Recipes > Breakfast > Whole Wheat Quick Bread Base Recipe

Whole Wheat Quick Bread Base Recipe

The key ingredients that make this quick bread recipe healthier than store bought varieties are whole wheat flour, fruits and/or vegetables, and less sugar than leading brands.
whole wheat quick bread in a ceramic pan on hot pads with pumpkin seeds and craisins

This is one of our base recipes. Is there anything better than a loaf of warm, spicy, and fluffy bread? We don’t think so! This whole wheat quick bread base recipe teaches you the correct ratios of ingredients, then allows you to adjust the ingredients to YOUR taste! Packed with fresh and dried fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts, and a touch of spice, this basic quick bread recipe is quickly going to become a staple in your house!

Three Must Know Cooking Skills

For recipe success, learn how to:

Culinary Tips for this Simple Quick Bread Recipe

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.

Add the dried fruit, nuts, seeds, or chocolate chips after whisking the dry ingredients to ensure even distribution.

Add shredded or pureed fruits or vegetables with the liquid ingredients.

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 quick 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 ⅓ cup; the recipe will still come out great!

If your oven runs hot, check the bread for doneness after 45 minutes. To check for doneness, insert a toothpick into the middle of the loaf. If it comes out clean, it’s done! If it’s not done but the top of the loaf is getting too dark, loosely cover with a piece of foil and return to the oven. 

The type of loaf pan will impact cook time. Dark metal pans will cook bread faster than ceramic pans. If you cook the bread in an 8×8 pan or on a baking sheet, baking time will decrease. Start with 25 minutes, then cook until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the pan comes out clean.

Ingredient Substitutions

  • White Whole Wheat Flour: substitute whole wheat pastry flour or spelt flour for a similar taste, color, and texture. You can also substitute 1 cup whole wheat flour and ½ cup all-purpose flour. Don’t substitute all regular whole wheat flour, as the bread will come out dense and grainy. To make gluten-free quick bread, use a gluten-free flour mix, such as Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Flour.
  • Spices: use cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, apple pie spice, ginger, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, or a combination. Some spices, like cloves, are stronger than others, so adjust quantities as appropriate; 1 teaspoon of pure cloves would be too much!
  • Kosher Salt: We use Morton kosher salt. If using Diamond Crystal kosher salt, use ¾  teaspoon. If you use table salt, use slightly less than ½ teaspoon. 
  • Shredded or Pureed Fruits or Vegetables: use any combination of shredded or pureed fruits and vegetables. Shredded zucchini, shredded carrots, mashed ripe bananas, canned pumpkin, or pureed butternut squash are all great options. Unsweetened applesauce works too, but it has a very high moisture content, so reduce to 3/4 cup.
  • Buttermilk: substitute plain yogurt, Greek yogurt, kefir, or sour cream. You can also make your own buttermilk by mixing ½ cup milk or milk alternative with ½ Tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice.
  • Brown Sugar: substitute cane sugar or coconut sugar, but note that the flavor will be slightly different. You can also substitute up to half of the brown sugar with maple syrup, agave, honey, or molasses.
  • 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. 
  • Eggs: to make a vegan quick bread recipe, substitute the eggs with flax eggs. To make two flax eggs, mix 2 Tablespoons ground flaxseeds with 6 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.

Recipe Variations

Remember that this is a base recipe, so the goal is for you to customize it to your taste! Keep it simple or spruce it up!

Use these additional ingredients for even more flavor and texture.

  • Dark Chocolate Chips: substitute mini or semi-sweet chocolate chips for best flavor. We don’t recommend using milk or white chocolate, as these are not generally healthy options.
  • Unsweetened Coconut
  • Dried Fruit: use any dried fruit – raisins, chopped figs, cranberries, cherries, and dried blueberries all work well. If using larger fruits such as dried apricots, figs, or prunes, dice into smaller pieces before adding.
  • Nuts or Seeds: chopped or sliced walnuts, almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, or even flax seeds provide great texture and nutrition. Toast nuts before adding for even better flavor.
  • Old Fashioned Oats: substitute quick oats. Don’t use steel cut oats, as these have to be cooked in water for digestibility.
  • Vanilla Extract: substitute almond, coconut, or lemon extract.
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Lemon or Orange Zest

Want to make mini whole wheat loaves? Prepare mini loaf pans with parchment paper or non-stick spray and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

For a boost in flavor and texture, top the bread with a streusel crumble.

This batter works for whole wheat muffins too! To make muffins, prepare a 12-cup muffin pan with 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. 

Want some quick bread recipe inspiration?

Check out these variations, then have fun exploring other flavors, ingredients, and textures to YOUR taste! 

