Pumpkin Bread

cut loaf of pumpkin bread

Everyone and their mother has a recipe for pumpkin bread. This happens to be my mother’s recipe — not sure where it originates beyond her — and it is incredibly delicious. Made with oil not butter, the batter comes together in minutes. I mixed mine the night before baking, and used mini loaf pans because, well because, I think they’re cute, and I suppose because I’m getting excited for the impending homemade-gift-giving holiday season.

What else can I say here? Like many of you I suspect, I am consumed by all things pumpkin at the moment…can’t stop dreaming about pumpkin muffins, cheesecake, soup, lattes, fritters, gnocchi, gnudi, yadi yadi yadi. Tis the season! If you don’t have a recipe for pumpkin quick bread up your sleeve, this one is a winner. Happy fall!

pumpkin bread

pumpkin bread batter

pumpkin bread

Pumpkin Bread
Yield = 2 standard loaf pans or 5 mini loaf pans

Mini loaf pans can be purchased here.
Disposable loaf pans can be purchased here, too.

2 c. sugar
1 c. canola oil
4 eggs
16 oz. canned pumpkin (not pie filling)
3/4 cup water
3 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. table salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves (optional — I didn’t have any so didn’t use any)
1/2 tsp. nutmeg (or less — I used about 1/4 tsp.)
1/2 tsp. allspice (optional — I didn’t have any so didn’t use any)

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease loaf pans with butter or non-stick spray.

2. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat sugar and oil together until blended. Add eggs one at a time mixing after each addition. Add pumpkin purée and water and mix until blended.

3. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and allspice. Add to the mixer and mix only until just incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pans.

4. Bake for about an hour (if using standard loaf pans) but start checking for doneness after 45 minutes — the loaves are done when center springs back when touched. Note: When using the small pans, the loaves should be done in under 45 minutes. I started checking after 30 minutes, and the loaves were done after about 35 minutes (or maybe a minute or two longer…lost track of time.)

I love these disposable mini loaf pans, too. They are so pretty! Wonderful for gift giving. I actually baked the loaves in my mini pans before transferring them to the disposable pans — I was thinking this would be less messy —but…oopsidasies, the disposable pans are a wee bit smaller than my non-disposable pans. I kind of had to squeeze the baked loaf to get it to fit. It worked out fine, but next time I’d just as soon bake the loaf in the disposable pan. That’s what it’s for after all, right?

pumpkin bread as gift

pumpkin bread

160 Comments

  1. Ali, this looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it this weekend. Those disposable loaf pans are genius – thanks for sharing. How are you finding time to post with a newborn in your arms? Congratulations!

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  2. Ali! okay so I read Darcy’s comment, ran to facebook for more info…CONGRATS! oh my goodness. So exciting. It’s a good thing you are keeping yourself well fed with pumpkin bread as I’m sure you need all the extra energy/calories you can get at this point. These little loaves are adorable. Can’t wait to try them out. Hugs to the entire Stafford family!

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  3. I tried this for Thanksgiving, and my vegan stepdaughter (who does indulge in eggs) loved it, but my husband and I both noticed a really strong baking soda taste. Anyone else have this problem?

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    • Leslie, I’m so sorry to hear this… strong baking soda taste is not pleasant! I don’t know what could have happened. I’ve made this recipe many times and have never had that issue. I compared some recipes online to make sure the ratio of baking soda to flour wasn’t too high, and it seems ok. I’m going to have to make another batch soon to make sure I’m not going crazy. Sorry the recipe didn’t turn out well for you!

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  4. So so so excited for these to come out of the oven! They’re baking up in there right now and smelling delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

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  5. Ok, I made this yesterday and my kids and I ate an entire loaf by bed (the other had gone to a neighbor). So this morning, I made a special trip to the grocery store just for a couple more cans of pumpkin so I could make it again for girls night at my sisters!
    Made 1.5x recipe for 2 loaves (one with choc chips in it- yum) and a set of 12 pumpkin cupcakes. The cupcakes took 22 min in the oven (just FYI for anyone else who might need this option) and are just as tasty as the bread!
    Also, I subbed in 1/2 applesauce for the oil today (saw that someone else asked about that above) and I can’t tell the difference from yesterday’s bread.
    Thanks again for the recipe!!!

