30 Best Quick Bread Recipes

Sweet or savory, find all our best healthy recipes for muffins, tea breads, scones, pancakes, and more—all made quickly without yeast.

Orange-Pecan Tea Bread Recipe

Healthy Quick Bread Recipes

Quick breads are leavened with baking powder or baking soda, as compared to yeast breads that require long rising times before baking. We compiled a collection of our editors' and readers' best-loved quick bread recipes—from biscuits and scones to muffins and loaves. Based on research from MyRecipes.com, we pulled the Cooking Light recipes that received the most votes and highest star ratings.

First up: Mixing orange juice in with the powdered sugar creates an easy-to-drizzle glaze that adds a burst of orange flavor to this loaf. Reviewer rmiller2 awarded this recipe 5 stars: "This bread was outstanding. I loved its intense orange flavor with the crunchiness and nuttiness of the pecans. It also had a nice, moist and tender texture."

View Recipe: Orange-Pecan Tea Bread

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

The less you knead the dough, the lighter and more tender your biscuits will be. Fat-free buttermilk adds a lovely tang and encourages a moist texture. This method of folding the dough creates irresistible flaky layers. To maximize the number of biscuits you get from the recipe, gather the dough scraps left after cutting, and gently pat or reroll them to a ¾-inch thickness.

View Recipe: Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

Tuscan Lemon Muffins

Photo: Randy Mayor

Tuscan Lemon Muffins

Bake our Tuscan Lemon Muffins to keep on hand for satisfying hold-you-over snacks. The tart, rich flavor comes from a favorite Italian combo—olive oil and fresh lemon.

Reviewer JaneBaines said, "I think these deserve FIVE stars! They're VERY good. They were even better the next day because they are very moist and substantial without being heavy."

View Recipe: Tuscan Lemon Muffins

Peanut Butter Banana Bread Recipes

Photo: John Autry and Randy Mayor

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Peanut butter is whipped into the basic recipe for a moist banana bread with a hint of nutty flavor. A small amount of chopped roasted peanuts offers delightfully surprising crunch.

View Recipe: Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Classic Scones Recipe

Photo: Randy Mayor

Classic Scones

These barely sweet scones are delicious with strawberry jam. Try substituting other dried fruits, such as cranberries or blueberries, for the currants.

Reviewer laura141 said, "I've tried many scone recipes: this is the best; the scones are even good the second day. The dough comes together beautifully: not too dry; not too wet."

View Recipe: Classic Scones

Zucchini-Pineapple Quick Bread Recipe

Photo: Randy Mayor

Zucchini-Pineapple Quick Bread

Warm cinnamon and crushed pineapple turn ordinary mellow zucchini bread into a distinctive sweet snack or dessert. The recipe yields two generous loaves, which is a fine way to use the abundance of fresh zucchini harvested from your garden during the summer. Freeze the extra loaf, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and heavy-duty aluminum foil, for up to one month. Thaw at room temperature. Slices are good microwaved at HIGH for 10 to 15 seconds.

View Recipe: Zucchini-Pineapple Quick Bread

Popovers Recipe


This basic recipe for the simple, hollow rolls is a favorite amongst staff and readers alike. Use a pastry brush to oil the popover cups. A muffin tin works, also, but the cups are smaller, so you'll get popovers that need 5 minutes less time in the oven. The popovers puff more when you take some of the chill out of the eggs and milk. Although it's tempting, don't open the oven door to peek at the popovers—use the oven light and view through the glass to see when they're golden brown.

View Recipe: Popovers

Chocolate Chip-Coffee Muffins Recipe

Photo: Johnny Autry

Chocolate Chip-Coffee Muffins

Every bite of our Chocolate Chip-Coffee Muffins delivers a jolt of coffee flavor and chunks of chocolate. Just be sure to watch the muffins carefully—they will toughen if baked too long.

View Recipe: Chocolate Chip-Coffee Muffins

Pecan-Topped Pumpkin Bread

Pecan-Topped Pumpkin Bread

This much-loved recipe was the subject of a recipe makeover that earned rave reviews. With a few low-fat baking tricks, our healthy pumpkin bread recipe shaved 33 percent of the calories and more than half the fat from the original recipe.

