This cozy homemade pumpkin bread is perfect for fall! Canned pumpkin keeps this quick bread ultra-moist and gives it a gorgeous, bright color. Ready in just over one hour!
One thing every home cook needs in their back pocket: A rich, cozy, MOIST (...sorry) pumpkin bread recipe.
Our version is slightly sweet, with a cozy blend of fall spices and a deep orange color. The pumpkin purée and brown sugar lock a ton of moisture into this loaf, which helps it feel freshly-baked even after a couple of days on the counter. (Pro tip: If you have leftover slices, use them as the base for pumpkin bread French toast!)
Scroll to the recipe card below for a full ingredients list with exact quantities.
Before you jump in, we want to highlight a few things:
- Ground cloves, nutmeg, and plenty of cinnamon give this bread its signature fall flavor. You can swap your favorite pumpkin spice (or pumpkin pie spice) for the individual spices if you like.
- If you can, let the egg and milk sit on the counter for 30-60 minutes before you start mixing. Room temperature ingredients mix more smoothly into batter, which yields a slightly taller loaf with a more even crumb (see this in action in our cupcake tips post!) This extra step isn't a dealbreaker - the recipe still tastes great with straight-from-the-fridge ingredients - but it's an easy trick to improve baked goods at home!
- Brown sugar adds sweetness and locks in extra moisture. Swap this for regular granulated sugar if you need to (the flavor won't be quite as complex, but it's not a huge difference).
- Baking soda and baking powder are an important duo: Baking soda reacts with a bit of acid (in this case, apple cider vinegar and a touch of baking powder) to make the bread rise. The soda + powder combo also helps baked goods brown, which gives our finished pumpkin bread a richer, deeper color. (See this technique in action in our Banana Muffins, Apple Butter Coffee Cake, and Biscuit Recipes!)
Canned Pumpkin 101
Pumpkin purée is the star of the show here. You can roast your own pumpkin if you like, but we typically just grab a can at the store to keep things easy.
Look for canned pumpkin that says pure pumpkin, along with words like "solid pack" or "100% pumpkin" (as opposed to pumpkin pie filling, which won't give you the same result). We tested this recipe with Wegmans regular pumpkin and organic canned pumpkin, as well as Libby's 100% pure pumpkin. They're all great!
Use a Kitchen Scale for Best Results
Measuring ingredients like flour by volume (with a measuring cup) is notoriously unreliable: Because each person measures a cup of flour a little bit differently, it's easy to accidentally use too much flour in a recipe and end up with dry, dense bread.
But when you measure your flour in grams with a kitchen scale, you get a perfect measurement every time - so if you have a kitchen scale, please use it! (No kitchen scale? Measure your flour with the scoop and level method for best results!)
Variations and Substitutions
This easy pumpkin bread recipe is easy to customize! A few of our favorite riffs:
- Adjust the spices. You can dial the cinnamon, cloves, or nutmeg up or down to suit your tastes, or add a bit of ground ginger for more complexity!
- Add mix-ins. Chocolate chips, walnuts, chopped pecans, and raisins or dried cranberries are all tasty in this bread! Add a handful of mix-ins at the very end of mixing, just before transferring the batter to your prepared loaf pan.
- Add toppings! Bake this bread with a quick crumble topping (like we use in our apple butter muffins or apple coffee cake), or add a maple glaze or cream cheese frosting (à la our small batch cinnamon rolls!) on top once the bread has cooled.
- Turn it into muffins! This batter is great in muffin form (you'll need to reduce the bake time: we recommend starting with 23-25 minutes for muffins, similar to our banana chocolate chip muffins!)
- Out of butter? Use vegetable oil, canola oil, or melted coconut oil instead.
Start by adding the dry ingredients to a medium mixing bowl (Image 1, above). Use a fork to whisk everything together (Image 2).
Pro Tip: Make sure the dry ingredients are well combined! This helps the spices and sugar mix more evenly into the batter for a more uniform final loaf.
