Apple bread with crumb topping is the ultimate comfort food! The crumb topping is optional here, but we recommend it and it is very easy to make. This bread is delicious served warm or it can be served cooled down too.
We love apples here and there is so many things you can make with them besides apple pie (we love that too) and this bread happens to be one of the favorites! Apple pancakes are another great breakfast recipe we enjoy with them.
This apple bread is made from scratch and really is quite easy. The crumb topping is optional but we do recommend it for some nice added flavor!
The bread batter
Flour - We use all purpose flour and it is what we recommend. It hasn't been tested with other flours, but if you do try a different flour please let us know about it!
Apples - You can use your favorite here. If you love sweet apples, go for it! Granny smith are usually the go to for many people due to being more sour and they don't add as much sweet to it. We prefer to use something like gala that is a little sweeter and kind of soft. Honey crisp is really amazing, but sweet.
Eggs - No substitutions recommended.
Salt - Can be left out but we recommend adding it to enhance the flavors.
Vanilla extract - No substitutions recommended.
Baking soda - I recommend using baking soda instead of baking powder here. Your bread will rise nicely and have the perfect texture with the buttermilk activating the baking soda. You can use 2 teaspoons of baking powder in place if you do not have baking soda, but only if needed. Baking soda is better here.
Buttermilk - Highly recommended and you can make your own if needed. We always have buttermilk powder on hand. It stores well in the fridge and you just mix with water. You can also make buttermilk at home with milk and vinegar or lemon juice - no need to rush to the store! Here's how to make buttermilk at home.
Cinnamon - No substitutions recommended.
Sugar - We use pure cane granulated sugar which is why it is not so white in the picture, but regular granulated sugar is just as good.
Brown sugar - Dark or light brown sugar is good here. We like dark brown, but you can use light.
Butter - We use unsalted, but you can use salted here.
The crumb topping
The crumb topping for the apple bread is similar to an apple crisp topping, only you are not adding as much to the top of the bread as you would apple crisp. This is optional but delicious!
Oats - Quick oats are best here, but you can also use old fashioned oats. I do not recommend using steel cut oats due to their texture and time they normally take to cook.
Cinnamon - No recommended substitutions.
Flour - We use all purpose flour here.
Butter - Salted or unsalted is good. We use salted for the crumb topping.
Brown sugar - Dark or light brown works here, we prefer dark brown.
Tips for making the apple bread
It is pretty easy to make but there are a couple things to mention so you have the perfect bread!
Soften the butter but do not melt the butter for both the batter and the topping. It will blend perfectly if soft, but will not work out so well if it is melted.
Use a scale to measure the flour. You want to be sure it is the right consistency and baked goods are best with an exact measurement of flour. You can spoon and level the cups if needed, but we used exactly 285 grams here.
The batter should be thick but scoopable. It should not pour out but can be scooped out pretty easily.
Be sure to use buttermilk! You can make it at home and it is an important ingredient to this bread.
Do not panic when you see the buttermilk looking like it is separating from the rest of the ingredients when you first add it. It will come together nicely when you put the flour in - I promise!
As you can see in the picture here, the consistency looks slightly lumpy. You will also notice that there is liquid on the bottom and then it is lumpy on top. No worries!
Stop using the mixer after adding the buttermilk. We use a whisk to stir in the dry ingredients and whisk it until it is incorporated with no big lumps.
The crumb topping can be doubled if you prefer to have more on top!
Adding the apples - Use a spatula to fold the apples in so they remain chunks and not mushed into the batter.
The crumb topping for the apple bread just gets crumbled on top with your hands. You can drop it in bigger chunks or break it into small chunks, this is a personal preference!
Bake it on a rack in the middle of the oven and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean or only a couple small crumbs on it.
This goes well with a nice hazelnut latte!
Frequently asked questions
Yes it is ok and completely normal here. It will separate from the butter, sugar and egg mix. Mix the dry ingredients in and it will be ok.
Yes it is good warm or cooled all the way. Whether you serve it warm or cool, carefully remove it from the pan after sitting on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes. Allow it to sit out of the pan for about 10 minutes before cutting for warm or allow it to cool down all the way. You can cut it right away, but it will be very hot!
If cooled all the way and then wrapped in plastic wrap, it should last 3 days. We always finish it in that amount of time so it hasn't been tested longer, but it likely won't last much beyond 3 days.
Some useful items
Here are some things that can be useful in making the apple bread with crumb topping. As an Amazon affiliate we may earn a commission if you purchase through our links. This is at no extra cost to you!
- Bread pan - Bread pans are one pan we use that is non stick. This has not been tested in cast iron.
- Cooling rack - It is best to use a cooling rack to cool the bread
- Buttermilk powder - Lasts a lot longer in the fridge then regular buttermilk. We always have this in the house.
- Mixing bowls - Stainless steel is my favorite for mixing bowls. I worry about using glass with a hand mixer.
- Hand mixer - You can use a stand mixer as well, but I prefer a hand mixer for the bread batter. You don't use a mixer for all of the mixing.
- Whisk - A simple whisk works, nothing fancy.
- Spatula - Simple silicone spatulas work best!
Apple Bread with Crumb Topping
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- ½ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup brown sugar packed
- 2 eggs
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup buttermilk see notes
- 1½ cups chopped apples
Dry ingredients to be mixed together
- 2 cups flour weighing 285 grams
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the Crumb Topping (optional)
- 2 Tablespoon butter softened
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅓ cup quick rolled oats or old fashioned but not steel cut
- Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
For the batter
- Mix the flour, salt, cinnamon and baking powder in a bowl and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl cream the butter, sugar and brown sugar.
- Add in the egg and vanilla extract, mix with hand or stand mixer for about 30 seconds.
- Add in the buttermilk and carefully give it a quick mix. See notes.
- Pour the dry ingredients into the butter mix and stir well with a whisk to incorporate. The batter will be thick.
- Gently fold the chopped apples into the batter with a spatula.
- Scoop the batter into a greased 9.25 inch by 5.25 inch bread pan.
Making the Streusel / Crumb Topping
- With a fork mash the butter and brown sugar together. Be sure it is mixed well.
- Add in the cinnamon, flour and oats. Mix well, it will be thick and crumbly.
- Sprinkle the topping over the batter in the bread pan. I used my fingers to break it up a little bit.
Bake the apple bread
- Place the bread on a rack in the center of the oven and bake for about 50-60 minutes. Oven times will vary but a toothpick inserted in the middle of the bread should come out clean when done.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes before carefully removing from pan. Bread can be enjoyed warm or after cooling all the way.