What is Pumpkin Bread?

Mary McMahon

Pumpkin bread is a form of quick bread which is made with pumpkin as the star ingredient, creating a brilliant orange color and a distinctive pumpkin flavor. This quick bread is especially popular during the holidays, when it may be prepared with a spice blend, although it can technically be eaten year round. In addition to being produced in loaf form, pumpkin bread can also be turned into muffins.

Pumpkin bread is commonly seasoned with nutmeg.
Pumpkin bread is commonly seasoned with nutmeg.

Like other quick breads, pumpkin bread is leavened with the use of chemicals which cause the bread to rise quickly, and it tends to be very rich, moist, and dense. Most pumpkin breads are prepared in a way which causes them to end up more like sweet treats rather than breads, although savory pumpkin breads can be produced, and some cooks even make yeasted pumpkin breads, which require a longer fermentation period.

Cloves are often used to season pumpkin bread.
Cloves are often used to season pumpkin bread.

Plain pumpkin bread can be perfectly good, but many cooks like to add spices to enhance the flavor, and it is not uncommon to see pumpkin bread made with chocolate chips, nuts, or dried fruit. Like banana bread, a closely related quick bread, pumpkin bread is very forgiving of additions and substitutions, making it a very versatile bread. It can also be a useful gift for cooks who want to make customized presents for people during the holidays, as a large batch can be produced to make gifts for multiple people, and pumpkin bread is often greatly appreciated.


To make pumpkin bread, cream one half cup of butter with one cup brown sugar before slowly adding in around one cup of pumpkin. Next, beat in two eggs, and follow with one teaspoon of baking soda, one teaspoon salt, one quarter teaspoon baking powder, and up to half a teaspoon each of any desired spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves are all good choices. Add one third cup milk blended with a teaspoon of vanilla, and follow with one and one half cups all-purpose flour. Up to one cup of inclusions like nuts or fruit can be added.

Pour the batter into a lightly oiled loaf or muffin pan, and bake the pumpkin bread at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius) until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean; it is better to err on the side of caution and pull the bread out when it still seems a bit moist, as this will ensure that the finished loaf will be moist and flavorful. Allow the pumpkin bread to cool completely before slicing or wrapping.

Ginger adds a spicy taste to pumpkin bread.
Ginger adds a spicy taste to pumpkin bread.

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Discussion Comments


I went to a restaurant with my husband last night and they had pumpkin bread pudding on the menu. We shared it. I had never heard of this before but it was amazing.

It combines all the best things about both pumpkin bread and bread pudding. It was a particularly sweet pumpkin bread with a lot of spicy undertones which went great with the richness of the bread pudding. I will definitely be keeping my eye out for this on dessert menus in the future.


I love to make pumpkin bread around the fall. there is something about the flavor and the smell that I can't help but associate with the season. I love coming in from a chilly day of raking leaves and have a warm slice of pumpkin bread with an hot cup of tea.

I have amazing pumpkin bread recipe that I found in a cookbook years ago. It has walnuts and diced raisins in it. It is chewy and dense but not heavy or overly rich. It's the best. It's the middle of winter so I have a while to wait before fall comes back again.

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