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!

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

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
  • HELLO PUMPKIN SPICES!

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.

harvest spice quick bread


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.

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!

making harvest spice bread

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.


spice bread

More Quick Bread Recipes

See more quick bread recipes.

Print
harvest spice quick bread

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

Description

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!


Ingredients

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (220g) all-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*

Instructions

  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.

Notes

  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

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82 Comments

  1. Making this for the SECOND time this week! It’s thanksgiving here in a few days. I use chopped dates in place of walnuts and it’s amazing! Thank you for this recipe !

  2. Thank you Sally, for another amazing recipe! I made this last night, as mini loaves and it tastes amazing, perfect for autumn.

  3. Hi sally,
    Let me start by saying I baked your Harvest Spice Bread last night, good thing I took your advice and double batch it. The recipe is exactly as you describe it. My husband started eating it rite out of the oven plus I went to bed smiling as if I was sleeping in a bakery, the aroma from the spices smells delicious. Thanks Sally for another amazing recipe.

  4. Looks like the perfect thing to bake up this upcoming October weekend. And also the perfect thing to munch on while watching you on GMA next week 😉 I think I’m more excited for you than you are!! You should bake a loaf of this and take some to Robin Roberts ( I love her. ) Ok nerd rant over.

  5. I made a double batch of this last night and it is SO good. My husband walked in while it was baking and said the place smelled amazing. I didn’t have quite enough apple so I added a zucchini as well and it turned out delicious! Definitely making this again.

  6. These are in my oven and the house smells divine! Can’t wait to eat them. I replaced walnuts for pumpkin seeds.

  7. This was so delicious! We decided to make muffins instead of a loaf. Followed your recipe and turned out perfectly. The juice from the apples definitely keeps the muffins nice and moist, and they still have a nice crispy top. Perfect with a cup of afternoon tea.

  8. As if you need to hear it for the hundredth time since posting this recipe, but my gosh this bread is AMAZING. I made a loaf as bread (yum) and made it again w/ half all purpose and half whole wheat flour as muffins YUM. I also used 1/2 heaping tsp pumpkin pie spice + 1/2 heaping tsp of apple pie spice. It’s like a big fall hug in a loaf pan honestly

  9. add me to the applauding crowd! Made it yesterday in a cast iron loaf pan.. reduced the temp a bit to compensate.. but it all turned out perfectly.. We called it “dinner” last night! I think the recipe is very adaptable to whatever substitutions you want to make.. It would make a perfect housewarming or holiday gift!

  10. Made this for a girls weekend and It’s a home run! The flavor is fantastic!! I omitted the walnuts (didn’t have them) added raisins & used Granny Smith apples. In my oven it took about 70 mins. I checked it every 5 mins after 50 mins. My breads tend to come out dry and I was afraid I would over cook it! Thanks Sally love this

  11. Sally this bread is AMAZING! I made it last night, and this morning it tastes wonderful!! It’s not too sweet, it has just the perfect amount of sweetness. This recipe is definitely a keeper, it tastes like fall, if that makes any sense! I’m gonna bake it again and swap pumpkin for banana and see how it tastes 🙂

  12. Baked a double recipe in three 1-lb. loaf pans. Just finished cooling and had the first slice. Yum! It is tender and moist and spicy – really a perfect recipe. I’ll be freezing one of the extra loaves and sharing the other with my colleagues on Monday. Thank you!

  13. Looking forward to making this for my first-grader’s lunch box. We’re already in a lunchtime rut, so this may break us out of the peanut butter banana tortillas he insists on taking!

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