This easy apple bread recipe is so nice for Fall! Studded with sweet fruit, cinnamon-spiced, and crowned with a buttery crumb topping.
Today I’m bringing you another amazing apple recipe: apple bread!
This is a slightly sweet quick bread, bursting with seasonal fruit and topped with buttery cinnamon streusel.
Add it to the ever-growing list of apple recipes you can find here!
So many of us love to go apple picking at this time of year. It’s a fun family activity that gets us out in the beautiful weather, gives us plenty of photo ops, and provides us with a bounty of seasonal fruit to bake with.
And now we can add this apple bread recipe.
I really think you’re going to love it!
Table of Contents
- What is apple bread?
- What’s great about this apple bread recipe
- What does apple bread taste like?
- Tools and equipment
- How to make apple cinnamon bread
- How to serve
- Expert tips
- Frequently asked questions
- How to store apple bread
- A few more of my favorite Fall recipes
What is apple bread?
This is a quick bread recipe, so it’s leavened with baking powder and it comes together according to that classic formula: mix up the dry ingredients, mix up the liquid ingredients, then fold everything together.
This version is lightly sweetened with warm brown sugar and loaded with tender apples, then capped with a thick layer of cinnamon streusel.
You can enjoy it for breakfast, brunch, dessert, or as an afternoon snack. I especially love it toasted and slathered with soft butter!
What’s great about this apple bread recipe
- Seasonal: It’s so perfect for this time of year, especially if you like to go apple picking!
- Tastes wonderful: It’s just sweet enough, with tons of fruit and a cinnamon-y crumb topping.
- Few ingredients: You probably already have most of the ingredients on hand.
- Easy to make: It only takes a few minutes of active time.
- Versatile: Serve it for breakfast, brunch, snack, or dessert! And swap in any kind of fruit!
What does apple bread taste like?
This loaf is infused with warm cinnamon, but not so much so as to overpower the delicate flavor of apples.
The texture is light and delicate, with a buttery back note and tons of soft, sweet apples studded all throughout.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this easy apple cinnamon bread recipe.
All-purpose flour is my go-to, but you can swap it out for any kind of whole-grain option if you like. You may need slightly less if you go that route.
A gluten-free flour blend that can sub 1:1 for regular flour should also work just fine, if you’d like to make a gluten-free apple bread.
Sugar adds sweetness (obvs!) but it also aids in browning and keeps things moist, since it’s hydrophilic (this means it loves water, in other words, it draws moisture in).
Or for that matter, any other type of sweetener that subs 1:1 for brown sugar.
This recipe utilizes baking powder to leaven (or “lift”) the loaf.
Baking powder is a double-acting leavener, so it starts things rising both when liquid is added to it, as well as when it hits the hot oven.
Baking soda will not work in this recipe because there isn’t enough acid to activate it.
Baking powder has a little bit of that acid built in.
Ground cinnamon flavors the bread with that warm spice flavor that’s so ubiquitous when baking with apples.
You could use another kind of spice in addition to or instead of cinnamon, if you’d like. Here are some suggestions:
Just to name a few!
Salt carries the flavors and intensifies them. The end result won’t taste salty, but it will make everything so much more flavorful!
I like kosher salt best because it doesn’t have any additives (table salt usually contains iodine which can leave a bitter taste), so the flavor is pure. It’s also inexpensive and easy to find in a regular grocery store.
Melted butter keeps this apple loaf bread moist and adds richness to the taste.
I like to use unsalted butter because it lets me control the amount of salt in the dish. Different brands of butter can contain different amounts of salt, so this way you get a more consistent result.
For a vegan or dairy-free apple bread recipe, use a plant-based butter that can substitute for dairy butter 1:1.
Sour cream adds moisture to the bread batter, resulting in a softer and more tender loaf. It helps prevent the bread from drying out during baking.
If you don’t have sour cream you could also use the same amount of plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt or buttermilk, or your favorite plant-based substitute. As long as it swaps for dairy sour cream 1:1 it should work just fine.
Milk adds moisture and helps achieve a workable batter consistency.
You can use whatever kind of milk you keep on hand: 2%, skim whole… even a plant-based milk will work!
Eggs act as a binding agent and provide structure.
They also contribute to its moisture and tenderness.
Use large chicken eggs here, or a plant-based egg replacement than subs 1:1 for chicken eggs.
It’s best if the eggs are at room temperature, but I don’t find this to be critical.
Vanilla extract adds a subtly sweet flavor without being at all sugary.
Peeled, cored, and cut into about a one-inch dice.
