Bake

Pumpkin Bread

September 26, 2019
13 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham. PROP STYLIST: AMANDA WIDIS. FOOD STYLIST: ANNA BILLINGSKOG.
Author Notes

Pumpkin bread should be quick to come together, confident in pumpkin flavor, and moist as can be. Our test kitchen set out to nail all of those components—and then some—to create a pumpkin bread that’s everyday enough to make on a whim, but addictive enough to crave all fall and winter long. (Do we need to tell you that it’s ridiculously good with coffee? You knew that already.)

Here’s the scoop: Instead of a meager cup or so of pumpkin puree, we used an entire can. This means intense squashy flavor, bright orange color, and increased moistness. On that note, we also opted for neutral-flavored oil (canola or vegetable both work) instead of melted butter. Compared to butter-based cakes, oil-based ones are lighter in texture, more tender in crumb, and stay moist for longer. And to lean into the cozy autumn vibes, we settled on mostly dark brown sugar, for its molassesy, caramely flavors. We used a small portion of granulated sugar in the batter, plus some for a spiced sugar crust (more on that soon).

Now, about those spices: If you ask us, pumpkin pie spice—a blend you can find at just about any supermarket—is a win-win. The blend is made with pumpkin in mind and you only need one jar in your spice cabinet (is yours as out-of-hand as ours is?), a total game-changer when you consider all the ingredients potentially included: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, star anise, and the list goes on. If you’d like, you can swap in a custom blend. We added a smidge more ground ginger, in addition to the pumpkin pie spice, because of the way ginger highlights pumpkin’s flavor and keeps the loaf from tasting too sweet. What’s more, combining some pumpkin pie spice with sugar and using this mixture to coat the interior of the greased loaf pan creates a spiced sugar crust, making the edges of the pumpkin bread just as great as the interior.

Now, what are you waiting for? Let’s get baking. —Emma Laperruque

  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Makes 1 loaf
Ingredients
  • Spiced sugar crust
  • Salted butter, at room temperature, for greasing the pan
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Pumpkin bread
  • 2 1/3 cups (298 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 cup (213 grams) dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup (131 grams) canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan with salted butter. Combine the 1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar and ¾ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice in a small dish and stir to combine. Pour most of this spiced sugar in the loaf pan and tap around, so a thin layer completely coats the interior of the pan. Dump any excess back into the dish and reserve—we’re using it later. Set the loaf pan on a rimmed sheet tray (this makes getting the loaf in and out of the oven a lot easier).
  2. Add the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and ginger to a large mixing bowl. Whisk until smooth. Add the pumpkin puree, sugars, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract to a separate, slightly smaller mixing bowl. Whisk until smooth. Add this liquidy pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients, then use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir until smooth (a few small lumps is okay, it’s better not to overmix.
  3. Pour the pumpkin batter into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle the top with the reserved spiced sugar mixture.
  4. Bake for about 70 minutes (rotating halfway through and checking frequently toward the end), until a sharp knife or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Let the pan cool until it’s warm enough that you can comfortably touch. Turn out the loaf onto a cooling rack to cool completely, domed side facing up. Serve in thick slices.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Caroline Simmons
    Caroline Simmons
  • Jackie VillaLobos
    Jackie VillaLobos
  • Eric Kim
    Eric Kim
  • Mikaela Levons
    Mikaela Levons
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles on the fly, baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., and writing about the history of pie in North Carolina. Now she lives in New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's award-winning column, Big Little Recipes (also the cookbook in October 2021!). And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

19 Reviews

Silverbushb January 6, 2021
Update: I gave this recipe a second chance, THIS time dividing the batter into TWO loaves (my loaf pans are closer to 8x3 in size which is standard, rather than 9x5). This worked beautifully, giving me two perfect loaves.
 
Silverbushb December 31, 2020
After contemplating multiple pumpkin bread recipes, including those from Food & Wine, Epicurious and bon appetit, I chose THIS one to bake. I have never made pumpkin bread before, and I liked certain elements of this recipe such as that it uses dark brown sugar and a full can of pumpkin puree, as well as that its author seems reliable from what I see. Also, I read a review online where this recipe was tested together with several others (the sames ones I had contemplated making from NY Times; bonappetit; epicurious; and Food and Wine), and this recipe fared very well among the competition. So, I felt confident this would turn out very good. (Though I've not baked pumpkin bread before, I am a fairly seasoned baker, I would say I'm intermediate-to-very experienced. Thus I am scratching my head at the fact that this loaf is spilling out over its loaf pan in my over right now as we speak. I had major qualms when the batter completely filled the loaf pan to the very top as I knew that was not right. I put it in the oven none the less and sure enough, it's spilling out all over. I just re-checked the measurements that I had copied over by hand and I have discovered that I erred with the flour, having mistakenly written 2 and 3/4 flour, rather than the correct 2 and 1/3 flour. None the less, it seems to me that while this error might cause the bread to be dry and too hard, I feel it is not a big enough difference in measurements to account for the batter having completely filled the loaf pan and the massive over-spillage that's occuring. Now the only other thing is, I did add about 3/4 cup chopped walnuts to the batter.

