Pumpkin Bread Recipe

This pumpkin tea bread is moist and flavorful — one of the few things I make that both my girls absolutely love. Like most tea breads, it combines the virtues of low effort and large payoff quite elegantly. I like to make all my tea breads in small “1 pound” loaf pans as I believe the end result is not only more convenient but less dry. However I’ve included directions for conventional loaf pans as well.

1 lb. (3 cups) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lb. canned pumpkin
3 large eggs
1 lb. 5 ounces (3 cups) sugar
1 cup vegetable oil

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (375 if using smaller pans). Prepare your pans by applying butter or cooking spray (either two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans or three smaller “1 pound” loaf pans). Sift together the flour, spices, leaveners and salt. Next, combine the pumpkin and eggs in a bowl and stir them together.

Combine the oil and sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle (beater) and beat on medium for about 30 seconds, until well-combined. Add the pumpkin mixture and beat about another 30 seconds until combined. Add half the flour mixture and stir on low until mostly combined. Scrape the bowl. Add the remaining flour mixture, stir and scrape again.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pans. Bake large loaves about 1 hour 10 minutes, rotating the pans after 50 minutes. Bake the smaller loaves about 50 minutes, rotating the pans after 40 minutes. Cool the loaves on a wire rack. Loosen the loaves around the edges with a butter knife and knock them out by tapping the corners of the pans on a countertop.

13 thoughts on “Pumpkin Bread Recipe”

  1. Hi Joe,
    I love pumpkin bread! My recipe calls for creamed butter and sugar. How does the outcome differ when you use oil and sugar like your recipe calls for?

    1. Hey Eva!

      The creaming method makes some very good tea bread. What I will say for oil breads like this is that they are extremely moist (the fat remains in liquid form) but that they also require more leavening, since they don’t get any help from their bubbles that the creaming method creates. That being the case, they have a little more of that bitter baking soda edge. Cll it a trade off…I think it’s worth it.

      Thanks for the question!

      – Joe

  2. Do you think if I used whole wheat flour it would work just as good? Would I have to adjust the recipe at all?

    1. I don’t have much experience making tea breads with whole wheat flour. Like anything with whole wheat, you’ll get about 25% less rise and a denser crumb, but it should still be good!

      – Joe

      1. In a desperate attempt to get some vegetables into her kid, my sister started making pumpkin muffins. Her recipe swaps out some white flour for whole wheat (about 60% white, 40% whole wheat), and I honestly can’t taste the difference.

        1. That’s a good idea. Tomorrow’s recipe is along the same lines. Another pumpkin preparation that barely tastes like squash.

          More then!

          – Joe

  3. Sounds like an awesome down-to-earth recipe that would be great to give to my new neighbors for Thanksgiving 🙂

  4. I’ve noticed the same thing with zucchini bread (and other cookie recipes for that matter)… 1 whole teaspoon of baking soda… and (apparently) no acidic ingredient…
    So sometimes I substitute the b.s. with b.p. (with the necessary adjustments), sometimes I don’t. I unfortunately I have never had the chance of a side-by-side taste test since I’m a disaster at planning out my baking, not to mention that every time I do quick-breads I end up twisting the recipe adding some other spice, vegetable or whatever the fridge or pantry need to get ridden of.
    Do you have any insight into this matter?

    1. Hey Silviu,

      Pumpkin is actually acidic enough in this quantity to create the needed reaction, but there’s nothing wrong with baking powder, just make sure to at least triple the quantity to get the right texture ( 1 1/2 teaspoons in this case….2 teaspoons would probably not be excessive). There will be slightly different taste, but nothing objectionable.

      – Joe

  5. I initially came to your site because I wanted to figure out what was wrong with my pumpkin bread recipe. Not just any pumpkin bread, but the *family* pumpkin bread, the one my grandma made frequently during the fall for our family gatherings in Chicago (NW Side) and which we kids all scarfed down as quickly as decorum allowed, the recipe for which she shared with me when I was a teenager interested in cooking and baking, and the recipe I managed to screw up by adjusting it over the years (usually to reflect the diet du jour) to the point of it having an off aftertaste that left it inedible as far as I was concerned (not everyone seemed to mind it).

    Thank you for the explanation (elsewhere on your site) about the acid/base balance with baking powder and baking soda. Since my recipe is very similar to yours in terms of the flour, sugar (except I use 2 cups, you use 3), oil, eggs, pumpkin, etc., I adjusted the quantities of baking powder and soda to reflect those in your recipe, and am here to tell you, it was a resounding success!

    I divided the batter into two smaller loaves (7″ or so) and a dozen mini muffins because I am limited to small pans these days as that’s all that fits in the Easy Bake [read: toaster] oven that I’ve been reduced to using ever since old faithful Jenny the Jenn-Air went to the big oven in the sky. But I digress. The loaves and mini muffins were fantastic—moist, delicious, and best of all, no funky aftertaste. Yay!

    Thank you, Joe, for ‘giving’ me access once again to the pumpkin bread of my memories.

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