No frills and nothing fancy: just the best, most perfectly moist and fluffy, classic vegan pumpkin bread!
Pumpkin season kicked off last month. I kept trying to think of cool and creative things to do with my cans of pumpkin purée. But the first thing I really craved was a thick slice of pumpkin bread—no glaze, no add-ins, no frills—to be served with a cup of coffee. It’s a classic for a reason, right?
Unlike banana bread or banana muffins, pumpkin bread doesn’t contain a sweet fruit. And I don’t use applesauce as a liquid ingredient, as I do in a lot of baking recipes. The sugar here provides most of the sweetness, along with some natural sweetness from the pumpkin. For me and my taste buds, this loaf is perfectly sweet.
Speaking of sugar, I use brown sugar in the recipe, which helps to keep the pumpkin bread extra moist. (If you’re out of brown sugar, cane sugar and coconut sugar are fine to substitute.) But the main reason that this loaf has such a lovely, tender texture is of course the pumpkin itself, which keeps the bread moist as it bakes. I used an entire cup of pumpkin purée in the bread, which makes it possible to only use 1/3 cup of oil.
I like loading up my quick breads with fun add-ins as much as the next person. I’ve dumped dark chocolate chips, every type of chopped nut, chopped dates, and raisins into my muffins and quick breads. I’ve done pumpkin bread with chocolate swirl.
Honestly, though? I like an unadorned pumpkin bread best. I’ve seen glazed pumpkin bread and pumpkin bread with walnuts or pumpkin seeds. But when I set out to make this classic vegan pumpkin bread, I wanted it to be as simple. I wanted the pumpkin to shine through, and nothing else.
I guess this is a reflection of what I need and want from food lately: the comforting, familiar, and un-fussy.
I usually stock up on pumpkin pie spice at this time of year (King Arthur’s is my go-to). It’s perfect for so many fall baking recipes, from crisps and crumbles to scones and quick breads. Admittedly, I usually have its component spices in my pantry, but it’s an easy way to season recipes without having to open up lots of different jars.
With that said, you can easily substitute pumpkin pie spice in the recipe as directed. Or, if you’d like to make a big batch of your own and keep it in your pantry through baking season, here’s a good DIY tutorial from Sally.
Once baked, this bread needs some time to cool: about fifteen minutes in the loaf pan, and another few hours on a cooling rack. As tempting as it is to eat the bread while it’s warm and freshly made, I think the cooling time is important. It helps the bread to hold its shape, so that you can slice it into perfect pieces later on.
If you don’t plan to eat your pumpkin bread right away, you can go ahead and freeze as many slices as you need to for up to six weeks. If you think it’ll disappear quickly (mine sure did), then you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four or five days. I usually freeze half of any quick bread—banana bread, zucchini bread, citrus bread, and so on—as soon as I’ve baked it. The other half becomes my snacking treats for the week ahead.
Making this pumpkin bread, more than any equinox or change in the weather, makes it truly feel like fall. I’m happy to have a recipe that feels like my forever pumpkin bread recipe. Hope that some of you will feel the same way.
And hey: if pumpkin bread isn’t really your thing, there are other options, and I’ll enjoy them with you. Now that I’m stocked up on pumpkin purée, I see pumpkin cranberry walnut muffins, pumpkin oat scones, and pumpkin carrot cake in the not-too-distant future.
Sending you wishes of coziness and comfort today, both of which feel more needed than ever.
Leave a Comment
I’ve made this multiple times a year for a few years now. I follow the recipe exactly and it comes out delicious and perfect every time. Thank you!
As other have said, the cooking time is way off. Had to redo it from scratch after the first loaf came out completely raw all the way through after the suggested 45m bake. The NYT recipe for pumpkin bread says to cook for 1h 15m, which is much closer. Total bake was almost an hour and a half.
Thanks, Andrew. I’m re-testing the recipe today, since there’s indeed a critical mass of feedback about the baking time 🙂 I’ll be updating the recipe if I also find that an hour works better. I appreciate all of the feedback.
I would suggest 3 loaf pans for a double recipe.
They took much longer to bake and the top was browning before the cake was fully cooked.
I haven’t tasted them as they are gifts but I’m sure they will be fine!
OK, that’s good to know! I’m sorry you learned it the hard way, but I really appreciate the feedback. I hope they’ll taste great and that your loved ones will enjoy.
Can I double this recipe?
Hi LG! If you bake it in two baking pans, yes!
Thanks….no adjustment to ingredients?
I haven’t tried it myself, but I don’t think so. Just double the batter and pour into two loaf pans instead of one. Let me know how it goes!
Thanks for answering me so quickly!
I will let you know how they come out.
I love love love this recipe. So rich and has a strong pumpkin flavor! I highly recommend!
There’s no way this will cook in 40 min based on the amount in the loaf pan, it’s density , and the low oven temp: be prepared for much longer. I’m at 1.5 hours and still going.
I have some health issues that have required me to eat gluten-free and dairy-free for the past few months, so I love finding vegan recipes like this that I can adapt! Made this with Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free flour, and it turned out fantastic! It turned out a little more dense than it probably would have with regular flour, but still so moist and delicious! I was a little nervous the amount of pumpkin pie spice would bee too overwhelming, but it turned out so delightful! FALL IS HERE TO STAY!
Yay! Love reading about how it turned out for you, Sarah.
This is the third and perhaps last time I am going to make this recipe. The first two never rose or solidified in the center even after cooking it 30 minutes longer than recipes called for. I have used pea milk, almond milk and now I am trying soy milk and once again following the recipe to the tee.
I’m sorry you’ve had that experience with it! Have you checked to make sure that your raising agents are fresh? Sometimes, if they aren’t, a bread will fail to rise. Also, do you have an oven thermometer? It’s also possible that your oven runs hot. I’m not sure why the recipe isn’t turning out, but these are just two ideas about what may be going on. Hope you have better results.
My daughter has a newly diagnosed egg allergy. I’ve always baked with eggs and couldn’t imagine making a bread that didn’t have them. This was delicious! I was shocked! Thank you.
I’m so glad it worked out nicely, Lara! Hope you and your daughter enjoy more egg-free baking 🙂
This was great! It was the perfect fall bread. Thank you!
I’m so glad!
I made this today, and it was wonderful! Mine took closer to an hour to be cooked through, and it made the house smell amazing. I did let it cool in the pan for about 15 min, but then after that I had a nice big serving, because I will never be able to resist warm baked goods, and I don’t regret it 🙂 The piece that I cut might not have been photo worthy, but the taste was perfect.
I just saw this recipe today, I got the ingredients and baked it and OMG this is delicious!!! Thanks so much for this gem of a recipe. Now I’m gonna have to make more to give away. My husband is a plant-based chef in Fort Lauderdale and was super impressed by it!
Hooray! I’m so glad you liked it and honored that your chef husband enjoyed it!
Excellent! I made it with red kuri squash that I had roasted and pureed, but that was the only change I made. Great texture and flavor.
Oh, kuri squash. Yum!
Delicious! I actually red kuri squash that I roasted and pureed. I will definitely makes again. I did have to bake an additional 15 minutes, so a total of 1 hour.
So glad you enjoyed it!
Given the fact I have fallen in love with your ‘basic’ Banana Bread recipe, I didn’t even hesitate when I saw this ‘basic’ recipe. I even doubled it, so I could share a batch of mini loaves with neighbors and friends! Your recipes never fail to disappoint, Gena. Thank you for all you do to make my vegan cooking and baking so delicious.
This looks lovely, Gena, I look forward to making it soon. I’ve made many a fancied-up pumpkin loaf, but I am also in the mood for good, plain and perfect these days.