Harvest Spice Bread

I call this quick bread harvest spice bread because it combines some of the best flavors of the fall season including apple, pumpkin, and cinnamon spice. This loaf is infinitely adaptable, freezes well, and can be made into muffins, too!

sliced harvest spice bread

I call this harvest spice bread because “apple pumpkin carrot cinnamon brown sugar spice bread” was a tad too long. 😉

What’s harvest spice bread, you ask? Imagine everything you love about fall. Warm spices, pumpkin, fresh apples, cozy sweaters… well, what if we took all of those incredible components of this beautiful autumn season and packed them into a simple bread?

Um, except for the sweater. But go ahead and wear your warmest cable knit while eating a slice!

harvest spice bread on a cooling rack

Why You’ll Love Harvest Spice Bread

  • No mixer required
  • Infinitely adaptable– more on that next!
  • Incredibly moist
  • Super flavorful and soft
  • Brown sugared
  • Quick & easy– pour into a loaf pan and bake

Part apple bread, pumpkin bread, spice cake, and carrot cake, this harvest spice bread is loaded with flavor. When you decide to bake a loaf, do yourself a favor and double the recipe. You’ll want two loaves of this orange beauty and even then, it’s hard to share.

3 slices of harvest spice quick bread on a plate

Let’s Talk Add-Ins

I use shredded apple, shredded carrot, pumpkin puree, and walnuts in this quick bread. These add-ins are completely customizable and you can make substitutions based on what you have or what you’re craving.

  1. Apples: Not sure why that apple in the corner above looks weirdly shiny and plastic– that was a pink lady apple, one of my favorite varieties! You can use your favorite such as Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, or Fuji. Instead of apple, you can swap in zucchini or more shredded carrot.
  2. Pumpkin: I prefer canned pumpkin puree in this bread (I like Libby’s brand), but you can use homemade pumpkin puree if you have it. Instead of pumpkin puree, try unsweetened applesauce or even mashed banana.
  3. Carrot: Slightly sweet and mega moist shredded carrot pairs wonderfully with these flavors. In fact, this tastes like a quick bread version of carrot cake. Instead of carrots, however, you can use more shredded apple or even shredded zucchini.
  4. Walnuts: Feel free to substitute pecans, raisins, or dried cranberries.

2 images of ingredients for harvest spice bread

Baking Tip: It’s important that the apple and carrot are shredded, not chopped. Shredding each with a box grater creates a lot of juicy moisture which is carried over into the quick bread. When shredded, they act like a wet ingredient in the batter and this makes a difference in the final taste and texture of the loaf!

2 images of harvest spice bread batter in a bowl and baked loaf in a pan

Behind the Harvest Spice Bread Recipe

When testing this recipe, I started with my pumpkin bread as the base. Use the same ingredients here including all-purpose flour as the base, baking soda as the leavener, seasonal spices, a mix of granulated and brown sugars, and oil to keep the bread extra moist. I decreased the amount of sugar since apple and carrot sweeten the bread and I swapped milk for the orange juice. (Orange juice brightens the flavor of my pumpkin bread, it’s so good!) I also decreased the amount of liquid since the batter was already pretty wet.

Whisk the dry ingredients in 1 bowl and the wet ingredients in another bowl. Combine the two, then pour into a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan. You can use this batter for harvest spice muffins, too! See recipe note.

harvest spice bread

How to Freeze Quick Bread

Freezing quick bread is like freezing cake.

  1. Step 1: Bake and completely cool quick bread.
  2. Step 2: Once the bread cools completely, wrap it in Press & Seal or plastic wrap. From one baker to another– Press & Seal is the best product for wrapping baked goods. I find regular plastic wrap too thin, clingy, and frustrating. It definitely works, but Press & Seal is easier to use and I’ve honestly found that it keeps my food fresher. (Not working with this brand, just really love it.)
  3. Step 3: Write the type of bread and use-by date on a large piece of aluminum foil. For best taste and texture, don’t freeze quick bread for longer than 3 months. You could stretch it to 4 or 5 months, but the sooner you serve it, the fresher it tastes.
  4. Step 4: Wrap the bread in the aluminum foil and place in the freezer. You could place the wrapped bread in a freezer container or freezer-friendly zipped top bag, but I often just freeze it after wrapping in aluminum foil.
  5. Step 5: Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, transfer the frozen bread to the refrigerator one day before serving. Sometimes I forget and just let the bread thaw at room temperature for several hours, but it’s better to thaw at a slower rate in the refrigerator. Make sure you thaw bread while it’s still in the wrapping. Don’t unwrap before thawing.

Baker’s Tip: Two layers of wrap is key! The first layer keeps the bread fresh and the aluminum foil ensures no condensation will seep in. Double layer = maximum freshness and no freezer burn. Moisture is the enemy, so don’t be afraid to add another layer of Press & Seal or aluminum foil.

slices of spice bread on a plate

More Quick Bread Recipes

See more quick bread recipes.

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3 slices of harvest spice quick bread on a plate

Harvest Spice Bread

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 1 loaf
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Part apple bread, spice cake, pumpkin bread, and carrot cake, this harvest spice bread is loaded with flavor. This loaf is infinitely adaptable, freezes well, and can be made into muffins, too!


