Pumpkin Christmas Bread

December 5, 2010

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes:

We don’t fuss with fancy breakfasts on Christmas. After all, there are more important jobs to attend to that morning, like opening presents. So at our house, we always have this pumpkin bread to nosh on. I’ve adapted this recipe from one I received from my friend Heather. The original made 3 loaves. I adjusted the quantities and spices to suit my taste and one loaf pan. Fair warning, the bread is highly addictive. It’s perfect spread with softened butter, or some fig jam, or softened cream cheese, or just plain nekkid. - mrslarkin


Food52 Review: WHO: The Pound Ridge Scone Lady herself, mrslarkin -- a woman who knows her way around a kitchen.
WHAT: An eggless (!), dairyless (!) loaf cake for breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, dessert...
HOW: Dump, stir, bake.
WHY WE LOVE IT: In her testing notes, aargersi called this pumpkin bread "magic" -- and she's right. It's soft, it's tender, it's sweet, it's spicy, it's got height, it's got everything we want in a loaf cake. It's so good that two Food52-ers specifically recommended it. Plus, it makes a great edible gift -- it is both portable and scalable. Just make sure to make an extra (or two!) for yourself.

Serves: 4 - 8


  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 10 ounces pumpkin puree (just over a cup-full if you're measuring and not weighing)
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans or walnuts, optional
In This Recipe


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray one large loaf pan, about 9" x 5", with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together first seven ingredients. In another bowl, blend the remaining ingredients together.
  3. Combine all ingredients and stir well until smooth. (It is a thick batter!) Spoon into loaf pan and lightly smooth out the top with a spatula.
  4. Bake about 1 hours and 15 minutes, or until cake tester comes out dry and clean. Cool thoroughly. It'll seem like the loaf doesn't want to come out. Just give it a few good slaps on the bottom of the pan, and it'll come right out.
  5. Great to bake ahead and freeze. Wrap in plastic, then foil. Defrost at room temperature.
  6. If you'd like to make three large loaves, triple the ingredients, use a 29 ounce can of pumpkin puree, and mix in a great big bowl. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. This full recipe can make 7 mini loaves (3" x 6" mini loaf pans). Bake the mini loaves for an hour.

More Great Recipes:
Bread|American|Grains|Pumpkin|Make Ahead|Christmas|Fall|Halloween|Winter|Vegan|Dessert|Breakfast

Reviews (112) Questions (4)

