This easy cinnamon oat apple bread is unbelievably tender and sweetened with natural honey! A foolproof recipe bursting with juicy apples, fragrant cinnamon, and a touch of honey, this irresistible bread recipe is as simple as it delicious. Serve slices for breakfast, snacks or a light dessert. Who knew healthy could taste so good?
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Crisp fall days always make me think of apples, a lot more than other times of the year.
We can drive around in our area and see apples hanging from both wild and cultivated trees and all I can think of is making apple butter, caramel apple scones, applesauce, and getting my holiday apple pie made in advance.
And now I'll be adding this moist and tender bread studded with pieces of apples to that list.
I've always loved the moisture and natural sweetness that apples can bring to baked goods, like this spice bread that uses applesauce which is great to make any time of year.
But I was craving a bread where you could see and taste the apples - and one that didn't overwhelm all that apple goodness with lots of oil and sugar.
In my recipe testing, I experimented with a couple of different ingredients and in the end simply adapted this whole wheat, honey sweetened blackberry muffin recipe. I simply switched diced apples for the blackberries and made it into a loaf, baking it longer.
And it's perfection, both fresh from the oven and toasted later. All that wonderful cinnamon apple flavor just shines through!
Ingredients & Substitutions
This recipe is made with the simplest of ingredients, low in both fat and sweetener and high in fiber from the whole grains, apples, and nuts.
- Whole wheat pastry flour - using pastry flour helps keep the bread light (in addition to a light hand mixing), if you don't have this flour you can use a mix of whole wheat and unbleached all purpose or even all unbleached - or use a 1:1 gluten free flour.
- Rolled oats - these are old-fashioned rolled oats, quick oats will also work in this recipe.
- Baking powder - gives life and rise to the bread (do not substitute baking soda).
- Cinnamon - while cinnamon and apples go together like peanut butter and jelly, you could leave it out or try another spice like ginger (though I'd only do a 1/2 teaspoon).
- Salt - fine sea salt.
- Honey - while the more neutral flavor of honey is preferred you could also use maple syrup or even brown sugar.
- Milk - a milk substitute should also work, though I personally haven't tried it.
- Egg - needed to keep the tender crumb, though a flax egg should work, too.
- Oil - there is only 1/4 cup of oil for this whole loaf, so it's naturally lower fat. Use any kind of oil you'd like, though think about the flavor it may impart (like strong olive oils or virgin coconut oil) - I use sunflower or avocado oil.
- Apple - while you'll only need one medium apple, the loaf is studded with lots of apple pieces so choose an apple variety you love.
- Nuts - these are optional, though I love them with the apple. I've used both walnuts and pecans and they're both good.
- Cinnamon-sugar mix - also optional since it does add more sugar, but I make my mix heavy on the cinnamon and sprinkle less than a teaspoon on the loaf, giving it a nice crust.
You'll need only a few things to make this bread that most kitchens have:
- Large mixing bowl (I use this glass set of three bowls all.the.time.)
- 1-quart measuring cup (or medium bowl)
- Wooden or bamboo spoon
- Measuring cups
- Chef's knife and cutting board (to chop the apples and nuts)
- 8.5' x 4.5' loaf pan (this is my absolute favorite after years of cheap, rusting pans)
How to Make Apple Bread
Detailed quantities and instructions are included in the full recipe box below, but here are a few extra tips to help with each step:
Step 1: Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease a standard 8.5'x4.5' inch loaf pan.
TIP: I like to add a piece of parchment paper that hangs over the edges to create a little sling to make it easier to lift the loaf out of the pan.
Step 2: Make the dough. Add the dry ingredients to a large bowl. Whisk the wet ingredients together in a 4-cup glass measure (easiest for pouring, but can also use a bowl). Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a spoon only until no flour streaks remain.
Step 3: Finish the dough. Add the diced apples and chopped nuts, if using, to the dough and then use the spoon to gently fold them into the dough, being careful to not over mix (which can cause the bread to be dense).
Step 4: Add to pan. Scrape the dough into the prepared pan, evening out the top. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar topping if using. (You can see the parchment sling in action here.)
Step 5: Bake. Cook the bread in the heated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes then remove from pan to cool on a rack.
If you want clean cut slices, then let your loaf cool completely before cutting. I didn't and you can see that my slices are a bit crumbly.
The tradeoff? A slice of wonderful warm apple bread fresh from the oven. Mmmm.
Apple Bread Questions
Really any apple you have works for this recipe since it only uses one. I've used Gala, Honeycrisp, and Granny Smith all with great success.
You can refrigerate the bread for 3-4 days or freezer for longer storage. For convenience, I like to slice the loaf and freeze in smaller portions that I can pull out as needed.
Yes! Fill a greased or lined 12-cup muffin tin (each 2/3 to 3/4 full) and bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes, let cool about 5 minutes and then turn out on a rack to cool completely.
More Easy Apple Recipes
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
- Crumb Topped Apple Pie - Bake Now or Freeze for Later
- 4-Ingredient Homemade Caramel Apple Dip
- 25 Of The Best Apple Breakfast Recipes
- Double Apple Scones with Caramel Glaze Recipe
- 21 Easy Apple Pie Recipes (Yes, 21 different apple pies!!)
Cinnamon Oat Apple Bread Recipe
- 1 8.5'x4.5' loaf pan
- 1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour (or unbleached all purpose)
- 1 cup rolled oats (quick oats will work, too)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup honey (or maple syrup or brown sugar)
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 cup peeled, diced apples, about 1 medium apple
- 1/4 cup chopped nuts, walnuts or pecans - optional
- ½ - 1 teaspoon cinnamon-sugar mix, optional for topping
- Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 8.5'x4.5' loaf pan. Line the bottom and long sides with parchment, if desired, to create a sling to make it easier to remove the loaf after baking.
- Add the dry ingredients (flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt) to a large bowl and mix.
- Whisk the oil, egg, honey, and milk in a quart glass measuring cup or a medium bowl. The honey may not completely mix in - do the best you can and try to get most of it mixed.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon just until there are no flour streaks remaining (do not overmix). Gently fold in the apples and nuts, if using.
- Scrape the dough into the prepared pan and level the top. Dust with cinnamon sugar, if using.
- Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the top is browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Rotate the pan as needed for your oven.
- Cool 10 minutes in the pan and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Fill a greased or lined 12-cup muffin tin (each 2/3 to 3/4 full) with the dough.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes.
- Let cool about 5 minutes and then turn out on a rack to cool completely.