  • 1 and 3/4 cups (220gall-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoonground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg*
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves*
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger*
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil, canola oil, or melted coconut oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (115g) pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)*
  • 1 heaping cup (130g) peeled and shredded apple*
  • 3/4 cup (100g) peeled and shredded carrot*
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) milk
  • 1 cup (130g) chopped walnuts*


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan. See notes for muffins.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger together in a large bowl until combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the oil, eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin, shredded apple, shredded carrot, and milk together until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Gently whisk until *just* combined. Fold in the walnuts. Batter will be semi-thick.
  3. Spread the batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 55 – 65 minutes. (I like to loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil halfway through to prevent heavy browning on top.) Baking times vary so keep an eye on yours. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out *mostly* clean with zero raw batter. Remove the bread from the oven.
  4. Cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack before removing and slicing. Cover and store leftover bread at room temperature for up to 3-4 days or in the refrigerator for up to about 10 days.


  1. Freezing Instructions: See blog post above for detailed freezing & thawing instructions.
  2. Special Tools: Glass Mixing BowlsLoaf Pan | Vegetable Peeler | Box Grater
  3. Muffins: Grease a 12-count muffin pan or line with liners. Prepare batter in step 2. Spoon the batter evenly into each liner, filling each all the way to the top. Bake the muffins for 5 minutes at 425°F (218°C) then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (177°C). Bake for an additional 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The total time these muffins take in the oven is about 20-22 minutes, give or take. Cool muffins for 5 minutes in the muffin pan, then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling. Makes 16-18 muffins.
  4. Spices: Instead of nutmeg, cloves, and ginger, you can use 3/4 – 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice.
  5. Pumpkin: I prefer canned pumpkin puree in this bread (I like Libby’s brand), but you can use homemade pumpkin puree. Instead of pumpkin puree, try unsweetened applesauce or mashed banana.
  6. Apples: Use your favorite apples such as Pink Lady, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, or Fuji. Instead of apple, you can swap in shredded zucchini or more shredded carrot.
  7. Carrot: Don’t use pre-shredded carrots found in the produce aisle. They’re on the dry side. Rather, freshly grate 2 small/medium carrots to yield approximately 3/4 cup of moist carrot shreds. Instead of carrots, you can use more shredded apple or even shredded zucchini.
  8. Walnuts: Feel free to substitute chopped pecans, raisins, or dried cranberries.

Keywords: quick bread, pumpkin apple bread


  1. I’m excited for the Autumn Harvest Bread.
    My house smells amazing and it just elevates my spirit. My husband is going to love this after dinner treat with coffee… I’ll be having high tea at 8 PM, I’m such a rebel.
    Love your recipes Sally!

  2. I just can’t get over how much I love this bread. I am normally a stickler for seasonally appropriate flavors (no warm spices in spring or summer!) but I can make an exception for this bread. I could eat it every day. I love how adaptable it is to whatever fruits and veggies I need to use up. It is a winner any time of year!

  3. I just made this bread and it is delicious! I used banana baby food in place of the pureed pumpkin and pecans in place of walnuts. I had to cook it for an extra 25 minutes but I think my loaf pan was 8X4. There is a little bit of a bitter taste maybe from the baking soda? I used 1 tsp. OR do you think it could be the pecans? I’ve made this before and forget what I used but I know it didn’t have this bitterness. Any ideas or suggestions? Thanks.

    1. Hi Shelly! If there were no changes besides the size of the pan and baby food, I’m not sure what it could be. Are the pecans particularly old? They can turn rancid. How do they taste outside of the batter?

  4. Love this bread! I’ve made it twice now with much success. I had some issues with the top-center of the bread not cooking fully, so I recommend tenting the bread with foil towards the end (I don’t cover the whole bread with foil as the recipe is written. Other than that, it’s always perfect!

  5. Brought this bread to work last fall – very well received. Was all eaten in one day between four workers. I held the walnuts in case someone didn’t like nuts.

  6. I have made this bread about 4 times and it was delicious each time I have used different add-ins mango puree which was really tasty I go heavy on the clove because I just love it’s aroma their is no way you can mess up this bread it is so forgiving today I used 12 ct muffin tins and the muffin was excellent I had to bake them about 10 min longer because I used thawed shredded carrots they had a lot of moisture in them. This is my all time favorite bread all year looking forward to coffee and muffins in the morning.
    P.S. my sister baked Sally’s chocolate cake and she have not stopped talking about how good it is I plan to bake it for my birthday next month Sally you recipes are the best yet! Thank you for sharing.

  7. I made this with some mealy apples that I wanted to use up. I switched out 3/4 flour to whole wheat and used pecans since that is what I had. I had planned to use apple sauce in place of of the pumpkin puree but I totally forgot. The bread turned out really good anyway. I only baked for 50 minutes and I think if I had gone much longer it would have been dry without the added moisture.

  8. Hey Sally, I was wondering what can you replace with cloves. Because I don’t seem to have them.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Hannah, You can just leave out the ground cloves. Replace with a little extra cinnamon. Hope you love it!

  9. Thank you Stephanie!

  10. I made this bread with carrots, zucchini, and pumpkin puree and the bread came out amazing! I actually prefer this bread to the regular pumpkin bread. I added an extra 1/4 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice which made the bread more flavorful. Next time, I want to try this recipe with whole wheat flour.

  11. A big hit with my family! Will definitely be making again very soon!

  12. Does the milk need to be a certain fat percentage? We generally only have skim on hand. Also, could applesauce be substituted for the vegetable oil? Thanks so much for sharing your delicious recipes!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jan, You can use whatever milk you have for this recipe – or even try using orange juice instead. And you can also can try subbing applesauce for the oil. Let us know if you try it!

  13. I think I’ll need try this with gluten free flour. I hope it’s a success like your zucchini cake recipe was. We loved it. My husband doesn’t have to eat gluten free, but I do so he gets to eat what I bake. This sounds delicious.

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally