Autumn Pumpkin Bread
My Go-To Recipe

My long-time recipe for pumpkin bread, almost elegant in its very simplicity. The crumb is firm and moist, spiked with autumn spices and studded with seasonal nuts. Make Autumn Pumpkin Bread in traditional loaves for slicing – or use the same batter to make Pumpkin Bread Muffins!

Autumn Pumpkin Bread ♥, moist, flavorful and adaptable, my recipe forever and ever.

When the weather cools down, it’s somehow automatic to crank up the oven. During hot summer days, baking is like a too-rich dessert, a treat to be consumed sparingly. But during cool autumns and down-right cold winters, a hot oven warms both house and belly.

This pumpkin bread is a long-time favorite, it goes back to the days when I had my very first kitchen. It makes up in just a few minutes, a real “quick loaf”.

Just plain and by itself, Autumn Pumpkin Bread is moist and full of spices. If there's any left after a couple of days, fry half slices in butter, it makes excellent Fry Bread. I've also made little pumpkin bread sandwiches with a smear of cream cheese or a smear of cream cheese mixed with marmalade. So good!

The recipe makes two large traditional loaves. One for a neighbor? One for the freezer? That's been my practice for many years.

Pumpkin Bread Muffins ♥, moist, flavorful and adaptable, my recipe forever and ever.

But on a recent whim, I made muffins from the batter. The result? Moist, pumpkin-flavored muffins, perfect for fall. I call them "Pumpkin Bread Muffins"!

(And hey, call me thrilled whenever a favorite recipe adapts easily. Isn't that half the definition of a favorite recipe?!)

I used half of the very same batter to make a half dozen Pumpkin Bread Muffins, no changes were to the recipe were needed. I did sprinkle the unbaked muffins with a touch of raw sugar. This is such a simple technique for creating sweet, crisp, almost glittery crusts for muffins. Try it on your own muffin recipes! And hmm, I'm thinking it would be a nice touch on top of the traditional loaves, too.

Pumpkin Bread Muffins are slightly sweeter than my ever-so-adaptable Perfect Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins. But they're still muffins, not even as close to sweet as pumpkin cupcakes, say.

"Wow, this bread was awesome!" ~ traffik


A loaf for home, another for a neighbor.
Or easily halved.
Or make a few muffins!
Makes: 2 loaves (12 slices each) or 1 loaf and 6 muffins
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time-to-table: 90 minutes

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup (150g) white sugar
  • 3/4 cup (150g) brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 16 ounces (2 cups) canned 100% pumpkin purée

  • 3-1/2 cups flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 438g
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1-1/2 cups pecans, chopped (optional)

Heat oven to 350F/175C. Spray two 9x5 loaf pans with cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, combine the oil, buttermilk and sugars and beat until smooth and well aerated. Add the eggs and pumpkin; beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Separately, combine flour, spices, salt and baking soda. Add to pumpkin mixture and combine until just blended. With a wooden spoon or spatula, stir in the pecans. Pour evenly into two loaf pans.

Bake 40 minutes or until a knife inserted into center is removed cleanly. Remove from oven, but let cool for five to ten minutes before removing from the pans and continuing to cool.

MAKE-AHEAD TIPS Best on the first day but it does keep well for several days. Do refrigerate the loaves if not eaten on the first day. Loaves of Autumn Pumpkin Bread freeze beautifully.

ALANNA's TIPS Substitute up to half the flour with whole wheat flour. The "crumb" will change to a heavier, more substantial bread, versus the almost cake-like crumb with all-purpose flour. I've also used 100% whole wheat pastry flour, it's expensive flour but turns out nearly as light as with all-purpose flour. When I make Light 'n' Fluffy Whole-Grain Bread, I use the leftover pumpkin to make a loaf of Autumn Pumpkin Bread. There's no missing the 1/3 cup used in the yeast bread. While this pumpkin loaf is delicious made with cinnamon and nutmeg from the grocery store, I’ve become partial to a product called "cake spice" from Penzeys, the Wisconsin spice people. Cake spice is a blend of China cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and cloves. When a recipe calls for cinnamon or nutmeg, I substitute cake spice in the same amounts. Cake spice’s flavor is somehow a little sweeter, a little brighter – and gets raves. Get a catalog or place an order by calling 1-800-741-7787 or visiting

FOR PUMPKIN BREAD MUFFINS Just scoop some batter into well-sprayed muffin tins, about half the batter makes six generous regular-size muffins. For crisp tops, sprinkle the tops with raw sugar. Bake for about 25 minutes, cool for 5 minutes before removing from the muffin tins.

MORE PLAYING AROUND I've substituted eggnog for buttermilk, just be sure to add extra leavening, 1 teaspoon baking powder. Black walnuts are an excellent substitution for pecans! For Christmas, throw in a dried cranberries, chopped in the food processor to distribute fewer cranberries more evenly.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Slice, assumes 12 per loaf (with/without nuts): 179/231 Calories; 5/11g Tot Fat; 1/2g Sat Fat; 36mg Cholesterol; 221mg Sodium; 29/30g Carb; 1/2g Fiber; 14g Sugar; 4g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 5 & PointsPlus 6 & SmartPoints 9 This recipe has been "Alanna-sized". Just FYI, years ago, I lowered the calories in Autumn Pumpkin Bread by substituting buttermilk for part of the vegetable oil, I even did a side-by-side taste test. Zero difference. You can also reduce calories by eliminating the pecans. That said? Nuts do provide a welcome crunch to a fairly dense loaf.

In a Baking Mood? More Quick Breads!

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I don't know if it was just my oven, but 45 minutes is nowhere NEAR enough time for these to bake. I kept putting them in and taking them out 15-20 minutes later, but they were as good as gone...Should I try a full hour and a half next time?
Cady ~ Oh dear, I've never had that trouble before and the recipe goes way, way, WAY back. Who knows, really, but let me think this through a little. Baking dishes can make a difference (mine are metal, what are yours?); where you place the dishes can make a difference (should be in the middle); if you happen to have a baking stone in place, remove it (at least here it interferes with baking time); how much air gets beaten in might make a difference (but the 2min is specified) and I suppose the ingredients might vary some too, even though as I look through the list, the only thing that comes to mind is the relative wetness of the pumpkin.

I sure hope it's not a total loss. If so, please accept my apology.
Wow, this bread was awesome! The onnly change I made was adding a teaspoon of cloves to really give it that autumn taste.
Hello, I am wondering I can substitute 1 percent milk with 2 tablespoons of vinegar in place of the butter milk?
Hi Jean, I think that would work fine, my own substitute for buttermilk is with the other buttermilk.

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna