Whole Grain Cinnamon Applesauce Bread

Who knew applesauce bread could be this delicious? Tender, soft and perfectly spiced with a bump in heartiness thanks to all those whole grains hanging around in there, the warm cinnamony flavor not only tastes delectable but your house is going to smell like the best candle in the world X 1,000 while baking. Bonus.

You can slice this bread up warm, cooled, same day, next day, whenever. It’s wonderful plain and simple. It really is. But for some reason, it just goes from great to amazing when a little itty bitty bit (or not so itty bitty bit) of butter is spread on top of a slice. And if you want to be a complete rock star, whip up some honey butter and use that. But be careful who you invite over. They may stay awhile.

Whole Grain Cinnamon Applesauce Bread

After my virtual friend, Heather, sent me this recipe, I realized after only a few whisks that it’s nearly identical to my most-loved banana bread recipe. A similarity I could spot a mile away since that banana bread is made so often, the recipe is lodged in my brain for the rest of forever (some people get annoying songs stuck in their heads, I get killer recipes stuck in mine). You’ve got the same basic lineup of ingredients with the exception of a few spices and the applesauce subbing in for the mashed bananners. Clearly, after that realization, I knew this applesauce version had to be a winner. I made it several times tweaking it a little here and there: cutting back the oil a bit, subbing in whole wheat flour, adding weight measures, and a few other minor things – the deliciousness never wavered. Flexible recipes are the best.

So what are you waiting for? Make it! Love it! Slather it with butter and come back and tell me all about it!

Whole Grain Cinnamon Applesauce Bread

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Whole Grain Cinnamon Applesauce Bread

Yield: Makes one 9X5-inch loaf

Whole Grain Cinnamon Applesauce Bread

If you don't have cinnamon applesauce, use plain but up the cinnamon a bit in the recipe. Additionally if you only have sweetened applesauce, it will work fine but you may want to cut down the sugar in the recipe.

I use 100% white whole wheat flour for this recipe but it's divine with all-purpose flour, too (I've made it that way once or twice) and you might find the sweet spot of flour to be 50% whole wheat and 50% all-purpose flour (especially if you aren't used to using 100% whole wheat flour in baked goods). If measuring instead of weighing the flour, use a light hand - overfloured, this loaf will be dry and tough.


  • 1/4 cup oil (melted coconut, light olive oil, avocado, vegetable, melted butter)
  • 2 large eggs (about 3.5 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup (3.75 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (3.75 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk or sour cream
  • 1 cup no-sugar added cinnamon applesauce (see note above)
  • 1 3/4 cup (8.75 ounces) white whole wheat flour (see note above)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9X5-inch loaf pan (line the bottom with parchment - optional, but helps prevent the bottom of the loaf from sticking).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil and eggs until well combined. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, buttermilk and applesauce and mix until well-combined.
  3. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and stir until combined; a few lumps are ok (don't overmix - treat it like a good muffin batter that gets combined but not obliterated by mixing).
  4. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and spread evenly.
  5. Bake for 45-60 minutes (ovens will vary on exact time) until the top springs back lightly to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs but not wet batter.
  6. Let cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. Serve with butter or honey butter (or plain, but that's really no fun).

Recipe Source: adapted from this recipe at Averie Cooks that my friend, Heather, emailed to me after she made it for a playgroup and the kids and moms went crazy (and I realized it’s nearly the same as my beloved banana bread recipe, although I adapted it a bit to use whole wheat flour, a bit less oil and a few other minor things)

73 Responses to Whole Grain Cinnamon Applesauce Bread

  1. Rachel says:

    Thank you SO, SO much for your delicious recipes and especially for your links grouping gluten-free, dairy free, etc recipes together. It’s so helpful and such a nice touch to your website and something that you clearly are doing just to be nice because you definitely didn’t have to do it! I am learning how to feed a little son with several food allergies so I truly appreciate it.

    I think this recipe may have slipped by, because it’s listed with the dairy free recipes, but has sour cream or buttermilk. At least, I’m assuming I can’t just substitute coconut milk because those are much more rich. Or can I? 🙂 Thanks again!

  2. Cary says:

    This is really delicious and a great breakfast treat. I got a late start so I was literally handing the boys a warm slice to eat in the car on the way to school, but no guilt with all that whole wheat. Will remember the tip about lining the bottom of the loaf pan next time. Lost a little due to stick’idge’, but hubby cleaned it up happily 😉

  3. Kinsey says:

    This is so fantastic! I used whole wheat flour, and it made it nice and hearty. Not too bad for you either. Also, I used just a tiny bit(maybe like 1/8 tsp) of ground cloves because I didn’t have nutmeg, and it tasted great!

  4. Jennifer says:

    This bread is delicious! I had made homemade cinnamon applesauce this summer and was excited to try it with this bread. My niece was baptized last Saturday morning and my sister asked everyone to bring some sort of breakfast food to share afterwords. I made your cinnamon roll cake(always a hit at my house) and decided to try this yummy bread to go along with it. Everyone loved it, but my 2 year old nephew couldn’t get enough of it! He kept going back for more and more and more! Thanks for another great recipe!

  5. Chelsie says:

    We made this last week, and everyone was happy to gobble it up even with no topping!

    I used sunflower oil and a jar of baby food applesauce with berries added (it was lurking at thwack of the pantry waiting to expire in a few weeks and we are way beyond jarred baby food around here!). Since the applesauce was “plain,” I added another 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Yum yum yum.

    Ah, and we did bake some of the batter as muffins, since I don’t have a 9×5 pan, just bigger and smaller. Muffins were great, too, but done within 30 minutes. People with more efficient ovens that don’t desperately need replacing would perhaps find muffin baking times to be even shorter.

  6. Sarah says:

    I have made five loaves of this in the last week. My kids can’t get enough of it! I also got a tea loaf pan that someone else mentioned in the comments, perfect size slices! Thanks for this wonderful recipe!

  7. Rachel Russell says:

    Already making this a second time – this receipe ROCKS

  8. Jen T says:

    Made this today. Yum!!!! Sooo good and easy! Thanks!

  9. Jennifer says:

    Yum! And I got to use the kitchen scale I got for Christmas to help me not put in too much flour! Thanks!

  10. Meg says:

    I just made my third loaf. This is so yum, and doesn’t last long in this house! The only thing I changed was to use plain nonfat yogurt instead of buttermilk, which is a conversion I do pretty routinely (no buttermilk in Japan, and sour cream here is nearly as thick as cream cheese). This cake is so good! Thanks for the recipe! Oh, and I used your slow cooker applesauce recipe to get the applesauce.

  11. Jen D. says:

    Delicious! I just made this bread with a couple of additions and 1 substitution. I added one chopped apple (peel and all!) and 1/2 cup of chopped raw pecans. I also substituted the whole cup of sugar with just 1/3 cup of pure maple syrup. So just in case you are watching your refined sugar intake, this could work for you!! Thanks for a really great – and you’re so right, it’s flexible – recipe!

  12. Angie says:

    I only had one egg and no baking soda, and this still turned out really good. 🙂 Thanks!

  13. Sara says:

    Mel! You have outdone yourself once again! I just made this and separated it into three mini loaf pans so I could try one and share the other two with friends. Amazing!!! Thanks. Hope you and your family are having a great start to 2016!

  14. Jenny says:

    This is AMAZING

  15. Molly Schaaf says:

    Eight o’clock at night after a nice grilled steak dinner I had to have some of this applesauce bread! I had the ingredients on hand, including the white-wheat flour, and I made it in my jumbo muffin tin and baked for 25 minutes. AWESOME!

  16. Corinne says:

    I made this for after school snack yesterday with 100% whole wheat flour and melted coconut oil (I’m glad you listed that as an option as I usually forget to use it). We eat whole grain breads from the store all the time, but when I bake I usually use white or 50/50, so I was a little worried that they wouldn’t like it. I have two super picky eaters, but everyone gobbled it up so fast. Next time I’ll have to at least double it. Thanks for this delicious recipe. It makes my heart happy when I see all those grains going into my kids!

  17. Dani B says:

    Wow. That’s just about all I can say. Wow.
    Everyone. Make this. Now.

  18. Sheila says:

    What a delicious treat for my family this morning! And our home smelled so wonderful as this bread was baking. Moist, flavorful, and so easy. It turned out perfect. Thank you Mel and Heather!