    Reply
    • Kelsey — So glad to hear this! And great tip on the applesauce. I wish I knew how to make these sorts of substitutions more often. So glad you can’t detect the difference. I’m going to try that next time!

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  6. I have made cookies with old baking soda and it tasted pretty bad with lots of funky baking soda flavor to it. When in doubt, test baking soda out with vinegar, test baking *powder* out with warm water. For both, the more bubbles, the better. I’m getting ready to make this recipe but with cranberries as i have a bag of craisins that need to be used!

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  7. Baking soda absorbs odor, thats why they tell you to put it in the refrigerator to take away unpleasant smells. So I put my baking soda in a Ziplock screw on container and store it with the rest of my spices. That way it stays fresh for when I need it.

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  8. Have any ideas about the sugar? Would love to make this, going to try and do half the applesauce for some oil, but need to watch my sugar. Anyone substitute the sugar for anything else??? Help

    Reply
    • Hi Kelly, I am not great with these sorts of substitutions, but I have a feeling you could cut at least 1/4 cup of the sugar (maybe even 1/2 cup) without the texture being seriously altered. When I start cutting sugar from recipes, I usually don’t do more than 1/4 cup at a time, but if you feel that 1/4 cup isn’t enough, then go for more. Good luck with it!

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  9. What do you consider to be a “Standard” bread pan size?

    This is my first time to make bread loafs and I want to make sure I get the right sizes.

    I will be giving them to a fundraiser to sell at a bake sale and then I want to hand some out for the holidays.

    Please let me know Thanks :)

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  10. i just made this pumpkin bread and it was awful— went to the garbage — costly !!!
    I believe that the recipe should read baking powder not baking soda as mine did not raise… disappointed

    Reply
    • Davene, I am so sorry to hear this, and I am especially sorry for the cost. I don’t know what else to say. I would never post a recipe that I didn’t think worked and that I didn’t think other people would truly enjoy. Very sorry.

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  11. I made this recipe today and both loaves turned out excellent. I added semi-sweet chocolate chips to one loaf. We enjoyed them very much! Wanted to thank you for such a yummy fall recipe! I will be making more bread soon! :)

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  12. Just pulled these out of the oven. This is THE BEST pumpkin bread recipe I’ve used. It’s so moist! I also made some cinnamon cream cheese icing to put on top just for esses and gees. :-)

    Reply
    • Tia — SO happy to hear this. I made this just a few days ago for a little girls get together. It was a huge hit. If only I had thought of serving some cinnamon cream cheese on the side…heaven!

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  13. This bread truly is THE BEST! Just finished my second batch, in part to give to a neighbor and also us to enjoy. It’s moist and just perfect (especially with a few chocolate chips sprinkled in the batter…yum!). Thanks so much for sharing the recipe.

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  14. I made this this morning. It is delicious. I changed a few things.
    I used brown sugar instead of regular, subbed 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour for half of the flour, 1/2 cup of applesauce for half the oil.
    I made 1 loaf and 12 muffins. My kids loved them.

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  15. I made a batch this morning and it was such a hit that I made a second batch just now, to give away to friends and family. It’s really moist and makes a pretty, high rising loaf, just like the picture. I had all spices on hand so it has a really delicious holiday taste and the house smells wonderful. The only changes I made were to use whole wheat flour ground twice so it’s very fine. It has a bit more chewiness which I love And I sprinkled 1 – 2 T. of Demerara crystal brown sugar on the tops before baking for sparkle and crunch. Thanks for sharing your recipe. It’s a keeper!

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  16. Just made this, subbing 1/2 oil with applesauce, and it is delicious! I only had one loaf pan on hand, so I poured the rest of the batter into a mini-muffin tin (baked for about 10 min) and I now have a delicious loaf and 24 adorable little muffins! I’ll keep making this throughout holiday season. Considering subbing maple syrup for sugar next time. Thanks for the recipe!

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  17. Made 2 loaves today and this bread is perfect, thanks for a great and simple recipe! I substituted 1 cu. of brown sugar and added a little molasses for flavor and nutrition and it was so delicious one of the loaves is already gone between my family and our neighbors. Can’t wait to have the other one for dessert tonight and breakfast tomorrow.

