemon Tarragon Glaze (optional)*

2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice (juice from 1/2 lemon)
a generous pinch of ground dried tarragon

*See Kitchen Notes


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Prepare an 8 x 3 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. (I use a regular bread pan.)
  3. Melt the butter and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, sugar, tarragon and lemon zest.
  5. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, sour cream and buttermilk.  Add the melted butter and whisk.
  6. Pour the egg and butter mixture over the flour mixture and combine just to moisten the dry ingredients.
  7. Transfer the dough into the prepared bread pan.
  8. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean.
  9. Remove from the oven and let rest for 2 minutes.  Transfer from the bread pan to a cooling rack.
  10. If you are adding the glaze, while your bread is cooling, whisk together the ingredients for the glaze.  (You might need to microwave it for about 20 seconds so you can dissolve the powdered sugar.)
  11. Once the bread has cooled to just a little warm, pour the glaze over the bread.

This bread will keep at room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap for 1 week.



A slightly sweet lemon quick bread flavored with lemon and tarragon | mjskitchen.com


Kitchen Notes

Sugar – The original recipe calls for 1 tablespoon sugar, but I like just a touch more sweetness. The second tablespoon provides what I need without making it too sweet. If you don’t want to use sugar, you can substitute honey. It works just fine.

Tarragon – This is a great bread for using fresh tarragon, but in the middle of winter when fresh tarragon is not available, you can easily substitute dried tarragon without losing any flavor at all.  Just cut back on the amount as indicated in the recipe above.

Sour Cream – The original recipe calls for sour cream.  However, I hardly ever have sour cream in the house; therefore, I substitute either plain yogurt or ricotta without any problems.

The Glaze – The original recipe doesn’t use a glaze, but what can I say?  I have a sweet tooth!  So when I plan to make this as a breakfast bread, I always add the glaze.  For our winter chai, the unglazed version is really nice because the chai is already sweet enough.  Sometimes, I make up the glaze and just leave it in a pitcher. When I slice the bread, if I feel like a little glaze, then I’ll pour a little over the slice. If I don’t want the added sweetness, then I’ll omit it.


This Tarragon Lemon Quick Bread is a real surprise.  It’s a delicious quick bread, unique in flavor, and one I hope you will try.


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54 Responses to “Tarragon Lemon Quick Bread”

  1. Lita Waston June 22, 2017 at 7:29 pm #

    Can i use anise as a substitute of tarragon for this dish? I see that it’s used as flavoring in soups, sauces, bread and cakes and some people often say that tarragon has a mild anise flavor.

    • mj June 23, 2017 at 10:28 am #

      Lita, I don’t see why you couldn’t substitute anise. It would provide a totally different flavor, obviously, but being a lover of anise, it sounds wonderful! The anise with the black should be an interesting flavor. Let me know how it turns out and I might try it myself. Thanks!

  2. Deb|EastofEdenCooking November 12, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

    Lemon desserts are my favorite! Pairing with tarragon is intriguing flavor combination for sweets. I must give this recipe a try, especially since I still have fresh tarragon in my herb garden.

    • mj November 12, 2014 at 7:42 pm #

      Thanks Deb! This is a great recipe with homegrown tarragon. 🙂

  3. swathi November 1, 2014 at 9:22 pm #

    Delicious tarragon lemon quick bread, I need one slice with cup of my coffee.

  4. Nami | Just One Cookbook October 29, 2014 at 10:38 pm #

    Among all the herbs, I have to say I love tarragon very much, especially the fresh one… <3 I'm also surprised to see the herb in the bread, but I like the surprise. You mentioned that you have this with chai and I'm instantly dreaming of biting this cake while sipping my afternoon chai. Aww so nice! And I just wished her birthday on facebook. What a coincidence to see her name in less than a minute. 😀

  5. GiGi Eats October 28, 2014 at 10:33 am #

    I would never for a second think about putting tarragon in bread! Such a pungent smell and taste!

    • mj October 28, 2014 at 8:46 pm #

      Thanks Gigi! You got that right!

  6. Deena Kakaya October 27, 2014 at 6:07 pm #

    I adore lemon in bakes but I have not used tarragon. I am sure the combination smells as good as it tastes x

    • mj October 28, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

      Thanks Deena! Yes, it definitely smells as good as it taste!

