Pumpkin is one of my favorite quick breads. It comes together quickly, has under ten ingredients, and always turns out so tasty. It's moist and full of flavor. I love taking a slice, warming it up, and slathering it with peanut butter. It's so good! But, on its own, this recipe is still a rockstar. It's so good that you will be retiring you Starbucks pumpkin bread addiction for the entire holiday season.
Plus, pumpkin bread is super simple to make. I think people hear the word bread and their mind immediately goes to the long processes yeast bread requires. But, this is quick bread, which means it gets its leavening from another agent. Here, you're using baking powder, soda, and eggs to get that rise.
Ingredients You'll Need
- Butter: Since the pumpkin will provide a lot of moisture to the quick bread, adding oil isn't necessary to this recipe. Rather, I like to use butter. It adds a wonderful richness to the bread.
- Brown Sugar: The sharp zing of molasses in brown sugar pairs beautifully with the pumpkin. Plus, brown sugar brings extra moisture to the bread, which is an added bonuses.
- Eggs: Another source of fat, the egg also serves as the core structure for the pumpkin bread.
- Pumpkin: The champion flavor, the pureed pumpkin adds the base flavor while providing fat and moisture to the bread.
- Flour, Baking Soda, and Baking Powder: Your dry ingredients will help provide the structure to your bread. By adding them in last, you minimize the chance of overdeveloping the gluten in the flour, which would result in a dense, chewy bread.
- Spices: While you can use a pumpkin pie spice mix from the grocery store, I've customized the flavors based on what I think does best.
- Vanilla: This serves to enhance to the flavors in the pumpkin bread.
- Salted Pumpkin Seeds: An optional ingredient, you can sprinkle the seeds on top of the bread. They provide a textual contrast to the soft bread and help enhance the flavor because of the salt.
How to Make Classic Pumpkin Bread
While some recipes call to cream the butter and sugar together before combining all ingredients, I like the minimal clean-up that comes with one-bowl recipes. To make pumpkin bread in one bowl:
- Preheat your oven to 350F. A higher temperature will help the bread rise more, but it will also aide in the bread cooking unevenly and result in a drier finish.
- Place your butter in the bowl and microwave in 15 second increments until melted.
- Add sugar and eggs, whisking vigorously until the color begins to lighten slightly. This step helps incorporate some air into the recipe and truly combine the butter and sugar, which will help keep your bread moist as it bakes.
- Whisk in the pumpkin. Because the pumpkin puree will be so much thicker than the current mixture, go slowly. If you try to whisk too vigorously at first, it can create a mess.
- Fold in the dry ingredients. Unlike a kneaded bread, a quick bread relies on leavening agents to give the bread a lift. If you oven incorporate your flour, the proteins will begin to absorb more and more moisture from the other ingredients, creating more and more gluten. Mix until just combined.
- Pour into your lined bread loaf pan and top with pumpkin seeds. I like to bake my pumpkin seeds directly onto the bread to ensure them sticking after the bread has cooled.
- Bake for about an hour. It will be done when you insert a knife, and it comes out clean.
- Let cool completely before removing from pan and slicing.
Common Questions about Pumpkin Bread
Can I make mini pumpkin breads with this recipe?
Of course! While I haven't tested it to give you accurate times, this recipe can be baked as smaller loaves. However, the cook time can vary dramatically based on your pan size. When it has "crowned," you'll know it's getting close to getting ready. You can check it periodically with a skewer/toothpick/knife to see if it's done. The bread is done when you can pull out the knife, and it comes away completely clean.
Can I freeze my pumpkin bread?
Yes! We always freeze ours. We frequently make this for Thanksgiving, but we do it weeks in advance. My mother taught me to wrap them in wax freezer paper and then aluminum foil before freezing them. Let them defrost on the counter, and they are good to go. In fact, I like to slice them when they're still a little bit frozen because it helps you to create thinner slices.
Can this be made into Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread?
Of course! After you fold in the dry ingredients, fold in two cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Then, sprinkle some on top of the loaves with the pumpkin seeds.
Can I make this with fresh pumpkin?
I would recommend the canned pumpkin unless you have a kitchen scale. If you do, just make sure you puree the pumpkin until super smooth before measuring out for the recipe. I prefer canned pumpkin because it is a tad bit easier to work with canned pumpkin than having roasted and puree a fresh pumpkin.
- ¾ cup butter
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 15 oz pumpkin puree
- 2 cups AP flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoon salted pepitas pumpkin seeds
- Preheat oven to 350F. Whisk together butter, sugar, and eggs until lightened in color. Whisk in pumpkin and vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients.
- When combined, add to two greased and lined 8" loaf pans. Bake for about an hour. It is done when you can pull a knife clean from the center.
- Let cool completely before removing from pan. Slice and enjoy!