No matter the temperature in your area this time of year, grab a sweater and get the fireplace started because it's about to feel (and taste!) like fall!
❤️ Why you'll love it
- This old-fashioned pumpkin bread recipe freezes really well.
- One of the simpler pumpkin recipes—cook with your kids!
- Pumpkin spice (with cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and a kick of chipotle) is the coziest flavor of fall.
This easy pumpkin bread recipe makes a delightful dessert, an awesome afternoon snack, and a great gift idea—holiday or housewarming.
This is an overview of the ingredients. You'll find the full measurements and instructions in the green recipe card (printable) at the bottom of the page.
This is an overview of the instructions. Full instructions are in the green recipe card at the bottom of the page.
- Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Beat the brown sugar, white sugar, and oil until smooth.
- To the mixer, add large eggs, buttermilk, and bourbon.
- Stir in the pumpkin purée.
- Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin puree/wet ingredients.
- Stir in the pecans.
- Pour batter into prepared loaf pans.
- Bake and cool on a wire rack.
Wrap the pumpkin loaf in plastic wrap and store it at room temperature for up to 3 days. If any slices manage to remain later than that, toss them in the freezer!
Personally, my family thinks this moist pumpkin bread is even more flavorful the next day. It's one of my favorite recipes to prep the evening before a special fall tradition, like pumpkin carving!
How To Freeze Pumpkin Bread
This is the best pumpkin bread recipe because, not only does it freeze well, but it's super easy to prepare for freezing, too!
Simply wrap your pumpkin bread (leftovers or whole loaves) tightly in plastic, then in a layer of aluminum foil. This adds a double layer of protection so your quick bread stays fresh tasting.
You can also slice the loaf and separate the pieces with parchment paper before wrapping. This allows you to pull out one slice at a time.
Whenever a pumpkin craving arrives, you've got the solution right in your freezer!
Some people like to vacuum seal the pumpkin bread before freezing it. If you do so, just make sure not to pull out all of the air, otherwise, your tasty pumpkin bread will crumble into pieces! So sad!
You can freeze the bread for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator before warming it in the microwave, or enjoy it at room temperature.
Click on the image to watch me make this recipe from start to finish with extra tips! (Video opens in a new tab).
This simple recipe requires minimal effort and is a family favorite as written. However, if you want, there are plenty of ways to change it up!
- Light, neutral oil (peanut, canola, or vegetable oil) works best in this recipe to create a moist texture, but you could use browned butter.
- Out of buttermilk? Don't sound the alarms! Check out these alternatives, instead.
- Swap the bourbon for water, milk, ginger ale, or apple/orange juice in both the glaze and the bread. Though you won't taste the flavor in the pumpkin bread, your glaze may taste like whichever substitute you use.
- During pumpkin season, you can use fresh pumpkin, cooked and cooled, or a can of pure pumpkin from the store.
- Instead of pumpkin, use mashed Hubbard squash or sweet potato puree for a similar but just as delicious loaf!
- Decrease the bourbon (or substituted liquid) by a tablespoon and add some vanilla extract in its place! I love pumpkin and vanilla together.
- The chipotle powder is optional, but it's good. It gives grandma’s traditional pumpkin bread recipe a subtle Southern kick. You gotta try it!
- Trying to use up a pumpkin pie spice blend you bought last fall? Though I don't always recommend using older spices, go ahead and use 2 tablespoons of it in place of the spices in this recipe.
- Craving something other than pecans? Use walnuts!
- Mix in some chopped candied ginger for an extra fall pop!
- Take pumpkin bread to a whole new level with chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch bits, or toffee pieces.
Baking & Topping:
- I use 5-inch loaf pans (they're 10 inches long) but you can also make muffins or mini loaves, too! It's fun to switch it up sometimes.
- If you don't have a glass baking dish, don't let that stop you! You can use a 9-inch metal loaf pan, or something similar.
- Instead of the glaze, garnish the pumpkin bread with powdered sugar. It's so good straight out of the oven, it doesn't need a lot of fuss!
- Some people like to add cream cheese frosting to their pumpkin bread. It makes it taste similar to pumpkin cake—I won't say "no" to that!
- Mix a bit of maple syrup with the powdered sugar and bourbon to make a maple bourbon glaze! Yum.
💭 Things to know
Expert Tip: The measurement for 2 cups mashed/cooked pumpkin is about the same as a 15 oz can of puree. Use either! However, fresh pumpkins carry more liquid than canned, which could alter the results, so drain them thoroughly.
- If you're using homemade pumpkin puree place it in a colander set over a bowl. Let it drain overnight if you have the time.