  7. Raymund October 27, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

    Now I am imagining how this tastes as well. Looks delish

    • mj October 28, 2014 at 8:38 pm #

      Thanks Raymund! You need to make it to really know. 🙂

  8. Debra October 27, 2014 at 4:42 am #

    I have lots of lemons to use and I really want more tarragon recipes. Thanks for a new recipe. I think I will try the honey substitute.

    • mj October 28, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

      Thanks Debra! Like you, I’m always looking for more tarragon recipes as well. This is a good one!

  9. Anne@FromMySweetHeart October 26, 2014 at 8:24 pm #

    Oh I love this bread, MJ. One of my favorites. I know that you and I share a love of tarragon. And this just feels like the perfect time of year to make and enjoy it! Yours turned out beautifully! I’ve missed you and everyone…and am looking forward to getting back into the swing of things very soon! : )

    • mj October 28, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

      Oh Anne … It is is good to have you back! We’ve missed you Darlin!

  10. Terra October 26, 2014 at 5:51 pm #

    What a lovely mix of flavors. I finally enjoyed tarragon last year, the flavor is fantastic. I love the idea of adding it to a quick bread! Yum, Hugs, Terra

    • mj October 28, 2014 at 8:35 pm #

      Thanks Terra! So glad you’ve become a tarragon lover. It will be interesting to see what you do with it now that you’ve discovered it. 🙂

  11. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles October 25, 2014 at 9:32 am #

    If pressed to choose just one, tarragon would be my herb of choice. I adore it and think I may have mentioned to you before my not-so-small addiction with Maille’s original Tarragon Vinegar. I am so intrigued by this recipe – the bread itself looks gorgeous and the ingredients sound like a dream. I will definitely be trying this one later in the fall. You’ve also reminded me of Anne’s beautiful blog which I am overdue to visit! xx

    • mj October 28, 2014 at 8:33 pm #

      Thanks Kelly! I do have to admit that when I was putting this post together, I did think of you as one that would love this bread, because of your love of tarragon. I was right! 🙂 I believe Anne is back after a long hiatus. I’ve missed her!

  12. Sissi October 25, 2014 at 4:55 am #

    The combination of tarragon, pepper and lemon does sound very tempting! I’m not surprised it was love at first bite. I must incorporate this idea into my savoury cakes too. I’m sure it would go well with some proteins (feta/bacon/ham) inside too, but even on its own it looks like a fantastic aromatic snack.

    • mj October 28, 2014 at 8:30 pm #

      Thanks Sissi! How very interesting. I would never have thought to put feta or bacon in this bread. I really, really like the idea of the bacon! 🙂

  13. The Wimpy Vegetarian October 24, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

    I love any quick bread with yogurt or buttermilk, and you’ve got both! When I bake in Tahoe at 7000 ft., it’s a must for a moist cake. But now I’ve grown attached to the tender texture and slightly tangy flavor and use one of them constantly! I love this one with the lemon and herbs, MJ.

    • mj October 28, 2014 at 8:28 pm #

      Thanks Susan! I agree with you on the flavor and texture you get from yogurt. I love using it in baked goods, pancakes, waffles, etc.

  14. Carrie @ Witchy Kitchen October 24, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

    Yummy! I just love herbs in a sweet dish – just a little unexpected – and I like your sweet touches! 🙂

    • mj October 28, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

      Thanks Carrie! Yes, I do have a bit of a sweet tooth. 🙂

  15. Helene D'Souza October 24, 2014 at 3:52 am #

    Oh I am impressed MJ, I never ever thought of such a brilliant flavor combination. I can imagine that tarragon goes well with lemon and pepper, I would definitely enjoy your cake, I only wish I could get hold of some fresh tarragon here. I have only dried one form europe…
    Thanks for sharing MJ, it’s a keeper!

    • mj October 28, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

      Thanks Helene! I have to give Anne credit for creativity in this bread. It was pure brilliance! Don’t hesitate to use dried tarragon. It works great!

  16. Choc Chip Uru October 24, 2014 at 1:47 am #

    This quick bread is making me smile, I really like strong citrus flavour 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

    • mj October 28, 2014 at 8:24 pm #

      Thanks Uru!

  17. Carol at Wild Goose Tea October 23, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

    Lemon and tarragon sound like a delightful combo—-teeny weeny kick of pepper. I like tarragon. I also like that it uses buttermilk and sour cream. I find I particularly like breads and cakes made with ‘sour’ dairy. I can’t tell you why. There is nothing like a time tested recipe either. Thanx for sharing.