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    • Fran, This is one quick bread that does freeze well. I have frozen it — it wasn’t frozen for long (maybe two weeks?) — and I think because it is so moist, it really worked beautifully. I think you are safe to bake this ahead and freeze it — Thanksgiving is right around the corner!

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  18. Tried your pumpkin bread recipe this evening for the first time. The batter tasted wonderful ~ pumpkin and lots of spice flavors! Yum! I was wondering how you would describe the texture of the bread once it was baked. Mine seemed to be a bit “heavy”?? It also took a bit longer than one hour to bake. Possibly because my oven is quite old. The texture is puzzling me? Can you help?

    Reply
    • Joy, the texture of the bread is very moist and maybe even a little spongy. I wouldn’t call it heavy but it definitely is dense, and sometimes it does take longer to bake. I’m sorry the texture is puzzling you. One recommendation I have is to buy an oven thermometer. This will help you enormously with everything you bake/roast. I have on that hangs from one of the racks in my oven, and I always look at that to gauge the temperature — my oven is about 50º colder according to my oven thermometer than what the dial on top of the oven says. So, that might help you with the timing, but as for the texture…oh! Did you add the 3/4 cup water? I forgot to do that once, and the bread did not come out right.

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  19. Thanks so much for the advice. I will be on the lookout for an oven thermometer which I am positive will help me.

    Guess I’m just an amateur at this stuff, and I always second-guess myself. The bread was eaten up by the end of the night, so I’m thinking it wasn’t as terrible as I thought it was! So happy about that :)

    Thanks again for your help, and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

    Reply
  20. Do you think this could be doubled successfully? I want to make mini loaves for office Christmas gifts and I’d like to have 10 mini loaves instead of 5. Could I just double everything across the board? I just started this job and I don’t want to give out yucky bread!

    Reply
  21. I give breads every year for the holidays and decided to try this one. Oh my…..this is so, so good!
    We grew pumpkins for halloween and I decided (for the first time) to save a couple and cook them. I cut, baked, then scooped the pumpkin and pureed it. I then sealed in bags and froze them….until now.
    I’ve never cooked with fresh pumpkin before and wasn’t sure how the bread would turn out. It is so moist and has so much flavor. The color is golden and beautiful.
    Can’t wait to wrap these and share with my loved ones. Thank you for sharing your mother’s recipe. It will be part of my collection forever.

    Reply
  22. Delicious!!! I have never baked a pumpkin bread.Let along had pumpkin pie. After reading the reviews and the recipe I decided to make the pumpkin bread but only one loaf. Oh my, one loaf was a big mistake. It had my kitchen smelling so amazing I couldn’t wait until for the cooling off process so I sample it. Yes I did use my stone. Next time when I bake this amazing bread I will use my four section stone. Recipe was easy to follow. Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe.

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  23. I made this today, and it was delicious! Not too sweet but simple and moist. I swapped the canola oil for olive oil for a little depth of flavor, and it worked nicely. I also used a mix of all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and garbanzo bean flour so this recipe could easily be made healthier/gluten-free if you want!

    Reply
    • Monica — awesome to hear this! Do you happen to remember your exact proportions for the gluten-free flour mixture? I think so many people would find that tip helpful, and I would love to make a note in the recipe. No worries if you don’t — it’s just nice to know that it can be made gluten-free.

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  24. Well, I didn’t make mine gluten-free, but I’d imagine that rice or oat flour would work well. I just tried a mixture of flours as I am still getting acquainted with alternative flours. I made 1/2 of the total flour amount all purpose, 1/4 whole wheat, and 1/4 chickpea flour. Feel free to experiment, everyone! :)

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  25. I have made this bread for years. It came from my mother as well. Befire that it came from the back of a label from Libby’s canned pumpkin. Libbys doesn’t sell canned pumpkin anymore! It is great to see this getting attentuon on Pinterest!

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  26. I made this recipe today. Delicious! I did make a small change. I used a cup of frozen zucchini from last summer with the liquid instead of the water in the receipe and added 1/4 cup of dark chocolate baking chips to make it a little decadent.

