A classic autumnal treat, our pumpkin bread recipe uses pantry staples and comes together quickly. It’s so easy, you don’t even need a mixer.
Filled with warm spices and loads of real pumpkin flavor, this recipe for pumpkin bread is what you want with steamy coffee in the morning or an iced latte as an afternoon snack. Actually, it’s impossible to resist any time of day!
Ingredients for Pumpkin Bread
- Flour: No need for self-rising or bread flour for a quick bread! Use good old all-purpose flour for this recipe.
- Baking powder and baking soda: Together, baking powder and baking soda act as the leavening agents for this quick bread. Baking soda helps with browning and making a tender crumb. Baking powder makes for a light and fluffy texture. Pumpkin is pretty dense, so both help to lift up the bread.
- Oil: For pumpkin bread recipes, oil is key to creating a light and moist loaf. If you don’t have oil, use melted shortening or ghee.
- Pumpkin: Our Test Kitchen prefers canned pumpkin over fresh pumpkin for most desserts, including this quick bread. Make sure to grab canned pumpkin, also known as solid-pack pumpkin, and not pumpkin pie filling. The latter is spiced and sweetened. Here are some of our favorite canned pumpkin brands.
- Spices: The best pumpkin bread recipe will always have classic fall spices—cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg— to bring out the warm flavors and aromas.
Step 1: Make the bread batter
First, preheat your oven to 350°F. In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, nutmeg and cloves. Whisk together until well combined. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin, oil and water. Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture until just moistened. If adding walnuts and raisins, gently fold them in last.
Editor’s Tip: Don’t overmix the ingredients, or you risk ending up with a tough bread. Simply stir until everything is just combined.
Step 2: Bake the bread
Pour the pumpkin mixture into a greased 9×5-inch loaf pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, 65 to 70 minutes. If the toothpick tester comes out with crumbs or wet batter, continue cooking in 5-to-10-minute increments, testing the bread until the toothpick comes out clean.
Editor’s Tip: You can also tell the pumpkin bread is done with a digital thermometer. Pumpkin bread should register between 200° and 205°. Another telltale sign of done bread? There will be a crack down the center of the loaf and the edges will brown and start to pull away from the pan.
Step 3: Let the bread cool
It’s almost impossible not to cut a slice right away, but let the bread rest. The bread will be better for it. Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove it from the pan, and let it rest on a wire rack until cool.
Editor’s Tip: The best way to get a quick bread loaf out of a pan is to run a knife along the edges, then gently shake the pan until the bread loosens. Turn the bread out onto a wire rack or plate, making sure it’s right side up, and let it cool completely.
Pumpkin Bread Variations
- Omit the nuts and raisins: No need for nuts and raisins if you don’t like them. A simple sprinkling of coarse sugar on top before baking the loaf can add a bit of texture.
- Add cream cheese: Add a ribbon of tangy sweetness, just like Joanna Gaines’ extremely popular pumpkin bread with cream cheese recipe.
- Add chocolate chips: Yes to chocolate chip-pumpkin bread! Add semisweet chocolate chips or chunks to the batter.
- Make a topping: Make a sweet, crumbly streusel to top the bread before popping it in the oven, similar to these pumpkin muffins. Or simply top with pumpkin seeds or rolled oats for texture.
How to Store Pumpkin Bread
Once the bread cools completely, wrap it in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. To keep pumpkin bread moist, store it in an airtight container. It will keep at room temperature for two days or in the fridge for up to one week.
How to Freeze Pumpkin Bread
To freeze pumpkin bread, let the bread cool, then wrap it tightly in storage wrap or freezer paper. Place it in a freezer-safe resealable bag, and store in the freezer for up to three months. To use, let it come to room temperature in the refrigerator or at room temperature, then slice.
Pumpkin Bread Tips
Why does pumpkin bread sink in the middle?
Since they’re so dense, some quick breads may sink a little as they cool. If your pumpkin bread sinks a lot, it may be underdone. To avoid this, follow one of the doneness checks above. Another trick is to cover your loaf with foil during the final 20 minutes of bake time. This ensures that the middle of the loaf cooks through while the top stays golden instead of burning.
How do you keep pumpkin bread moist?
To keep your pumpkin breast moist, make sure you follow the proper storage directions. It should be wrapped first in foil or plastic wrap, then placed in an airtight container. It’s worth the effort to keep the bread fresh!