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Slices of classic pumpkin bread on a square white plate

Classic Pumpkin Bread

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Growing up, we’d always receive the gift of a loaf of dense, spiced and irresistible Classic Pumpkin Bread for the holidays. Our neighbor shared her recipe and it’s still my favorite version that my children request each autumn.

This is almost exactly like a popular Allrecipes Pumpkin Bread Recipe, without the nutmeg. But I’ve been making this fabulous loaf since before the Internet! It’s a keeper.

Classic Pumpkin Bread loaf and slices on a white tray

 

Classic Pumpkin Bread

The picky hubby has quick breads on his long list of dislikes, but my children adore pumpkin bread. Especially THIS classic pumpkin bread. I had two small loaves in the freezer and I retrieved them for Nick’s finals week. I know, I know, a high protein breakfast would have been better brain food, but this made my sophomore smile (a hard thing to do with all those tests looming).

This moist, easy pumpkin bread recipe came from Severa Vandergaast, our Dutch neighbor growing up who talked a mile a minute with a charming accent. A loaf of this spicy deliciousness would arrive each Christmas as a gift for our family. We’d practically inhale slices of this bread, then beg my mom to bake another so we could slather warm slices with cold butter.

I suspect this recipe originated on a can of Libby’s pumpkin as the basic proportions are the same as many other pumpkin breads. But the spices can be tweaked depending on your palate. Like mentioned above, one of the most popular Allrecipes Pumpkin Bread Recipe had the same warm spices plus 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg. 

Classic Pumpkin Bread Recipe in a white ceramic baking dish

Tips for Making Pumpkin Bread

Dense, moist and full of warm spices, this recipe is perfect for a truly classic pumpkin bread. No chocolate chips or streusel needed (though I’ve shared those loaves, too). It’s wonderful just as it is!

  • PRO-Tip: As with all quick breads, once the liquids are mixed with the dry ingredients, it’s imperative not to over-mix. This will create tunnels, which won’t change the taste of the bread, but it sure looks better with a fine crumb and without loads of holes in every slice.
  • Either mix by hand or use the paddle attachment on your mixer and mix on low, stopping as soon as the flour is incorporated.
  • Prepare your loaf pan properly so the loaf comes out in one piece. Spray the pan with a non-stick spray. I prefer a product like Baker’s Joy which is a mixture of oil and flour.  I also like to line the bottom of the pan with a rectangle of parchment paper, then spray the top of that as well.
  • Check the middle of the loaf by inserting a toothpick into a couple of spots. Pumpkin bread typically develops a crack across the top, and it’s that crack where I like to check for doneness. When the toothpick comes out clean, the bread is done. If not, bake 5-10 minutes longer and recheck.
  • Do not pull the loaves out without doing a toothpick check. If you remove the loaf too early, the middle will be raw. If you let it cook too long, the bread will not be as moist. The oil in this recipe makes for a super moist pumpkin bread, but take care to bake just until baked through.
  • The kind of pan and how your oven bakes varies, so baking times listed in recipes often need to be shortened or extended.
  • You can easily multiply this recipe by 2 or 3. I tend to make a triple batch—one for each of my children! Start with one, but you may end up wanting an extra loaf or two for your freezer! See below how to prepare your bread for freezing.

Classic Pumpkin Bread slice on a square white plate

How Long Will Pumpkin Bread Stay Fresh?

Pumpkin bread will be good for 1-2 days at room temperature. Since it’s a very moist loaf, it may start to deteriorate after that. It can be stored for up to a week, well wrapped, in the refrigerator.

Can Pumpkin Bread Be Frozen?

Yes, pumpkin bread freezes well. First cool to room temperature, then wrap well in plastic wrap making it as airtight as possible.  Next, wrap well in foil or place the plastic wrapped loaf in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag.

Pumpkin bread keeps well in the freezer for up to 3 months. It will still be safe after that time period, but quality may not be as good.  Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and serve slices warmed or at room temperature.

If you love pumpkin bread, you’ll also fall for these pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting. Known as killer pumpkin bars among my friends, they’re to die for!

Overhead view of Pumpkin bread on a white tray with cinnamon sticks

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This pumpkin bread recipe was first shared in May, 2010. The text and photo were updated in 2019.

