Easy homemade from scratch, this apple quick bread has amazing apple flavor and a streusel top. Great for snacks, breakfast, or gifts. Just follow the easy step-by-step photo instructions.
I always try to do as many recipes for apples as possible in the fall since fresh off the tree is as good as it gets. Apple Bread, AKA Apple Pie bread, is a special treat I have had over the years, but I have never made my own.
Most apple bread recipes go back to a common root of Better Homes and Gardens Apple Pie Bread. Here is my take on a classic recipe with some minor changes, expanded detailed instructions, and using my favorite streusel top.
Many recipes called "apple pie bread" had chunks of apple or apple pie filling. This variation is more in line with the "apple bread" recipes, so I changed the name to more accurately reflect the recipe.
👨🍳How to make this recipe
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Prep a loaf pan with butter and flour coating.
- Combing softened butter, eggs, milk, vanilla, and brown sugar.
- Beat until creamy in a stand mixer or electric mixer.
- Combine dry ingredients.
- Shred 2 cups of apples. Two large apples will probably be enough.
- Mix topping.
- Combine dry and wet ingredients and add the shredded apples.
- Pour into the prepared loaf pan.
- Bake until the toothpick comes out clean—about one hour.
- Cool before cutting.
🍎Ingredients for this recipe
What Apples to Use?
There seems to be confusion about what apple to use for this or that. I believe it is more a matter of individual taste. Granny Smith and Gala apples are both excellent choices. Cortland, Ida Red, Honey Crisp, or Roma also work well.
But really, the apples you love and have in the house are usually the best choice for you. I do suggest avoiding Red Delicious or Macintosh.
Spices for Apple Bread
Nutmeg: The suggested nutmeg in the original recipe was ½ teaspoon. That is very heavy in taste. I recommend ¼ teaspoon.
Cinnamon: I'm an admitted cinnamon lover. I usually double the cinnamon for our personal use. When I publish a recipe, I give a more normal amount. This recipe calls for ½ teaspoon. I usually use a full teaspoon.
Vanilla: Real vanilla is much better than the cheaper imitation stuff. You will have that bottle for a long time. Buy the good stuff.
Shredding the apples will release the juices for more flavor and help the apple stay distributed throughout the bread. Chopped apples will tend to drop to the bottom of the pan.
Generally, I use a box grater for this. Use the large shredding holes. I'm too lazy to get out, set up, and clean a food processor for one minute of work.
Baking powder that contains aluminum can leave a metallic after-taste for many people (my wife and I included.) You will see aluminum-free and regular baking powder next to each other at the exact cost. The aluminum-free will usually have a label on the front.
"Standard" loaf pan size is 8-½ x 4-½ x 2-½ inches, but there are many sizes of loaf pans. A small pan will take longer to cook due to its thickness, and a larger pan will take faster due to the loaf being thinner. As always, do not cook by time alone. Ovens differ—Cook to an endpoint, not time.
Store like it was banana bread, which means well sealed at room temperature for 3-4 days.
You can freeze apple bread for 2-3 months. I suggest cutting them into slices and wrapping them individually before freezing them.
This recipe is listed in these categories. See them for more similar recipes.
🖼️Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Prep a loaf pan with butter and flour coating. About 9 by 5 works well.
In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, add one stick (½ cup), softened butter, two eggs, ¼ cup milk, one cup of brown sugar, and one teaspoon vanilla. Beat until creamy.
In a separate bowl, combine 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and ¼ - ½ teaspoon nutmeg.
Peel and shred two large apples. You need about 2 cups of shredded apple. Add another apple or two If your apples are smaller.
Mix topping with 2 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon.
Slowly combine dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Then add in shredded apple and mix.
Add to floured loaf pan.
Add the topping. Bake at 350° until a toothpick comes out clean or the internal temperature is 200°—about 1 hour.
Cool before cutting.
Easy Apple Bread from Scratch
- ½ cup butter
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder - alunimum-free
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ - ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 apples - large shredded - about 2 cups
- 1 cup walnuts or pecans - optional
- ½ cup raisins - optional
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 3 tablespoon flour
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Prep a loaf pan with butter and flour coating. Try to use a pan of about 9 by 5.
- In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, add one stick (½ cup) of softened butter, two eggs, ¼ cup milk, 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until creamy.
- In a separate bowl, combine 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and ¼-1/2 teaspoon nutmeg.,
- Peel and shred two large apples. You need about 2 cups of shredded apple. Add another apple or two If your apples are smaller.
- Mix topping 2 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon.
- Slowly combine dry ingredients into the wet ingredients—then add in shredded apple and mix
- Add to floured loaf pan and add topping.
- Bake at 350° until a toothpick comes out clean—about 1 hour.
- Cool before cutting.
Your Own Private Notes
- Granny Smith and Gala apples are both excellent choices. I find Cortland, Ida Red, Honey Crisp, or Roma also work well. But use the apples you have, but I don't like Red Delicious or Macintosh for this.
- You may need more than two apples to get 2 cups of shredded apple depending on size.
- I suggested a 9 by 5 loaf pan. You can use the bit smaller 8 ½ by 4 ½. It will be a bit thicker and take a bit longer to cook. Larger will cook faster.
- Please use aluminum-free baking powder. The other can leave an aftertaste.