  19. Jamie says:

    This was delicious! I made it today and subbed the whole wheat flour for whole oat flour that I ground today. I also subbed all of the sugar for sugar in the raw. The end result was perfection! I can’t wait for my boys to try it when they get home from school. Thanks for posting such great recipes!! You are my go to recipe site.

  20. Julie says:

    Made this last night and everyone loved it! I used coconut oil, white whole wheat flour, buttermilk, and peach-applesauce. I skipped the nutmeg and added a bit more cinnamon. A “make again” for sure!

  21. Kristin Castleton says:

    My family and I loved this bread! Just right for a Friday morning breakfast! Thanks!

  22. Amanda G says:

    Made this as muffins. Delicious!!!

  23. Anne says:

    I was trying to figure out a bread to make for dinner tonight and I felt like I should check your blog. First thing I saw was this recipe. It is easy, quick and I had all the ingredients! I doubled it and used 1/2 white and wheat flour and canola oil. I did not double the cinnamon because I don’t like too much. The bread texture is perfect and my family liked it. I thought it tasted like a ginger snap, is that odd? Thanks so much for all the no fail recipes

  24. Stacey says:

    I’m nearly 30 years old and have four growing boys (five including my husband) and decided it was time to learn how to cook. Your website has been crucial in my quest. You are always my first stop. Not only are your recipes delicious, but easy to follow too. This bread was no different. Absolutely divine. It feels so good feeding my boys homemade heathly good and I have you to thank for it!! Thank you.

  25. I love an apple bread, this variation is so tempting, cinnamon is a nice addition.

  26. Amber says:

    I made this yesterday afternoon so that it would be ready when my kids got home from school, starving as usual. I used all whole wheat flour–thanks for including the weights! It was a complete success. My kids loved it, the loaf was gone by bedtime. I used a heaping tablespoon of cinnamon since I was using non-cinnamon applesauce. We love cinnamon in our baked goods, and we would definitely put even more cinnamon in next time. Thank you for healthy, yummy, straight forward, easy to make, non-exotic-ingredient recipes. You are such a huge help in feeding my family of 7!

  27. Susan says:

    Yup, definitely a winner. The cinnamon really shines through even without flavored applesauce. So quick to make (and eat)! Thank you.

  28. rachel says:

    I made three loaves of this last night a long with your hummus. They were both perfect. Thank you! #wherewouldibewithoutthisplace

  29. Rhonda says:

    Would the topping from the cream cheese banana bread work on this? and also, how would it be with some very small diced apple in it? I think an apple streusel loaf would be kinda close to heaven.

  30. Shayla B. says:

    Oh. My. YUM!!! This was fantastic! Besides the heavenly aroma it gives while baking it was moist and perfectly flavored. I am a huge banana bread fan but this is much better. I did a complete sugar replacement with coconut sugar (I cannot eat other refined sugars) and used only whole wheat flour. Definitely one I will make over and over again! Thank you so much for sharing!

  31. Leanna says:

    I think that you could bump up the apple flavor in this bread by peeling a couple of apples and finely chopping them, they would taste great in this bread!

  32. Carley says:

    I saw this yesterday and knew I had to make it! So i whipped up a loaf when I got home yesterday and was not disappointed! I did find, however, that in my effort to not over mix (I’m a huge believer in the muffin method) I was not able to fully disperse the baking soda and powder through the mixture when adding them directly to the mixture and had a few little pockets in the bread. So for future makers of this recipe, I would suggest/remind to mix all dry ingredient separately before adding to the wet 🙂

  33. Arlene says:

    Had planned to make your delicious sour cream banana bread today. Then this recipie came through to my email. Move over banana bread because there is some serious competition! I made it with vegetable oil, buttermilk and half whole wheat and half white flour as you had suggested. When the kids came home from school and grandparents came to visit, the entire loaf disappeared. It was that good! I have to make another one tonight so that I have some for school snacks and the husband who didn’t get any.