Yield: 1 loaf

Classic Pumpkin Bread

Classic Pumpkin Bread

A classic pumpkin bread recipe that's always a hit!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/2 c oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c pumpkin
  • 1 3/4 c flour
  • 1/4 t baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t cloves
  • 1/4 t allspice
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/3 c water

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Grease one standard loaf pan, approximately 9 x 5-inches. I also put a rectangle of parchment on the bottom of the pan and grease that as well.
  2. Combine sugar and oil. Add rest of ingredients in order.
  3. Bake large pan 1 hour-1 hour 15 minutes or two smaller pans for 40-50 minutes. Check the center of the loaf with a toothpick. It should come out clean after inserting when the loaf is done.

Notes

Note that a can of pumpkin is typically 15 ounces and not enough to make a double batch. I've tried doubling with 15 ounces instead of 2 cups or 16 ounces, and it's just not as tasty!

I often triple this recipe and feed the extra pumpkin to Lambeau, our yellow lab, who loves hearing the sound of cans opening in the kitchen!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 197 Total Fat: 8g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 7g Cholesterol: 23mg Sodium: 241mg Carbohydrates: 30g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 19g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 2g
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29 comments on “Classic Pumpkin Bread”

  1. Liz, this is the recipe I use for Pumpkin bread, we love it!
    At times, I use muffin cups or those tiny individual loaves for baking.
    I’ve even iced the loaves with cream cheese frosting.
    This is a great recipe and yes, it makes the house smell wonderful!

  2. IT is legal to eat pumpkin bread in May isn’t it? I think I just might make it for brunch this week. Or maybe cranberry scones. You have so many yummy looking recipes–where to begin?

  3. Pumpkin bread is definitely a MUST during Fall season. This looks beautiful!

  4. Is it that time again? I love pumpkin bread and are always willing to try a different recipe. 

  5. I always forget to make Pumpkin bread and I love it. Great idea and tips.

  6. This pumpkin bread will be nice with my coffee morning. I didn’t know that we can frozen it. Have a nice day! xo

  7. Hi Liz,

    We never received pumpkin bread — banana bread was the thing where I grew up — but I definitely want to start this tradition! Great tips on being able to freeze it. I love to make a big batch and then have them ready to roll. Excited to try it!

  8. I love the idea of plain and simple pumpkin bread, it is nice being able to enjoy all the spices in it…thanks for sharing this classic recipe.
    Have a great week ahead!

  9. What a perfect pumpkin bread, this is a fall dream!

  10. Welcome to the Pumpkin Season, look great and tasty

  11. Yum! I have to bake this! It comes out so beautifully!

  12. This has the perfect crumb and density to it. Great pumpkin flavor too!

  13. Such a great way to enjoy pumpkin season!

  14. I can’t wait to give this try!

  15. My favorite thing to bake in the fall. I love your version!

  16. Look at the rise on this beautiful loaf! I could eat this everyday – thanks for sharing another wonderful recipe. Pinned 🙂

  17. Liz, I’d like to have a couple loaves of this in the freezer right now! Nope–actually, I think I’ll wait until I get my new refrigerator at the end of the month, then I can start stocking it with good things like this!

  18. I’m a sucker for dense, moist, quick breads – especially when there is pumpkin and warm spices involved! Love this as an edible gift idea for the holidays too!

  19. This looks delicious! Pumpkin bread used to be my go-to afternoon snack at a coffee shop near the UT campus (way back) when I was a student. I miss it and need to bake some!

  20. This looks amazing !! love this cake Lizzy looks absolutely delicious !! !hugs xo

  21. I love pumpkin bread but haven’t made it in years. Thanks for the reminder. I’ll have to make this soon

  22. Yum! This looks like something from a wonderful fine bakery! But then again, IT IS!

  23. Beautiful. I love pumpkin bread. I haven’t really made it since my kids left home, except when they visited over the holidays. I want to get out my recipe and see how it varies from yours. I remember mine was a recipe from Shaker/Quaker country. I love it warm with cream cheese 😬

  24. Is it that time of the year? Your pumpkin bread looks so moist and yummy !

  25. Bookmarking this for those awesome “pro tips.” Such a great resource to have on hand. And of course, the recipes sounds delicious! 🙂 ~Valentina

  26. Pumpkinlicious! This deliciousness sure beats a Starbucks slice of pumpkin bread any day. We also love that gorgeous white baking pan. Too cute.

  27. Is your pan a standard 8 inch or a standard 9 inch loaf pan? I’ve had the experiences of both an overflowing 8 inch and a thin 9 inch before so I’d like to avoid either. The recipe looks terrific. I can hardly wait to try.

  28. I’ve resisted making Pumpkin Bread for years and I think it’s time I preheat my oven and get busy.

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