The Simplest Pumpkin Bread Recipe Is Also The Best

Pumpkin bread
Photo Credit: Smitten Kitchen

November 12, 2020

By Sheela Prakash

Like clockwork, I get one singular craving every fall: pumpkin bread. I can skip the apple cider doughnuts and pumpkin spice lattes but I can’t go without baking a heavily-spiced, orange-hued loaf that my husband and I eat slowly all week until there’s not even a crumb left.

For years I’d try a different recipe every season: I’d bake loaves with fancy streusel swirls and splashes of bourbon or rum in the hopes of finding the ultimate version. I assumed the more complicated the recipe, the better the end results. Yet they always let me down.

When I finally stumbled upon my perfect pumpkin bread, it wasn’t fussy or over-the-top at all. It turns out I’d been craving something simple — so long as it was incredibly moist and full of spices — all along. Smitten Kitchen’s pumpkin bread is now the only recipe I reach for this time of year.

Photo Credit: Smitten Kitchen

Why Smitten Kitchen’s Pumpkin Bread Is The Perfect Pumpkin Bread

This recipe results in the quintessential pumpkin bread: It’s tender, lightly sweet, and bursting with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove. The loaf stays moist for days and really feels like an anytime-of-day treat, whether it’s sliced thick with your morning cup of coffee or toasted and swiped with cream cheese or nut butter as a snack.

It’s also a very simple recipe. You’ll whisk together pumpkin puree, oil, eggs, and sugar in a large bowl. Then you’ll mix in baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices, and flour, pour the batter into a greased loaf pan, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and bake it for about an hour.

The other thing I love about this pumpkin bread? It uses up a full 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree. Just about every other recipe out there calls for just a portion of the can, so you’re left to figure out what to do with the 1/2 cup or so that’s leftover. Or the recipe yields two loaves from one can. Here, you get one towering loaf.

4 Ways To Make Smitten Kitchen’s Pumpkin Bread Your Own

Because it’s such an uncomplicated recipe, it can take to a little tweaking if you so choose.

Swap out the flour. I like swapping half the all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour, when I am craving a heartier loaf, and I’ve also had success with a 1-to-1 gluten-free flour, such as Bob’s Red Mill.

Reduce or swap the sugar. While the pumpkin bread isn’t excessively sweet, the amount of sugar can be lowered, if you’d like. You can even swap it with coconut sugar or use a combination of granulated sugar and honey or maple syrup.

Use olive oil. I also tend to make it with olive oil rather than the vegetable oil or melted butter called for: It’s what I always have on hand and I like the mellow savory notes it brings to the loaf.

Add some mix-ins. I probably don’t need to tell you that adding a handful of chopped dark chocolate isn’t frowned upon; neither are toasted walnuts or pecan.

No matter how you make it, this pumpkin bread is fall at its very best.

Get the Recipe: Smitten Kitchen’s Pumpkin Bread

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