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


Video Tutorial: How to Make 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 cinnamon 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

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 (219g) 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

158 Comments

  1. Michelle Hancock says:

    Can you use butter instead of oil?

    1. Hi Michelle, you can use 1/2 cup butter (melted) instead of oil, but the bread won’t taste as moist.

  2. Holy crap this bread is amazing!!! We just finished our loaf and I’m so sad. I did a mix of dried cranberries and walnuts (and honestly I wish I’d done all cranberry, just cause I really don’t actually care for nuts that much), and it was just so perfectly moist and spiced and delicious!!!

  3. I love this recipe so much! I have made it several times and it never disappoints. Love the flavours and texture. I throw in a handful or two of cranberries! Love it all!

  4. This was so good. My husband and I ate it all in less than 24 hours (we might have given a little away). I made it as mini loaves and did 1/2 cup walnuts & 1/2 cup raisins. Also I added 1 teaspoon of Bakery Emulsion. I’m wondering if today is too soon to make it again!

  5. Donice Gilliland says:

    I LOVE this bread and have made it many times, usually exactly as written, sometimes adding raisins or dried cranberries or substituting pecans for walnuts. My only comment on the recipe is that there is absolutely no way the prep time will ever be 10 minutes for me. It takes me that long to pare and grate the apple and the carrot; also to chop the nuts. Not to mention gathering all the ingredients and prepping the pan. It’s worth every second, just saying there is no way I will ever get it done in 10 minutes.

  6. SO SO good. Have made this many times. I find it to be a very flexible recipe. I don’t measure the apple or carrot out– just shred one big apple and a few carrots and it seems to work. Love adding golden raisins too! Think it tastes better with coconut oil than vegetable oil.

  7. Made this yesterday and it is scrumptious! I’d like it a little spicier and wonder if I should add a pinch more of everything? I will definitely be doubling it next time.

    1. Use fresh ginger! This makes it spicy and so good

  8. This bread has become one of my staples this fall. I like to make mine into muffins so that it is easier to share with people during this pandemic. When making muffins, I like to have a tall and lifted muffin so I pour batter to the edges of the muffin tin. Because of this, I usually end up with 12 muffins. Some additional add-ins: 1/4 teaspoon of pumpkin spice + 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon + 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. Extra spices are because I love spicy bread. I also like to add baking powder so that there is an extra lift to my muffins. Overall a great recipe!

  9. Sally, I’ve made this bread multiple times now and each time it is devoured! I plan to make this bread along with your Cranberry Orange Bread as mini loaves for giveaways in the next couple days. Could you please help me with the baking time difference when you bake a regular recipe as 3 mini loaves? I’m assuming nothing in the recipe changes and I just spoon out the batter into 3 mini loaf pans but am so confused about the baking time! Is there a rule of thumb to follow when doing this ? I would appreciate your input here!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We are so glad this recipe has been a hit! When making mini loafs the recipe will not change. However because all mini loaf pans differ in size and shape, the exact bake time and yield depends on the size of your mini loaf pan. It’s best to use your oven light to keep an eye on them and Bake at until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (same oven temperature). I hope this helps!

      1. Thanks for responding Stephanie! The size of my mini loaf pans is the standard one : 5.74 x 3 x 2.12 inches
        I understand that mini loaves cook much faster , at what point should I even start checking them for doneness?

      2. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        That size would typically take between 20-28 minutes. I hope this helps!

      3. That is super helpful ! Thank you so much !!

  10. I’m a novice but enjoy cooking/baking. I made this recipe and was great but how would I go about making it moisture?
    Thanks Tom

  11. I’ve made this so many times and is a staple to package and gift. I’m curios, can this be converted into cupcake status?
    Lord knows I’d love to know how. ❤️Your recipes!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Maggie, absolutely — see recipe notes for muffin details!

  12. On the harvest spice loaf… you don’t have listed an option to use olive oil .. it’s okay isn’t it ? Not to fond of coconut oil and the fats in it. Other wise I’ll make this soon ! Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Gary, we haven’t tested it but let us know how it goes if you give it a try with olive oil!

  13. lisa hernandez says:

    Hi,

    Do you have to blot the moisture from the canned pumpkin first? Thanks!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lisa, no need to blot it first in this recipe — enjoy!