Add the wet ingredients to a separate large bowl (Image 3) and whisk them together (4).
Pro Tip: The pumpkin mixture will be fairly thick, and it won't be completely smooth - that's ok! Just mix everything as well as you can, paying special attention to making sure the egg is broken up and mixed evenly into the batter.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a little at a time (Image 5), and stir everything together until no dry flour remains (6).
You should end up with a fairly thick, somewhat airy batter:
Transfer the pumpkin bread batter to a loaf pan lined with parchment paper, then bake until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Carefully transfer the bread to a wire rack and let it cool completely, then slice and enjoy!
Pro Tip: Don't skip the cooling rack! If the bread cools right in the pan, it can stick to the parchment paper, and the sides of the loaf will be a bit chewier.
We recommend baking this pumpkin bread in a metal bread pan (also called a loaf pan) for best results. Our preferred pan is about 9x5 inches (we've also tested this recipe with a 4.5" x 8.5" metal loaf pan).
Before you mix the batter, line your loaf pan with a bit of parchment paper (this makes it easy to lift the pumpkin bread in and out of the pan, and helps with cleanup!)
Let pumpkin bread cool completely, then store extra slices in an airtight container on the counter for up to 5 days. You can also freeze sliced pumpkin bread for 3-4 months!
We don't recommend storing pumpkin bread in the fridge, as the refrigerator air can dry it out more quickly.
A Few FAQs
Yes! This batter works great in muffin form. We love adding a streusel topping to pumpkin muffins for extra sweetness and texture. (Find our favorite crumble topping in our apple coffee cake and apple butter muffin recipes!) If you make this recipe as muffins, you'll need to reduce the bake time (you can use the baking guidelines in our banana bread muffins as a starting point!)
We don't recommend just adding additional canned pumpkin puree to this recipe: Extra pumpkin can add too much moisture and weight to the batter, which means the loaf isn't strong enough to hold its own weight in the oven and is prone to collapsing in on itself and making a dense, gummy mess. We tested a few dozen variations of this bread, and we promise we packed as much pure pumpkin into it as we possibly could without compromising the texture!
That said, when we follow up with people who ask us to add more pumpkin flavor to a recipe, it often turns out that what they are actually looking for is more cinnamon. And when it comes to spices, you can absolutely make adjustments here!
We settled on a fairly mellow spice blend in this recipe: There's just enough cinnamon to make it taste like FALL, and a dash of cloves and nutmeg adds depth and dimension to help this bread feel cozy without overwhelming the delicate pumpkin flavor.
If you want a more in-your-face fall flavor, you can add extra cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, or add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of ground ginger or allspice. You can also swap your favorite pumpkin spice for the individual spices here! Keep in mind that different spices and brands can vary WILDLY in flavor and intensity, so it may take a few tries to find a blend that's perfect for your taste buds and works with your pantry!
We recommend making this recipe once as written to give yourself a baseline, then experimenting with the spice blend from there until you find your perfect spice level. Don't forget: The best pumpkin bread recipe is the one that you like the best!
Yes! Sourdough discard is AMAZING in pumpkin bread. You can find our favorite sourdough discard pumpkin bread recipe in our online baking course, Everyday Artisan Bread. (We also have a great sourdough discard zucchini bread available in that course, plus dozens of other exclusive bread and baking recipes!)
Yes, but you really don't need to! If you do use a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment and be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl very well. Because we're working with such a small amount of batter in this squash bread, pockets of dry ingredients can easily get trapped at the bottom of a stand mixer. It may take a little finessing to make sure everything is well incorporated.
If your pumpkin spice bread is gummy or undercooked in the center, it's typically because it either 1) needed more time to bake in the oven or 2) the batter was too wet, which led the bread to collapse in on itself a bit (this happens if you measure ingredients by volume, rather than by weight: it's easy to accidentally add too much pumpkin or milk, which will make the batter looser and prevent the bread from creating as sturdy of an internal structure). For best results, always use a kitchen scale and follow the weight measurements in this recipe!