- To dry the pumpkin more quickly, heat it over low on the stove to let some moisture evaporate. Stir occasionally so it doesn't burn!
- Don't buy pumpkin pie filling! It's loaded with sugar and other spices and usually sits right next to the pumpkin puree in the store. It can be confusing, especially if you send your hubby to the store!
- Use an electric mixer or a stand mixer, whichever you have.
- Remember the mixing rules! You can usually beat eggs/sugar/butter at a higher speed and for a longer period of time.
- However, after adding the flour to the wet ingredients, you only want to mix on low speed until it's just combined.
- Line your pan with parchment paper, leaving some hanging over the edges. That way, you can use the paper to lift your pumpkin bread out of the pan after baking—and, that's one less dirty dish to wash!
- Your pumpkin bread is fully cooked when it reaches 200 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, or when a cake tester/toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Watch the pumpkin bread carefully while it cooks, especially if you use a different pan than suggested, as cook times will vary.
- Always cool cakes and loaves fully before wrapping and storing them.
Nope, don't swap the sugar out. Maple syrup and sugar both add sweetness, but the similarity stops there. Sugar is essential in this recipe, and syrup won't replicate it!
I'd recommend making the maple glaze mentioned in the variations heading if you want more maple flavor.
I don't recommend it, but it won't ruin your loaf. However, the olive flavor may come through a bit. Plus, olive oil is typically more expensive than vegetable, and since you need a whole cup of oil in this recipe, I'd save the good stuff for when you actually want to taste the savory flavor!
Bake for 20 minutes and check to see if they're done. Then, if they need more time, check every 5 minutes until they're baked through.
Here are my favorite ways to prepare a pan. Use whatever you prefer:
1) Mist with nonstick spray.
2) Use a pastry brush to apply some melted butter.
3) Rub a little cold butter or shortening on the pan.
Nope! It's a quick bread so cooks sort of like a cake or banana bread. Once you pour the batter into the greased loaf pan, pop it in the hot oven!
📚 Related recipes
- This delicious Pumpkin Spice Cake has only three essential ingredients and mixes together in 5 minutes—but I bet you can do it in even less!
- Pumpkin Scones with Maple Glaze are the perfect sweet fall treat, ideal for breakfast, lunch, dessert, or your afternoon coffee break!
- Try the pumpkin baked oatmeal for a nutritionally dense, delicious, make-ahead breakfast.
- With the perfect balance of sweetness, this Peach Bread tastes like end-of-summer childhood memories, but you can enjoy it all year long!
- Gingerbread is the perfect fall afternoon pick me up with a cup of coffee!
🍽️ Serve with...
📞 The last word
If you click on the number of servings in the recipe card you can adjust the measurements up or down for the exact number of servings you need. Don't forget that you can click on "add to collection" to save it to your own, private recipe box!
If you love this recipe please give it 5 stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Pumpkin Spice Bread RecipePrint Pin Recipe Save Go to Collections
- 1 cup cooking oil, be sure to use a light flavored oil such as peanut oil (if there are no allergies) or vegetable oil
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup bourbon, or substitute an equal amount of water or buttermilk.
- 2 cups mashed cooked pumpkin, about 1 15-ounce can or equivalent in homemade puree (about 2 cups)
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons nutmeg
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- ½ teaspoon chipotle, optional
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- 1 cup confecioner's sugar
- 2 tablespoons bourbon, or enough to make a thick glaze. You can use cream if you want to.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Grease and flour 2 loaf pans. Set aside.
- Add the cooking oil, brown sugar, and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Beat on medium until well mixed and the sugar starts to dissolve.
- Add the eggs, buttermilk, and bourbon.
- Beat on medium until very smooth.
- Stir in the pumpkin.
- Set aside.
- Mix dry ingredients.
- Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients quickly, just until blended. Don't overmix.
- Fold in the pecans.
- Spoon into the prepared loaf pans and bak for 1 hour 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Glaze while slightly warm if desired.
- Mix the bourbon and the confectioner's sugar until smooth, adding the bourbon a little at a time.
- Spoon over pumpkin bread.
- 2 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice can be used in place of the spices in this recipe.
- Use whatever kind of loaf pan you have - it doesn't have to be glass.
- Let cool completely before storing.
- This can be made ahead, wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for 2 days. Freeze for longer storage.
- To make muffins or mini-loaves bake for 20 minutes and then check every 5 minutes until done.
- The bread is done when the interior registers 200F on an instaread thermometer stuck in the center OR a cake tester or toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
- It's better the second day.
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First published March 2008. Last updated September August 17, 2022 for editorial improvements.