Quick Bread

29 Quick Breads to Make While Waiting on Your Sourdough Starter

Subpar float test got you down? We've got just the thing—29, to be exact.

by:
April 17, 2020
Photo by Rocky Luten

“Quick bread is the name given to a weird cakey-muffin hybrid that’s baked in a loaf pan,” our resident pasty expert Erin McDowell explains.

Typically leavened by baking powder and/or soda—not yeast—quick breads come together quickly (ha), without the planning and babysitting that yeasted or naturally-leavened breads often require. Left out on the counter, covered to protect against excessive drying, loaves will keep for up to three days (if they make it that long). For longer storage, wrap with foil or in a freezer-safe plastic bag and freeze for up to three months.

Here are 29 very good ones: the bananas and not-bananas, cheesies and seedies, and more-cake-than-breads.


The Bananas

1. Brown Butter Bourbon Banana Bread

Brown butter makes things better. (So does bourbon.)

2. Our Best Banana Nut Bread

Straight out of our Test Kitchen, our best banana bread is also our nuttiest—thanks to toasty walnuts and whole-wheat flour.

3. Espresso Banana Bread

Your morning cup and yogurt all in one loaf. Our ideal breakfast (and afternoon snack and dessert).

4. Brown Butter Banana Bread With Peanut Streusel

Top with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge for a better banana split. Just don’t over bake it: “You must take it out when it's still gooey in the center. Otherwise the bread will be dry and you will be sad,” author Phyllis Grant writes.


The Non-Bananas

5. Our Best Pumpkin Bread

Found a stray can of pumpkin puree in your pantry? Here’s how to put it—the entire can, not just one measly cup—to good use. Utilizing the whole can “means intense squashy flavor, bright orange color, and increased moistness,” Food Editor Emma Laperruque writes.

6. My New Favorite Zucchini Bread

Like many other quick breads, zucchini bread is very freezer-friendly. This version here—perfumed with rosemary, orange, and olive oil—feels both indulgent and virtuous, more bread than cake.

7. Apple Walnut Tea Cake

From Chad Robertson comes this smart technique for a light and tender cake, despite the addition of flavorful but often dense wholemeal flour. “Cutting the fat into the flour creates small pockets of air in the finished tea cake as it bakes,” Robertson explains, “yielding a lighter, more tender crumb. This technique is especially well suited to whole-grain or high-extraction flours.”

8. Yogurt Bread With Molasses

Adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, this moody loaf is tangy with yogurt and caramel-y with molasses.

9. Zucchini Bread With Dates & Hazelnuts

Zucchini bread by another name. Sweetly nutty thanks to spelt flour, full of toasty hazelnut bits and lemon zest, and moistened by crème fraîche.

10. Coconut Quick Bread

From cookbook author and blogger Alexandra Stafford comes this simple vanilla loaf, strewn with grated coconut: Do as Alexandra does and pair it with something citrusy: “When life gives you key limes, make...key lime curd and then this coconut quick bread to eat with it.”


hearties & seedies

11. Healthy Breakfast Bread With Seeds, Almonds & Figs

This bread is essentially a handheld version of a morning fruit-and-nut grain bowl, and we are here for it.

12. Vegan Date Nut Bread

From our Veganism 2.0 columnist, Gena Hamshaw, comes this recipe for a moist, fluffy, breakfast-friendly loaf. Chopped medjool dates add a bit of sticky sweetness, while walnuts add heartiness.

13. Blackbird’s Bread

While known for their pies, Four & Twenty Blackbirds makes stellar quick breads too. This one is seedy (sesame! flax! sunflower!), deeply spiced, and molasses-y.

14. Buckwheat Persimmon Bread

Alice Medrich writes, “Buckwheat flour adds a woodsy flavor and pleasing grain to this not-too-sweet loaf with currants, walnuts, and nutmeg.” Pureed persimmons—whether Hachiya or Fuyu—lend moisture and sweetness to the loaf.


Cheesies, Butteries & Savories

15. Our Best Cornbread

Serve a hunk of this alongside a steaming bowl of chill, platter of pulled pork, or on its own with salted butter.