  14. Can you use bread flour instead of all purpose flour?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Am, bread flour may be too light to properly hold up all the heavier ingredients in this bread recipe. You can certainly try it, but the bread could come out rather flimsy. For best results, we recommend sticking with all-purpose flour here.

  15. Hi Sally,

    Can I use whole wheat flour, or a mix of whole wheat/all purpose? And if so, would I need to add more liquid?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Matilde, you can, but the bread will be a bit heavier. We’d try with half whole wheat/half all-purpose first and then adjust for future batches. Hope you enjoy the bread!

  16. Hi Sally and happy fall!!

    Can I bake this recipe into a 6 inch cake pans?

    Thank you

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Teresa, if using 6 inch pans, fill the pan(s) half way and then use any leftover batter for a few muffins. Enjoy!

  17. Hi Sally,
    Do you have any recommendations on how to alter this for high altitude baking? I have recently moved to an area that is around 3,600 in elevation and nothing I seem to bake comes out like it use to. Many of my go to baking recipes are from you and I miss them turning out so well. Thank you for any help you can provide.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Michelle, I wish we could help, but have no experience baking at high altitude. Some readers have found this chart helpful: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html

      1. Thank you.

  18. Soooo good! We devoured it in 2 days Question? Can I use mashed banana?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      So glad you loved it Barbara! You could use mashed banana in place of the pumpkin – let us know how it goes!

  19. Really excited to make this! Would it be possible to substitute something for the eggs? Thanks!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Talia, we haven’t tested an egg-free version of this recipe, but if you give anything a try we’d love to know how it goes.

  20. Recipe sound amazing and I can’t wait to try it. BUT… can you give me the weight of the two large eggs without shells? I ask because in Latin America where I live it is hard to get large eggs (and sometimes I would say they are medium to small compared to USA!) so that I can adjust and do the recipe with the correct measurements. Thank you!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Claudia, Egg weights can vary but usually large eggs in the shell are about 57g, and 50g out of the shell. A yolk weighs about 18g and a white 30g. I hope this helps!

      1. Super! Thanks for your answer

  21. I recently went keto. Can I substitute sugar for coconut sugar or something like that and can I substitute packed brown sugar with golden monk fruit. Thank you. Husband is diabetic n love to try this

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Elaine, We’d love to help but we are not trained in baking with sugar substitutes. For best taste and texture (and so you don’t waste your time trying to adapt this recipe since it may not work properly), it may be more useful to find a recipe that is specifically formulated for sugar substitutes. Thank you!

  22. I turned this gluten free by using bobs red mill 1:1 flour and also added cranberries walnuts and chocolate chips equal to 1 cup. It is delicious! I didn’t add all the sugar it required because I was trying to cut down on sugar, but the bread isn’t as sweet as I would have liked. Next time I’ll stick to sugar amount stated . Also I made it vegan by using almond milk instead of regular milk.

    Thank you!

  23. Yum! Just made these as muffins using coconut oil and they are a hit! Made 12 muffins for me but I omitted the walnuts due to kid preferences. Even my picky eater gobbled one up.

  24. So, first let me say that I have total faith in Sally’s recipe exactly as written, and I’m sure it would have come out beautifully as-is (as her recipes always do!). I’m not usually one to fix something that’s not broken, but I have a kiddo who has to watch her sugar intake, so I’ve been experimenting with altering some recipes in the hopes that she can still come home from school to the warming smells and tastes of fall, and she can indulge in a way that’s not too indulgent. So, I replaced all of the flour with whole wheat pastry flour, I eliminated the granulated sugar entirely, and I replaced the 1/2 cup veg oil with 1/4 cup avocado oil and 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce. She’s not a fan of nuts (too bad, b/c they’re so good for her!) so I left them out but included 1/2 cup of raisins, hoping they would add some texture and also compensate a bit for the sugar reduction. The result is still tender and delicious, and my kids love it and have no idea it’s a lightened up recipe!

  25. Delicious, moist, and pretty! My loaf pan was rusty, so I baked it in my bundt-style cake pan and used baking spray (oil with flour) to grease pan. It was done perfectly at 50 minutes and tipped right out of the pan. Made the house smell fantastic. You can taste the apple, carrot, and pumpkin. This is my new fall quick bread recipe!

  26. Uh-mazing! I made this yesterday and it was gone in 12 hours. I followed the recipe to a T and we absolutely loved it. The longer it sits, the better it gets and the walnuts are sooooo good! This will definitely be a Fall staple.

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