Apple Bread

In my college dorm, little could win friends or elicit envy quite like a care package. I was fortunate to be friends with a few generous girls whose mothers were prolific bakers, which is how today’s Apple Bread recipe came into my life. Packed to the max with cinnamon, walnuts, and juicy apple hunks, this apple bread makes quite the impression. I can still remember my first slice—and the four slices that followed.

Best Ever Apple Bread - Made with applesauce and PACKED with cinnamon, fresh apples, and walnuts. Healthy, super moist, loaded with flavor, fast and easy!! @wellplated

My first slice of apple bread was in my friend Elisabeth’s dorm room during our sophomore year. Her mom mailed her a particularly large care package that included not one but two loaves of apple bread, and Elisabeth graciously offered me a piece. I was immediately hooked.

The BEST Apple Bread. Just LOOK at those apples! Packed with cinnamon apple goodness and made with applesauce so it's healthy too! @wellplated

My next four slices were the ones to which I helped myself in Elisabeth’s room over the next 24 hours. I’m not sure if Elisabeth was annoyed at my rather cavalier attitude towards her apple bread, but she emailed her mom for the recipe, and I’ve been baking it myself ever since.

The BEST Apple Cinnamon Bread. So easy you don't even need a mixer! @wellplated

This apple cinnamon bread recipe is special. The first thing that you will notice about it is that it is stuffed nearly to the point of falling apart with apples and walnuts. Call me a purist, but I’m not a fan of recipes that fail to deliver on the flavors their names promise. When I call something apple bread, I expect there to be a lovely bit of apple in every bite. This apple bread lives up to its title. I mean just look at those apple hunks!

World's BEST Apple Bread. LOADED with cinnamon and apples and made with applesauce, so it's healthy too! @wellplated

Second, cinnamon. Let there be no apple recipe without cinnamon. Apples and cinnamon are life partners, and I have no intention of separating the two, so apple cinnamon bread we shall bake.

Third, restraint. Yes, this apple bread recipe is loaded with fruit, spices, and nuts, but what you won’t find here is unnecessary amounts of sugar and fat. Over the ten years that I’ve been baking this apple bread (wow, that math hurt a little), I’ve been tweaking the recipe to see what healthy changes I could make without losing the wonderful flavor and texture that originally stole my heart.

Today’s healthy apple bread is the result of those years of delicious experimentation. I’ve reduced the amount of artificial sugar in favor of the apples’ natural sweetness, substituted most of the oil for applesauce, and replaced the white flour with white whole wheat flour, which is higher in fiber and protein but tastes so mild, you’d never suspect the swap.

World's BEST Apple Bread recipe - So easy you don't even need a mixer! PACKED with apple cinnamon goodness, and made with applesauce so it's healthy too! @wellplated

Happy anniversary apple bread! Here’s to 10 years of baking and eating your apple cinnamon goodness, with many more to come.

Tools I used to make this recipe:

HEY THERE CHARLESTON: As this post goes to press, I’m taking a much needed vacation in Charleston, SC. Although I can’t fit you in my suitcase, I’d love for you to join the fun on Instagram (are you reading this on your phone? Click here!) and on Snapchat too (user name is wellplated. Those reading on a phone, click here). Expect shots of enticing eats, picturesque streets, and even a carriage ride. I can’t wait!

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Apple Bread

A fast, healthy apple bread loaded with cinnamon and fresh apples. So easy, you don’t even need a mixer, and your house will smell like heaven as it bakes!

Yield: 1 8x4-inch loaf (8 slices)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cored, peeled and 1/2-inch diced tart apples, such as Cortland or Granny Smith (about 2 medium)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat white flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons milk, any kind you like (I used skim)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted and roughly chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and lightly coat a 8×4-inch loaf pan with baking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the white whole wheat flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the applesauce, canola oil, milk, sugar, egg, and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then add the wet ingredient all at once. Mix in by hand just until combined. The batter was looking be very thick and stiff. Fold in the apples and walnuts. The batter will be very chunky.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan oaf pan. With the back of a rubber spatula, press and smooth the top so it is mostly flat. Bake for 30 minutes, loosely tent with foil, then bake for 15-20 additional minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack and let cool 10 minutes in pan, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy warm, at room temperature, and/or smeared with butter, peanut butter, or almond butter.

Store leftover apple bread in an airtight container at room temperature for four days or freeze for up to two months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Adapted from Elisabeth’s mom.

// All images and text ©/Well Plated.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 slice

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 245
  • Total Fat: 9g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Cholesterol: 23mg
  • Sodium: 285mg
  • Carbohydrates: 39g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Sugar: 18g
  • Protein: 5g

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

38 comments

  1. I have this baking in the oven now and it smells heavenly! If it tastes half as good as it smells its going in my permanent fall rotation. Thanks, E, E and E’s mom!

