Cinnamon, spice, and all the fall feels are baked up together in this moist, healthy Apple Bread made with fresh apples and applesauce.

Moist and healthy apple bread with fresh apples and walnuts cut into slices on parchment paper

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As soon as the wind gets chilly and leaves begin to turn (or sometimes before they do), I plan an apple picking trip to our local orchard.

Inevitably, I come home with way beyond the reasonable amount of apples for a single household.

Equally inevitably, my husband Ben just looks at me, and asks (as if this is the first time this has happened) what are you going to do with all of those?

HELLO APPLE BREAD.

a slice of moist apple bread with fresh apple chunks on a parchment paper

Packed to the max with cinnamon, walnuts, and juicy apple chunks, this loaded apple bread (along with these Apple Carrot Muffins) is as much an annual tradition as apple picking itself.

This recipe originally was from my friend Elisabeth’s mom, and I’ve been baking it every fall for the last 10+ years.

Below you’ll find a version with my healthy tweaks. It’s nothing short of stellar!

5 Star Review

“I have probably made this recipe 10+ times during this fall for family, friends, neighbors, small get togethers, etc. It is always such a hit!”

— Catherine —

The Best Loaded Apple Bread from Scratch

Like this classic Gluten Free Apple Crisp, this apple cinnamon bread recipe is special.

  • It is stuffed nearly to the point of falling apart with BIG apples and toasted walnuts. The apple situation here is loud and proud.
  • It doubles down on apple flavor thanks to the addition of applesauce. Call me a purist, but I’m not a fan of recipes that fail to deliver on the flavor promise their name implies. When something is called APPLE bread (or Fresh APPLE Cake) , I expect there to be the lovely flavor of apple in every bite.
  • This is a healthy apple bread compared to most. The applesauce replaces most of the oil and it reduces the need for excess added sugar.
  • It’s made with white whole wheat flour for some whole grain goodness.
a loaf of crunchy cinnamon apple bread on parchment paper and a wood serving board

How to Make Apple Bread

This quick and easy bread is PACKED, nearly to the breaking point, with apple chunks and walnut pieces and topped with a crunchy cinnamon-sugar topping.

Once you try a bite, you won’t want it any other way.


The Ingredients

  • Apples. The star of the show! This bread contains a full TWO CUPS of apples, which is a lot more than you find in most standard apple bread recipes.

Ingredient Note

Wondering what apples are used for bread?

Like with these Baked Apple Slices, you can use any variety of crisp baking apples for this recipe.

A few excellent apples for baking are Honeycrisp, Cortland, and Granny Smith.

  • Applesauce. This moist apple bread uses applesauce to replace nearly all of the oil. (If you’re feeling ambitious, try this recipe with some homemade Crockpot Applesauce.)
  • White Whole Wheat Flour. Higher in fiber and protein than white flour, and it tastes so mild, you’ll never suspect the swap.

Substitution Tip!

Readers have reported success swapping white whole wheat flour for whole wheat pastry flour, all purpose flour, or a 50/50 blend of regular whole wheat and all purpose flour.

a sliced loaf of fresh apple bread with raw sugar and fresh apple pieces
  • Walnuts. Be sure to toast them first. It’s an extra step but SO worth it. You’ll notice a much richer flavor and better, crisper texture.

Substitution Tip!

You can also swap the walnuts for pecans or omit them entirely if you’d like the apple bread nut-free.

  • Cinnamon. Apples and cinnamon are life partners, and I have no intention of separating the two, so apple cinnamon bread we shall bake.
  • Sugar. The original recipe called for nearly a full cup, which I found to be a bit too sweet. I’ve pared it down here significantly. As the recipe reviews report, it’s perfectly scrumptious with the lesser amount.

Dietary Note

Looking for gluten free apple bread? While I have not tried the recipe with gluten free flour, you could experiment by swapping the white whole wheat flour for your favorite gluten free 1-to-1 baking blend.

