This Healthy Gingerbread Loaf recipe is moist and fluffy, made with warming spices, applesauce and whole wheat flour. The result is a wholesome gingerbread based on a holiday classic!

More healthy holiday desserts we love are these healthy gingerbread cookies and healthy gingersnap cookies.

Healthy gingerbread loaf drizzled with icing and topped with cranberries.

Healthy gingerbread loaf is a holiday quick bread that makes your house smell like Christmas!

It’s perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth while curled up with a mug of healthy hot chocolate or frantically wrapping Christmas presents.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Less “empty calories”: Instead, there is applesauce, less sugar, natural sweeteners, whole grain flour and avocado or coconut oil.
  • Traditional flavor: An impressive healthier gingerbread that tastes like the classic. And much better than the Starbucks gingerbread loaf!
  • Soft and fluffy: Rather than hard gingerbread cookies, this quick bread is soft, moist, and slightly sticky. 
  • Super simple: Made primarily of pantry staples and in under an hour.

Ingredients for Healthy Gingerbread Loaf

Flour, maple syrup, applesauce, eggs, vanilla, salt, molasses, baking soda, nutmeg, icing sugar, cinnamon baking powder, dried ginger, oil.
  • Applesauce: Unsweetened store-bought applesauce or Instant Pot applesauce. It replaces some of the fat and yields a moist gingerbread. I don’t recommend to replace it with yogurt or Greek yogurt because bread will not be sweet.
  • Molasses: This will provide the classic gingerbread flavor. Use unsulphured blackstrap molasses or dark molasses rather than light molasses.
  • Sweetener: I like to use maple syrup or honey. Agave or date syrup would also work.
  • Eggs: You need just two large eggs.
  • Flour: Use whole wheat flour or spelt flour. Recipe may work with white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour but I haven’t tried.
  • Oil: Avocado oil, coconut oil, or another neutral cooking oil will work best. Melted butter would also work.
  • Spices: Ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt.
  • Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract will yield the best flavor.
  • Leavening agents: This quick bread relies on both baking powder and baking soda to provide lift and texture.
  • Glaze (optional): You will need orange juice (or water) and powdered sugar.

How to Make Healthy Gingerbread Loaf

This healthy gingerbread recipe requires just a few simple steps, including mixing the wet and dry ingredients separately, then combining and baking.

There is also a full recipe card below.

 process how to make batter for healthy gingerbread loaf.
  • Mix the dry ingredients: In a large bowl, add flour and combine with all the spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk until lump free, then set aside.
  • Mix the wet ingredients: In a separate medium bowl, whisk the eggs for ten seconds. Then add the applesauce, molasses, maple syrup, oil, and vanilla. Whisk until well combined.
Step by step process how to bake gingerbread loaf and make an icing glaze for it.
  • Combine the two: Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with dry ingredients and mix gently with a spatula until just combined and you no longer see large flour pockets.
  • Bake: Pour the gingerbread batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Then, allow it to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack for an additional hour (or longer to completely cool if you want to use the glaze).

Gingerbread Glaze Options

To glaze the healthy gingerbread loaf after it cools, you can either brush some honey or maple syrup on top or combine icing sugar and orange juice in a small bowl and drizzle it over the top of the loaf.

Instead of the glaze listed above, you could also top it with healthy cream cheese frosting or healthy buttercream.

Or make an apricot glaze, like lebkuchen stuffed with apricot, by heating apricot jam with a little water or orange liqueur.

Once glazed, allow it to set, and then use a serrated knife to slice into 12 slices. Enjoy!

Two slices of healthy gingerbread loaf with icing on parchment paper.

Tips for Best Results

  • To help release molasses: Spray inside of your measuring cup with cooking spray before measuring out any sticky ingredients like molasses. That way, they’ll slide right out!
  • Do not overmix the batter: It’s important not to overwork the gluten, as it will impact the texture and rise of the gingerbread bread. In fact, I recommend allowing the mixture to sit for 1-2 minutes halfway, then continuing.
  • For mini gingerbread loaves: Divide the batter between smaller loaf pans and reduce the baking time. I recommend monitoring them after 20 minutes, using a toothpick to check for doneness.
  • Cool the cake entirely before glazing: Otherwise, you’ll end up with a drippy, sticky mess.
  • Use the spoon and level method to measure the flour: Spoon the flour into your measuring cup, then use the back of a knife to level it off rather than scooping the cup into your bag of flour.


