This is the best pumpkin bread I’ve ever made. And it was the easiest! Making use of canned pumpkin, it took all of 10 minutes to get the loaves in the oven. (As in, the oven hadn’t fully preheated by the time the batter was in the pans.) Two days after I made it, it was still as moist and flavorful as it was on day one. That’s the hallmark of a keeper quick bread recipe in my mind.
This is a great recipe to make during the holidays — you can serve pumpkin bread up for breakfast, a snack, tea (if you do the tea thing), or even dessert if you want to add a little dollop of whipped cream. This pumpkin bread is also a great way to use up that extra can of pumpkin that lingers around after Thanksgiving. Such a shame to let it get shoved to the back of the pantry…
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If you like the big pumpkin loaf, you’ll like it even more in miniature: here’s the scoop on making Mini Pumpkin Bread Loaves, which are highly portable and giftable. (If you need a jump start on thinking about who would appreciate such largess, here’s a list of possible gift recipients to get the wheels turning.) For more autumnal baking, think about this simple Apple Coffee Cake or this Pumpkin Zucchini Bread, a mashup of two of the most pleasantly spiced quick breads in my arsenal.
This is the best pumpkin bread I’ve ever made, and it takes all of 10 minutes to get the loaves in the oven.Tweet This
Which Pan To Use for Pumpkin Bread?
You can use two standard 9×5 inch pans for classic pumpkin bread loaves. Or, use smaller pans. I have a medium-sized 4-inch pan that I bought at a flea market years back. You use about half the batter of a regular loaf pan in each of these.
- Sugar – Sugar is necessary for sweetness, of course, but also keeps the loaves light and tender.
- Butter – Use unsalted butter so that you can control the total sodium levels of the bread. Melt it in the microwave or on the stove before incorporating it into the wet ingredients.
- Eggs – Think of eggs as the glue holding together any baked good. Without them, you can end up with a runny, jiggly, or crumbly product.
- Canned pumpkin puree – This is the perfect recipe because it uses an entire can of pumpkin — no worrying about what to do with a leftover scoop.
- All-purpose flour – Provides necessary structure.
- Baking soda – Baking soda is one of the leavening agents used in this recipe, which just means that it’s what makes your loaves rise. Baking soda needs to be combined with both acid and liquid to activate, and surprisingly, that acid is found in the pumpkin puree.
- Baking powder – Yes, you do need both baking powder and baking soda! Baking powder is also a leavening agent, but it contains acid, so it only needs to come into contact with liquid in order to activate. This is how that pumpkin loaf ends up so fluffy!
- Cloves – Here’s where that fall flavor starts to come through. Cloves are an aromatic spice used quite often in all things pumpkin-spiced.
- Cinnamon – Hey, in this day and age, it wouldn’t even be pumpkin-flavored if you didn’t add cinnamon.
- Kosher salt – Again, YOU control the salt! A little salt in baked goods amplifies flavor as it does with savory foods.
How to Bake the Best Pumpkin Bread
- Preheat oven and oil pans: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil two 9×5-inch, three 8×4-inch, or 4 6×4-inch loaf pans.
- Mix wet ingredients: Combine the sugar, butter, eggs, and pumpkin, and stir until well blended.
- Blend dry ingredients: Mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cloves, cinnamon, and salt.
- Combine dry and wet ingredients: Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture in two batches, stirring just until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Divide the mixture evenly between the loaf pans.
- Bake: Bake the larger (9×5-inch) pans for 55 to 65 minutes, the medium (8×4-inch) pans for 40 to 50 minutes, and the smaller (6×4-inch) pans for 35 to 45 minutes. Test any loaf for doneness by inserting a wooden skewer in the center and seeing if it comes out clean.
- Cool: Cool the loaves in the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then turn the loaves out of the pans and finish cooling on the racks.
- Serve: Serve a slice of the loaf on its own or with a dollop of optional whipped cream.
I know the question you’re trying to ask here: Can I just use one and not the other? In some recipes, you will see one or the other called for. But here, both ingredients are key to the success of this recipe, even though they do similar work. That’s because in this recipe, the acidity of the pumpkin needs to be counteracted with baking soda; however, if the recipe just used baking soda, it wouldn’t make the loaves rise enough. So, you also need to add baking powder in to get that extra fluffiness.
It’s all about the ratio of ingredients between wet and dry. With more wet ingredients (eggs, butter, pumpkin puree), you need more leavening agents (baking powder and baking soda) to balance out the moisture in your loaf. You also want to get the breads out of the pan fairly quickly after taking it out of the oven. If the loaf stays in the pan, it risks getting gummy at the bottom. Let it cool in the pan for about 15 minutes on a wire rack, just until it cools enough to hold its shape. Then, turn it out of the pan and finish cooling the loaves upright on a wire rack.
Yes! This bread actually freezes and reheats like a charm. You can also think about slicing it into pieces before you freeze it so that they’re ready to grab and go. Wrap the slices in plastic wrap, and then put them into a freezer-safe bag and slide it into the freezer. If prepped this way, your pumpkin bread can last up to 2 months. Then, when you want to defrost yourself a slice, you can leave it at room temp for an hour. Or, throw it in the toaster to get it nice and toasty, with a little crispness around the edges!
What to Serve With Pumpkin Bread
More Pumpkin Recipes to Try This Fall
- Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes
- Pumpkin Gingerbread with Crystallized Ginger
- Pasta Shells with Pumpkin in a Creamy, Cheesy Sauce
- Pumpkin Cream Cheese Brownies
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Best Pumpkin Bread
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter (melted)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 15-ounce can canned pumpkin puree (just shy of two cups)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly oil two 9×5-inch, three 8×4-inch, or 4 6×4-inch loaf pans.
- In a large bowl, combine the sugar, butter, eggs, and pumpkin, and stir until well blended. In another medium bowl, blend together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cloves, cinnamon, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture in two batches, stirring just until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Divide the mixture evenly between the loaf pans.
- Bake the larger (9×5-inch) pans for 55 to 65 minutes, the medium (8×4-inch) pans for 40 to 50 minutes, and the smaller (6×4-inch) pans for 35 to 45 minutes. Test any loaf for doneness by inserting a wooden skewer in the center and seeing if it comes out clean.
- Cool the loaves in the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then turn the loaves out of the pans and finish cooling on the racks.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.