Classic banana bread gets a fall makeover with this recipe for Pumpkin Banana Bread. It’s a family-favorite fall treat that makes a delicious breakfast or afternoon snack. It might seem like a crazy combo, but one taste of this extra-moist quickbread and you’ll be a believer.
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Everyone in my family knows it’s officially fall when they smell pumpkin spice in the air, courtesy of a loaf of my go-to pumpkin bread baking in the oven. This year, though, inspiration struck when I saw a darkly speckled bunch of bananas on the counter. It didn’t take much more nudging for me to arrive at my latest culinary hybrid, super moist pumpkin banana bread. This fall quickbread is dense, rich, and moist, topped with a crunchy, crackly sanding sugar topping.
Banana bread is already pretty versatile (have you tried my recipe for Apple Cinnamon Banana Bread or Zucchini Banana Bread?), and this recipe is no exception. With a healthy dose of pumpkin spice, this is a great way to not let those overripe bananas (or leftover pumpkin purée!) go to waste while enjoying everyone’s favorite fall flavors.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Mixes up in only 15 minutes. Mixing up the batter (no stand mixer required!) takes only a few minutes.
- Great use for overripe bananas. I hate wasting food, so any time I can turn about-to-go-bad fruits and veggies into a tasty treat, I’m all in.
- Uses up less than half a can of pumpkin. Save the rest for any recipe that calls for 1 cup of pumpkin purée, such as pumpkin spice waffles or pumpkin cream cheese muffins.
- Freezes great. Because it’s so moist, this bread will freeze beautifully, either whole or in individual slices.
- Flour: All-purpose flour gives this recipe structure and texture.
- Sugar: Use granulated sugar in the batter and sanding sugar on the top, which gives this bread its distinctive crunchy crown. Sanding sugar can be found in the baking aisle of your grocery store.
- Baking soda: Baking soda helps the bread rise, so it won’t be too dense and heavy.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: Keep things quick and simple by using prepared pumpkin spice, an already-blended mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves.
- Bananas: The best bananas to use in banana bread are very browned and speckled, and slightly soft. If you only have unripe bananas on hand, check out my simple trick for how to quickly ripen bananas.
- Pumpkin: Use canned pumpkin purée, not pumpkin pie mix, for this recipe. It adds moisture, natural sweetness, and, of course, that great pumpkin flavor.
- Buttermilk: Thick, tangy buttermilk enriches the batter and adds moisture. And the acidity helps activate the baking soda. No buttermilk? No problem! Check out my buttermilk substitutions guide.
- Eggs: Two eggs enrich this recipe and help to bind all the dry ingredients.
- Butter: Six tablespoons of unsalted butter add richness and flavor. You’ll melt the butter and let it cool slightly before adding it to the other ingredients.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Feel free to get creative! This versatile recipe lets you mix in goodies you might have on hand.
- Stir in some nuts. Add a bit of crunch by stirring in a half-cup of chopped nuts. Walnuts and pecans are both good pairings.
- Add chocolate. Chocolate is always a good idea when it comes to both pumpkin and banana recipes. Fold a half-cup of chocolate chips into the batter just before spooning it into the pan. I like semisweet mini chips in this recipe.
- Make pumpkin banana muffins. Pour the batter into a muffin tin lined with paper cups and bake at 350°F for approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Preheat the oven. With the rack in the center of the oven, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Prepare a 9-inch loaf pan by lining it with a parchment paper sling, with the ends hanging over the two longer sides of the pan. Lightly grease the parchment paper with cooking spray.
- Combine the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and pumpkin pie spice. Stir with a whisk to combine well.
- Combine the wet ingredients. In a medium bowl, combine the mashed bananas, pumpkin purée, buttermilk, eggs, melted butter and vanilla. Stir with a whisk to combine.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to stir just until combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan, and sprinkle the top with the sanding sugar, if desired.