If you try this, I would love to know your results in the comments below.

The Directions

toasted walnuts on a sheet pan
  1. Toast the walnuts. STAY NEARBY! Nuts can burn easily.
flour, spices, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl
  1. Combine your dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
eggs, milk, applesauce, and oil in a mixing bowl
  1. Using a separate bowl, whisk together your wet ingredients until smooth.
a mixing bowl with apple bread batter
  1. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix them until just combined.

TIP!

Don’t overdo the mixing or you’ll end up with tough bread. As soon as the flour disappears, it’s good to go.

fresh apple chucks folded into apple bread batter
  1. Fold the apples and walnuts into the batter next.
apple bread batter with fresh apples and walnuts spread in a loaf pan
  1. Pour your batter into the loaf pan, and smooth the top. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar filling over the batter like fairy dust.
  2. Bake apple bread at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes, tent the bread with aluminum foil, and then bake for 20 additional minutes.

TIP!

You know apple bread is done baking when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Better yet: take its temperature. When an instant-read thermometer registers 195-200 degrees F, it’s done.

a pan of freshly baked cinnamon apple bread from scratch
  1. Let the bread cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, and then set it out on a wire rack to cool completely. Finally, grab a big slice (or four) and ENJOY!

Topping Apple Bread

  • For serving, I love a slice warmed up and smeared with apple butter (especially this Slow Cooker Apple Butter), a nut butter like almond butter or peanut butter, or a touch of softened regular butter.
  • It’s also delicious alongside or even topped with Greek yogurt, either plain or vanilla (sometimes I sprinkle the yogurt with more cinnamon for good measure).
a thick slice of cinnamon apple bread with fresh apples on a plate with walnuts

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Store leftover apple bread in an airtight storage container or ziptop bag at room temperature for up to four days.
  • To Freeze. Place your baked apple bread in an airtight storage container or ziptop bag in the freezer for up to two months. I also love to wrap and freeze individual slices for on-demand breakfast portions.
  • To Reheat. Let the bread thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. Place your apple bread on a baking sheet or wrap in aluminum foil, and warm in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes or until warmed through. (Or if you are in a big hurry, the microwave works well too.)
a moist slice of healthy apple bread with walnuts and fresh apple chunks

Recipe Variations

If you’d like to change it up—say you’re overrun with apples and on your third loaf in a week—and want to add a bit of extra flair, here are a few easy additions.

  • Dutch Apple Bread. Start with this apple bread recipe, then add a cinnamon streusel topping and glaze! For the streusel topping, combine 1/4 cup brown sugar, 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon in a small mixing bowl. Mix with a fork. Next, add in 2 tablespoons of softened, cubed butter and use your fingers or a fork to blend with the sugar mixture until small clumps form. Spread the topping evenly over the apple bread batter and bake as directed. While the bread is baking, whisk together 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons milk or cream. When the bread is finished baking and has cooled completely, drizzle the glaze mixture over the top.
  • Snickerdoodle Apple Bread. Swap the walnuts for 3/4 cups of cinnamon baking chips (inspired by this classic Snickerdoodle Bread).
  • Amish Apple Bread. This recipe is VERY similar to Amish Apple Bread recipes I found online (just made with healthier ingredients). Be sure to add the cinnamon sugar topping. Most Amish Apple Bread recipes yield two loaves, so I recommend doubling this recipe, then giving the second loaf to a friend. 
  • Caramel Apple Bread. Simply add a drizzle of this Apple Cider Caramel Sauce over a slice (or two) of the apple bread.

What to Serve with Apple Bread

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

  • Chef’s Knife. Use its high quality steel blade to uniformly chop the apples into chunks.
  • Mixing Bowl Set. I use this set of glass nesting bowls almost daily. They’re durable and dishwasher-safe.
  • Loaf Pan. Invest in a quality loaf pan so you can make this apple bread and this Healthy Pumpkin Bread all autumn long.