View Recipe: Pecan-Topped Pumpkin Bread

Watch the Video: Lightened Pumpkin Bread

Whole-Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes Recipe

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Whole-Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

Whether you're serving up breakfast for dinner or a delicious weekend brunch, make an extra batch and freeze to save for busy mornings. Bonus: Many of our online reviewers have called these fluffy, flavorful pancakes the best they've ever tasted.

View Recipe: Whole-Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze Recipe

Photo: Randy Mayor and Iain Bagwell

Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze

This recipe first appeared on the cover of our September 2003 issue. Years later, it remains a favorite of many staffers as well as readers. "I'm a sucker for a citrus glaze," says Senior Food Editor Julie Grimes. "It gives this bread an interesting twist."

This banana bread does not have a typical thick quick bread batter. For this recipe, we opted to use an electric mixer versus combining the ingredients by hand.

View Recipe: Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze

Blueberry and Oatmeal Muffins Recipe

Photo: John Autry

Blueberry and Oatmeal Muffins

This family favorite gets a twist with the addition of whole-wheat flour and oatmeal. Tossing frozen blueberries with flour before adding them to the batter keeps them from turning the batter purple while they bake. If you use fresh blueberries, skip that step.

View Recipe: Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

Basic Beer-Cheese Bread

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Basic Beer-Cheese Bread

Drizzling butter over top of this quick bread twice during baking gives it a wonderfully brown and crisp crust, and a great rich flavor, accentuating the cheese spread throughout the loaf. The bread is endlessly variable; by changing the type of beer, cheese, and extra ingredients you can make a whole new dish. Check the recipe for apple-cheddar, manchego-jalapeño, and sopressata-asiago variations.

View Recipe: Basic Beer-Cheese Bread

Chocolate Chip Scones Recipe

Photo: John Autry

Chocolate Chip Scones

Make a quick bread even quicker with the addition of a convenience product. Low-fat baking mix shortcuts the process because the flour, salt, and baking soda are already added in the proper ratios—allowing you to be a baking rock star, in less time, with less fuss.

Semisweet mini chocolate chips complement the currants beautifully.

View Recipe: Chocolate Chip Scones

Classic Banana Bread

Photo: Randy Mayor

Classic Banana Bread

One of our most basic banana breads, this recipe lives up to its name; it's a classic. Choose very ripe fruit―the browner the better―for the most intense flavor and a soft texture that mashes and blends easily.

The Classic is a favorite of Executive Food Editor Ann Taylor Pittman. "It's pure banana flavor," she says. "You can't go wrong with this one."

View Recipe: Classic Banana Bread

Kalamata Olive Bread with Oregano Recipe

Photo: Randy Mayor

Kalamata Olive Bread with Oregano

A Greek salad goes well with this fragrant loaf, though simply buttered slices will also satisfy.

Christine4136P gave this savory bread 5 stars: "I really liked this recipe, as did my husband. It smelled wonderful coming out of the oven, and I finally had to have a sample of it before dinner because it smelled so good."

View Recipe: Kalamata Olive Bread with Oregano

Garden Harvest Bread Recipe

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Garden Harvest Bread

Zucchini, carrot, and apples add moisture and flavor, eliminating the need for excess butter and oil. This simple cake-like bread only takes about 10 minutes to prepare the batter. Prep tip: Grate the apple, carrot, and zucchini using a handheld grater. A food processor releases more water, which will make the bread wet.

View Recipe: Garden Harvest Bread

Raspberry-Cream Cheese Muffins Recipe

Photo: Randy Mayor

Raspberry-Cream Cheese Muffins

This recipe is incredibly versatile. Many reviewers mixed it up by adding blueberries, cherries, and dried cranberries. “These remind me of a light raspberry cheesecake,” writes moosaba. “They're delicious, and incredibly easy to make. The batter smells amazing.”

