Breakfast & Brunch | September 5, 2021

The Very Best Pumpkin Bread

If I had to choose one pumpkin bread recipe to make for the rest of time, this would be the one. The Very Best Pumpkin Bread recipe is like many good recipes, one that has been in my recipe files for years, given to me by a good friend. I’m betting it’s going to become an heirloom recipe for you too!

The Very Best Pumpkin Bread

My friend Cyndee gave me this recipe years ago (back in the early 90’s) after we had a discussion about pumpkin bread. I told her felt like pumpkin bread often had one of a few problems for me: it either lacked flavor, didn’t bake up just right, was too spicy or too bland, or had a weird texture.

She told me her mother had the very best pumpkin bread recipe with a secret ingredient. It took one time making her mom’s recipe to convince me, it is the best! I’m still making this recipe 30 years later!

The Very Best Pumpkin Bread

The Very Best Pumpkin Bread Secret Ingredient…

The secret ingredient in my friend’s recipe was orange juice concentrate. What??! Something that simple took pumpkin bread from blah to amazing. The concentrate adds just the right amount of flavor and helps to keep the bread ultra moist! Important to point out – I’m not talking about orange juice, but the frozen concentrate sold in cans in the freezer section.

Over many years of making this recipe, I have made a few small adjustments to Cyndee’s recipe. I had issues with this bread sinking in the middle at times, so I eventually removed the 1/4 cup of water from the original recipe. I also switched out some of the granulated sugar for brown sugar, which helps give the pumpkin bread just the right amount of sweet.

I occasionally substitute the o.j. concentrate for frozen pureed mangoes! I almost always have frozen mango pieces in my freezer (for smoothies) which makes it easy to blend into puree. These adjustments make for the perfect loaf of pumpkin bread.

Beginner Pumpkin Bread

Best Add-in ingredients

I love this pumpkin bread, with or without chocolate. This loaf is really pretty with Craisins or golden raisins (in the fall). Dark or light chocolate chips are also a favorite! I think my favorite way to eat this pumpkin bread recipe is in its original form, no add-ins, just plain and thick sliced.

If you love chocolate chips, this recipe works well with added chocolate, but my favorite recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip bread is our Great Harvest Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Copycat recipe! It is hard to tell the difference from a purchased Great Harvest loaf!

Great Harvest Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread recipe

What makes this the very best pumpkin bread?

  • Easy to make in minutes with mostly pantry-friendly ingredients.
  • Is family friendly, not too much spice!
  • Is always extra-moist with added concentrate or puree.
  • Never sinks in the middle!
  • Just the right amount of sweet.
  • Perfect beginner recipe, but makes you look like a pro in the kitchen!
Pumpkin bread made with orange juice

How to make pumpkin bread

  • Beat eggs and sugars together.
  • Add oil and mix again.
  • Add pumpkin and concentrate or puree.
  • Add all of the dry ingredients, mix just until ingredients are blended.
  • Use a spatula and scrape all of the batter into prepared pan.
  • Bake and cool before cutting.

I highly recommend USA Bakewear pans. I recently changed out all of my old pans for USA’s heavy duty bake wear. This 1 lb loaf pan is my favorite. It may be purchased as a single pan or (better value) in a two pack. As I have said in other posts, these pans will last a lifetime and are worth every penny!

The Very Best Pumpkin Bread Recipe

A moist and easy to make pumpkin bread for beginners! This recipe is the very best pumpkin bread recipe. It is super moist and even better the second day!

Course Breakfast, brunch, Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword pumpkin, pumpkin bread, quick bread
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed I use light, but dark works as well
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup pumpkin (see recipe notes)
  • 3 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate (softened) or pureed fruit not orange juice, just frozen concentrate, do not mix with water!
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

optional ingredients:

  • 1 cup chocolate chips, tossed with 1 tablespoon flour
  • ½ cup nuts, chopped
  • ½ cup golden raisins, Craisins or dried cherries

Instructions

  1. Generously grease and line a 1 lb loaf pan (8.5×4.5 inches) and place rack in middle of oven. If your oven cooks on the hot side, lower the rack one level. Preheat oven to 350 degrees at least 15 minutes before baking.

  2. Beat eggs and sugars together in a large mixing bowl. Add oil to the egg and sugar mixture. Mix well.

  3. Add pumpkin, orange juice concentrate or fruit puree and mix again until smooth. 

  4. Add all dry ingredients to the bowl. Mix together just until the flour dissapears. Do not over mix! 

  5. Fold in any optional ingredients such as chocolate chips, nuts or raisins. 

  6. Pour batter into greased and lined loaf pan. Bake at 350 for about 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Recipe Notes

  • I often puree frozen mangoes and add three tablespoons to the batter if I don’t have frozen oj on hand in my freezer. Let the fruit thaw, then blend until smooth. 
  • I highly recommend Libby’s brand pumpkin.  I have tried several different brands in the past and have found Libby’s to be the most consistent with texture, taste and color. Make sure to purchase pure pumpkin, NOT pumpkin pie filling (which is a mixture of ingredients for ready to make pie). Also this recipe calls for one cup, not one can! 
  • If you do not have brown sugar, you may use white or granulated sugar. 
  • If you live in a humid environment (tropical, usually above 60-70 percent humidity)  reduce the egg by one tablespoon, and add 3 tablespoons all purpose flour to the batter. You may also need to increase bake time. 
  • I use a mixer for the wet ingredients, and mix the dry ingredients in by hand using a large spatula. 
  • To line the loaf pan, place the pan on a sheet of parchment paper, use a pen to outline the bottom of the pan, Cut the parchment and place in bottom of pan. You may also line the entire inside of the pan with parchment and spray before filling with batter (see last photo). 
  • If the loaf starts to get too dark, loosely cover with foil until done. 

17 thoughts on “The Very Best Pumpkin Bread

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Recipe Rating




  1. Hello! I recently moved to a new home at just over 6,000 feet altitude. My baking has collapsed. Pun fully intended. I’m desperate to make pumpkin bread this fall that is edible. Can you help “high altitude proof” the pumpkin bread recipe?

    Thanks. Six thousand feet worth

    1. Hi Leeann,
      I bake at about 45-4800 feet above sea level. This bread works at that level. For your level, I’d try the following: reduce the baking soda by 1/2 teaspoon and adding 2 tablespoons of flour. Also, try baking at 375 for about 40 minutes or until done. You might also decrease the sugar by a tablespoon. All of these suggestions are common fixes for high altitude baking. I hope this helps! Let us know.
      XO
      Si

  2. 5 stars
    I have been searching for years for the best pumpkin bread recipe and this is it! The OJ concentrate adds this subtle zing and I tossed in some semi-sweet chocolate chips too. I doubled the recipe and used 3 disposable baking tins that were just shy of the dimensions listed in the recipe. My husband took a loaf to his office today and it was gone in minutes.

    1. Hi Becki!
      I agree! The OJ adds a special flavor that makes this quick bread extra delicious! I’m so glad the whole office loved it. So kind of you to share!
      Thank you for reading ABK.
      xo,
      Si

  3. 5 stars
    Title says it all…the very best! I’ve tried a few other recipes and this one will be my go to now. So moist, not cakey or dense. Perfection!

    1. Thanks Natalie!
      This recipe has been going strong in our family for years! It doesn’t disappoint. Thank you for reading ABK!
      xo,
      Si

  4. 5 stars
    I totally messed up the recipe; I only used 1/2 cup of flour (???) instead of 1-3/4 cups. I had to bake it about 5 minutes longer and it’s a little fragile, but still tastes amazing. I can’t wait to make it again and do it correctly!

    1. Oh no! I am surprised it baked up! Definitely try this recipe again Tom. I think you will love the results when using 1 3/4 cups of flour!
      Thanks for reading ABK,
      Si

    1. Hi Susan,
      I have doubled this recipe many times. Make sure to remeasure your ingredients and double check before mixing, if you forget something, it’s a lot of wasted ingredients! Unfortunately, I have learned this by experience!
      Xo
      Si

  5. 5 stars
    This really is THE best pumpkin bread ever!! I made a batch earlier in the day in the one pound loaf pan but it sank and was under-done in the middle (and a little more crispy than I would’ve liked outside and around the edges). So tonight when I made it with our church youth group girls, we added 2T flour since we’re at sea level and it was just right! Also we did a pan of muffins and a couple pans of mini loaves – the muffins were done at 25 mins and the mini loaves at 27 mins.

  6. Hi! I desperately want this recipe to work for me. Absolutely all of your other recipes have been solid home runs. I’ve had the same experience as Corrine. After three tries (doubled the recipe twice and a single loaf the last time) my bread has fallen and was quite undercooked in the middle as well. My toothpick came out clean and I added 5-7 minutes the last two tries in hopes of success. I have a newish oven and I’m baking at about the same altitude you are. Maybe you can guide me to a common mistake I may be making? It’s pumpkin bread season and I’m determined to be successful:)

    1. Hi Patricia,
      Sorry this isn’t working well for you. It looks like Corrine (above) added 2Tbsp flour with success. Perhaps you could try that? Also make sure your oven is completely preheated before baking, and remember to not open the oven door until you think it’s done. Every time you open your oven door the temperature goes down by at least 25 degrees, sometimes more. This can cause your bread to fall. Hope this helps!
      xo,
      Si

  7. 5 stars
    Hands down the most delicious and beautiful pumpkin bread. The texture and flavors are the best I’ve ever had! I made it into muffins and my family devoured them! Thank you, Si! This will be our family’s staple pumpkin bread for years to come!

    1. Hi Marla!
      Thanks for your positive comments and I’m so glad you loved this recipe. Thank you for reading ABK.
      xo,
      Si