The Best Loaf Pan

The durable steel material allows for even heat distribution, and its non-stick surface is ideal for easy hand-washing.

Moist and healthy apple bread with fresh apples and walnuts cut into slices on parchment paper

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought!

Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is My Apple Bread so Dense?

Apple bread tends to be dense when it was overmixed before baking. For best results, mix only until the flour is just incorporated into the other ingredients. This bread does have some heft to it, but in a good, nourishing way.

Is Apple Bread Healthy?

Yes! This recipe for healthy apple bread is reduced sugar, reduced fat, and made with white whole wheat flour, making it more nutritious than other apple bread recipes.

Does Apple Bread Contain Yeast?

No. This apple bread recipe does not contain yeast. It is a quick bread that depends on baking soda as a leavening agent. For an apple bread with yeast, see this Apple Honey Challah.

Moist and healthy apple bread with fresh apples and walnuts cut into slices on parchment paper

Apple Bread

4.98 from 34 votes
A moist, healthy apple bread with fresh apples, walnuts, and applesauce that's the perfect fall dessert or sweet treat for breakfast.

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 1 hr

Servings: 10 slices (one 4×8 inch loaf)

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup walnut halves raw
  • 2 cups tart apples cored, peeled, and 1/4-inch diced, 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 or light olive oil or melted, cooled coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons milk any kind you like (I used skim)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For Topping (Optional)

  • 1 tablespoon sparkling sugar or turbinado (coarse, raw) sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and lightly coat an 8×4-inch loaf pan with baking spray. Set aside.
  • Spread the walnuts in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake until toasted and fragrant, about 8 to 12 minutes, stirring once throughout. DO NOT WALK AWAY during the last few minutes and set a timer. Nuts love to burn the very moment you stop watching. Transfer to a cutting board. Once cool enough to handle, roughly chop and set aside.
  • 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.
  • 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 will look very thick and stiff.
  • Fold in the apples and walnuts. It will be hard to do because the batter is so thick. Use a rubber spatula and smush and push it around gently but firmly as needed. Distribute the apples and walnuts as evenly as you can.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. With the back of a rubber spatula, press and smooth the top so it is mostly flat. For the cinnamon sugar topping, stir the cinnamon and coarse sugar together in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the batter.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, loosely tent with foil, then bake for 20 additional minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean without any wet batter clinging to it.* Place on a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.

Notes

  • *Quick bread can be hard to judge; the best way is to take its temperature with an instant-read thermometer. When the bread hits 195 to 200 degrees F, it’s done.
  • TO STORE: Leftover apple bread can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for four days.
  • TO FREEZE: Apple bread can be frozen for up to two months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
  • TO REHEAT: Place your apple bread on a baking sheet or wrap in aluminum foil, and warm in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes or until warmed through. (Or if you are in a big hurry, the microwave works well too.)

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 10) slicesCalories: 194kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 4gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 17mgPotassium: 94mgFiber: 3gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 49IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 29mgIron: 1mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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123 Comments

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  1. Is the recipe missing baking powder? I made mine and it tastes amazing, but it didn’t rise like yours. 

    1. Hi Erin, the ingredients listed have worked well for me (and many other readers), so I’m not sure what might’ve happened. I’m glad you still enjoyed the flavor!

    1. Hi Kathy! I think the 9×5 pan will work fine, but be sure to check it early, as it will probably bake more quickly. I hope you enjoy it!

