Fall is the perfect time to enjoy delicious pumpkin banana bread. This mouthwatering treat combines sweet and spiced flavors with a moist texture and comforting aroma. You won’t be able to resist a slice!
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I usually have a few ripe bananas on the counter to make banana bread. However, I like incorporating fall flavors in autumn, so I’ve added a pumpkin twist! This easy pumpkin banana bread recipe delivers moist and tender slices that are perfect for enjoying with a pumpkin spice latte.
I’ve taken my classic pumpkin bread recipe and adjusted the ingredients to balance the flavors of the extra mashed fruit. Leveraging the natural sweetness of the banana, I changed the ratio of sweeteners to let the taste shine through. Customizing each loaf with added nuts, chocolate chips, crumble, or even cream cheese frosting is easy.
- Flour: Use all-purpose flour for a tender, sturdy crumb. It contains 10 to 13% protein, the right amount for a sliceable loaf.
- Cornstarch: The starches create a more robust gel-like matrix, locking moisture into the loaf, especially if not eaten immediately.
- Spices & Seasonings: I use my pumpkin pie spice mix, a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and cloves. Salt enhances the flavor of the bread. Vanilla extract bumps up the baked aromas.
- Leavening Agents: Use baking soda and baking powder to ensure a domed-shaped loaf with enough lift to prevent a dense crumb.
- Sugar: Combining granulated sugar and dark brown sugar adds a clean sweetness and molasses notes.
- Dairy: Use whole milk and sour cream to add moisture, fat, and a slight tangy taste to balance the sweet flavors.
- Oil: Use a neutral flavored oil like vegetable oil, avocado oil, or melted coconut oil. If you want to reduce the fat in the bread, check out these oil substitutes. Applesauce is one of my favorite swaps!
- Pumpkin: Use canned pumpkin puree for convenience, or try making homemade pumpkin puree. Skip the canned pumpkin pie filling; it already has sugar and seasonings added.
- Banana: Choose very ripe and spotty bananas. Mash them up well, removing as many chunks as possible. Two 6 to 7 inches long bananas will yield about 1 cup mashed.
Mix the dry ingredients
To evenly disperse the flour, cornstarch, leavening agents, pumpkin pie spices, and salt, sift them through a fine mesh strainer. This helps to remove any clumps and aerates the flour for a lighter crumb.
Use a whisk to combine the ingredients so the baking powder and baking soda will evenly distribute in the batter for a proper rise when baking.
Mix the wet ingredients
You don’t need a stand mixer to make the bread, although it would speed up the process! Vigorously whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a medium bowl. It should look pale yellow and feel light in texture; this means that air has been incorporated.
Gradually whisk in the vegetable oil to break apart the fat into droplets. Stir in the pumpkin puree, mashed bananas, milk, sour cream, and vanilla.
Make the batter
Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture. Use a spatula to fold and hydrate the dry ingredients. Don’t forget to scrape the bottom of the bowl. It’s important not to over-mix! This will cause gluten to develop, making the loaf dense and tough. Having a few small flour pockets left in the batter is okay.
Bake the bread batter
Use a metal 9×5-inch loaf pan and spread the bottom and sides with cooking spray or lightly grease with oil. Alternatively, use a parchment paper sling to make the bread easier to lift from the pan. Pour the batter into the pan and bake in a preheated 350ºF (176ºC) oven.
It’s ready when a toothpick inserted in the center has no crumbs attached. A better test is to use an instant-read thermometer; it should reach between 195 to 200ºF (90 to 93ºC). The process takes about 50 to 60 minutes.
Cool the pumpkin banana bread
Eating a slice right away is very tempting, but it’s best to wait. Transfer the pan to a wire rack, and let the bread cool for 10 minutes to gently complete the cooking process.
Now, you can run a knife along the sides, then carefully remove the bread. Continue cooling on the rack until it’s warm. It makes slicing and tasting the warm spices, fruit, and squash much easier.