  34. Michelle G. says:

    I saw this post this morning and immediately heard into the kitchen! My 18 month old and I just sampled it as a post-nap snack – delicious! I used all regular whole wheat and great! Next time I’ll try it with coconut oil and see how that tastes!
    One question: do you think this would work well as muffins? Most quick breads translate well to muffin form…

  35. Jamie says:

    Love your recipes. Always easy, no crazy ingredients and always taste amazing. I am putting this in the oven now and can’t wait to eat a huge slice after the baby goes to bed!

    • Mel says:

      Hope you loved the end result, Jamie! (Glad I’m not the only one who enjoys the spoils of baking after the kiddos are in bed…)

  36. Kat says:

    I just made this and love how it turned out! I didn’t have cinnamon applesauce, so I used regular unsweetened and added just a touch more cinnamon. I was worried that the spices would be too overwhelming (a whole tsp. nutmeg and a T. cinnamon!) But it wasn’t. Yum yum! I’m always looking for healthy afternoon snacks for my kids and this totally fit the bill. Thanks for all your amazing recipes. You never let me down!

  37. Kaelee says:

    I saw this post less than two hours ago, and we’ve already eaten half the loaf. Oops 🙂 Thanks for yet another great recipe! I could cook exclusively from your website and die well-fed and happy.

    …and I love that you add weight measurements. Less dishes = happy momma.

  38. Julianne says:

    Heather made this for us when we went to her house last month. I ate my piece…and then the leftovers of my kids…and THEN she even sent us home with a still-warm loaf. This stuff is good. (So is Heather.)

  39. Teresa says:

    I made this bread this afternoon and it is fabulous. I used organic canola oil, a touch less freshly grated nutmeg, and found the cinnamon applesauce on my grocery run today. It is excellent warm out of the oven, so moist and tasty. I made it using my King Arthur Flour tea loaf pan. I love this pan! It holds a 9×5 recipe perfectly. No more gummy centers or over browned tops/edges. I love the “tea” size slices, and it is so reasonably priced, I bought two. Delicious quick bread for lunch bags tomorrow, thanks so much!

  40. Paige says:

    This bread looks like the perfect afternoon snack! We’ll have to try this soon!


  41. Becky says:

    I can’t wait to make this! It’s similar to something I already make, but more “virtuous” 🙂 I made and froze a ton of applesauce this fall, so I love being able to use it in recipes like this! I feel like when applesauce is used as a main ingredient (and not to replace a fat/oil), the better the applesauce, the better the end result will be!

  42. Helen says:

    Yum !!! I will be making this soon ( like later today) .. I am, however, curious about what your oil preference is?.. I’m guessing you have tried a few . So I’m sure I could benefit from knowing what you prefer … What tastes the best ( I’m leaning towards butter .. Even though its a littles less healthy than some of the other options ).

    • Mel says:

      Good question, Helen. Any neutral oil will work great – in a recipe like this I almost always grab the light olive oil or avocado oil in my pantry (I’ve gotten away from using canola and vegetable oils). But melted butter is always a great choice if you want a touch more flavor. I use melted coconut oil quite a bit; it makes the texture of the batter slightly thicker and does have a slight coconutty taste if using extra-virgin. So basically I don’t think I really answered your question. 🙂

      • Helen says:

        This was just as amazing as I anticipated!! I ended up using butter .. It was Delish !! You did answer my question and your answer brought up another question for me … If you no longer use canola oil at all what type of oil do you use in your weekly homemade whole wheat bread … I’ve been wondering what I can sub for canola in that just about every time I’ve made it in the past few months … Also what type of cooking spray do you use to spray pans … If not using canola. I always appreciate the fact that I know you will have tested some things out … It saves me time and time again !!

        • Tracey says:

          Helen, I’m not sure what Mel uses, but I use extra virgin olive oil almost always when baking my whole wheat bread. I have also used coconut oil and it is also delish, and lends a light sweetness. 🙂

  43. ellie says:

    This would be even better with some unsweetened cocoa powder……..for health, visuals and taste. (1/8 cup)

  44. Charlotte Moore says:

    This looks wonderful!! I love breads made with whole wheat.

  45. Jenn A says:

    I have some unsweetened applesauce that has been waiting for this recipe. Ha!

  46. Maui says:

    This sounds delicious! I love healthy quick breads! You are my go to for everything 🙂

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