    Reply
    • Julie — love it! Could you even taste the zucchini? Might be a good way to sneak in some veggies on the kiddos. I happen to love zucchini bread as well. Love the idea, of course, of adding chocolate chips. Yum.

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  27. Growing up, an elderly neighbor had a recipe very similar to this. She baked the bread in metal coffee cans. I thought that was so cool, round bread! Fun and yummy memory.

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  28. I don’t have time to scroll through 70 comments, so I apologize if someone already asked this!… Could I use coconut oil in place of canola oil?

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  29. Wow! This recipe is so good! I didn’t have all spice on hand, so I used a little bit of pumpkin pie spice (since that had all spice). I also added a touch of vanilla extract. Mine took the full hour to bake, but wow! So moist and delish! As Rachel Ray says…Yummo!

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  30. Hi! Delicious recipe!!! Just wanted to chime in that I just bought 4 more cans of Libby’s canned today, so, yes, Libby’s IS still selling canned pumpkin! YEA :) Thanks for the wonderful recipe!!!!

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  31. What a great recipe! I am on a dairy free diet and love this! I did cut the oil and sugar in half by adding 1 1/2 cups applesauce and reducing water to 1/2 cup and they were awesome.

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  32. Ok just made this yummy bread! I’m not a baker, but found prep fast and easy, and it turned out just like the pic— I love when that happens. I’m thinking this won’t be the last time I make this— this month! :) I also use evoo cause I didn’t have Canola and it was fine.

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  33. Hi Alexandra,
    I would really like to make this bread myself but I don’t know how is canned pumpkin since I live in Spain and we don’t have this sort of thing. Can I use oven baked pumpkin? Does it have any flavour added when canned?
    Thanks for your help ;)
    Daniela

    Reply
  34. I just made this pumpkin bread. It is awesome. I will definately be making these for Christmas gifts. Also I used vegetable oil and they came out great.

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  35. I searched Pinterest today for a good pumpkin bread recipe, and liked the fact that yours uses the whole can of pumpkin. I did add 2 very ripe bananas, used cinnamon applesauce instead of oil, 1 cup of brown sugar and 3/4 cup of white sugar. I also used half King Arthur Flour’s white hole wheat flour and half all purpose. I got 2 8.5 by 4.5 loaves, and 2 mini loaves from this recipe. The larger loaves took about 40 minutes to cook, the minis about 35. They taste delicious. I’m not a fan of banana bread, so I was trying to find a simple recipe where it would meld with the other flavors. I’ll definitely make this again, and probably try adding the molasses. Thanks for such a good recipe.

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  36. Thank you for the great recipe! This pumpkin bread is a keeper… easy to make, moist, not too sweet, and perfectly scented of pumpkin and warm spices. I just served it at the end of a Thanksgiving meal (Canadian thanksgiving was this weekend) with a touch of cream cheese. If I had more time, I would have drizzled a cream cheese frosting on top, and sprinkled a few toasted pepitas or crushed walnuts to really seal the deal.

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  37. This is seriously my favorite bread recipe, pumpkin or otherwise. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made it since discovering it on your website. Countless. I do use all the optional spices, plus add a 1/2 teaspoon cardamom, but otherwise don’t adapt it. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe.

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  38. Did anyone substituted the HUMONGOUS amount ( 2 cups) of sugar with smth else like stevia?? I wonder will it turn out the same texture ….

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    • You can substitute palm sugar, aka coconut crystals, for white sugar. Expensive, but has minerals in it not found in white or brown sugars, and it has an amazing taste. If you want it finer–it’s coarse–just whip it in the blender briefly. I use it all the time, and the coworkers never know that the great tastes come from such healthy things as that.
      I’m going to use Alexandra’s recipe, too, but will use olive oil rather than canola. Learned about canola’s dangerous properties three years ago, and never used it again. A wonderful bread deserves the best ingredients, so olive oil it is :-D

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  39. Thanks for sharing this recipe.. Im not very good at baking, but following your steps was easy. Tried it last night, the house smell amazing, and the bread turn out great! So soft, moist, and yummyyyy. Thank you so much :)

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  40. Made this recipe, just took my 3 med sized loaves out of the oven, house smells wonderful.
    Substituted 1/3 c of coconut oil for canola and the balance used my homemade baked apple butter (like a thick dark apple sauce) and canola. Will sub out the canola next time with more coconut oil and either vegetable oil or more apple butter/sauce. Added chopped pecans to the batter. The verdict is in and its amazing. Thanks for a good recipe.
    cheers
    Jamie

    Reply
    • So awesome to hear all of this, Jamie! I have been dying to try this with coconut oil for ages…must do so soon. This is a favorite this time of year in our house, and it would be awesome to make it a little healthier as you have done. Love your additions/changes. Thanks for writing in!

