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Quick Bread Recipe: Create Your Own

Scott Phillips

True to their name, quick breads are quick to make, though it should be noted that they’re more like cake than bread. These iconic American treats are delicious for breakfast, as a snack, or for a casual dessert. They’re a perfect handmade gift, and they freeze well, too. But what I love most about them is the infinite number of variations I can make by simply adding flavorings to my basic vanilla batter and finishing with different toppings (or not; it’s also quite tasty on its own).


Master Quick Bread Recipe

This recipe was developed using a standard Pyrex loaf pan. You can experiment with different shapes and sizes; just adjust the baking time accordingly and put a sheet of aluminum foil on the bottom oven rack in case there’s a little overflow due to variations in volume.

Yields one loaf; serves 10

Prep the pan and heat the oven

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 6-cup (8-1/2 x 4-1/2-inch or 9 x 5-inch) loaf pan with 1 Tbs. softened unsalted butter. Flour the greased pan with 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour, tapping out any excess.

Combine the dry ingredients

Add-ins make quick bread more interesting, but don’t overdo it; too many extras may cause the batter to overflow during baking and can make the finished bread crumbly.

In a large bowl, combine 9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 Tbs. baking powder, 3/4 tsp. table salt, and spices, if using (see options below). Whisk until well blended. Stir in dry add-ins, if using (see options below).


Choose up to five spices for a total of up to 2 tsp. (optional)

up to 1 tsp.

up to 1/2 tsp.

Cloves: up
to 1/4 tsp.

Ginger: up to
1 tsp.

Nutmeg, preferably freshly grated: up to 1/2 tsp.



Choose up to three dry add-ins for a total of up to 2-1/4 cups (optional)


Poppy seeds:
4 tsp.

Chopped, toasted nuts:
up to 2/3 cup

Diced apples: up to 1/2 cup

Diced bananas:
up to 1/2 cup

Diced mangos: up to 1/2 cup

Finely diced crystallized ginger: up to 1/2 cup

Chocolate chips: up to
1 cup

Peanut butter chips: up to
1 cup

Butterscotch chips: up to
1 cup

Chopped dried apricots: up
to 3/4 cup

Dried cherries, chopped if
large: up to 3/4 cup

Raisins: up to 3/4 cup

Shredded sweetened dried
coconut, toasted: up to 1-1/2 cups

Dried lavender: up to 1 Tbs.

Berries, fresh or thawed frozen, halved if large: up to 1-1/4 cups


Combine the wet ingredients

If using a wet add-in, be sure to adjust the milk/buttermilk/coconut or your batter will have too much liquid.

In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup milk OR buttermilk OR unsweetened coconut milk, 2 large room-temperature eggs, and 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract. Add a wet add-in (see options below) and aromatic flavoring (see options below), if using. Whisk until blended.


Choose one wet add-in (optional; if using, reduce milk in batter to 1/2 cup)

Coarsely grated zucchini:
1-1/2 cups, squeezed dry

Mashed overripe bananas:
1 cup

Fruit purée, such as applesauce:
1/2 cup

Canned pumpkin:
1 cup

Coarsely grated carrots: 1-1/2 cups, squeezed dry

Choose one aromatic flavoring (optional)

Finely grated lemon zest: 1 Tbs. Finely grated lime zest: 1 Tbs. Finely grated orange zest: 1-1/2 Tbs.

Finely grated fresh ginger:
2 Tbs.

Pure almond extract:
1/2 tsp.

Pure lemon or
orange extract: 1/2 tsp.


Make the batter

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients. Add 4 oz. (1/2 cup) melted and cooled unsalted butter. Using a silicone spatula, gently fold until blended.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.


Top and bake

Toppings added before baking sink into the batter a bit, which means they’ll stay put.

Sprinkle a topping (optional; see choices below) evenly over the batter (gently pat down nuts so they adhere to the batter).

Bake, rotating halfway through, until the top is golden and a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes.


Choose one topping (optional)

Sanding sugar: 2 Tbs.

Turbinado sugar: 2 Tbs.

Sliced or chopped nuts: 1/2 cup



Finish the bread

A final flourish of confectioners’ sugar or a sweet glaze dresses up a quick bread.

Let the bread cool in the pan on a rack for 30 minutes. Invert the bread and remove the pan, turn the bread right side up, and let cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar or drizzle with a glaze (optional: see recipe below). Store, covered, at room temperature for up to 2 days.


Glaze Recipe

4 oz. (1 cup) confectioners’ sugar, sifted if lumpy
4 tsp. liquid (water, milk, cream, fresh lemon, orange, or pineapple juice); more as needed

Sift 4 oz. (1 cup)  confectioners’ sugar through a medium-fine sieve. In a small bowl, combine the sugar with 4 tsp. liquid (water, milk, cream, fresh lemon, orange, or pineapple juice) until smooth, adding more liquid 1 tsp. at a time until the glaze is just pourable; a cream glaze may need quite a bit more liquid.


Rate or Review

Reviews (6 reviews)

  • veggiemelties | 06/11/2022

    Folks, you have to add baking powder. There probably should have been a section for 'non-negotiable leavening' with a photo of baking powder or a mix of baking soda / cream of tartar.

    In my experience 1 tablespoon is too much baking powder, though.

  • Don_Kediq | 04/12/2022

    I do not recommend this recipe ! it was absolutely dreadful!!!!! it made me puke 4 times and my husband had to perform cpr at one point. This was the same day cps was coming over to inspect our home and when they saw this quick bread on our dining table and tried it themselves, they accused us of abuse and took our precious little mikhail away. Me and my husband (yes we are gay) are devastated.

  • Gang_Green | 04/12/2022

    I absolutely do not recommend this recipe!!! My husband of 12 years began having a seizure with foam coming from his mouth after eating the quick bread. Fortunately he will be fine, but our legal team is contacting Fine Cooking (tm) to settle this. This cannot be allowed, and I will do everything in my power to bring this company down and prevent another incident like this, which almost costed me my marriage.

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