    • mj October 23, 2014 at 8:29 pm #

      Thanks so much Carol!

  18. Dedy@Dentist Chef October 23, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

    Damn delicipus bread!!!
    just perfect for morning supper…..

    • mj October 23, 2014 at 8:28 pm #

      Thanks so much Dedy!

  19. Carol at Wild Goose Tea October 23, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

    MJ I am loving this bread. I do love tarragon. I like that it has buttermilk and sour
    cream in it. I find I am partial to breads that have a ‘sour’ beginning. I have a great
    new bread pan to try out.

    • mj October 23, 2014 at 8:28 pm #

      How fun – a new bread pan! I need to get me another one because my husband used 2 of mind as smoker pans on the grill a few weeks ago. They’ll never be the same. 🙁 All of the ingredients in this bread really give it a long depth of flavor – sour, spicy, lemon, and herby. It’s all there.

  20. easyfoodsmith October 23, 2014 at 9:51 am #

    The flavors sound wonderful and I love savory quick breads so this one will be baked for sure in my kitchen 🙂

    • mj October 23, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

      Thanks Darlin! I hope you enjoy it!

  21. ChgoJohn October 23, 2014 at 12:33 am #

    I do enjoy lemon flavoring in a number of dishes and I especially crave it in the cooler months. I guess it’s my way of adding a little sunshine indoors to counter the nastiness outdoors. I bet it would work wonders in a great sweet bread like this one, MJ, and like you, I rarely have sour cream available. I do have yogurt, though, and add it without giving it a second thought.

    • mj October 23, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

      I’m with you on adding lemon to dishes in the winter. Winter is when I use most of my preserved lemons. 🙂 In this bread, the lemon is a really nice complement with the tarragon and pepper.

  22. Hotly Spiced October 22, 2014 at 9:07 pm #

    I’ve never had a tarragon bread. It sounds fascinating and I love how it has lemon – it goes so well with tarragon. The bread is a very pretty colour xx

    • mj October 23, 2014 at 8:22 pm #

      Thanks Charlie! It is a lovely color isn’t it? It tastes as good as it looks, too. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  23. Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen October 22, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

    I can imagine how your kitchen must’ve smelled!!! This is a lovely bread.

    • mj October 23, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

      It smelled goooooood! 🙂

  24. Amy (Savory Moments) October 22, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

    This is definitely a unique and intriguing flavor combination! I just dried a bunch of tarragon from our herb garden and think this would be a delightful way to use it!

    • mj October 23, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

      If you grow tarragon, then you must like it, so yes- this is a great use for it! Quite different and very tasty. Thanks for your comments Amy!

  25. Evelyne@cheapethniceatz October 22, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

    Oh I so love this, but is it sweet or savory. There is just enough (not enough) to make me wonder lol. I do love Tarragon so I am seriously intrigued.

    • mj October 22, 2014 at 3:18 pm #

      Good question! My husband and I would discussing that this morning as we were eating a slice of this bread with our coffee. 🙂 It’s actually both – sweet and savory. I think he would like it a bit sweeter, thus the glaze. I was intrigued as well when I first saw it, that’s why I had to make it. So if you love tarragon, you really should give this a try. 🙂 Take care!

  26. Angie@Angie's Recipes October 22, 2014 at 7:12 am #

    I LOVE the aroma of tarragon! Your quick bread sounds and looks scrumptious, MJ.

    • mj October 22, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

      Thanks Angie! If you like the aroma of tarragon, then you’ll love the aroma of this bread baking in the oven. 🙂

  27. Katerina October 22, 2014 at 12:05 am #

    I love citrus flavor is sweets! Looks very easy and I bet the fragrance is unbeatable!

    • mj October 22, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

      Thanks Katerina! Yes, the fragrance is delicious!

  28. John@Kitchen Riffs October 21, 2014 at 9:18 pm #

    This does sound interesting! I love lemon, and it combines well with tarragon. But I don’t think I’ve ever had the combo in a baked good before! Really should try this — such a fun dish. Love the pictures, BTW. Good post — thanks.

    • mj October 22, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

      Thanks John! It’s interesting because I have a pasta dish in which I use preserved lemons, tarragon and lots of black pepper. That’s probably the dish that made me want to try it in bread. It really is good and I thank Ann (From my Sweet Heart) all of the time for coming up with this bread. I hope you get a chance to try it. (Thanks for the comment on the pics!)

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