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  41. The first time I made this bread it was awesome, but I just made it again tonight and it has the consistency and sweetness of cake…..anyone know what would cause this? I really want the bread texture I had the first time!

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  42. Another great recipe! I added 50% more of each spice plus cinnamon. It’s the best pumpkin bread recipe I have tried to date. It’s not oily, soggy, dry, nor bland. Perfect for Thanksgiving! I’ll use this to make make muffins next!

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  43. I just tried this pumpkin bread last night and it was sooo good (thank you!!) but the top middle was very raw, no matter how long I cooked it. Do you have any idea why? The rest of it was perfect! :)

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    • Leah, so happy you like the bread (most of it) and sorry for the trouble in regard to the underdone center :( What size baking pan were you using and what material? Sometimes glass/Pyrex loaf pans give people trouble especially with super moist quick breads like this one.

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        • Sure thing! And metal is what I use, too, so I’m not sure how to advise. Do you tend to have timing issues with anything else you bake? If your oven is unreliable (and i’m not suggesting it is), an oven thermometer is really cheap and a great investment — just helps reassure you that your oven is accurate. And then, the only other thing I can suggest is maybe covering the top of the bread with foil (loosely) after 45 minutes or so to make sure it doesn’t get too brown and to just keep cooking till it’s done even if it is over an hour. Also, cooling completely (which I’m sure you know) before cutting will help, too, because the cake will keep cooking when it comes out of the oven. Finally, mini loaf pans are a great investment, too, because they tend to cook things so evenly. I know they are kind of unnecessary, but they are great for gift giving, too. Anyway, I hope that helps and I hope you have better luck next time. One last thing, did you remember to add the water?

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          • Thanks for the suggestions! I definitely added water. I do already have mini pans that I will probably use instead next time. They are so much more adorable when they are tiny – the only thing that stopped me before is that it means 2x as many dishes to wash! :)
            Covering with foil sounds like a good idea, I will try that the next time I use those pans again. Thank you so much, you have been so helpful!!

  44. In the recipe it calls for canned pumpkin, but in the directions it says pumpkin puree. I’m sure it matters which canned pumpkin you use?

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    • Hey Kim, By pumpkin puree I mean canned pumpkin — just don’t buy pumpkin pie filling, which I believe has spices and other things added to it. Hope that makes sense. Let me know if there is anything else!

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  45. This looks amazing. I only have 3 eggs and unable to go to the store (sweet sleeping baby ;) ) will the bread be ruined with only 3 eggs?! Thanks! :)

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  46. Hi Alexandra this looks so good! Question, I have roasted a pumpkin as we don’t have canned pumpkin in Aussie. Will it work the same? How much would I use? I imagine I would have to puree it?
    Thanks!

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    • Hi Marisol!

      Definitely purée it. It should work pretty much the same, and I would use the same amount of homemade puréed pumpkin: 16 oz. Does that make sense? Let me know if there is anything else!

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  47. I rarely comment on recipes I try but I had to with this one it was amazing and so simple!!

    I did substitue the oil for the same amount of unsweetened applesauce and I usee brown sugar because that´s what I had on hand. I made a bread and 12 small muffins. For some reason the muffins did not rise alll that much but still tasted great! Bread came out perfect!

    Thanks for the recipe!!

    Reply
    • So happy to hear this Katerine! I love this recipe, too — moist, dense, perfectly sweet. Love your substitutions — thanks for sharing. I’m not totally surprised by the muffins not rising bc this is a denser batter. So glad you like it!

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  48. First time to your blog thanks to pinterest. I just tried this recipe!! So yummy! thanks!! I can’t wait to explore more of your site!