Equipment Recommendations

Use these kitchen tools for recipe success:

Find all of our favorite kitchen tools here!

Is this a Healthy Quick Bread Recipe?

Many pre-made breads or store bought mixes contain way too much added sugar. Some even contain up to or even more than your daily allowance of sugar – yikes! The key ingredients that make this quick bread recipe healthier than store bought varieties are whole wheat flour, fruits and/or vegetables, 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 phytonutrients. 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.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables provide fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Consuming a variety of natural colors is ideal. Incorporating vegetables into a breakfast, snack, or dessert recipe is an easy way to help you meet your daily vegetable needs!

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. Each muffin in this recipe has ~2 teaspoons (8 grams) of added sugar. 

Learn more about health benefits of different foods and ingredients in our book, To Your Taste!

Serving Suggestions for Quick Bread

We doubt you’ll be able to resist slicing a warm piece of this whole wheat bread when it’s fresh out of the oven! Enjoy on its own for a satisfying snack or dessert, topped with almond butter for a balanced breakfast, or as a tasty treat after lunch.

Storage Tips for Homemade Quick Bread

Because this is a moist bread, it will spoil more quickly at room temperature. Store the bread in a bag or airtight 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 whole wheat bread recipe 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 individual slices for quick single-serve options. When ready to eat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator or warm individual servings in the toaster or microwave.

Want more healthy whole grain recipes?

Try out these favorites, and as always, adjust to YOUR taste!

Overnight Oats Base Recipe

Whole Grain Pancakes Base Recipe

Baked Oatmeal Cups Base Recipe

Homemade Granola Base Recipe

whole wheat quick bread in a ceramic pan on hot pads with pumpkin seeds and craisins

Whole Wheat Quick Bread Base Recipe

This is one of our base recipes. Is there anything better than a loaf of warm, spicy, and fluffy bread? We don’t think so! This whole wheat quick bread base recipe teaches you the correct ratios of ingredients, then allows you to adjust the ingredients to YOUR taste!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 12 slices

Ingredients
  

Base Recipe

  • 1 ½ cups white whole wheat flour*
  • 1-2 teaspoons spice(s)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup diced, shredded, or pureed fruits or vegetables
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs

Mix-ins to YOUR taste

  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ¼-½ cup unsweetened coconut
  • ¼-½ cup dried fruit
  • ¼-½ cup toasted chopped or sliced nuts or seeds
  • ¼-½ cup old fashioned oats
  • 1-2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9×5 bread loaf pan with nonstick spray or parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, gently whisk flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add mix-ins (except vanilla) to flour mixture. Toss to evenly coat.
  • In a separate medium bowl, whisk together fruit/vegetable puree or shreds, buttermilk, brown sugar, oil, eggs, and optional vanilla.
  • Add liquid ingredients to flour mixture. Using a spatula, fold ingredients until just 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!

Notes

*Substitute 1 cup whole wheat flour + ½ cup all purpose flour or 1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour.
 
If your oven runs hot, check the bread for doneness after 45 minutes. To check for doneness, insert a toothpick into the middle of the loaf. If it comes out clean, it’s done! If it’s not done but the top of the loaf is getting too dark, loosely cover with a piece of foil and return to the oven. 
 
Check out these recipes for flavor inspiration!
Apple Streusel
Banana Chocolate Chip Walnut
Pumpkin
Cranberry Zucchini
Greek Yogurt Zucchini
Gingerbread
Keyword Whole Wheat Quick Bread

Leave a Reply

Recipe Rating




Did you make this recipe?

Let us know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment above and share a picture on Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #totasterecipes! And don’t forget to share it with all of your friends and family!

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate and Share-a-Sale affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases. If you click on those links and make a purchase, we will earn a small percentage of the sale, at no extra cost to you. 

Hey there! We are To Taste – a team of registered dietitians/ chefs.

We’re here to teach you how to cook confidently, simplify nutrition, and feel better (no BS)!

Our Recipe Promise

Healthy eating shouldn't be complicated. Period.

Meet the only meal plan you'll ever need.

Improve your kitchen efficiency! Learn how to slice, dice, and chop 20 common ingredients

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter

Never miss a beet! Sign up for updates, recipes, and course offerings!

Is your kitchen set up for success?

Find all of our go-to kitchen tools, books, and accessories here!

Need some recipe guidance?

Learn how to cook confidently to your taste using our base recipe concept.

Want to know which ingredients to buy?

Download our free ingredient guide for helpful tips on which ingredients are best.

Latest Recipes

Subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter so that you never miss a beet!

Healthy eating shouldn't be complicated.

Learn how to cook and eat well for your whole life in our new book, To Your Taste.