Satisfy your apple pie cravings with this easy-to-make and much better-for-you healthy apple bread recipe.
This moist quick bread combines warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla with sweet apple slices and brown sugar. A whole wheat base with apple sauce used to cut the sugar makes this a healthier treat you can feel better about devouring.
Plus, it is much easier to make than a pie and will have your entire house smelling like brown sugar-baked apples in less than an hour.
Did I mention it’s topped with a perfectly crispy, wonderfully sweet brown sugar and oat crumble? Enjoy a slice of this heavenly bread with a scoop of brown sugar buttermilk ice cream or a homemade iced coffee frappe.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It’s easy to make. While the ingredient list is a bit long and it takes time to bake, you don’t need any fancy culinary skills to nail this amazing quick bread recipe.
- It has less sugar. The batter for this spiced bread has only ½ cup of brown sugar. But thanks to apple sauce and warm spices, it tastes as delectable as anything.
- It’s loaded with nutrition. Whole wheat flour is loaded with protein, fiber, calcium, iron, potassium, and many other valuable minerals and vitamins.
- There’s a delicious prize inside. By layering apples in the middle of this bread, each slice delivers a molten center of perfectly baked, perfectly spiced apples that you’ll never be able to get enough of.
How to Make Healthy Apple Bread
This recipe has a lot of ingredients but only a handful of steps. Everything comes together quickly with no special skills required.
You can find the full, printable recipe card at the end of this post. For now, let’s take a quick look at how to make this recipe.
- Apples. The best baking apples for this recipe have plenty of tartness to balance the sweet spices and rich sweeteners. We recommend using Granny Smith, Jonathan, or Braeburn. If you tend more toward sweet than sour, Honeycrisp also works pretty well here.
- Whole wheat flour. A rich, 100% whole wheat flour works well in this recipe thanks to all the moisture brought by the apples and coconut oil. And it’s what makes this bread a “healthy” treat. I prefer to use King Arthur’s organic whole wheat flour.
- Brown sugar. That rich molasses flavor of brown sugar is key to bringing out the flavor of the spices and sweetness in the apples.
- Coconut oil. This versatile cooking oil is perfect for adding another flavor dimension while helping to create a less dense final product.
1. Create the brown sugar and oat crumble. Mix all ingredients until well combined.
2. Prepare the apples. Remove the core and cut into thin slices.
3. Combine all the dry ingredients. Place in a large bowl and whisk well.
4. Add the wet ingredients. Stir all the ingredients until well combined.
5. Pour half the batter into a loaf pan. Layer half the apples on top.
6. Add the remaining batter. Top with the rest of the apple slices.
7. Add the oat crumble. Bake covered then remove the cover and continue to bake until golden brown.
Recipe Tips, Variations, and Substitutes
- Make sure your apples are firm. As with other baking recipes, firm apples are key to achieving a desirable texture. If the apples are too soft, they’ll break down during the baking process. There are many suitable apples for baking. We prefer the tart options listed in the Key Ingredients section above.
- Use a mandoline for perfect apples. Having all the apple slices the same thickness (which is super thin!), helps with the overall texture of the bread. I recommend using a mandoline slicer to get perfectly uniform apple slices in a flash.
- Find the right applesauce. I’m not too fond of it when the sweetness of bread overwhelms the flavors, which is why I use unsweetened applesauce. But if you have a sweet tooth, feel free to substitute your favorite sweetened apple sauce.
- Make it gluten-free. You can substitute gluten-free all-purpose flour to make this gluten-sensitive friendly. Just make sure you use certified gluten-free oats as well.
- Make it vegan. Substitute a flaxseed egg for the real thing to make this bread recipe vegan.
- Spice it up. Feel free to add more ground cinnamon and nutmeg or include a dash of your other favorite sweet spices like allspice or clove.
- Out of coconut oil? You can substitute butter or another cooking oil.
- No applesauce? You can either make your own applesauce or replace it with plain Greek yogurt.
Allow your bread to cool completely to room temperature before storing.
It should be kept in an airtight container on the counter. To keep the bread from getting too soggy as it sits, place a paper towel on the bottom of the container. Bread kept this way will last for about four days.
If you want your bread to last longer, you should freeze it. Place the bread in an airtight container and store it in the freezer for up to six months.
To heat frozen bread, place it on a baking sheet or wrap it up in tin foil and place it in the oven. Bake at 350 degrees until warmed through.
Try These Other Awesome Apple Recipes
Have more apples than you can possibly make into bread? Here are a few more of my favorite apple recipes you should try:
- Lentil Apple Salad – A hearty salad with contrasting flavors that go incredibly well together.
- Apple Almond Crisp – The perfect recipe to really satisfy those apple pie cravings.
- Fall Garden Salad with Apples and Walnuts – Sweet apples and earthy walnuts are perfectly elevated by creamy gorgonzola and avocado.
- Gluten-Free Almond Flour Apple Cake – High-protein almond flour makes this sweet treat super filling.
- Parsnip and Apple Soup – Savory meets sweet with apples, parsnips, garlic, onion, and curry spice.
- Apple, Pear, and Rosemary Cobbler – Sweet fall fruits dance exceptionally well with fragrant rosemary in this unique cobbler.
Healthy Apple Bread
- Medium bowl
- Large bowl
- Loaf pan
For the Crumble:
- ¼ cup rolled oats
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. coconut oil
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
For the Batter:
- 1 ½ cup whole-wheat flour
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 cup apple sauce unsweetened
- 2 tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 apples thinly sliced
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a loaf baking pan with parchment paper.
- Mix all the crumble ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined and set aside.
- Cut the apples in half vertically, remove the seeds and core, and slice them thin.
- Mix all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl until well combined.
- Add the wet ingredients to the bowl and continue to mix everything until fully combined.
- Transfer half of the mixture to the baking pan and arrange half of the apples on top.
- Add the rest of the batter. Arrange the rest of the apples on top and finish with the crumble.
- Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for 15 more minutes or until golden brown. (To make sure the cake is done, insert a toothpick and it should come out clean).