This super moist, tender apple bread recipe is the perfect treat for fall. Sprinkled and swirled with cinnamon and sugar, it's a warm and flavorful quick bread that you'll make year after year.
The best moist and tender quick bread
What I imagined would be a tasty alternative to other seasonal quick breads quickly rose to my absolute favorite fall baking recipe thus far. I'm talking about this cinnamon-spiced apple bread, which I'm pretty sure will reach the top of your "Best of Baked Goods" list just as it has mine.
Not only is it packed with apple flavor and warm fall spices, but it's also incredibly tender thanks to the high water content of apples and the addition of sour cream and oil to the batter, adding plenty of richness and moisture. And as if that weren't enough, a generous layer of cinnamon-sugar sprinkled both in the center of the bread and on top before baking give it an almost apple cider doughnut-like quality. Plus, it makes your kitchen smell absolutely heavenly.
A quick look at why you'll love it
This apple cinnamon bread has so many delightful features that make it a fantastic fall treat. It has...
- TONS OF SEASONAL FLAVOR. It's packed with fresh apples, cinnamon, and warm pumpkin pie spices that make it perfect for a crisp autumn day.
- PERFECT TEXTURE. The bread stays moist, rich, and tender while the cinnamon-sugar lend a slight crunch after baking up on top of the bread.
- EASY TO MAKE. You don't have to be a baking pro for this quick bread to come out perfectly. There's no kneading or yeast to fuss with-- just pantry staples and a simple batter!
The winning ingredients
Choosing the right ingredients is key to getting the classic apple bread flavor and tender crumb you want. Here's how each ingredient contributes:
- Apples. Use fresh apples, peeled and diced very small or grated. This helps them soften into the bread and distribute flavor in every bite. Go for baking apples like Honeycrisp or Pink Lady over mealier types, or even better, use a mixture for a variety of tanginess and texture.
- Granulated and brown sugars. Using a mix of sugars provides better flavor and texture to the finished loaf.
- Cinnamon sugar. A mix of granulated sugar and cinnamon bakes into a delightful crunchy topping.
- Pumpkin pie spices. Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice add warmth.
- Sour cream and oil. The combo of sour cream and a neutral-flavored oil keep the bread lusciously moist.
- Flour, baking soda, baking powder. Whether you consider this recipe more of an apple cake or an apple bread is debatable, but either way, you need a crumbed base. Flour will provide structure while baking soda and baking powder give the necessary rise.
Why small pieces matter
Many apple bread recipes call for large chunks of apple which are mixed into the cinnamon sugar layer. However, this recipe calls for finely diced apple or even grated apple. Why bother with the extra hassle?
The answer is simple: uniformity. With this recipe, every piece of apple is cooked through, the moisture is evenly dispersed throughout, and you get apple flavor with every bite. And you still get great contrast of flavor and texture from the cinnamon-sugar swirled interior and coated crust.
To make finely chopping your apple a bit easier if you're not a pro in the knife skills department, try using this easy vegetable chopper or a good box grater. Or you can even use a food processor with a grating blade.
How to make apple bread
With just a few simple steps you can have delicious homemade apple bread baking up:
- DO THE PREP WORK. Preheat the oven to 350, peel, core and finely dice or grate the apples, make the cinnamon sugar topping, and grease and line the loaf pan.
- WHISK WET AND DRY SEPARATELY. Combine all of your dry ingredients like the flour, spices, and the leavening agents. Then in a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients like eggs, sugars, sour cream, oil.
- BRING IT ALL TOGETHER. Fold the wet into the dry, being careful not to overmix. Once a mostly lump-free batter has formed, fold in the apples.
- LAYER AND BAKE. Fill the prepared loaf pan with half of the batter, then sprinkle over half of the cinnamon sugar. Top with the remaining batter, then the remaining cinnamon sugar. Use a knife to swirl, if desired, and then bake until cooked through.
As always, this section is just meant to give you a brief overview. The exact steps and details for this apple cinnamon bread recipe can be found in the recipe card towards the bottom of the post!
To swirl or not to swirl?
As mentioned above, you can opt not to swirl the cinnamon sugar. If you choose not to, you'll have more distinct, visible layers like you can see in this pumpkin bread recipe. But if you do, you'll have what's more akin to tiny pockets of sweet cinnamon flavor, and a more rustic appearance. Which version you prefer is entirely up to your preference!
Tips for success
- Use room temperature eggs.
- Avoid over-mixing once adding apples.
- Use a toothpick to check for doneness.
- Let cool fully before slicing.
Storing and freezing
This bread will stay fresh at room temperature wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or stored in a zip top bag for 3-5 days.
For longer storage, you can freeze slices or the whole loaf. Allow the bread to cool completely before freezing, and then wrap well in plastic wrap and then foil. The bread can be frozen for 2-3 months - just thaw at room temperature when ready to enjoy.Print