  2. A total winner! I cut back the sugar a tiny bit but otherwise  made it as written. I used half Honeycrisp and half Gala apples. I am a walnut fanatic in baked goods and all those big chunky apples! A keeper. Thanks Erin5 stars

  3. I don’t usually comment on recipes but I LOVE this recipe!!! I found the recipe a month or two ago and have made it probably 10 times. I can’t have walnuts so I usually put in dried cranberries or raisins instead. I put a few shakes of nutmeg and allspice in too. Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe!5 stars

  4. I made this recipe the other day. It is good but I will say I found it to be more cake like than bread. Reason for my four star rating. Flavor wise, it was very good, not too sweet, just that right amount. But we all agreed to try this next time as a dessert item, perhaps even in an 8”x8” or small pie pan. Recipe wise, easy to follow directions given. It does take a long while to bake. So, as directed, I found checking that internal temp a necessity. 
    Thanks for sharing your Autumn recipe!4 stars

    1. Kathy, this bread definitely has a sturdy crumb and some sweetness; I find it less sweet than many other “breads” out there, but to each their own. I’m glad you enjoyed it which is the most important thing!

  5. My goodness that recipe is delicious! I substituted the sugar for monk fruit sweetener and the applesauce for two ripe bananas. We served it with a small scoop of low sugar ice cream and some whipped cream (after warming it in the microwave) great treat for my diabetic husband. Can’t wait to enjoy a slice with my coffee. My grandmother in law used to make a delicious apple cake which I tried to make twice and it never came out like hers but this is almost similar. Thank you so much for this recipe.5 stars

  6. I made this yesterday and boy was it amazing. I added 2 tablespoons of vanilla yogurt cause i thought my batter was a little to think and I also cut the sugar in half and boy was it amazing. Me and my family demolished all of it in less than 5 minutes.5 stars

  7. This bread is so easy to make and absolutely DELICIOUS! I made a second loaf this evening to drop off to my apple-loving parents tomorrow as a surprise :)5 stars

  8. Really delicious and easy to follow, thank you. Have a tonne of apples to use up so as soon as I’ve finished eating this loaf I’ll probably just start again!5 stars

  9. I have probably made this recipe 10+ times during this fall- for family, friends, neighbors, small get together a etc. It is always such a hit!! I usually end up having to lower my oven temp and cook it for 10-15 minutes longer but it’s so worth it. I also cut the sugar down to 1/4 cup. My husband has said this bread is now one of my hallmark recipes.5 stars

  10. Can these be made in muffin form? If so, does there need to be a change in baking temperature or time? Thank you kindly!

    1. Hi Lynn! While I have not made this recipe into muffins, other readers have reported success with it. Make sure to check your muffins much earlier, as they will cook much faster than the loaf of bread would. When a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, they’re done. I hope you love the recipe!

  11. I LOVE your recipes Erin!!! Can I get your opinion on if I would need any sugar if I used apples that are not tart? Thank you kindly!

    1. Hi Lynn! When I made some healthy changes to the recipe, I already cut down on the sugar quite a bit, so I’m not sure what to recommend to sub for that. Another reader used a ripe banana in place of the sugar, so you might try that! I haven’t attempted it myself, so it’d be an experiment.

  12. It’s great bread! I did a mix of Whole Wheat Pastry flour and All Purpose flour, reduced the sugar to five tablespoons (and it would also be good with a little less), and I didn’t use the tinfoil on top, which made the recipe zero waste as well! Just a reminder to always check quick breads/muffins with a knife or fork to see if they’re cooked inside, because sometimes they take longer than the recipe says they will to finish cooking. THANK YOU for this amazing apple bread recipe! I’ll have to make more soon.5 stars

  13. I skipped the sugar and used 2 tbsp of maple syrup instead. And used all purpose white flour, and almond milk (all I had on hand).
    I think I could’ve used more maple syrup or more sweetener as it was a little bland. somehow party way through the mixing, I got scared of how much apple chunks I was adding so I didn’t add as much (it wasnt until the video that I saw how many apple chunks you used). I wish I put the full 2 medium apples worth of chunks in there. Oh well. The texture came out perfect though!!

    I will definitely remake and add more sweetener and the full apple amount. Really easy to make too!5 stars

    1. Hi Elissa! I’ve not tested this out with stevia so I wouldn’t be able to advise. If you decide to experiment, let me know how it goes!

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