I recommend using up to 1/2 cup of any of the below larger add-ins for a healthy gingerbread loaf with a twist:

  • Dried fruit: Cranberries or raisins will add little pockets of sweetness.
  • Nuts and seeds: Chopped walnuts, pecans, pistachios, or pumpkin seeds would work.
  • Chocolate chips: Use your favorite dark chocolate chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips or white chocolate chips.
  • Crystallized ginger: A few tablespoons of candied ginger will add extra heat and ginger flavor but also contains a lot of sugar, so don’t add too much.
  • Zest: 1-2 teaspoons of orange zest add more depth to the gingerbread.
  • Black pepper: A pinch of black pepper will further enhance bread’s warmth and spice.
  • Cloves: Add 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves.

How to Serve Gingerbread Cake

You can enjoy a slice of homemade gingerbread loaf either chilled, at room temperature, or warm with:

  • A dollop of yogurt or whipped cream
  • A scoop of ice cream like this vegan vanilla ice cream
  • A drizzle of additional maple syrup or honey
  • Serve with a spread of apricot jam, like lebkuchen
  • A sprinkle of chopped nuts, usually combined with yogurt, cream or ice cream
  • A poached pear or poached apple would also pair wonderfully with a warm slice of this gingerbread

And, personally, I love enjoying a slice with either a warm mug of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate!

How to Store and Freeze

Store: Allow the gingerbread loaf to cool entirely, then store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. It tastes even better on day two or three, so I fully endorse baking it in advance when possible!

Freeze: You can freeze whole or pre-sliced gingerbread loaf although it will stay more moist if left unsliced. If sliced, either place parchment paper between the slices or flash-freeze them first. Store wrapped in plastic and then in an airtight Ziplock bag and freeze for between 3-4 months.

You can either leave it to thaw in the fridge, at room temperature, or defrost from frozen in a microwave or toaster oven.

Reheat: You can warm the pieces in a toaster oven (if not iced) or in the microwave.


Can I make gingerbread loaf with fresh ginger?

I haven’t tried this recipe using fresh ginger in place of ginger powder. However, you could experiment with using around 4 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger.

Can I substitute the molasses?

I find that molasses are key to achieving the traditional gingerbread flavor. However, readers have noted several substitutes in the comments, including date syrup, extra maple syrup, or coconut sugar syrup. Brown sugar could also work but you need to reduce the amount slightly, 3/4 cup brown sugar per 1 cup molasses.

Can I make this recipe egg free?

You may be able to bake this recipe using flax eggs although I haven’t tried, so I can’t guarantee results. It will be more dense without as much rise but it should work.

Can I make it a gluten free gingerbread loaf?

I haven’t tested this recipe with gluten-free flour but one reader reported in the comments she successfully used a gluten free all-purpose flour blend.

Can I make it into muffins?

Sure. To make gingerbread muffins, bake them in preheated to 375 F oven for 25 minutes.

More Holiday Recipes to Try

You might also like to browse through my collection of healthy quick breads and my holiday recipes!

Healthy gingerbread loaf in a loaf pan lined with parchment paper.
Healthy gingerbread loaf drizzled with icing and topped with cranberries.