There’s more info on what kind of apples to use below, under the FAQ’s heading.
Tools and equipment
Here are the kitchen tools you’ll want to gather together.
- Measuring cups & spoons: To measure out the ingredients.
- Large mixing bowl: In which to make the batter.
- Whisk: For blending the ingredients.
- Peeler: To peel the apples.
- Knife & cutting board: For cutting the apples into bite-sized pieces.
- Silicone spatula: So you can get every drop of batter out of the bowl.
- Small pot: You can melt the butter and mix up the streusel topping right in there.
- Fork: For stirring up the streusel.
- Non-stick spray: So the loaf doesn’t stick to the pan.
- Loaf pan: A standard-sized, 9×5-inch, 5-cup capacity loaf pan.
How to make apple cinnamon bread
This recipe comes together in 5 simple steps.
Step 1: Dry ingredients
Whisk the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
Step 2: Liquid ingredients
Next, create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the melted butter, sour cream, milk, eggs, and vanilla.
Starting at the center, whisk the liquid ingredients together until combined. Then, gradually work outward to incorporate the dry ingredients, a little at a time.
Step 3: Apples
When the dry ingredients are *almost* completely incorporated, add the chopped apples.
Fold these into the batter in as few strokes as possible. It’s important not to overmix the batter, or your bread could come out tough.
Step 4: Crumb topping
Transfer the batter to a greased loaf pan, and layer on the crumb topping.
You can read lots more about this streusel recipe here: Basic Streusel Recipe.
Step 5: Bake
Slide the loaf into a preheated oven and allow it to bake until it’s set around the edges, springy in the center, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
How to serve
This loaf is great for breakfast, brunch, or dessert, or for an afternoon snack.
Measure accurately: Follow this guide to be sure that your ingredients are measured out precisely: How to Measure Ingredients. Baking is a science!
Don’t overmix: Once the flour meets the liquids it’s really important not to overmix, or your bread could come out tough. Use as few strokes as possible, and don’t worry if there are lumps!
Keep an eye: Bread loaves take a long time to bake. Sometimes the streusel starts to get too brown before the loaf is done in the center. Keep an eye on things as the bread bakes. If the topping looks like it could burn, cover it loosely with foil.
Cool: This bread will slice much more easily and cleanly once it’s cool. Allow it to cool in the pan, so it stays moist.
Frequently asked questions
What kind of apples should I use?
Use any variety of firm apple that’s good for baking, such as Granny Smith, Cortland, Fuji, or Honeycrisp. I used Honeycrisp here.
Red or Golden Delicious and Gala apples are not great because they tend to go mushy when baked.
Can I use a different kind of fruit?
I think this would be fantastic with peaches or diced bananas. Or rhubarb!
Really any kind of stone fruit would be fantastic. Plums, apricots…
Pears would be really nice too!
Apple bread variations
If you’d like, this recipe could be baked as muffins instead.
Divide the batter equally between 24 wells of a muffin pan.
What is the serving size?
A serving is equal to one slice of apple bread, if you cut the loaf into 10 equal slices.
The nutritional info in the recipe card below reflects a serving of 1/10th of the whole loaf.
How to store apple bread
This will keep, tightly wrapped, at room temperature for a day or so, in the fridge for around a week or two, or in the freezer for a couple of months.
It can be thawed at room temperature and warmed for a few seconds in the microwave, or in a 170 degree F oven or toaster until heated through.
A few more of my favorite Fall recipes
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For the apple bread
- 2 1/2 cups (312.5 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (220 g) light brown sugar, loosely packed
- 1 tablespoon (12 g) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon (2 g) ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.5 g) kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (113.5 g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup (230 g) sour cream, (plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt or buttermilk* can be substituted)
- 3 tablespoons (45 g) milk
- 2 (88 g) eggs, large
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (6 g) vanilla extract
- 2 (364 g) apples, medium, peeled, cored, and diced
- powdered sugar, optional garnish
To make the apple bread
- Place the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
- Create a well in the center, and add in the melted butter, sour cream, milk, eggs, and vanilla.
- Working from the center outward, whisk these liquid ingredients together until combined, then gradually incorporate the dry ingredients.
- When all the ingredients are just barely incorporated, fold in the apples.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, and layer with cinnamon crumb topping.
- Bake** until golden brown, set around the edges, and springy to the touch (approx. 55 to 65 minutes). A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
- Dust with powdered sugar (optional), and cool in the pan before slicing.
To make the cinnamon crumb topping
- Place all the ingredients in a small pot or bowl and toss to combine.