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  49. When using the mini pans, how full do you fill them? I always have trouble with the new sizes…

    Thank you so much, can’t wait to try!

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  50. I just made this delicious pumpkin bread for my teenage children as an afternoon snack. They literally just had the still warm bread a minute ago and it’s a big hit! It’s moist and full of flavour! This is a definite go to in my recipe book, thanks so much for sharing!!

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  51. This recipe sounds amazing and I will be making it as a loaf. I’m wondering if it will work as muffins though? I read that someone said they didn’t rise as muffins. Is there something I could do to help that?

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    • I honestly haven’t made them as muffins so I can’t say for sure, but I have made them in mini loaf pans, and they rose just fine, so I’m sort of surprised. It must have something to do with the ratio of batter to shape and the cooking time…I wish I were more scientific.

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  52. I used your recipe in muffin tins last night and they were lovely. They weren’t tall, but they did have nicely rounded caps. We filled the tins 3/4 full and baked for 35 minutes, yielding 2 dozen. As for the taste, well… there are three of us in the house and we buzzed through 24 muffins in as many hours. I’m not kidding. Even my freakishly picky 6 year-old horked ‘em down like a wood chipper. It’s almost embarrassing, the utter lack of self control we displayed, but they were really, really good.

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    • So happy to hear this, Heather! I can’t believe I’ve never tried the recipe as muffins — it’s such a convenient shape especially with kids, and people ask about baking as muffins all the time. Thank you for writing in! My picky one loves this recipe, too, and when loaves are on hand, they never last long here either :)

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  53. I normally don’t take the time to comment very often on blogs, but I just had to with this one. I just baked this and it is absolutely delicious. Perfectly moist interior, crisp exterior, and warm spices without going overboard and without being too sweet. It’s absolutely amazing still warm out of the oven and I literally ate half of a loaf by myself before I could stop. It’s now my go-to pumpkin bread recipe. Thank you!

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  54. Just for anyone’s information; mini loaf pans also come in aluminum foil, usually five to a set, with their own little clear plastic lids (the same kind of plastic used for store sandwiches and salads). This time of year, most stores, at least the two big-box ones locally, have the pans in such colors as blue, red or green outside, with a generic snowflake pattern on them. Nice for Thanksgiving, etc. The foil pans bake everything up very nicely, and with the lids, makes for a nice presentation that won’t dry out within minutes of making them.

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  55. This was real easy to put together and mines about to come out of the oven. I’ve read a lot of comments and wondered what kind of flour was used when theirs didn’t turn out. Did they use an all purpose or self rising with the additional soda? I wish I could add a pic, they’ve risen beautifully. Next in the oven is leftover pumpkins from Halloween we didn’t carve so I can make my own purée. Thanks for the recipe and great ideas for substitutions.

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  56. I just made these-they smell so incredible! I had a mini loaf pan from Williams-Sonoma that has 8 mini loaves in it. They cooked for 30 minutes and look so pretty! I also made 7 regular sized muffins. The bread is for a little treat for some friends at work tomorrow morning :). Thanks so much for another wonderful recipe!

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  57. I made this tonight and just wanted to say how simple and delicious it was! This was my first time attempting to make pumpkin bread and I’m so glad to have found this recipe. The texture of the bread is similar to a pound cake and the spices are balanced without overpowering the pumpkin flavor. Will be adding this to my recipe book!

    Reply
    • I made the recipe on Wednesday. I didn’t have the mini loaf pans and I wanted at least, three loaves (I am stubborn)! I used 8x3x2 loaf pans and got four nice sized loaves. For the last bread, it was a little shy, I used dried cranberries (about two handfuls), and it turned out excellent.
      Excellent recipe as is; however, the cranberries were really good, too.

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  58. I’ve made this recipe about 50 times since 2012. I’ve made it in standard loaf size, mini loaves and cupcakes. I’ve added walnuts, cranberries and chocolate chips. It’s a wonderful and perfect recipe! I too had problems with baking time and I took your advice and got a hanging oven thermometer. My oven was off by about 50 degrees also. I’ve printed this recipe for so any people! I found so many of my ‘go to’ recipes on your site, thank you!

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