Healthy Pumpkin Bread Recipe
This healthy pumpkin bread is so moist and perfect, you’d never guess that it wasn’t 100% indulgent. Makes 2 loaves, one for now and one for later.
Why you’ll love it: The recipe is easy to make and it’s great for breakfast, snacks, or lunchboxes.
How long it takes: 15 minutes to stir up, with 50 minutes in the oven
Equipment you’ll need: large mixing bowl, two loaf pans
Servings: makes 2 loaves, about 10 servings each
Have you noticed I have a thing about making quick breads and muffins healthier? The main reason is that I love eating breads like this healthy pumpkin bread (or reduced-fat chocolate banana bread!) for breakfast.
Breads that are made with less oil and sugar, and whole wheat flour are still a treat in my mind but one that I can feel a little better about enjoying. Homemade zucchini bread made with whole wheat flour and Greek yogurt is another of my favorites.
Another reason I like making quick breads with healthier ingredients is so that I can feel good about my kids eating them. I feel confident that I am feeding them something that is not going to contribute to health problems later in life.
As you know, I’m not perfect when it comes to healthy eating (proof, and there’s more where that came from). Instead, I focus on everything in moderation and try my best to make healthy changes where I can: whole wheat flour, whole wheat pasta, reducing the amount of butter and sugar, etc.
Tasting this bread, you’d never know that it wasn’t completely indulgent. And that’s the best part. Besides the fact that it’s pumpkin!
About this Healthy Pumpkin Bread
What makes this bread more healthy?
A mix of whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour gives the bread a nutty, rich whole wheat flavor but with a light, fluffy texture.
I often make my breads with applesauce which can replace at least some of the oil (like in our healthy banana bread!). In this case, the canned pumpkin takes the place of the oil. Unsweetened canned pumpkin contains loads of vitamins and fiber, and it’s inexpensive and super convenient. Keep reading for more recipes that use canned pumpkin.
Bread made with yogurt, in this case, Greek yogurt, is always moist and flavorful. Because the yogurt is acidic, it works with the baking soda to leaven the bread.
Don’t you just love recipes that make two loaves? It’s just as easy to make two loaves as one loaf. You can toss one loaf in the freezer for a treat later in the month.
Try slicing the bread before freezing it. You can take one slice out at a time when you’re looking for a healthy snack. Slices thaw much more quickly than a whole loaf. Pumpkin bread makes a great lunchbox treat, too.
I’ll run through the basics of the recipe here to get you started and I’ll include some helpful tips. Look for the recipe card near the end of the post for complete instructions, measurements, and nutrition information.
What You’ll Need
- Canned Pumpkin Purée: This recipe takes a whole can of pumpkin so you won’t be left with a partial can that you have to try to figure out what to do with. Make sure you buy 100% pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling. For more information, check out the FAQ section.
- Sugar: The bread gets so much sweet flavor from the pumpkin pie spice that very little sugar is needed to sweeten it, just one cup (a half cup per loaf). The sugar also helps achieve the soft texture of the bread.
- Greek Yogurt: Look for unflavored (unsweetened) plain Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt adds protein to the bread and gives it good texture, taking the place of added oil.
- Milk: Any type of milk can be used.
- Eggs: Three eggs help bind the bread together and give it a rich texture.
- Whole Wheat Flour & All Purpose Flour: I like to use a combination of both flours for quick breads. Whole wheat flour adds nutrition and fiber.
- Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Salt: This trio leavens the bread (makes it rise) and seasons it. Without salt, the bread would taste flat.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: This spice blend makes your bread taste like pumpkin pie. I use my homemade pumpkin pie spice, a blend which contains cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves. You can also buy pre-made pumpkin pie spice blends, or make your own blend.
- Pure Vanilla Extract: A baker’s best friend, vanilla is added to many baked goods.
How To Make Healthy Pumpkin Bread
Let’s get started! Turn your oven on to preheat, and grease two large loaf pans. A light misting of nonstick cooking spray is fine.
