Pumpkin Bread

5 from 37 votes
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Easy pumpkin bread recipe made with pumpkin puree, dark brown sugar, sour cream, and little cornstarch. This well-tested combination ensures a moist and tender quick bread with the right amount of leavening agents to create a beautiful domed loaf.

Homemade delicious pumpkin bread recipe that's easy to make.

Baking up a loaf of pumpkin bread will instantly trigger holiday happiness. The mix of bold, gingery, and warm spices that perfume every nook and cranny of your home is worth the baking efforts. This recipe makes slices of bread bursting with caramel notes and pumpkin flavor, but without being overly sweet or greasy.

This recipe is inspired by a recent adventure to our local pumpkin patch. I purchased a loaf of pumpkin chocolate chip bread, but I noticed starch as one of the ingredients. Generally, for this type of bread, you don’t see that. That got me thinking.

Cornstarch is a common thickening agent that creates a gel-like texture when heated with water. I used this basic concept in hopes of seeing if the starch would help trap the moisture inside the bread while creating a tender, slightly springy texture. Guess what? It worked!

Pumpkin puree selection

For convenience, any store-bought canned pumpkin puree can be used for the recipe. I often gravitate towards Libby’s 100% pure pumpkin. It has a deep orange color and a lightly sweet flavor. You can also make homemade pumpkin puree by roasting pie pumpkins. Don’t forget to save the seeds to make crunchy roasted pumpkin seeds.

Just make sure to avoid anything labeled as pumpkin pie filling, as it already contains sweeteners and spices. This variety is typically used as a quick mix for pumpkin pie.

Eggs, sugar, and vanilla being whisked in a mixing bowl.
Step 4. Mix the wet ingredients

Enhance the flavor

Pumpkin puree on its own can taste rather underwhelming. One way to boost the naturally sweet and pulpy flavor is to add bold, warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice.

I recommend making a batch of my homemade pumpkin pie spice blend and adding 2 ½ teaspoons to the pumpkin mixture, or store-bought works as well to save you some time for future recipes. I also add some sour cream to provide tartness that balances the sugary taste. The acids in the fermented cream also act as a flavor enhancer to the spices.

Create a moist bread texture

To make a pumpkin bread recipe that still tastes fantastic days after the first slice, a little bit of cornstarch does the trick. Not only does it help keep the bread from getting dry and crumbly, but the starches also reduce the amount of gluten-formation because it competes with the wheat flour for water. The result is soft slices of spiced bread loaded with pumpkin flavor.

You’ll notice that straight from the oven, the edges and crust are a bit crispy from the granulated sugar. Over time as the bread picks up moisture from its environment, it becomes even more moist, just like what you typically taste in bakeries and grocery stores.

How to make pumpkin bread

To prevent the bread from sticking to the pan, grease a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray or vegetable oil. Mix the dried ingredients in a large bowl; this helps evenly distribute the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. To emulsify the wet ingredients together properly, whisk the eggs and sugar together, then add the vegetable oil until smooth.

Add the pumpkin puree, milk, sour cream, and vanilla. To prevent dense bread, gently fold the wet and dry ingredients until the flour is hydrated. Pour into the prepared pan, then bake at 350ºF (176ºC) in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Smoothing out the pumpkin batter in a bread loaf pan with a spatula.
Step 6. Add batter to a greased loaf pan and bake

Storing and freezing

The pumpkin bread will taste delicious for 4 to 5 days at room temperature. Make sure to store it in an airtight container or enclosed in a resealable plastic bag. The loaves make excellent presents for the holidays or a potluck. You could even divide the batter into smaller loaves for gifts.

The bread can also be sliced and then individually covered in plastic wrap, then stored in a plastic bag in the freezer for about one month. Reheat by wrapping each slice in a paper towel, then microwave on medium power for about 90 seconds (about 1 minute for high power).

Tasty ways to modify

  • Make it sweeter by mixing in ½ to ⅔ cups of chocolate chips (semi-sweet or dark) or mini chips.
  • Add in ⅔ cups of dried cranberries or 1 cup of fresh or frozen and defrosted cranberries.
  • Sprinkle pumpkin seeds or chopped nuts on top.
  • Add a streusel topping.
Loaf of pumpkin bread on a wire cooling rack.
Step 7. Cool the bread on a wire rack

Can you make pumpkin muffins?

Yes! Smaller individually sized pumpkin muffins can be made using this pumpkin bread recipe. The pumpkin muffins will bake in about half the time because the smaller potions cook quicker.

Add cream cheese in the center to make pumpkin cream cheese muffins. You can top with cream cheese frosting to make festive cupcakes!

More pumpkin favorites


How do I know when the pumpkin bread is done?

