The Best Pumpkin Bread

from 8 votes

This Pumpkin Bread is insanely moist, perfectly spiced and foolproof. It’s an easy fall recipe—and has been in my family for more than 30 years!

A loaf of pumpkin bread topped with pecans with four pieces sliced off of it.

This quickbread is the ideal pumpkin loaf: Your stand mixer will do all of the hard work for you (that’s creaming the butter and sugar together!) before you add the dry and wet ingredients and chopped pecans. It’s packed with pumpkin puree and DIY pumpkin spice, too—which is SO easy to do, it’s just ground cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger.

The fact is, it puts all of those store-bought coffee shop slices to shame. And with good reason: This recipe has been in our family since 1992, when it first appeared in one of my preschool cookbooks.

That’s 26 years of baking prowess behind this moist, spiced and easy-to-slice loaf. The best part is, there’s absolutely nothing fancy about it. It’s just a good ol’ classic recipe passed on to me by my #1 inspiration: my mom.

Of course, it tastes great, but it also smells incredible. Like a pumpkin spice air freshener or the best autumnal candle you could ever find.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • A quickbread that’s ready in a jiff. Because it doesn’t have yeast, this pumpkin bread with pecans is ready in less than 1 ½ hours.
  • Loaded with pumpkin spice flavor and studded with chopped pecans.
  • Freezer-friendly. You can store a whole quickbread in the freezer for a few months!
  • A great breakfast, snack, or lunchbox treat.

Key Ingredients

  • All-purpose flour: All-purpose flour gives the bread structure. If you’re gluten-free, try swapping in Cup4Cup Multipurpose Flour.
  • Baking powder and baking soda: Both baking powder and baking soda are crucial for leavening or “lifting” the bread, helping it rise and achieve the desired texture.
  • Pumpkin spice: This recipe has you make your own pumpkin spice, using ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg (easy!). However, instead of using these individual spices, you can use approximately 1 to 1.5 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice. Adjust the quantity to your taste preferences.
  • Unsalted butter: Butter gives this quickbread richness and creaming the butter keeps it from being dense.
  • Pumpkin purée: Pumpkin purée serves as a key ingredient in this recipe, providing moisture, natural sweetness, and the distinctive pumpkin flavor we all know and love.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations and Substitutions

  • Try a different kind of nut. You could use another nut in place of the pecans, like walnuts. 
  • Extra nuttiness. You can always sprinkle more chopped pecans on top!
  • Swap in chocolate chips. Instead of pecans, you could use chocolate chips (semisweet or dark chocolate would be great).
  • Make them muffins. You can easily make this quickbread into muffins! My recipe for The Best Chocolate Chip Muffins is nearly identical but uses chocolate chips instead of chopped pecans.

How to Make Pumpkin Bread

  1. Preheat the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease and lightly flour a 9×5” loaf pan. 
  2. Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices in a medium bowl.
  3. Cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the butter, sugar and vanilla extract. 
  4. Add the eggs and pumpkin. Add the eggs one at a time, then add the pumpkin purée.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and water. Alternating between a third of the dry ingredients and half of the water (starting and ending with the dry ingredients), add to the bowl of the stand mixer, mixing thoroughly and scraping down the bowl as needed.
A stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mixing pumpkin bread batter in its bowl.
  1. Add the pecans. Using a rubber spatula, fold the chopped pecans into the batter.
  2. Bake. Add the batter to the loaf pan and bake for 1 hour (until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean).
A loaf pan lined with parchment paper containing pumpkin bread batter topped with chopped pecans.

Pro Tip: A wooden toothpick is perfect for testing the doneness of baked goods! Using a cake tester doesn’t work as well, since batter doesn’t easily stick to the metal.

Kelly’s Recipe Tips

  • Toast the Pecans: Before chopping them, you can toast the pecans for extra nuttiness. 
  • Grease Your Loaf Pan: I recommend greasing and lightly flouring your loaf pan for this recipe, but you can also use nonstick baking spray with flour. Lining your loaf pan with parchment paper makes things easier, too!

Storage Tips

To store the pumpkin loaf, keep it in an airtight container lined with paper towels, which will help absorb excess moisture and keep the loaf fresh.

You can also easily store this pumpkin loaf in the freezer. Just let it cool completely before wrapping it in foil and placing it into a freezer bag. The quickbread will keep in the freezer for a few months this way.

What to Serve with Pumpkin Bread

The pumpkin bread is so moist and good as is, but you could serve it with a more softened butter slathered on top. For a cozy fall snack, it would be lovely with a cup of Spiced Chai Tea.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I stop pumpkin bread from getting moist? 

This comes down to how you store it! To prevent pumpkin bread from getting too moist, store it in an airtight container lined with paper towels. The towels will absorb excess moisture.

Why won’t my pumpkin bread cook in the middle?

This could be because you measured your flour incorrectly—or perhaps the pumpkin loaf just needs more time in the oven! You’ll want to use a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf to check the doneness of the pumpkin bread. 

Why does pumpkin bread stick to the bottom of the pan?

If your pumpkin bread sticks, you may not have greased your loaf pan enough. A nonstick loaf pan (instead of a glass one) can also help prevent sticking. You can also try adding a wide strip of parchment paper across your loaf pan, creating a sling to help lift the loaf out.

How long does pumpkin bread last? 

A quickbread like pumpkin bread will last about four days at room temperature and up to three months in the freezer.

More Pumpkin Recipes You’ll Love

A loaf of pumpkin bread topped with chopped pecans and with four pieces sliced off of it and fanned out at the end of the loaf.
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The Best Pumpkin Bread

Preheat your oven for an autumnal classic: this family-favorite pumpkin bread with pecans. It's an easy fall recipe that's packed with pumpkin flavor!
Author: Kelly Senyei
5 from 8 votes
The Best Pumpkin Bread sliced
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 8 servings


  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin purée
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour a 9×5″ loaf pan.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. Set it aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla.
  • Add the eggs to the stand mixer, one at a time, beating between each addition, then add the pumpkin.
  • Alternate adding in the dry and wet ingredients by adding one-third of the dry, then half of the water, one-third of the dry, the other half of the water, and the final one-third of the dry. Blend well, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  • Fold in the pecans then bake the bread for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Kelly’s Notes

  • Toast the Pecans: Before chopping them, you can toast the pecans for extra nuttiness. 
  • Grease Your Loaf Pan: I recommend greasing and lightly flouring your loaf pan for this recipe, but you can also use nonstick baking spray with flour. Lining your loaf pan with parchment paper makes things easier, too!
  • Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!


Calories: 400kcal, Carbohydrates: 57g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 71mg, Sodium: 230mg, Potassium: 159mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 34g, Vitamin A: 5180IU, Vitamin C: 1.3mg, Calcium: 37mg, Iron: 2mg


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Recipe adapted from Judy Mahaffa of The St. Margaret's Episcopal School 1992 Home Cookin' Cookbook.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    WOW! This really is THE BEST pumpkin bread recipe!! It’s moist and perfectly spiced. I live at high elevation so I reduced the sugar to just 1 cup and the bread came out perfectly moist. I also left out the pecans because I didn’t have any on hand. You won’t be disappointed if you make this recipe!

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