You’ll need a big mixing bowl for this recipe since it’s for two loaves. I use my largest bowl, well, almost my largest bowl. I have a really big one for popcorn!
Begin by lightly whisking the eggs in the bowl. Add the pumpkin, sugar, yogurt, milk, and vanilla; whisk until the mixture is smooth.
Measure out the flours by spooning them into a measuring cup. Level the tops with flat edge like a table knife. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice to the pumpkin mixture in the bowl.
Lightly stir the dry ingredients together before mixing them into the wet ingredients. Stir just until the dry ingredients are incorporated.
Divide the batter evenly between the two pans, smoothing the tops out a bit.
If desired, sprinkle with pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) for a fun garnish.
Bake the bread until the tops are lightly golden brown and firm.
How Can I Tell If the Bread Is Done?
Poke a toothpick near the center of the bread. Remove the toothpick and take a look at it. If there’s batter sticking to the toothpick, the bread needs more time in the oven. If the toothpick comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached, the bread is fully baked.
Cool the healthy pumpkin bread in the pans for 5 to 10 minutes before carefully flipping the pans over and removing the bread. Put the bread on a wire rack to cool completely before slicing or storing it.
Although the two cans may be side by side at the grocery store and look really similar, there is a big difference.
Pumpkin purée is 100% pumpkin with nothing else added. Pumpkin pie filling is a shortcut if you’re making pumpkin pie. It has added sugar and spices. Always use what your recipe calls for; the two products are NOT interchangeable.
More Uses for Canned Pumpkin
- Pumpkin dip: a sweet and creamy dip for apple slices, gingersnaps, or graham crackers
- Pumpkin curry soup – You’ll love this soup and it only takes 20 minutes.
- Pumpkin streusel bread (you’ll love the crunchy topping)
- Pumpkin pudding with only 4 ingredients
- One pan pumpkin macaroni and cheese (no one will be able to tell there’s pumpkin in the mac and cheese)
- Pumpkin bran muffins
- Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins
- Pumpkin cheddar muffins
- Mini pumpkin tarts – a no-bake dessert that is seriously easy to make!
Make It Your Own
- Stir in a cup (or more!) of chocolate chips. White chocolate chips are really good, too.
- Embellish the loaves with oats (use rolled oats) or pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds). Sprinkle them on top of the batter before baking the loaves.
- Not a fan of whole wheat? Make the bread with 3 ½ cups of all-purpose flour and omit the whole wheat flour. You might also want to try white whole wheat flour.
- Make muffins instead of bread. Divide the batter into greased muffin tins. Bake at 400°F for approx. 15 minutes, depending on the size of the muffins. Keep in mind that since this recipe makes two loaves of bread, it will yield a lot of muffins.
Healthy pumpkin bread will keep on the counter for a few days. For longer storage, refrigerate it or freeze it. It will keep in the freezer for a couple of months.
Always cool bread completely before wrapping it up. If you place warm bread in an airtight container or bag, condensation will form and the bread will get sticky and spoil more quickly.
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @rachelcooksblog on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!
- 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup sugar
- ¾ cup plain Greek yogurt (I use nonfat)
- ¾ cup milk (I use 2%)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray two large loaf pans with nonstick baking spray.
- In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, beaten eggs, sugar, yogurt, milk and vanilla. Whisk until combined.
- Add whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice to top of wet ingredients. Lightly sift dry ingredients with spoon or fingertips until combined, then fold dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture. Stir until combined but do not overmix.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two loaf pans and smooth tops (see note). Bake for 50 minutes or until bread tests done (a toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean, or with a few crumbs clinging).
- Let cool 10 minutes in pans before removing to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
- Recipe makes two loaves!
- Before baking, sprinkle the loaves with pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) or rolled oats, if desired.
- Pumpkin bread freezes well. Wrap it securely and place in freezer safe bag or container for up to 2 months. If you prefer, wrap individual slices to freeze. They thaw very quickly.
- All purpose flour can be substituted for the whole wheat flour.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
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