This banana pumpkin bread recipe is easy to customize! Try these delicious add-ins for your next loaf:
- Flour: Make the loaf gluten-free with gluten-free flour. Add extra fiber with white whole wheat or regular whole wheat flour.
- Spices: In addition to pumpkin pie spice, add cardamom for sweet, floral, citrusy, and eucalyptus notes. If you don’t like ginger, use apple pie spice instead.
- Sweetener: Use coconut sugar to replace the granulated sugar. Swap in maple syrup, honey, or molasses for brown sugar.
- Nuts and Seeds: Add chopped walnuts, pecans, peanuts, or cashews. Add sunflower seeds or shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas) for extra crunch. Add ¼ to ½ cup.
- Chocolate: Mix chocolate chips into the batter and sprinkle some on top. Use ½ to 2/3 cups.
- Crumb: Make the bread like a coffee cake with my crumb topping.
- Serve with a pumpkin cold brew
- Top with whipped cream
- Spread on buttercream frosting or cream cheese frosting
Frequently asked questions
Freshly roasted pumpkins that are blended into a puree would be delicious! I prefer using small sugar pumpkins to bake for the best taste. Then roast the seeds to snack on.
Add ¼ to ½ cup of chopped nuts to the batter. Use ½ to 2/3 cups of chocolate chips, plus sprinkle some on top before baking.
Cool completely, then store in an airtight container on the counter for up to 5 days. Wrap and freeze for up to 1 month.
When to use bananas for bread
To add the sweetest-tasting bananas, the skin should be covered with dark brown speckles or have large brown patches. The texture will feel soft but should not be overly mushy. This indicates that the starches in the fruit have converted to sugar, around 5% fructose. If the skin is yellow or has just a few spots, it will have less than 2% fructose. It will be harder to mash and will yield a less sweet taste and banana flavor. If you want to use the ripe bananas, increase the sugar to 1 cup.
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Pumpkin Banana Bread
- 1 ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar, packed
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 cup ripe mashed banana, about 2 large
- ¼ cup whole milk
- ¼ cup sour cream, optional
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Heat Oven: Set the oven rack to the center position. Preheat to 350ºF (176ºC).
- Prepare Pan – Lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray or vegetable oil. Alternatively, line the pan with parchment paper.
- Mix Dry Ingredients – In a large bowl, sift flour, cornstarch, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Thoroughly mix with a whisk until combined.
- Mix Wet Ingredients – In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until smooth and pale yellow in color, 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the vegetable oil into the egg mixture until completely mixed, about 30 seconds. Whisk in pumpkin, mashed bananas, whole milk, sour cream (if using), and vanilla extract into the egg mixture until smooth, about 30 seconds.
- Make Batter – Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Gently fold the flour mixture until just moistened. Make sure to scrape the bottom with some lumps and flour spots remaining. Do not over-mix the batter.
- Bake – Pour batter into the greased pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or the internal temperature reaches 195 to 200ºF (90 to 93ºC), about 50 to 60 minutes.If needed, cover the bread loosely with foil about 45 minutes into cooking to prevent the top from getting too brown.
- Cool – Cool the bread in a pan for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife or small spatula around the sides of the pan, remove the pumpkin bread, and transfer it to a wire cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice Substitute: Add 2 teaspoons cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ginger, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon cloves, and ¼ teaspoon allspice.
- Storing: Store at room temperature for 4 to 5 days when tightly sealed in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag.
- Freezing: Slices can be individually wrapped in plastic and stored in a bag in the freezer for up to 1 month. Reheat by wrapping in a paper towel and microwave on medium power for 60 to 90 seconds.
- Make it Dairy-Free: Use unsweetened cashew or almond milk instead of cow’s milk. Use dairy-free sour cream or dairy-free yogurt.
- Make it Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free flour instead of wheat flour. I recommend Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 baking flour.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
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