Is there anything better than a loaf of soft, sweet, and cinnamony bread? We don’t think so! This healthy apple cinnamon bread is a perfect breakfast for crisp fall mornings. Packed with fresh apples, whole wheat flour, and a touch of cinnamon, this quick and easy apple cinnamon loaf is the quintessential taste of autumn!
Is this apple cinnamon bread healthy?
The key nutrients that make this apple cinnamon bread recipe healthier than store bought varieties are whole wheat flour, fresh apples, and less sugar than leading brands.
Whole Wheat Flour
Whole wheat flour is a good source of fiber, B vitamins, Vitamin E, trace minerals, and phytochemicals. Replacing refined grains (i.e. white flour) with whole grains (i.e. whole wheat flour) may reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer (1).
Does an apple a day keep the doctor away? It certainly can help! Apples contain prebiotic fibers which support good gut health (2). Apples also contain phytochemicals such as quercetin and catechin which may play roles in cancer and cardiovascular disease prevention. For most nutrition, leave the peel on (3).
Less Added Sugar
High sugar consumption is not good for health, and in general, most Americans eat way too much. Men should aim to consume less than 9 teaspoons (~36 grams) of sugar per day, and women should aim to consume less than 6 teaspoons (~24 grams) of sugar per day (4). Each slice of apple cinnamon bread in this recipe has 3 teaspoons (12 grams) of added sugar. Reducing the brown sugar to ½ cup would result in 2 teaspoons (8 grams) of added sugar per slice.
Do you have a good set of nested mixing bowls? If not, we recommend purchasing some; you’ll need two bowls for this recipe!
This spatula is one of Chef V’s favorite kitchen utensils. It’s perfect for mixing the batter together!
If you have young kids or picky eaters in your home, dice the apples into smaller pieces.
Don’t peel the apples! Not only does it make the bread more nutritious, but it also cuts down the number of steps – less work for you!
Measure the flour properly to prevent dense bread. Fluff, spoon, and level; don’t scoop and pack!
Whisking the dry ingredients together mimics sifting and evenly distributes the ingredients, so don’t substitute another utensil.
Why add the diced apple to the dry ingredients? It helps to ensure they are evenly distributed throughout the bread, although we have found it might not make as big of a difference in this recipe.
Don’t overmix the batter! Watch our muffin method culinary technique video to learn how to mix the batter just enough so that you end up with light and fluffy bread.
When measuring brown sugar, pack it in the cup. If you are trying to reduce your sugar consumption or prefer less sweet bread, reduce the sugar to ½ cup; the recipe will still come out great!
If your oven runs hot, check the bread for doneness after 45 minutes.
- Whole Wheat Flour: use white whole flour or whole wheat pastry flour for a lighter taste, color, and texture. To make this apple cinnamon bread gluten-free, use a gluten-free flour mix. We have had good success with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour.
- All Purpose Flour: substitute white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour.
- Cinnamon: substitute pumpkin pie spice.
- Apples: diced fresh pears would make a great substitution. If you want to make this apple cinnamon bread with applesauce, use ½ cup applesauce, just 1 egg, and only 2 Tablespoons oil.
- Buttermilk: substitute plain yogurt (not Greek), kefir, or sour cream. You can also make your own buttermilk by mixing ½ cup milk with ½ Tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice.
- Eggs: to make this apple cinnamon bread vegan, substitute the eggs with flax eggs. To make one flax egg, mix 1 Tablespoon of ground flaxseeds with 3 Tablespoons of water and let it rest for 10 minutes. Eggs help leaven the bread, so a vegan version might not be quite as fluffy.
- Canola Oil: substitute avocado oil. Do not substitute olive oil, as this has a strong flavor. Do not substitute vegetable oil, as this is not a heart-healthy oil.
Turn this into a high fiber cinnamon bread by adding ¼ cup ground flaxseed (flaxseed mill) to the dry ingredients, topping the batter with raw pumpkin seeds, or using only whole wheat flour. If using only whole wheat flour, we recommend using white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour. You can also add toasted pumpkin seeds, toasted walnut or pecan pieces, dried cranberries, and/or raisins for added nutrition, texture, and flavor. Add these ingredients in with the diced apples.
Want to make mini apple cinnamon bread loaves? Prepare mini bread loaves with parchment paper or non-stick spray and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
This batter works for muffins too! To make apple cinnamon muffins, prepare a 12-cup muffin pan with muffin liners or non-stick spray. Use a portion scoop to divide out the batter. Cook for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. The diced apples will stay firmer in muffins because muffins take less time to cook. If you enjoy a softer apple bite, dice the apple into smaller pieces so they cook faster, or simmer them in a saucepan with a little water before using.
We doubt you’ll be able to resist slicing a warm piece of this cinnamon bread when it’s fresh out of the oven! Enjoy on its own for a satisfying snack, as a tasty treat after lunch, or topped with almond butter for a balanced breakfast.
Because this is a moist cinnamon apple bread, it will spoil more quickly at room temperature. Store the bread in a bag or container at room temperature for a couple of days or in the refrigerator for up to one week. Make sure the bread is entirely cool before storing.
Want to make a batch of this healthy apple bread for later? This bread is great for the freezer! Once cooked, cool completely, wrap, then store in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months. You can also freeze in slices for a quick single-serve option. When ready to eat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Want more recipes like this easy apple bread recipe?
Check out some of our other favorite whole grain recipes!
This healthy apple cinnamon bread is packed with apples, whole wheat flour, and a touch of cinnamon – a perfect breakfast for crisp fall mornings!
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 medium or 1 large apple (~2 cups)
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare a 9×5 bread loaf pan with nonstick spray or parchment paper.
In a large bowl, gently whisk whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Add diced apples to flour mixture. Toss until evenly coated.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, buttermilk, eggs, oil, and vanilla.
Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture. Using a spatula, fold ingredients just until moistened. Do not overmix.
Pour batter into the prepared bread loaf pan. Bake 50-55 minutes or until slightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Enjoy!
Dice apples into smaller pieces for younger kids or picky eaters.
To prevent dense bread, measure the flour and brown sugar properly, use a whisk to combine the dry ingredients, and follow the muffin method when stirring the batter together.