As much as I would love to bake my own bread with any regularity, it just requires more patience than I can muster: the careful measuring of the ingredients, the waiting for the dough to rise, and don't even get me started on the kneading. Quick breads are much more my speed—just mix up the ingredients and bake—and, while most are sweet enough to be limited to the dessert, snack, and breakfast categories, real-deal Irish soda bread, savory bacon-and-cheddar beer bread, and unsweetened Southern-style cornbread all do beautifully alongside a bowl of soup for a comforting cold-weather dinner. If you embrace more dessert-like breads—and there are few easier routes to sweet baked goods than easy-to-assemble, fast-rising quick breads—try our new-and-improved rendition of zucchini bread studded with walnuts, or an incredibly moist banana bread enriched with coconut oil and Greek yogurt. Whichever way you lean, you can satisfy all your carb-y cravings (and start warming up your kitchen for fall!) with these 14 recipes.
Classic Banana Bread
Banana bread is often thought of as a way to use up bananas that are long past their prime, but our experience has shown that better texture results from using perfectly ripe ones. (Got nothing but greenish bananas in the house? Try the genius quick-ripening method that Stella discovered—they'll be ready for baking in just 30 minutes.) To get a tender, moist loaf, we recommend coconut oil instead of vegetable oil or butter, and replacing all-purpose flour with whole-grain. Read more of our tips for the best banana bread here.
Real Irish Soda Bread
As a result of modern alterations to the recipe, too many versions of Irish soda bread turn out with a crumbly, almost muffin-like texture that I simply don't want from a loaf of bread. But true, old-school soda bread, dating back to the days of the Great Famine in Ireland, is made with a buttermilk-rich dough that bakes up with a wonderfully fluffy texture—a good argument for sticking with tradition, as we do here. The fine, even crumb you'll get with our recipe makes this a good choice for slicing and using as sandwich bread.
Irish Tea Brack (Tea-Soaked Raisin Bread)
Though it's the best known, soda bread isn't the only quick bread to come out of Ireland. Irish tea brack, which calls for infusing raisins with the flavor of strong tea, is a sweeter option, and this recipe could hardly be simpler. The overnight tea soak required means you can't whip this up on the spur of the moment, but if you can invest the (inactive) prep time, you'll be rewarded with a lightly cinnamon- and nutmeg-spiced bread, studded with sweet raisins and topped with hearty thick-cut oats.
Zucchini Bread With Walnuts
Even if you're not facing squash overload—zucchini grows like a weed in the summertime—this recipe for the comforting classic is worth a try. Reducing the quantity of sugar found in most recipes means the loaf comes out just sweet enough, while swapping out some of the oil for thick, tangy Greek yogurt keeps it from developing that mildly greasy layer. Blending a little olive oil with the vegetable oil adds just a hint of rich olive flavor.
Moist and Tender Brown Butter Cornbread
Our basic recipe for sweet, moist Northern-style cornbread is delicious as is, but adding nutty brown butter makes it even better, and doesn't require an extra skillet. Using sour cream as well as buttermilk gives the bread slightly more tang to offset the sugar.
Southern-Style Unsweetened Cornbread
Traditional Southern-style cornbread is flour- and sugar-free, relying instead on the natural sweetness of a high-quality stone-ground cornmeal, like the ones produced by Anson Mills and Nora Mill. If your meal isn't up to snuff, just add a few teaspoons of sugar, which won't be enough to turn this rich and buttery golden bread into a sweet one, but will effectively bring the flavor into balance.
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Gingerbread
Pumpkin bread is a natural, if expected, choice for a fall-appropriate quick bread; combining it with a few elements of gingerbread yields a spicier treat that resembles your favorite pumpkin bread with a strong kick. A mixture of granulated sugar, molasses, and golden syrup gives the bread a complex, caramel-like flavor. Rice flour, sorghum flour, and cornstarch replace wheat flour to keep it gluten-free.
Sticky Malt Loaf
Dense malt loaf is a classic English teatime snack, usually spread with plenty of soft butter. We incorporate strong tea directly into our batter, in a move borrowed from the tea brack recipe above. The most important ingredient, though, is malt extract—you can get it online or from your local home-brewing supply shop. Try using whatever malt matches your favorite beer style.
Easy Boston Brown Bread
Boston brown bread, or "canned bread," as it's sometimes called in New England, is a moist, sweet, molasses-enriched loaf that's steamed rather than baked, and a 14-ounce tin can really does make a fine vessel. It's also incredibly easy to make—just mix the ingredients, pour the batter into metal cans, and steam them in a pot of water. Serve it plain, or toast it and spread it with cream cheese.
Bacon, Onion, and Cheddar Beer Bread
This is one quick bread that's got its heels dug firmly in savory territory. Like any simple beer bread, it's lightly flavored with lager, but it goes much further, with bits of crisp fried bacon, grated cheddar, and onion cooked in the bacon fat. You can spiff it up even more if you like, with chives, corn, or peppers.
Red Banana Pineapple Bread
Honestly, I hadn't even heard of red bananas before I was introduced to this recipe, and clearly, I'd been missing out. As lovely as they are to look at, their flavor is even better: intensely banana-y, with a mildly tangy edge. Pineapple and ginger add tropical and spicy notes to make this banana bread extra flavorful.
Individual Blueberry Buttermilk Loaves
Baking bread in individual mini loaves automatically earns you more fancy points, so these cute little berry numbers are great for a nice brunch. Buttermilk keeps them moist and tender without actually making them tangy. We like blueberries in this recipe, but you can use any berries you have on hand, even dried ones.
Pine Nut Pound Cake With Blood Orange Glaze
This simple vanilla pound cake is moist from buttermilk and dotted throughout with toasted pine nuts, but the real star is the blood orange glaze. The tangy flavor of blood oranges sits somewhere between orange, grapefruit, and raspberry, yielding a glaze that's much more complex than one made with regular oranges. We especially like Moro blood oranges for the intense pink color that their dark flesh provides.
Pumpkin Butter Tea Cakes With Orange Glaze
These mini tea loaves get so much flavor from pumpkin butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg, they don't need more than a simple orange glaze to finish them off. Using Greek yogurt in place of butter or oil keeps the crumb nice and light. Because pumpkin butters vary greatly in flavor, you'll need to adjust the sugar and spices to taste.