Butternut squash puree works well in this recipe in place of the pumpkin! We haven't specifically tested this recipe with canned sweet potato puree, but I suspect that would also work as a substitute.
We're big fans of a plain ol' slice of pumpkin bread, still warm from the oven. But you can dress it up however you like! Serve sliced pumpkin bread as-is, or toast it for a few minutes to crisp up the outer edges.
Add toppings: Spread pumpkin bread with a bit of good butter or cream cheese, or drizzle a bit of honey or maple syrup on top. Peanut butter, almond butter, or nutella are also tasty over a slice of pumpkin bread.
Turn it into dessert by layering a slice of pumpkin bread with a scoop of ice cream. Top with whipped cream, fresh fruit, toasted nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, pumpkin seeds), or chocolate chips.
More Fall Baking Recipes
Get cozy with some of our favorite recipes for autumn baking!
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This easy homemade pumpkin bread is perfect for fall!
- 240 grams all purpose flour (about 2 cups when measured by scooping and leveling)
- 120 grams brown sugar (½ packed cup)
- 4 grams kosher salt (1 teaspoon)
- 5 grams baking soda (1 teaspoon)
- 7 grams baking powder (1 ½ teaspoon)
- 6 grams ground cinnamon (1 Tablespoon)
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves (1 gram)*
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (1 gram)*
- 260 grams pumpkin puree (about 1 cup)
- 1 egg
- 53 grams melted butter (½ stick or ¼ cup)
- 60 grams milk (¼ cup)
- 4 grams vanilla extract (1 teaspoon)
- 14 grams apple cider vinegar (1 Tablespoon)
*Note: Because not every kitchen scale is consistent in especially small (1-2 gram) measurements, we recommend measuring the cloves and nutmeg in this recipe by volume with a ¼ teaspoon measure. Some scales we've tested don't really "kick in" until you hit the 4-5 gram mark: Measuring these extra-small amounts by volume helps ensure this recipe works perfectly, without accidentally adding too much of a spice, no matter what brand of scale you have!
- Heat oven to 325° Fahrenheit. Line a metal loaf pan with parchment paper (we used a 9x5” loaf pan).
- In a medium bowl, whisk flour, brown sugar, kosher salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg together.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk pumpkin puree, egg, melted butter, milk, vanilla, and apple cider vinegar together until smooth.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Stir to combine, until no dry flour remains.
- Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake at 325° F for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Please use a kitchen scale! Measuring flour by volume (with cups) is notoriously unreliable. For best results, use a kitchen scale to follow the gram measurements in the recipe above. One caveat: Some kitchen scales we've tested are unreliable in very small quantities (just 1 or 2 grams). In this recipe, we recommend measuring the nutmeg and cloves by volume with a ¼ teaspoon, rather than weight, to control for differences in equipment.
What kind of pumpkin should I use? Look for canned pumpkin that says "pure pumpkin," "pumpkin puree," or "solid pack" pumpkin (as opposed to pumpkin pie filling, which will produce a much different result).
Additions and Substitutions. Add mix-ins (nuts, chocolate chips, raisins) at the end of mixing. Top pumpkin bread with a crumble or streusel topping before baking if you like. Add a maple glaze or cream cheese glaze once the loaf is cooled. Add up to 3 Tablespoons of brown sugar if you'd like a sweeter, more dessert-style loaf. Use more or less of any spice to suit your tastes - you can also add ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger or allspice if you'd like a more complex spice blend. Swap the individual spices here for an equal amount of your favorite pumpkin spice.
- Serving Size: 1 slice
- Calories: 193
- Sugar: 13 g
- Sodium: 308.1 mg
- Fat: 5.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 33.5 g
- Protein: 3.7 g
- Cholesterol: 30.1 mg
Keywords: baking, fall, squash