Pumpkin Gingerbread


This has to be the weirdest fall ever. High seventies on the first day of November. Beautiful and sunny, though the wind has picked up a bit. The gusts come and go, stirring up leaves from the trees, so it’s beginning to at least feel like autumn.

Trick-or-treaters paraded through the neighborhood last night, leaving a trail of candy wrappers and smiles. Mr. Jack-o-lantern is still sitting on his perch (maybe we’ll light him up again tonight!).

We almost always have extra pumpkin sitting around this time of year, either puréed and in cans, or fresh. Two of my favorite sweet quick breads are pumpkin bread and gingerbread. This recipe (an experiment really) I’m delighted to report, happily combines the two—pumpkin and gingerbread. Spicy, molasses-y, pumpkin-y. Easy too. Happy fall!



Pumpkin Gingerbread Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Makes one loaf

By the way, we made one batch of this pumpkin gingerbread forgetting to add the melted butter and you know what? It's still turned out fine. Not as moist as the butter version, but still good, and better the next day. I still prefer the butter version, but if you are trying to cut back, you can leave it out.


  • 1 1/2 cups (200 g) all purpose flour*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup (240 ml) pumpkin purée**
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick, or 112 g) butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) molasses
  • 1 Tbsp finely minced candied or fresh ginger (optional)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup raisins (optional)

* I've also made this pumpkin gingerbread using gluten-free flour from King Arthur. Turned out great!

* *To make pumpkin purée from pieces of leftover pumpkin, just roast or boil the pieces until tender, then remove the skin. Smash the cooked pumpkin with a fork. If using a whole pumpkin, sugar pumpkins work best. Cut in half, scoop out the strings and seeds, bake the pumpkin halves at 350°F on a foil-lined baking pan until soft, about 45 minutes to an hour. When cool, scoop out the flesh and mash with a fork.


1 Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Prepare a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with non-stick spray or butter to keep the pumpkin gingerbread from sticking to the pan.

2 In a medium bowl, vigorously whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

3 In another bowl, use a wooden spoon to mix together the pumpkin purée, melted butter, sugar, molasses, fresh or candied ginger, eggs, and water.

4 Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Add the raisins if using. Stir only until incorporated.

5 Place the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, until a bamboo skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then gently run a knife around the edge of the loaf and invert the loaf to remove it from the pan. Let it cool on a rack for 30 minutes or longer.

The loaf's flavor will improve with time. If you cut into it while it is still a bit warm, it may be crumbly. In which case you may want to make your slices with a bread knife.

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Showing 4 of 92 Comments

  • LindaFloyd

    This recipe looks wonderful. As a diabetic, I would love to convert it to as sugar free as possible. I plan to use Splenda brown sugar. can I leave to the molasses or substitute something else?

  • Irene

    Excellent! I had no powdered ginger so I used a tablespoon or so of fresh only, and I soaked golden raisins with the water and ginger. I also threw in some allspice. In my second batch I added 4 oz. of applesauce. I made the first batch in a 9×11 pan, and the second in miniature bundt and mini-cupcake tins. Very tender, dark and delicious. Not awfully sweet, (I used dark molasses) wonderful texture and flavor. Next time I am going to try it with maybe half whole wheat flour.

  • Jane

    I have brown sugar on hand, but not dark brown sugar. Will this make a difference?

  • E. S.

    Hey, lady, quick question: I’d like to do these in cupcake tins instead o/a loaf pan, but haven’t a clue how the baking time might change. I skimmed the comments, but didn’t see this question anywhere else. Could you advise? I’d love to try this out today if at all possible. :)

  • Mary Kaye Jones

    Happy Thanksgiving, Elise, and thank you for your wonderful recipes and information. I love that you are so genuine. And I always try to read your readers’ comments because i can learn almost as much from those. Almost.

    I made this Pumpkin Gingerbread for the first time to take to Thanksgiving dinner with friends yesterday. Isn’t it best to try recipes for the first time when taking or serving to others? hahaha Despite tweaking my nose at Murphy’s Law it came out beautifully! Very moist, wonderful dark gingerbread-like color. I used a sparing 1/2 cup of coconut oil instead of butter, omitted raisins and used the candied ginger.
    I will be making another this weekend since my hostess friend wanted to keep the remaining loaf. That’s okay, I got to take home some of her turkey and dressing!

    ***One more comment: I also made your FANTASTIC Cranberry Nut Bread for this same event of thankfulness. I left the berries whole for that burst of tartness mingling with sweetness that another baker suggested and toasted the walnuts. If I could stop “talking” here, I’d be speechless!!
    Many Thanks, MK

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