Oh, pumpkin season! There's a chill in the air, kids and adults alike are planning their Halloween costumes, and pumpkins are pouring out of the local markets. Now's the time for pumpkin bread, don't you think?
Video: How to Make Pumpkin Bread
The Best Pumpkin for Pumpkin Bread
Most people use canned puréed pumpkin for baking recipes like this because of the consistent results. Although if you want, you can easily roast a sugar pumpkin, butternut squash, or kabocha pumpkin for its purée. You'll get more roasted and caramelized flavor that way. Steaming or boiling also works, though you'll miss the extra flavor from the roasting.
Can I Cook With a Halloween Pumpkin?
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 roast.
Jack-o-lantern pumpkins are raised more for their durability than for their taste.
How to Make Your Own Pumpkin Purée
Want to make your own pumpkin purée? It's easy! All you have to do is cut a small sugar pumpkin (or kabocha or butternut squash) in half horizontally and scrape out the seeds and stringy insides. Place the pumpkin halves cut side down on a lined baking sheet, and bake at 350°F until soft, about 45 minutes to an hour.
Once the pumpkin has cooled, scoop out the flesh and use it in any recipe that calls for pumpkin purée. Freeze whatever is left over for future use.
If you are working with pumpkin pieces instead of a whole pumpkin, roast or boil them until tender, then remove and discard the skin.
Ways to Adapt This Pumpkin Bread Recipe
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.
We have also made a lovely optional glaze for the pumpkin bread —with orange juice, orange zest, vanilla, and powdered sugar.
Here are some ways you can adapt this recipe:
- Mix-ins: The recipe calls for optional pecans or walnuts. You can also add a half cup of chocolate chips or dried, sweetened cranberries. Add a tablespoon of grated fresh ginger if you want more of a gingerbread flavor.
- Sweeteners: We are using white sugar with added molasses. You can sub those out with 1 1/4 cup of packed dark brown sugar, or sub the molasses with dark honey.
- Butter or oil: The original Fanny Farmer recipe used 1/2 cup of oil. We love the flavor that melted butter brings to this bread, but you can easily use olive oil, or a combination. You can also use melted coconut oil.
- Flax eggs: Looking for an option to the eggs? You can use flax eggs instead—flaxseeds whisked together in water. (Here's how.)
Make-Ahead and Freeze
Life most loaf cakes, this one freezes quite well unglazed. Wrap it first in plastic wrap, then in foil. Freeze for up to three months.
More Great Pumpkin Recipes:
- Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
- Pumpkin Pie
- Pumpkin Waffles
- Pressure Cooker Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Pumpkin Biscotti
- For the pumpkin bread:
- 1 1/2 cups (200 g) flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 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, store-bought or homemade
- 1 cup (200 g) sugar
- 1/2 cup (112 g) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 teaspoons molasses
- 1 teaspoon orange zest (optional)
- 1/2 cup (65 g) chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
- For the orange glaze (optional):
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
Make the homemade pumpkin puree (optional):
To make your own 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-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350°F until soft, about 45 minutes to an hour. Cool, scoop out the flesh. Measure out 1 cup of puree for this recipes and freeze whatever you don't use for future use. Or, if you are working with pumpkin pieces, roast, boil, or steam them until tender, then remove and discard the skin.
Preheat oven and prepare loaf pan:
Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Put in the middle rack of the oven. Butter the insides of a 4x8-inch loaf pan.
Whisk the dry ingredients:
Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice in a large bowl.
Combine the wet ingredients:
Mix together pumpkin purée, sugar, the melted butter, beaten eggs, 1/4 cup of water, molasses, and orange zest (if using) in a separate bowl.
Make the batter:
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 the batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake at 350°F (180°C) 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 pan and cool completely:
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.
If using the glaze, whisk together in a medium bowl the powdered sugar, orange juice, zest, and vanilla 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. Fewer crumbs that way!