- Bake the bread. Bake for about 55 minutes or until a toothpick or cake center inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool the bread in the pan for 5 minutes, then lift it out by the parchment sling (run a knife along the edge of the loaf on the short sides if it sticks) and let it cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing and serving.
Pro Tip: Don’t have buttermilk? Good buttermilk substitutes include yogurt or sour cream. Or you can make your own by adding lemon juice or white vinegar to milk.
- Mess-free melting: Melt the butter by putting it into a microwave-safe bowl, loosely covered with an inverted plate, in the microwave. Cook in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until it’s fully melted. Be sure to let the butter cool slightly before adding to the rest of the ingredients or it will solidify in chunks.
- Measure your flour correctly: Precise measurements are essential for baking. Check out my video on how to accurately measure flour without a scale.
- Check for doneness: Use a wooden toothpick or a skewer to check for doneness. Poke the toothpick into the middle of the loaf, where it’s the thickest. A few crumbs clinging to the pick are fine; if it’s wet with batter, bake it a little longer, checking every five minutes.
Store cooled pumpkin banana bread, wrapped in plastic wrap or a resealable plastic bag, at room temperature for up to four days.
This bread freezes great, too. Wrap the completely cooled loaf tightly in plastic wrap, followed by a layer of aluminum foil, and freeze. The bread is best when eaten within three months. It can be thawed at room temperature.
You can also freeze individual slices of the pumpkin banana bread, wrapped in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, for grab-and-go breakfasts. Heat it, unwrapped, in a toaster oven at 350˚F for a few minutes to defrost.
Frequently Asked Questions
This recipe is a sweet treat, but it’s one you don’t have to feel too bad about serving. Canned pumpkin is rich in vitamins A and C, as well as antioxidants like beta-carotene. And bananas are high in potassium, fiber, and vitamin B6, among other nutrients.
Yes! Just like in my recipe for Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting, you can substitute an equal amount of cooked, pureed fresh pumpkin for the canned pumpkin. Since fresh pumpkin puree has a higher moisture count, I recommend straining out excess liquid by letting it drain for a while in a fine mesh strainer.
Pumpkin banana bread will last up to four days at room temperature, or up to three months in the freezer.
The bananas should be soft and heavily speckled with dark brown spots. This will ensure that they’re sweet enough and soft enough for the recipe.
- Cream Cheese Pumpkin Muffins
- Easy Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
- Mini Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread
- The Best Pumpkin Bread
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- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 2 very ripe, darkly speckled large bananas, mashed well (about 1 cup)
- 3/4 cup canned pumpkin purée
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs, beaten lightly
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Sanding sugar, for topping (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch loaf pan with parchment paper so that it hangs over on the two longer sides of the pan, then grease the parchment paper with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and pumpkin pie spice. Set the mixture aside.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the mashed bananas, pumpkin purée, buttermilk, eggs, melted butter and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan then liberally sprinkle the sanding sugar on top (optional).
- Bake the bread for about 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Using the parchment paper overhang, lift the loaf out of the pan and on to a cooling rack to cool completely. Slice and serve.
- Melt the butter by putting it into a microwave-safe bowl, loosely covered with an inverted plate, in the microwave. Cook at 30-second increments, stirring in between, until it’s fully melted. Let the butter cool slightly before adding to the rest of the ingredients or it will solidify in chunks.
- Use a wooden toothpick or a skewer to check for doneness. Poke the toothpick into the middle of the loaf, where it’s the thickest. A few crumbs clinging to the pick are fine; if it’s wet with batter, bake it a little longer, checking every five minutes.
- Store cooled pumpkin banana bread, wrapped in plastic wrap or a resealable plastic bag, at room temperature for up to four days. This bread freezes great, too. Wrap the completely cooled loaf tightly in plastic wrap, followed by a layer of aluminum foil, and freeze. The bread is best when eaten within three months. It can be thawed at room temperature.
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Recipe adapted from Banana Bread with Streusel Topping.