Pumpkin Spice Bread

Updated on August 8, 2017
5 stars from 1 rating of Pumpkin Spice Bread
A wonderfully hearty pumpkin bread
A wonderfully hearty pumpkin bread

A Few Effortless Changes for a Healthier Classic

This pumpkin bread is an irresistible fall favorite in our home. The original Bon Appetit recipe, published back in November 1995, is fantastic and decadently rich. With a few easy changes to cut calories and boost nutrition, this bread remains a crowd pleaser but becomes a healthier classic.

I've reduced the sugar from 3 cups to 2 1/4 cups, so the sweetness remains but the spices can really shine. The original recipe called for a 16 ounce can of pumpkin, but I increased it to about 20 ounces for an extra pop of flavor. Canola oil, which is high in healthy monounsaturated fats, replaced the vegetable oil. I replaced one cup of all purpose flour with white whole wheat flour, which has a milder flavor than regular whole wheat flour but still packs extra nutrition. One thing to note about any whole wheat flour, though, is that it requires a bit of extra sifting to produce a more airy result. Unsweetened applesauce, in place of half of the oil, cuts fat but still maintains a moist result. Although vanilla does not appear in the original recipe, I've added it because I think it complements the spices beautifully. The spices can be changed up; I've tried cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and cardamom to make up the 3 teaspoons of spices. My favorite combination, though, is the one I've listed in the recipe below. Feel free to experiment!

Cook Time

Cook time: 1 hour 10 min
Ready in: 1 hour 10 min
Yields: 2 loaves


  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • 3 eggs, large
  • 20 ounces canned pumpkin
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9x5x3 inch loaf pans. Beat sugar, oil and applesauce in a large bowl to blend. Mix in eggs and pumpkin, and finally the vanilla. Sift flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, baking soda, salt and baking powder in another large bowl. Stir into pumpkin mixture gradually, in 2 additions. Mix in walnuts, if desired.
  2. Divide batter equally between prepared loaf pans. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool for 10 minutes. Loosen edges with a knife, turn loaves onto racks and cool completely.
  3. Pumpkin loaves can be frozen for up to 1 month.

Questions & Answers


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      • Becky Callahan profile image

        Rachel Finlay 19 months ago

        Yes, I've found that the spices can be reduced or increased according to preference; I've tried several spices, and have used different amounts than the 3 teaspoons included in the original recipe. Whether or not you use the spices, I would still recommend including the vanilla; I think it really complements the pumpkin flavor.

      • peachpurple profile image

        peachy 19 months ago from Home Sweet Home

        wow, your pumpkin bread looks good, can i opt out the spices?