It's fall and pumpkins are in abundance so this is the perfect time to make Pumpkin Bread. This delicious easy pumpkin bread is made with pumpkin puree, delicious warm spices, and topped with a cinnamon and sugar streusel. But whether you're using homemade or canned pumpkin puree, it's always an easy and delicious recipe to make.
Why This Recipe Works
This pumpkin bread is perfectly sweet, packed with wonderful fall spices - cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg; and made tender by the addition of buttermilk. The batter is mixed by hand, so the bread stays tender and doesn't get overmixed which can lead to tough or rubbery bread.
The bread is made with fresh pumpkin puree, which adds a nice squash flavor but also tastes good made with Libby Pumpkin Puree. After testing this recipe with multiple cans of canned pumpkin, Libby is my preferred brand.
I made multiple loaves of pumpkin bread with canned and fresh-made pumpkin puree. I prefer the fresh-made pumpkin puree, but Libby's canned pumpkin puree is really good also. The Libby's is thick and has a beautiful orange color similar to the homemade puree.
I recommend against organic pumpkin puree. I tried two different brands and in both instances, the organic canned puree was pale orange and very watery compared to the homemade puree and Libby's.
See my recipe for How to Make Pumpkin Puree if you want to make your own. . The recipe makes 3-4 cups of puree. Leftover puree can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week or frozen.
If using canned puree do not confuse canned pumpkin puree with pumpkin pie filling. They are two totally different things and the pie filling usually contains all the ingredients necessary for a pie filling, such as sugar and spices.
Pumpkin Bread Ingredients
Homemade pumpkin bread is delicious and so easy to make. You have a lot of control over the final taste (adjust the spices, add a glaze) and it takes less time to mix than the batter than to run to the bakery and buy a loaf.
Below is the list of ingredients for this delicious bread:
- Pumpkin Puree. The puree adds moisture, flavor, and color. It ensures a tender crumb.
- Unbleached All-Purpose Flour. Provides the structure for the pumpkin bread.
- Granulated Sugar. Adds sweetness and moisture to the bread.
- Dark Brown Sugar. Adds sweetness, color and a hint of molasses. I prefer dark brown sugar, but you can use light brown sugar if that is what you have.
- Whole Eggs. The egg yolks add fat and the egg whites add structure to the bread. The eggs should be at room temperature.
- Unsalted Butter. The butter is the main source of fat for this recipe. Since the butter is melted you don't need room temperature butter. You can replace the butter with vegetable oil. Use 1/2 cup of oil.
- Buttermilk. Buttermilk adds moisture and helps create a tender crumb.
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda. These are chemical leaveners. A lot is needed to ensure that the pumpkin bread rises with the weight of the ingredients and liquid.
- Ground Spices. The spices make this recipe. You can adjust the amounts to your taste, but don't use too much cloves. Cloves can numb your tongue if you add too much.
- Kosher Salt. Elevates all the flavors in the delicious bread.
I like plenty of spice, especially for fall desserts, so there is plenty of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and ginger. The combination of these spices with the pumpkin is really delicious. I wanted the richness of butter, instead of oil, so I experimented a couple of times to figure out how much butter to use in combination with either milk or buttermilk.
How to Make Pumpkin Bread
Pumpkin Bread is a quick bread, which means it does not require yeast. Baking powder and baking soda are used to create the rise. See my recipe for Raspberry Prune Bread for a similar quick bread recipe.
This pumpkin bread is an easy recipe, made by hand, and requires only two bowls. If making a double batch you may want to use an electric mixer, but be careful not to overmix.
Place the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a large bowl and whisk for 30 seconds until the ingredients are well combined.
Place the granulated sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl and use your fingers to break up any brown sugar clumps. Add all the spices and whisk to combine.
Add the eggs and whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is smooth.
Add the pumpkin puree, whisk it in then add the melted butter and whisk to incorporate. Add the dry ingredients all at once and use a silicone spatula to mix the dry ingredients until there are no white bits of flour left.
The batter will be a little lumpy and that is okay. Don't overmix the dough as that will result in a tough, rubbery texture when the pumpkin bread is baked.
How to Bake the Bread
Scrape the pumpkin bread batter into the prepared 8.5 x 4.5-inch loaf pan. Use an offset spatula to spread the batter and fill the corners. Don't try to make the top perfectly smooth.
Sprinkle the brown sugar streusel on top. I love this streusel. When it bakes it creates a crunchy topping on top of the bread.
Bake the bread 55-65 minutes until the center of the bread registers 203°F with an instant-read thermometer. Or stick a cake skewer in the center of the cake. If the skewer comes out clean with a just few crumbs clinging to it, it's done.
When the bread is removed from the oven, run a knife along the edges to loosen the cake. Cool the pumpkin bread in the pan for 15 minutes. Use two spatulas to lift the bread out of the pan, set it on a cooling rack, and allow it to cool completely before slicing it.
I wait for the bread to cool, about 2 hours before slicing into it, but there is no rule that says you can't start slicing while it is still warm. Even better the bread tastes better the next day. The spices are more prominent and the bread is still moist.
How to Serve Pumpkin Bread
Pumpkin Bread, like Banana Bread, is a great portable snack. My favorite way to serve it is with a schmear of soft salted butter and a cup of tea. If you're having friends over for brunch it's a great addition to your menu.
What is Overmixing
What is overmixing? When you mix a dough that contains flour, you develop gluten. Gluten is the protein in wheat that is responsible for the elastic texture of dough. Imagine long rubbery cords. The more you mix, the more these cords develop and the stronger they become.
For most yeast bread recipes this is what you want, but for cake and quick bread, you want a tender, soft crumb. Therefore you only mix the batter enough to incorporate the dry ingredients.
How to Store the Bread
The pumpkin bread is good at room temperature in a covered container or wrapped in plastic wrap for 3 days. After two days refrigerate the pumpkin bread in an airtight container or wrap it in plastic wrap for up to a week.
Pro Tips for Making This Recipe
- Use room temperature eggs and buttermilk, which is 68-72 degrees F.
- When melting the butter, melt it on low heat to reduce the amount of evaporation
- Don't overmix the batter after adding the flour. Mix the batter just until the flour is mixed in and there are no white specks. The batter will still be lumpy which is okay.
Pumpkin Bread Recipe - Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can freeze pumpkin bread. Wrap it in two layers of aluminum foil and place it in a freezer bag.
Yes, you can replace the butter with 1/2 cup of vegetable oil and replace the buttermilk with almond milk.
Pumpkin bread is called a quick bread because quick bread can be made quickly and easily. Quick breads are also called “quick” because they have to be baked or cooked immediately after being mixed.
If your pumpkin bread did not rise it's either because the baking powder or baking soda is expired or too much batter was added to the pan.
This pumpkin bread is so good I hope you make it. Please let me know if you do by leaving a comment below. If you're on Instagram, connect with me @bakesbybrownsugar and post your picture.
Happy Baking...and Eating!
- 1-3/4 cups (220 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (227 grams) pumpkin puree Libby's recommended
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) white granulated sugar
- 8 tablespoons (114 grams) unsalted butter melted
- 2 (100 grams) large eggs room temperature
- 1/4 cup buttermilk room temperature
- 3 tablespoons (37 grams) packed light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- Place all the ingredients in a bowl and use a fork or your fingers to mix the ingredients together until it is well combined and resembles wet sand.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8.5 x 4.5-inch loaf pan.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat to prevent splatter and avoid evaporation. Remove the butter from the heat and set it aside.
- Put the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk for 30 seconds to combine.
- Place the white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger, in a large bowl. Use a whisk to combine. Use your fingers to break up any brown sugar clumps.
- Add the eggs and whisk until thoroughly combined and the sugar starts to dissolve. Add the melted butter, whisk until incorporated, and then add pumpkin puree and whisk to combine. Add the buttermilk and whisk until thoroughly incoporated.
- Add all the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix with a silicone spatula until the dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed in. There may be a few lumps and that is okay. Do not overmix.
- Pour the batter into a loaf pan and use an offset spatula to spread the batter evenly across the pan. Sprinkle the streusel on top. Bake for 55-65 minutes or until a long skewer inserted in the center comes out clean with no more than a few crumbs clinging to it or the center registers at 202°F. Rotate the pan after the first 25 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the loaf pan for 10 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan and place on a cooling rack. Allow the bread to cool to room temperature before slicing.
- Store the pumpkin bread at room temperature for two days in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap. After two days, store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- You can use fresh pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin puree for this recipe.
- I recommend not using canned organic pumpkin puree because it tends to be watery as compared to Libby's and homemade puree.
- If using a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan start checking the pumpkin bread for doneness after 40 minutes.
- If you want a denser cake, reduce the baking powder to 1-1/2 teaspoons and the baking soda to 1/4 teaspoon. The cake will be more compact but still moist.