Pumpkin Bread

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Oh pumpkin season! There’s a chill in the air, kids and adults alike are planning their Halloween costumes, and carving pumpkins are pouring out of the local market. Now’s the time for pumpkin bread, don’t you think?

Not all pumpkins are equal when it comes to cooking. Those large carving pumpkins? Probably best left to carving, and maybe salvaging the seeds to roastJack-o-lantern pumpkins are raised more for their durability than for their taste.

Pumpkin Bread with Orange Glaze

Most people use canned puréed pumpkin for baking recipes like this because of the consistent results. If you want though, you can easily roast up a sugar pumpkin, butternut squash, or kabocha pumpkin for its purée. You’ll get more roasted and caramelized flavor that way. Steaming also works, though you’ll miss the extra flavor from the roasting.

This pumpkin bread recipe is quite adaptable to different types of pumpkin purée and spice mixes. We took an old recipe from Fannie Farmer as a base and have made several changes to it over the years. These days we use melted butter instead of vegetable oil (though you can easily use oil if you want), and we’ve added some ground ginger, grated orange zest, and molasses. We have also made a lovely optional glaze for the pumpkin bread—with orange juice, orange zest, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Enjoy!

Recipe updated, first posted 2006. If you are missing the original version of pumpkin bread we had posted, just swap out olive oil for the melted butter, and omit the ground ginger, molasses, and orange zest.

Pumpkin Bread Recipe

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  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Makes one loaf.

You can easily double this recipe. If using the glaze, there is enough glaze for two pumpkin bread loafs.

We're using melted butter in this updated version of the recipe. You could easily use light olive oil instead, same proportions. In our opinion, butter tastes better.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (200g) flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 cup (240 ml) pumpkin purée*
  • 4 ounces (1 stick, 112 g) butter, melted (can sub 1/2 cup light olive oil)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons molasses
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest (optional)
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Optional Orange Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

* To make pumpkin purée, cut a small sugar pumpkin in half horizontally. Use a large metal spoon to scrape out the seeds and stringy stuff. Place the pumpkin halves cut side down on a foil or Silpat lined baking sheet. Bake at 350°F until soft, about 45 minutes to an hour. Cool, scoop out the flesh. Freeze whatever you don't use for future use. Or, if you are working with pumpkin pieces, roast or boil them until tender, then remove and discard the skin.

Method

whisk dry ingredients

1 Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.

whisk wet ingredients combine wet and dry pumpkin bread ingredients

2 In a separate bowl mix together the pumpkin purée, the melted butter, beaten eggs, 1/4 cup of water, molasses, and orange zest (if using). Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined and there is no more dry flour in the batter. Do not overmix! If adding chopped pecans or walnuts, stir them in.

pour into buttered loaf pan bake until done

3 Butter the insides of an 8 x 4 x 3 -inch loaf pan. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top. Put in the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes (depending on your oven and the color of your loaf pan—dark pans cook the contents more quickly than light pans), or until a tester poked in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Then run a blunt dinner knife around the edges of the pumpkin bread to gently separate it from the pan. Invert it to loosen it from the pan and put the loaf on a rack to cool completely.

4 If using the glaze, whisk together in a medium bowl the powdered sugar, orange juice, zest, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. If too thick add  a little more juice. If too thin, add a little more powdered sugar.

Wait until the pumpkin bread has cooled completely before drizzling with glaze or slicing. Tip: use a serrated knife to slice. Less crumbs that way!

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Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread

Original photo from 2006

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Showing 4 of 105 Comments

  • Lovely

    This is my favorite oumpkin bread recipe, I love it. The orange zest really makes a difference and sets it apart from other recipes. Also, I appreciate the metric conversion. Thanks !

  • Mary

    The verdict is in! The bread is moist and delicious! I’ll just adjust my timing for the next time. And there will be a next time.

  • Mary

    Recipe sounded so good and easy. However, after 45 minutes (in a light pan) the center was still very liquid and the corners were turning dark. (My oven heats correctly.) Left it in 10 more minutes – same thing only the edges were now deep brown. Turned down the heat to 325 and had to bake for 20 more minutes before the center was done! (I finally put foil over the top – don’t know if it helped to prevent burning.) That’s a total of 75 minutes. Does using oil make the difference? I took a bite while it’s still warm and it tastes good – hope the texture is okay.

  • Kathleen

    I love this recipe. But I currently have a mountain of bananas- think I can substitute?

  • Neerli

    This pumpkin bread turned out great! I’m an amateur cooker, and it was so easy to follow the directions and make this to perfection! Thanks so much :)

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