112 Reviews

Holly January 22, 2018
Oh, mrslarkin: I had huge reservations about this recipe as I scooped the concoction into the baking pan. Shame on me!!!!!
Dee January 7, 2018
Great recipe for pumpkin bread. Knock it out of the park by adding cardommon, golden raisins, juice & zest of one orange and a tbs of Grand Mariner. Deelish! Freezes nicely also.
Adrienne December 17, 2017
A nice easy recipe. I used muffin tins and they took 35 min to bake to perfection. Next time I’ll up the spice content based on my own obsession with cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. Thanks for this one!
Rachel November 29, 2017
Awesome vegan recipe. For a little extra lift throw in a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar. Lining the pan with parchment made for easy removal and clean storage. I used beet sugar and molasses since I don’t buy brown sugar, I also cut the sugar by 10% to 180g, next time I’ll try just 150g. I like the texture you get with a generous amount of toasted walnuts. Thanks for putting this recipe up! Happy baking!!
noknok November 19, 2017
Here are gram weights for those who need them:<br />245g AP flour<br />200g granulated sugar (I used 150g)<br />65g light brown sugar<br />1 tsp baking soda<br />1 tsp ground cinnamon<br />1/2 tsp ground cloves<br />1/2 tsp ground nutmeg<br />(I also added 3/8 tsp salt and 1 TBS ground flax seed and 100g ground pecan)<br />80ml vegetable oil<br />300g pureed pumpkin<br />(mine was really dry, so I added 60g full fat yogurt to wet ingredients)<br />Bake at 160'C and start checking at the 1h mark. Mine was totally & perfectly done by then.<br /><br />Our family loved this (including my son, who says he hates the entire squash family!) - with my adjustments, it's not too sweet and great for Thanksgiving and Christmas. <br /><br />There is no pureed pumpkin where I live, so I roasted a kuri squash for 45m (quartered and baked at 200'C, then ran it quickly through a food processor). It may have been drier than normal pumpkin puree, which may account for the need for extra wet ingredients.
Oyin W. October 26, 2017
A great recipe for my son's toddler class. Split the recipe into 3 mini loaf pans and baked for 50 minutes. I didn't see M.B's comment on possibly adding a little salt. Not a bad idea for the next time.
Marie B. November 5, 2016
I made this today exactly as written. I wanted to try it because I have a vegetarian friend who doesn't eat eggs and I'm always on the lookout for delicious recipes I can share with her. This is quite good, but it's missing something. I think I've figured it out. There's no salt. I will make it again, but next time I'll add somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 tsp of salt. Otherwise, I agree with other tasters who raved about this.
Alisa R. December 5, 2015
Need something quick (like tonight.. eek!) with what i have on hand and this sounds great! Only problem... i dont have my loaf pan. Any idea how it would bake up if i use a quiche pan or 8x8" square? Thanks for any help!
Author Comment
mrslarkin December 6, 2015
Hmmm...not sure! But I would give it a try. Check doneness with a skewer, and start checking at half hour mark. Let us know!
Sofia November 26, 2015
The bread itself was delicious and had a great texture, but it didn't rise at all! Any idea what I may be doing wrong?
Author Comment
mrslarkin November 26, 2015
Hmmm. I don't know, other than maybe the baking soda was expired?
Sofia November 26, 2015
Maybe... I'll be sure to buy a new box before making this again then :D <br />Thanks!
Laurelb October 15, 2015
Fabulous. Wouldn't change a thing. Everyone loved it.
Claire H. October 12, 2015
Well. This was the BEST pumpkin bread I've ever made. Added some chocolate chips per the hubbies request - though it would have been splendid without. It had so many caramelized edges....Wow, just wow!
nannydeb December 24, 2014
This was perfect for our vegan neighbors for Christmas! Thanks!
Marian B. November 27, 2014
i was so excited to get to my sister's house for thanksgiving and find that she had made this loaf! She cut the sugar to just 1/2 C brown, I think, and added chocolate chunks instead of nuts, because we are a chocolate family. Everyone is asleep and I just ate another slice and I am happy.
jakestavis November 23, 2014
This is a great recipe and is easily adaptable -- I used fresh kabocha squash, which I simmered in milk for 15 minutes, drained, and pureed instead of canned pumpkin. Also subbed the cloves/cinnamon/nutmeg for 1 tsp of garam masala, for a sort of spicy sweet mix. Delicious!
alana March 11, 2014
Thought I'd leave note to say that this bread is fantastic. Moist, soft, turns out like a charm everytime. You can even cheat when you're a little bit short of pumpkin and make up the difference with banana.
Sam February 16, 2014
I'm a pumpkin lover and devoured this bread! Made it twice, once with vegetable oil and once with butter. The vegetable oil bread definitely held it's shape better, but maybe had just a smidge less flavor. Either way the bread was great though!
Nicole N. December 26, 2013
Made this for Christmas and my family could not get enough. My friend, the pumpkin fanatic, says it's the best she's ever had.
Dina M. December 25, 2013
delicious! we just finished eating it--the ends are the BEST! So easy to make; a definite go-to recipe.
wendy W. December 13, 2013
I made this last night. It turned out great but I'm afraid I had to slice off an end to eat before I froze the rest for Christmas Eve. Couldn't resist.
Elizabeth December 9, 2013
I've made this several times this fall/winter, it's definitely a new stand-by. I do melted butter instead of the oil, no one in my house is vegan and I find it's got a chewier "crust", which we like. I also almost always do a triple batch, as the cans of pumpkin around here are 15 oz or 30 oz, so I just do a big triple batch rather then have a third of a can left over. It triples beautifully :)
Author Comment
mrslarkin December 9, 2013
Glad you enjoy the recipe, Elizabeth!