Do you think my accidental addition of an extra amount of flour (2 and 3/4 rather than the correct 2 and 1/3), combined with my addition of 3/4 cup chopped nuts, caused the batter to be so overly plentiful as to be spilling out over the top and sides in my oven as we speak?

I am hoping it might still be somewhat edible, albeit ugly to look at. Lol. Fingers crossed.

Thank you kindly!
 
Silverbushb December 31, 2020
Update: It's been baking for 80 minutes, I shall leave it in longer as my toothpick is coming out wet. Of note is the fact that the batter that had spilled out onto the baking sheet below has formed pieces of bread that ARE now fully cooked. I am so disgusted with myself for having miscopied the flour measurement and also for having added the nuts. I suspect that this still would have come out right with the mistake and the change I made, if only I had divided the batter into two loaves.
 
Silverbushb December 31, 2020
Ugh. Apparently my so called loaf pan is only 8x3 and not 9x5. Probably explains in part why the batter is too plentiful.
 
Caitlin December 15, 2020
This is a wonderful recipe and your house will smell divine as its baking. The sugar sprinkle gives the loaf such a satisfying crunch.
 
Caitlin December 15, 2020
This is a wonderful recipe and your house will smell divine as its baking. The sugar sprinkle gives the loaf such a satisfying crunch.
 
Francesca November 16, 2020
I've made this bread twice! I made double the recipe to make 2 loaves at a time and it came out great both times. I made my own pumpkin spice which contained a lot of cinnamon and a touch of cardamom and it was very flavorful. I served it with cinnamon buttercream on the side. I will definitely be making this again.
 
wayne G. October 25, 2019
Such a beautiful bread. The baking powder makes it rise and crust up, and it looks amazing. We enjoyed the taste, however----could it use just a wee bit more flavor? Was cinnamon considered for use in this recipe? Anyone have feedback on that issue? Will be a loaf we gift to neighbors for sure.
 
Mikaela L. October 28, 2019
I used a homemade pumpkin spice that had lots of cinammon in it. I imagine that's why the recipe doesn't require additional, but I'd spice it up to taste!
 
Author Comment
Emma L. October 29, 2019
Hi Wayne! The main ingredient in most pumpkin pie spice blends is cinnamon, so that's where the cinnamon flavor comes in. You can certainly add more to taste.
 
Mims C. October 20, 2019
I should have stopped when I had second thoughts after reading the baking powder quantity in this recipe. Way too much and made it so bitter.
 
Caroline S. October 19, 2019
Best pumpkin bread I have ever had! Thanks for the amazing recipe. Making my third loaf today. Makes such a great fall gift.
 
Dot L. October 16, 2019
We are calling this Power Failure Pumpkin Bread. I had just mixed the dry ingredients but luckily no perishables when the lights went out. The pan smelled great sitting on the counter for 3 hours. Just got it into the oven. Cross your fingers because this is a point of no return. Looking forward to finally getting to try it.
 
Linda R. October 9, 2019
Loved the way this turned out, very moist and tasty! The spiced sugar crust made it extra special. Thanks!
 
Author Comment
Emma L. October 9, 2019
Thanks, Linda!
 
Jackie V. October 6, 2019
Just made this! Wow, one of the easiest quick breads I've made to date! Loved the easiness and really only two bowls - you're speaking my language. I had to bake an additional 8 minutes, however I blame* my old oven.
This was so moist (heh, sorry), so pumpkin-y, so delicious. I have to say that my fave life part, other than the lovely orange hue, is the crusty top that happens as the sugar mixture bakes. This has knocked all other pumpkin bread recipes out of the park. Hello, new go-to pumpkin bread! Thank you for a great recipe!
 
Author Comment
Emma L. October 6, 2019
So happy you enjoyed, Jackie—thanks!
 
Jackie V. October 6, 2019
Just made this! Wow, one of the easiest quick breads I've made to date! Loved the easiness and really only two bowls - you're speaking my language. I had to bake an additional 8 minutes, it I bales my old oven.
This was so moist (heh, sorry), so pumpkin-y, so delicious. I have to say that my fave life part, other than the lovely orange hue, is the crusty top that happens as the sugar mixture bakes. This has knocked all other pumpkin bread recipes out of the park. Hello, new go-to pumpkin bread! Thank you for a great recipe!
 
Eric K. September 26, 2019
So pretty.