16. Nouveau Irish Soda Bread

This soda bread is ethereally tender, thanks to both cake flour and mashed potatoes. Celery leaves and scallions add brightness and freshness. As for why the bread is slashed with an “x”? Recipe developer boulangere reports her findings: “It may honor the Christian symbol of the cross, or it may be the baker’s way of ‘letting the devil out’ during baking.”

17. Vera Obias’ Cheddar & Black Pepper Cornbread

How to make even better cornbread? Genius columnist Kristen Miglore says, “Treat it more like a biscuit (or scone, or pie crust). The same cold pockets of butter that make a scone crunch outside and billow through the middle do good things for cornbread too.”

18. Avocado Cornbread

Hot avocado? Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it. From recipe developer Aargersi comes this cumin-flecked, creamy (but not mushy!) cornbread. Just add salad, wilted greens, or something stewy, and you’ve got dinner.

19. Sausage, Cheddar & Chive Biscuit Bread

A breakfast sando in loaf form. Biscuit dough gets snuggled into a loaf pan, and strewn with sausage bits, chives, and grated cheddar cheese. Slice and slather with butter.

20. Texas Breakfast Beer Bread

Crumbled bacon bits and maple syrup make this jalapeño-cheddar-beer bread breakfast-worthy.

21. Mediterranean Olive Bread

This tender, crumbly, rosemary-flecked quickbread marked our co-founder, Merril Stubbs’ foray into cooking and baking. In lieu of the candied walnuts called for in the original Joy of Baking version, Merrill went with chopped olives (and boy, are we happy she did).


More-Cake-Than-Breads

22. Saffron & Chocolate Tea Cake

While this quick bread edges closer to cake territory, author Samantha Seneviratne’s addition of saffron keeps chocolate in check. “Saffron is smart and sensible. She’s just the bright and slightly acerbic partner that he badly needs. She puts him in his place, gets that sweetness in check, and adds color, depth, and sophistication,” she writes.

23. Brown Butter, Tea & Honey Cake

There was never a more photogenic, deep and sultry loaf than this one. Black tea and brown sugar imbue the batter with its beautiful color and flavor; the honey and milk (plant-based welcome) ensure moisture and tenderness.

24. Cinnamon Scone Bread

Recipe developer mrslarkin’s clever layering and building technique (think: crepe cake on its side) makes for a multitude of rich, buttery layers alternating with cinnamon streusel.

25. Almond Cake With Orange Flower Water Syrup

This yogurt loaf is fragrant with orange flower water, crumbly-tender from employs almond flour, and shellacked with a citrus glaze. Shaved almonds gather in the loaf’s fallen top, making for an ideal nut-to-cake ratio.

26. Molly Yeh’s Dark Chocolate Marzipan Scone Loaf

Don’t be fooled—though this recipe looks and acts like a pound cake, it’s still a quick bread. A scone loaf studded with chocolate chips and marzipan chunks, but a loaf nonetheless!

27. Chocolate Pumpkin Loaf

A treat within a treat: pumpkin bread batter enrobes a chocolatey one, to make a sweet but spooky two-toned bread.

28. Applesauce Carrot Bread With Pecan Streusel

Why decide between applesauce bread or carrot bread when you can have both?Top it all off with a nutty, crumbly pecan streusel, slice, and enjoy with milky coffee.

29. Brown Butter & Butternut Loaf

A baking and home improvement project all rolled into one: “Your whole house will smell like rich, nutty brown butter since it's in both the cake and the icing,” our Test Kitchen writes. The bread tastes like something between butterscotch and pumpkin—we’d have to try a few more bites before coming to a clear verdict.

Which of these quick breads are you baking next? Tell us in the comments!

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Coral Lee is an Associate Editor at Food52. Before this, she cooked food solely for photos. Before that, she cooked food solely for customers. And before that, she shot lasers at frescoes in Herculaneum and taught yoga. When she's not writing about or making food, she's thinking about it. Her Heritage Radio Network show, "Meant to be Eaten," explores cross-cultural exchange as afforded by food. You can follow her on Instagram @meanttobeeaten.

1 Comment

boulangere April 18, 2020
Coral, thank you kindly for including my recipe here. I hope you are all well and safe.