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This apple bread recipe is cozy and sweet, with a tender crumb and brown sugar cinnamon swirl. A great baking project for apple season!

apple bread recipe
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Here’s a cozy, fun quick bread to make any time of the year: try this Apple Bread recipe! It’s got a moist, tender crumb, and is bursting with tangy fruit, warm spices, and a brown sugar cinnamon swirl. It’s a total crowd pleaser! Everyone loves this spiced bread, and it makes the kitchen smell incredible. We couldn’t stop sneaking bites!

Ingredients in this apple bread recipe

This apple bread was inspired by a trip to the apple orchard for picking, but since apples are readily available you can make it any time of the year! The cinnamon and nutmeg are ideal for fall and winter baking, but it’s seasonal any time of the year. The magic ingredient is buttermilk, which makes an incredible fluffy tender crumb. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Brown sugar
  • Cinnamon and nutmeg
  • Apples
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Kosher salt
  • Granulated sugar
  • Buttermilk
  • Butter
  • Neutral oil
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract
Apple bread recipe

Best types of apples for bread

What variety of apple is best for baking into a bread recipe? First off, avoid those bright red delicious apples at the store. The ideal variety for apple bread is a firm, crisp tart apple. Crisp tart apples cook well and the tangy tartness accents the sweetness of baked goods. Here are some of the best apples for baking and cooking:

  • Pink Lady
  • Jonathon or Jonagold
  • Granny Smith
  • Fuji

Of course, apple bread will taste great with most types of apples! But if you use a sweeter variety, you won’t get the delightful pop of sweet tart that a crisp tart apple brings.

Apple bread recipe

Secrets to a light and fluffy apple bread

Quick breads can be notoriously dense, dry, or filled with air pockets. But this apple bread recipe has the perfect velvety, soft crumb. Here are a few keys to the texture in this recipe:

  • Use real buttermilk (no substitutes!). Buttermilk is crucial to making a fluffy quick bread with a tender crumb. Don’t be tempted to use even a buttermilk substitute here! It’s got to be the real thing.
  • Use both butter and oil. Butter and oil work uniquely in baked goods. Often we use oil in our quick breads and muffins, but we love the richness in flavor and texture that butter adds.

Tips for baking this apple bread recipe

Apple bread is simple to whip up, but there are a few tricks to getting the best end result. Here’s what to know:

  • Use an aluminum pan (9 x 5 inch). The key to an even bake is in the pan. The best results for a quick bread are with an aluminum pan.
  • For the swirl, insert a butter knife straight down into the dough. Then make a few S shapes across the length of the pan. This swirls the brown sugar cinnamon mixture into the bread, and makes an interesting texture to the top of the bread.
Apple bread recipe

Storage info

How to store it? This apple bread recipe tastes best the day it’s baked, but it holds up well over time!

  • Refrigerator: This bread stores well in the refrigerator for up to 1 week! Let the slices stand at room temperature for a few minutes before eating: it’s not quite as tasty cold.
  • Freeze: Freeze in a sealable container and store up to 3 months.

More apple recipes

This apple bread recipe is one of our top ways to bake with this tasty fruit! Here are a few more apple recipes to try, from breakfast to dessert:

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apple bread recipe

Apple Bread Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 4 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x


This apple bread recipe is cozy and sweet, with a tender crumb and brown sugar cinnamon swirl. A great baking project for apple season!


  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
  • 2 cups sweet tart apples, peeled and diced into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1 pound)
  • 2 cups [280 g] all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup buttermilk*
  • 5 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • ⅓ cup neutral oil (grapeseed, canola, or vegetable oil)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  2. Mix the brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon in a small bowl and reserve it.
  3. Peel and chop the apples into 1/4-inch pieces. Butter a 9 x 5-inch aluminum loaf pan.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon. Make a well in the center.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk the granulated sugar, buttermilk, melted butter, neutral oil, eggs, and vanilla extract.
  6. Pour the wet ingredients from the batter into the well in the dry ingredients. Mix gently until just combined and there are no longer streaks of flour.
  7. Add the apples and fold them in with a spatula, taking care not to overwork the batter.
  8. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with ½ of the brown sugar mixture. Add the remaining batter on top and sprinkle the remaining brown sugar mixture on top. Insert a butter knife into the batter and draw a few S shapes through the pan to swirl. 
  9. Place the pan in the oven. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs, rotating the pan halfway through baking, about 55 to 65 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes. 
  10. Run a knife around the edge and invert the loaf onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool fully to room temperature (about 1 hour) before slicing into pieces. This bread is best the day it’s made, but you can store refrigerated for up to 1 week: make sure to bring to room temperature before enjoying. Alternatively, store frozen for up to 3 months.


*Buttermilk is the magic ingredient which makes the most consistent texture and rise! Don’t be tempted to leave it out or use a buttermilk substitute. It’s worth it (we promise).

  • Category: Baked good
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Baked
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Villasenor - Volosing says:

    I have made this recipe multiple times just like it’s written and it is delicious! My ladies golf club gave it big compliments which is high praise from some great cooks in our group. My hubby loves it too!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      So glad to hear it!

  2. Elaine says:

    Love this recipe. The bread is so moist with a delicious crunchy topping. Am currently baking my 4th one and each one has come out as delicious as the previous one. 😋

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Wow! Amazing. So glad you enjoyed :)

  3. Lee Van says:

    This is great! I made it gluten free and you wouldn’t know it was gluten free. I would give it more than 5* if I could. I did reduce the sugar to 3/4 cup and it was fine that way.

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      We are so glad to hear this! Did you use gluten-free flour or how did you make it GF? Love it!

  4. Yunus says:

    Looking Amaziinnggg

  5. Rita says:

    I’m allergic to dairy. Is a plant based yogurt or kafir acceptable to sub for buttermilk? GF flour also something I need. Will it work?

  6. Faith Evans says:

    This looks like a great recipe! If I want to cut down on the saturated fat, could I substitute applesauce for the melted butter? Or is it better to substitute it for the oil?

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      You could try replacing the butter with applesauce! Also I’d recommend chopping the apples pretty finely because the bread may be slightly more fragile with applesauce and the apple chunks can case it to fall apart. Good luck!

      1. Rebecca G says:

        Would instant powdered buttermilk work for this recipe?

        1. Sonja Overhiser says:

          This should work! The ratio is 1/4 cup powder + 1 cup milk or water = 1 cup buttermilk. So in this recipe you could try 3 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup milk or water. Let us know how it goes!