This apple bread recipe is so versatile that it can easily become one of your favorite quick breads. Use grated or diced apples, apple cider or yogurt, caramel chips or walnuts, streusel topping or cinnamon glaze…
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Read on for useful tips and step-by-step instructions (2 mins).
My Best Apple Bread Recipe
Apple bread is a great year-round option for a breakfast loaf or any time snack, but it tastes notably more delicious during apple harvest when local fruit becomes available.
I grew up eating a particularly sweet keks version which over the years I began to make with a moister texture and a greater emphasis on the apple flavor. Here I give you the base recipe and list my favorite ways of modifying it, including making it gluten-free.
Apple Bread Ingredients
- Apples. Diced or grated is up to you. If you go with the former aim for cubes just a tad bigger than the typical caramel chip so that they can soften nicely during baking. Pink lady, gala, Fuji, honeycrisp and even tart apple varieties like Granny Smith will all work.
- Brown sugar. Dark if you have it, to coat the apples and to sweeten the batter itself.
- Cinnamon. Cinnamon works best here as far as spices go, you can also add a pinch of nutmeg.
- Eggs. Your standard binder.
- Apple cider. Apple cider not only flavors the bread but its carbonation helps the batter rise. Substitute with the same volume apple sauce, yogurt or buttermilk. And if it happens to be pumpkin ale season – pumpkin ale is a great contender here.
- Flour. If you use cake flour the bread batter will be more forgiving in case you over mix and the texture lighter. If you don’t have any on hand, use all-purpose flour and stir minimally. If you decide to use oat flour add an extra teaspoon of baking powder and be sure to sift the flour after you measure it. We also like it with a bit of spent grain flour on occasion for its nutty flavor (about 1/2 cup, to replace 1/2 cup of wheat flour).
- Baking powder. Note the comments above regarding when to increase it.
- Salt. Just to enhance the rest of the flavors.
- Olive oil. You can substitute with vegetable or sunflower oil. The olive oil helps create bread that stays moist. Melted butter can work too if you are set on it.
- Fun ingredients. For this post I made the apple bread with caramel chips folded in the batter and a streusel topping – its crumbly texture is a fun contrast to the moist loaf. You can substitute the caramel chips with chopped walnuts, pecans, raisins, etc. For topping alternatives to streusel consider cinnamon sugar, cinnamon or vanilla glaze, maybe even apple cider glaze. Or you can skip it altogether.
How to Make Apple Bread
Because it is a quick bread recipe you will not need a hand mixer or stand mixer.
You simply whisk the wet ingredients and add them to the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then fold in the apples..
It is really simple, regardless of the exact ingredients you picked.
- Peel then grate or dice the apples. Toss them with brown sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
- Beat the eggs with brown sugar, then add cider (or apple sauce, yogurt, buttermilk) and stir until well incorporated. Set aside.
- Mix the flour, baking soda and salt in a big bowl.
- Add the egg mixture and stir to incorporate with the flour. Add the olive oil and stir again.
- Fold in the prepared apples as well as the caramel chips (or raisins etc.) then transfer to a parchment paper lined loaf pan.
- If using streusel topping (see below for steps to make it) sprinkle it evenly on top of the batter. Bake in a 350 F oven for 55 to 60 minutes, test with toothpick for doneness.
Wait for the Loaf to Cool Down
It is hard not to dig into a freshly baked apple bread right away. By all means do it if you want to indulge and do not particularly care about your slice having the perfect shape.
For best results however, do let it cool down to room temperature. First for about 5 minutes while still in the pan, then gently lift it (holding the sides of the parchment paper) and place it onto a wire rack and wait for another half an hour to an hour. Easier said than done, I know.
Apple Bread Toppings
- There is a lot to be said about the delicious contrast between crumbly streusel and the moist texture of a freshly baked apple bread. Streusel is really easy to make so definitely consider it. All you have to do is mix flour, oats (rolled or quick), brown sugar, salt and cinnamon with softened butter – as shown below.
- You can also top with finely chopped walnuts or pecans tossed with brown sugar.
- A cinnamon glaze drizzled over a cooled down bread is another favorite of ours, I’ve included the instructions for it below.
You can use the bread batter to make apple muffins instead. Simply spray a muffin tin with oil and fill about 3/4 of each cup. Bake for about 15 minutes less than recommended for the quick bread.
Leftovers? Try Apple Bread French Toast
We love apple bread while still warm but with only three of us at home we usually end up with a few leftover slices. A day or two old apple bread makes for a decadent French toast.
You do not need to make a custard. Because the loaf is quite moist it does not need the help of a custard. All you have to do is slice it thick and soak each slice in beaten egg, then pan-fry it with very little oil.
This quick bread with apples freezes well if you properly wrap it before placing it in the freezer. A combination of plastic wrap and then aluminum foil or a good quality freezer bag works best.
Other Recipes with Apples
- 1 1/2 cups grated apples* (about 2 medium apples)
- 3/4 cup brown sugar plus 2 tbsp to toss grated apples in
- 2 tsp cinnamon, divided
- 2 1/2 cups flour (cake recommended, all-purpose works fine, oats as gluten free option)**
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 7 oz apple cider (substitute with plain yogurt, buttermilk or pumpkin ale)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup caramel chips (or raisins, walnuts, pecans)
Streusel Topping (Optional)
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup oats (rolled or quick)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 4 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch salt
Cinnamon Glaze (Optional)
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- milk (as needed to get to desired consistency)
- If you plan on using the streusel topping make it first. In a bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients, then using a fork work in the butter until you get a uniformly crumbly mixture. Set aside.
- Turn the oven on to 350 F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
- Peel and grate the apples - measure out 1 1/2 cups and toss with 2 tbsp of brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon. Set aside.
- Beat the eggs, add the brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon, whisk to combine. Add the apple cider (or substitute of your choice) and whisk again. Set aside.
- In a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the egg/cider mixture and mix to combine. Add the olive oil and mix again until homogeneous.
- Fold in the apples and caramel chips (or substitute of your choice). Transfer to the lined loaf pan. If using streusel, sprinkle it on top and lightly even it out with a fork to form a layer of uniform thickness.
- Bake for 55-60 minutes. Let cool down for 5-10 minutes while still in the pan. Carefully remove it from the pan onto a cooling rack and let it cool down further before slicing.
- Optional - if you didn't use streusel once the apple bread has cooled down you can make a cinnamon glaze. Whisk confectioners sugar with cinnamon and add milk while continuing to whisk. Start with 1 tbsp and continue to add 1 tsp at a time until you are satisfied with the consistency. Drizzle over loaf.
*If you prefer dice the apples instead.
**Cake flour has less gluten and will result in lighter texture. If using all-purpose do not over mix. If using oat flour sift it after you measure it and increase baking powder to 2 tsp.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 175Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 209mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 2gSugar: 21gProtein: 3g