- The suggested nutmeg in the original recipe was ½ teaspoon. That is very heavy in taste. I suggest ¼ teaspoon.
- The endpoint of cooking is for a toothpick to come out clean. But you can also check the internal temperature—quick bread is done at 200°.
- Like banana bread, this can be stored at room temperature if sealed well for about 3 days. Freezing should be fine for 2-3 months.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Originally Published October 7, 2014. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.
I have been using a lot of your recipes and have had such great success….
But I must have done something wrong with this one? My husband’s comment was “it tastes like flour”. The 2 apple's did not give much moisture with only 1/4 cup milk. I didn’t take the butter out early enough to soften, so speeded it up in microwave on defrost and it had some melted…not sure if that was cause.
I love all the other recipes I have used?
Dan Mikesell AKA DrDan
Welcome to the blog.
Sorry you had a problem. I thank you diagnosed your problem correctly. It was the amount of apple, if low then there is not enough moisture or taste.
I have reviewed the recipe and I will take part of the responsibility. I buy only big apples and shred them to the core so 2 large apples will provide 2 cups of shredded apples for me usually. Smaller apples may yield a lot less. And older apples may have lost some moisture.
I have modified the text of the recipe to include the 2 cups and suggest another apple or two if needed to get there. Another recipe, the apple cake uses shredded apple also but doesn't depend on the liquid from the apple.
Thanks for the note. As they say, see something, say something.
I’ve made this bread a few times and my husband loves it! Thank you for testing and sharing your tips.
Dr. Dan, do you have any gluten free recipes for apple bread or any other quick breads/ meals. My SIL was diagnosed about a year ago and we camp together frequently and I would like to make something she can eat. Happy fall!
Dan Mikesell AKA DrDan
No. I did some alternative flours in the early days of the blog. They were only OK, got no traffic, I felt there were better ones out there, and I lost interest. There is a cracker recipe https://www.101cookingfortwo.com/parmesan-sesame-crackers/ that is the only one left I think.
Since it is a quick bread not dependent on gluten formation, I suspect some substitutes would work. There are some combination products that seem to get good review.
I found your website last night when I looked up "low calorie biscuits" to see if such a thing exists. I'm making yogurt right now so I'll be trying that soon! But I happened to see this note for apple bread. I have an apple tree and I'm always looking for creative ways to use my tons (not QUITE literally) of apples. I will be trying this soon, as well, although my apples are currently frozen. My tree comes ripe in July and it's October. It's a tart apple and makes wonderful applesauce. You've probably never heard of the type; it's an heirloom apple called Early Strawberry. The tree is probably 60 years old. I hope my frozen apple slices work! Do you have ideas on how to make this lower calorie as well? I know, I ask a lot!
Dan Mikesell AKA DrDan
Welcome to the blog.
First, enjoy the biscuits.
About Early Strawberry apples, my Grandmother had three apple trees picked to provide apples for a long as possible. I believe the first ones (mid-July in Iowa) were strawberry apples. I was not the biggest fan. Small, hard and tart with a thick skin. (that was 60 yrs ago.)
About this bread. 2 to 3 cups of the applesauce should do for the apples. You will need a sweetener of some type and maybe more than normal. I did cut the sugar down from the original recipes. I don't like baking with artificial sweeteners - funny taste. So the sugar needs to stay and perhaps increase some.
You can cut the butter some but I tried cutting it in half and the texture/moisture was poor. Of course, egg whites instead of eggs. So not much you can do the make this healthier.
Sorry I wasn't more helpful. Enjoy the biscuits.
Just found your site. Can't wait to make your apple bread and chicken stew. My husband and I are new empty nesters. Thank you for dinners for 2.
Made twice, used almond milk both times, added chopped pecans to topping and increased cinnamon in topping to 1/2 tsp, and did not peel apples before shredding. In my opinion simple recipe that taste better than Apple pie
For freezing bread slices and other baked goodies: I keep a large box of fold lock top bags for freezing bakery. For bread slice, I bag every other slice of bread and put in bread bag. Squeeze out air and tie shut. I buy my bread bags and bag clips from King Arthur baking site. Cannot wait to make this Apple Bread and your Apple Cake recipe. Here in West-Central TX we have different selection of apples. Never any Roma, McIntosh or Cortland (poor keepers). Granny Smith, Gala, Fuji, Pink Lady and too many Red Delicious. We used to live in WI near apple orchards. We miss the Cortland apple. But TX does grow peaches, apricots and figs.
Dan, this bread looks amazing! I don't think I've ever used shredded apples in my baking, but that's a great idea (and Lilly is adorable!). Love the streusel topping, too!
Thanks for the note. I though the shredded apple worked very well. It kicked up the taste and eliminated the "steam pocket" issue I sometimes get with fresh fruit.
Lilly says thanks also...
Must I Shred the apples? What happens if I use chopped pieces?
A chopped apple should work OK but should be small. Bigger pieces would cause "steam pockets". Most of the other recipes did shredded so I copied. You also could do some of both.
Can't actually rate, until I make however sounds like a 5 star
Thanks for the note(s). Us empty nesters must stick together. Glad many are working well for you.
I have made many of your recipes and find them to be delicious, easy to make snd perfect for empty nesters. This recipe looks great, plan to make tonight to bring to work in am.