Healthy Gingerbread Loaf

Healthy Gingerbread Loaf is moist and slightly sticky, made with warming spices, maple syrup, applesauce and whole wheat or spelt flour.
4.96 from 25 votes
Servings 12 slices
Calories 194
Diet Vegetarian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


For Gingerbread Loaf:

For Glaze (optional):

  • 1/2 cup icing sugar or powdered erythritol
  • 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons orange juice or water


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, line 9 x 5 loaf pan with unbleached parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
  • In a medium bowl, add flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; whisk well until no lumps. Set aside.
  • In another medium bowl, add eggs, applesauce, molasses, maple syrup, oil and vanilla extract; whisk well until combined.
  • Pour into the bowl with dry ingredients and mix gently with spatula, just enough to combine or until you see no more white flour pockets. Do not stir vigorously or over mix. Also good idea let mixture sit for a 1-2 minutes and then stir again.
  • Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven, let cool for 5 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack to cool off for 1 hour or completely if using icing.
  • You can coat gingerbread loaf in honey glaze by drizzling small amounts of honey or maple syrup on a pastry brush and brushing on top. Or in a small bowl, whisk icing sugar and orange juice until smooth and drizzle on top.
  • Cut gingerbread loaf into 12 slices using serrated knife.


  • Store: Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Reheat pieces in a toaster oven (if not iced/glazed) or in the microwave.
  • Freeze: Sliced or unsliced up to 3-4 months.
  • Cool the cake entirely before glazing: Otherwise, you’ll end up with a drippy, sticky mess.
  • Flour tips: This recipe has only been tested with whole wheat and spelt flour. I do not recommend any other flour. Use the spoon and level method to measure the flour!


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 194kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 195mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 18g
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: North American
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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  1. 4 stars
    Great recipe for school lunches. The honey on top added a nice sweetness. I just used sweetened apple sauce because that’s all I could find.

  2. 5 stars
    Hi Olena

    I just recently found your website and this is my first recipe to try. It was delicious!

    Wanted to ask you what add ins you’d recommend and how much if I want to switch it up.

    Thanks & Blessings

    1. Hi Elaine. Welcome to my blog. I think up to 1/2 cup dried cranberries, raisins, pecans, choc chips would be great. Also crytalized ginegr diced a few tbsp would be delish. Enjoy!

  3. I came across your website by chance and…I LOVE IT!! Made the Baked Chicken Breast easy recipe and
    so moist and delicious. Your thoughts on a life of simplicity and living close to nature are truly “the best life” and I
    so admire your thoughts.

    You are a gem to those of us who value your recipes, your website and your “take on life”
    Please know that you are valued; much joy to you and family.

    Thank you again for your wonderful contribution!!

  4. 5 stars
    Wow that looks yummy and just what I needed to know!

    I always wondered if you could make GingerBread Loaf, and whether it would taste good.

    I added a good amount of ginger to a banana Loaf once, and it was awesome.

    I have also used Maltodextrin and glucose in the mix with minimal sugar.

    The Maltodextrin tends to make an interesting chewy texture, especially for GingerBread.

    And the Glucose is way better than sugar as it goes straight to the brain where it is needed. 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    After making your gingerbread loaf , I would love to try your gingerbread recipe , that you emailed to some other people.

    Thanks !

  6. 5 stars
    I made your gingerbread loaf yesterday . I was a little hesitant because of the maple syrup . We don’t usually like bake goods with a maple flavor . But I had 1/4 cup left in my bottle , so I went with it . I also added some raisins. This loaf was so good . Husband approved . I glazed the top with Agave Syrup .
    Thank you again for another great recipe .

  7. 5 stars
    This recipe is amazing! Does it need to cool before putting on the glaze? Also, can you freeze after you’ve glazed it?

    1. Hi Emily!
      Yes, let the loaf cool before putting on the glaze. You can freeze it with or without the glaze. Hope that helps!

  8. For years I’ve been making your gingerbread cookies and have saved the link to your page for them…. And it goes to this recipe instead! I don’t see that you offer the clean eating gingerbread cookie recipe anymore. Am I mistaken?

    1. Hi every Christmas I maker your ginger bread cookies but I can’t find the recipe. Can you send me the link please I’m to scared to try another recipe this one is tiger best

  9. 5 stars
    It came out fine. I used 3 egg whites to avoid cholesterol. No oil at all. Totally unnecessary to add another 300 calories. I also used black strap molasses to get a lower sugar count and more nutrients.

4.96 from 25 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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