  2. I’m so excited that you tried it! Hope you enjoy–it’s like take a big ol’ bite of fall :-) Thanks so much for your comment and Happy October!

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  6. hey girl this looks oh so yummy!

  7. I’m practically drooling over how chock full this bread is of apple chunks and walnuts! I can only imagine how excited college students would be to receive a care package with this sitting inside. I hope you’re having a great vacation!

  8. Love all the apple chunks! I wish I had a slice to go with my coffee!

  9. This bread looks amazing! I love all the apple chunks :) 

  10. its look like chocolate bread :)

  11. OMG this bread is everything!  I love quick breads and am fortunate enough to have a mother that is generous enough to send my quick bread from time to time!  Much better than getting money!

  12. I didn’t have any walnuts, but the bread turned out very nice anyway: tender and moist with a nice hit of cinnamon and soft chunks of apple throughout. I look forward to making it again WITH the walnuts. Thanks for sharing. :)

  13. Can all-purpose flour be used instead?? Do the measurements change at all? Thank you!!

  14. Does this double or triple well?

  15. I’d love the original recipe as well!  This looks delicious and I will be baking it for a Ladies Brunch tomorrow.  Thanks!

  16. Yummy !!! Hope to make this soon !!!!!!!!!! How would the nutritional info change when the walnuts are omitted ?? We have a family member with tree nut allergies …………………………..thanks so much !

    • Hi Doris! If you’d like to calc the nutrition info a different way than I have here, you can do so really easily (and for free!) at myfitnesspal.com. That’s how I calced it originally. You can just plug in the recipe the way you would like to make the bread, and it will give you the information. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  17. I made it and the mixture was crumbly like a cheese cake base 😔 The only thing I did differently was use coconut flour instead of whole wheat flour.

    • Hi Rosalie! The reason this recipe didn’t come out is the substitution of coconut flour. Coconut flour and wheat flour behave VERY differently in recipes and cannot be substituted for one another. Coconut flour is very, very dry and reacts differently with the other ingredients in the bread. If you make this recipe again with wheat flour, it will come out as intended. I hope that helps!

  18. I made this today as a small loaf/muffins and it’s really delicious! The top was almost a little crisp coming out of my oven and I LOVED that on the muffin I sampled. I’m sure I’ll like them just as much when the tops have softened overnight, too. Quickbreads are always great the second day!

    It leans toward a dessert in sweetness than a breakfast/snack loaf, but that’s not a bad thing. ;) And it’s partly my fault — I didn’t have apple sauce so I used a mashed banana (1/2 cup mashed), I used two tablespoons of orange juice instead of two tablespoons of milk to keep it dairy-free, and my apples were not a tart variety. I also used regular (brown) whole wheat flour instead of white/bleached whole wheat; I don’t know if there’s any difference beyond the colour but it certainly worked just fine. I don’t think I’d ever guess these weren’t made with AP flour if I didn’t already know. :)

    • I love quick breads on the second day too Kaya! Thanks so much for trying the recipe and leaving this kind review. For next time, white whole wheat flour has a milder, less “wheaty-y” taste and lighter texture than regular wheat flour, but as you saw with this bread, regular wheat flour works great too!

  19. I am one of the few people who do not like walnuts. I am going to try this recipe with either almonds or pecans. I hope that will work.

  20. Apple cake has a special place in my heart!  The huge chunks make it look sooo gourmet!  I will defnitely try this.

  21. I made this cake last night, I love it! It’s really good :) thanks for the recipe.

  22. I just made this and it smells fabulous! I wanted to omit refined sugar so I used a soggy banana, used cashew pieces (cuz I had them), used a chia egg instead of a real egg, and used one cup of whole oats/breakfast blend and 3/4 cup half whole wheat white flour. I had to bake it an extra 30 minutes b/c the knife test kept coming out a bit wet. I’m chalking it up to the extra moisture in the banana. The top is nice and firm. I put some dehydrated currants in there and they rehydrated beautifully. The bread is very tasty and very moist, not a problem for me but the apples are more of a mushy texture than a dried/bite. I would probably increase my dry ingredients a little bit more next time. But it was plenty sweet and perfect with my morning coffee. Thanks!

  23. I made this a few days ago. I used regular whole wheat, and “00” Italian in place of the wwpastry flour because that’s what I had. I replaced 1/2 of the white sugar with dark brown.  I made a small batch of unsweetened apple sauce and was amazed at how simple and how good it was. I baked it to an internal temperature of 205-208 Fahrenheit. In conclusion this was perfect! Lower in fat and sugar and totally satisfying. I like it even better toasted as the edges caramelize slightly. 
    Thanks,
    Bras

    Rating: 5
    • I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Brad! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your tweaks and leave this nice review!

  24. I have made this recipe more times than I can count over the years. Thank you so much for sharing, it has served me very well and works every time.

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this review! I’m so glad to hear the recipe is a winner for you. :)

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