View Recipe: Raspberry-Cream Cheese Muffins

Spiced Pumpkin Biscuits Recipes

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Spiced Pumpkin Biscuits

These light, flavorful biscuits are the perfect complement to a fall meal, especially when paired with Orange Blossom Honey Butter. A light hand with the dough will help to ensure tender biscuits.

View Recipe: Spiced Pumpkin Biscuits

Carrot Cake Pancakes Recipe

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Carrot Cake Pancakes

Stuffed with toasted walnuts, shredded carrots, and all the spices found in carrot cake, these light buttermilk pancakes are a guilt-free breakfast pleasure. Top with some homemade honey butter or light pancake syrup.

View Recipe: Carrot Cake Pancakes

Morning Glory Muffins Recipe

Photo: Randy Mayor

Morning Glory Muffins

A healthier spin on banana-nut muffins, this recipe packs just about every healthful ingredient you can put in a baked good―crunchy walnuts, hearty oats, chewy dried fruit, and more.

A favorite of Special Publications Editor Mary Creel, RD, she praises this muffin for its versatility. "You can eat them for breakfast, as a snack, or for dessert."

View Recipe: Morning Glory Muffins

Pumpkin-Cranberry Muffins Recipe

Photo: Randy Mayor

Pumpkin-Cranberry Muffins

These moist, 5-star pumpkin muffins get a burst of sweet and sour notes from the dried cranberries. This favorite recipe doubles easily to feed a crowd.

View Recipe: Pumpkin-Cranberry Muffins

Healthy Irish Recipes: Brown Soda Bread

Photo: Jonny Valiant

Brown Soda Bread

Whole-wheat flour, wheat germ, and steel-cut oats (also called Irish oatmeal) make this a super-healthy interpretation of the classic Irish bread.

View Recipe: Brown Soda Bread

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Lemon-blueberry muffins, with a sour-sweet glaze and hint of nutmeg, are perfect any time of day.

"Made these muffins with fresh local blueberries and lemons—YUM!" raved yogimom7. "I think this will be our go-to blueberry muffin recipe from now on!"

View Recipe: Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Healthy Muffin Recipes: Whole-Wheat, Oatmeal, and Raisin Muffins

Whole-Wheat, Oatmeal, and Raisin Muffins

With four whole grains and three dried fruits, these muffins are a great way to get a variety of antioxidants and fiber. Wheat germ is a good source of vitamin E. Look for untoasted wheat germ in the organic food section of the supermarket. Adding boiling water to the batter and allowing it to sit for 15 minutes before baking allows the hearty oats, wheat germ, and bran to soak up the liquid for a more tender muffin.

View Recipe: Whole-Wheat, Oatmeal, and Raisin Muffins

Walnut Streusel Bread

Photo: Hannah Whitaker

Walnut Streusel Bread

In this delicious quick bread recipe, streusel ribbons through the batter and adds crunch on top.

View Recipe: Walnut Streusel Bread

Sweet Potato Bread

Photo: Hannah Whitaker

Sweet Potato Bread

Inspired by carrot cake, we created a cream cheese-frosted bread. This treat is peppered with sweet raisins and crunchy pecans and frosted with cream cheese that has a lemony zing.

View Recipe: Sweet Potato Bread

Kumquat-Cranberry Cornmeal Loaf

Photo: Hannah Whitaker

Kumquat-Cranberry Cornmeal Loaf

Juicy fruit bakes on the bottom of the bread, which is inverted to reveal a gorgeously jeweled top. Slice off a thin layer of the domed end to create a stable base once you turn out the bread.

View Recipe: Kumquat-Cranberry Cornmeal Loaf

Almond Bread

Photo: Hannah Whitaker

Almond Bread

A package of almond paste—which you'll find on the baking aisle—makes this loaf incredibly moist and dense, almost like a pound cake.

View Recipe: Almond Bread

Maple-Stout Quick Bread

Photo: Hannah Whitaker

Maple-Stout Quick Bread

Stout beer—think of Guinness, with its black color and intense richness—gives this bread a slightly bitter background note and gorgeous nut-brown hue.

View Recipe: Maple-Stout Quick Bread

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