The surface should be dry, the bread will spring back when lightly pressed, and a toothpick inserted in the center has no crumbs attached. Use an instant-read thermometer to test the middle of the loaf. The internal temperature should be between 195 to 200ºF (90 to 93ºC).

Why is my pumpkin bread gummy?

Over-mixing could cause the gluten in the flour to create a tight protein network, resulting in a chewier bread texture. Make sure that the flour is hydrated with a few pockets of flour remaining. It’s also essential to add the correct ratio of pumpkin puree to the wet and dry ingredients. If there are not enough starches to absorb the moisture, the bread will taste dense and gummy.

Why does my pumpkin bread fall apart when I cut it?

Make sure to let the bread cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. It’s also essential to mix the bread enough so that some gluten formation occurs to build structure, but not so much that it becomes chewy.

Slices of fresh baked pumpkin bread on a white serving dish.

Recipe Science

Brown sugar and cornstarch help with moisture

Humectants like brown sugar attract moisture from their environment. Adding some to the bread not only provides a rich caramel flavor but also keeps the bread moist over time. Cornstarch helps the tenderness by reducing gluten formation and creating a gel-like structure in the bread, further locking in moisture.

Pumpkin Bread

Easy pumpkin bread recipe made with pumpkin puree, dark brown sugar, sour cream, and little cornstarch. A tender quick-bread with beautiful dome top.
5 from 37 votes
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 12 slices
Course Bread
Cuisine American


  • 1 ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure 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.
  • Mix Dry Ingredients – In a large bowl, sift flour, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice together. 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, whole milk, sour cream, 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, making sure to scrape the bottom, with some lumps and flour spots remaining. Do not over-mix the batter.
  • Bake – Pour batter into greased pan and smooth 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.


  • Spices Substitute: Use 2 ½ teaspoons of store-bought or homemade pumpkin pie spice.
  • 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.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 12 slices
Calories 258kcal (13%)Carbohydrates 37.63g (13%)Protein 3.23g (6%)Fat 11.15g (17%)Saturated Fat 8.35g (42%)Cholesterol 30.28mg (10%)Sodium 207.8mg (9%)Potassium 107.15mg (3%)Fiber 1.24g (5%)Sugar 22.29g (25%)Vitamin A 3255.13IU (65%)Vitamin C 0.86mg (1%)Calcium 37.4mg (4%)Iron 1.29mg (7%)

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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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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Recipe Rating

16 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Carmen Whittaker says

    Pumpkin bread came out DELICIOUS!!! Perfect day for it. I will definitely bake it again and probably give it out as gifts. Thank you Jessica for the time you put into developing your delicious recipes ❣️

    • Jessica Gavin says

      You’re so welcome, Carmen! Mini pumpkin loaves would be awesome gifts! I’d be happy to receive one. 🙂

  2. Julissa says

    Delish! The aroma will have your family saying “what’s that?” Even before it fully cooled down, half of the loaf was gone. The spices = just right! Another Win for me because of Jessica. Thank you!

  3. Dawn C. says

    I have made pumpkin bread for over 50 years. This is hands down the BEST recipe EVER! The blend of spices is Perfect, without overpowering. The main difference is the smooth , light texture. Just elegant! Thank you for putting weight measurements in your recipes! Once I started baking by weight and not volume my successes increased tremendously. You are such an excellent chef. I love learning from you!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you for the amazing review Dawn! Your feedback means so much, I’m thrilled to hear that the texture and taste were to your delight. Happy baking!

  4. Lisa Rowlee says

    Jessica, this recipe was fantastic! The bread turned out perfectly, especially as we followed one of your suggestions to add chocolate chips. 🙂 My family loved it and devoured it within hours. Next time I’ll be making two loaves since one didn’t last long enough. Thanks so much!

  5. Jackie says

    Hi Jessica, I’m really looking forward to making this pumpkin bread-we’re big fans of your recipes! One question, though. The ingredients-list calls for AP flour, but the notes give substitutes for wheat flour. Are the ap and wheat flours interchangeable–(1:1 ratio)?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Jackie! All-purpose flour is the same as wheat flour 🙂 It’s the refined white-colored white flour.

  6. Judy Caywood says

    I definitely have to make this. It is one of the breads we like a lot and my neighbor likes it when I make zucchini bread with walnuts for him. He fries it in butter. : D
    So this would be a nice change for him too. Thank you Jessica. I’m also definitely taking some to WA if we go at Christmas time. My sister and mom love Pumpkin bread.

  7. Edie says

    Would love to see a recipe for rhubarb loaf (bread) similar to this pumpkin bread using Frozen Rhubarb. Thank you.