This healthy pumpkin bread uses a whole can of pumpkin for a perfectly moist yet fluffy and light whole grain pumpkin treat!
Y’all. Listen up. I’m so damn proud of this recipe I could jump up and down and eat a whole loaf to myself.
Every year my MIL makes a special pumpkin bread that’s incredibly moist, with a sticky sweet crust and a light and fluffy center. This year, I asked her for the recipe, wondering if I could modify it to be a bit healthier without losing the deliciousness. I expected to fail because sometimes turning something so good into a “healthier” option just isn’t meant to be, but after a few tries, I stumbled on the right combination that was everything I wanted and more.
And what’s even better?!?!?! It uses a WHOLE can of pumpkin, so you won’t find a half-used can of pumpkin in your refrigerator three weeks from now.
To make this recipe healthier, I swapped out the all-purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour. Whole wheat pastry flour is a 100% whole grain flour that lacks the “hearty” dense texture of typically whole grain flour. It’s the perfect healthier swap for refined flour. I also reduced the sugar by about half and played around with using coconut sugar.
The first few versions were way too dry and crumbly. The taste was there, but the texture was all off. So I kept adjusting, and right when I was about ready to give up, I finally just dumped a whole can of pumpkin in, and that’s when the magic happened. The result was exactly the same texture as the original, with all the goodness of a slightly sticky crust and moist, fluffy center. It’s slightly less sweet than the original version but delicious in its own right and filled with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
In our family, we eat pumpkin bread cold. I don’t know why. I eat most other types of quick bread recipes warm or at least room temperature, but Mr. Hungry turned me onto pumpkin bread ice cold. I have to admit. There is just something about it that can’t be beaten! So I definitely suggest trying this bread cold!
How to Make Healthy Pumpkin Bread
For the most part, this is your typical quick bread recipe, with a few key points you don’t want to miss. First, you’ll combine your dry ingredients and set them to the side. Then you’ll cream together your sugar and softened butter. When you add in the egg, it’s crucial to beat it until you get a whipped fluffy consistency. This adds the ingredient of air to your recipe, which is crucial for creating a light, fluffy end product.
Then, it’s time to dump in a WHOLE 16 OUNCE CAN of pumpkin and blend that up. Next, grease your bread loaf pan and get ready to bake it for over an hour. Low and slow baking is the name of the game in this recipe. This prevents the crust from burning before the bread is baked all the way through.
My bread pan was 8.5 by 4.5, but you can use any variation of bread pans. Just keep in mind wider bread pans will typically cook quicker, and tall narrow bread pans will take a bit longer. You can use the toothpick test (insert a wooden toothpick to the center of the bread to ensure it comes out clean) to make sure your bread is done.
Let cool for at least an hour in the pan, then remove the bread and let cool on a cooling rack until it hits room temperature. We like to then wrap in saran wrap and then aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.
How to Store Healthy Pumpkin Bread
You can store it on the counter for up to 3 days and the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Make sure to keep it wrapped in saran wrap and then aluminum foil to lock in all the moisture and ensure it doesn’t dry out. You can freeze this healthy pumpkin bread for up to 3 months. Defrost under refrigeration.
Ingredient Swaps and Substitutions for Healthy Pumpkin Bread
Whole Wheat Pastry Flour – You could sub all-purpose flour (won’t be whole grain) or whole wheat flour (will be a bit denser final product.) However, do not substitute any other type of flour for this. If you are looking for a gluten-free version, I suggest my oat flour pumpkin bread or paleo pumpkin bread recipes.
Salt – Do not omit/substitute.
Baking Powder & Baking Soda – Do not omit/substitute.
Spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves) – Adjust according to taste! This bread has a strong spice level as the recipe is written. You can substitute two teaspoons of your favorite pumpkin spice blend in place of the spices (2 teaspoons total, not two teaspoons per spice), but some pumpkin spice blends are not very strong, so your taste may vary. My mother-in-law got me in the habit of always doubling recommendations for spice levels when using a store-bought pumpkin spice blend. You do you!
Sugar – I tried this recipe with organic cane sugar and golden coconut sugar. Both were fantastic. Do not substitute any liquid sweetener like maple syrup or honey here. If you make any swaps, it needs to be a “dry” ingredient.
Butter – Do not omit. You can try vegan butter, but I haven’t tried it yet!
Egg – A flax egg should work here if you need to substitute out the egg, but I haven’t tried it yet!
Pumpkin Puree – Use canned pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling.
More Healthy Pumpkin Recipes:
- Healthy Pumpkin Cookies
- Oat Flour Pumpkin Bread
- Oat Flour Pumpkin Muffins
- Healthy Pumpkin Muffins
- Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Healthy Pumpkin Bread
- Bread Loaf Pan
- Preheat oven to 325F and grease a loaf pan.
- Mix whole wheat pastry flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ground cloves, and nutmeg in a medium-sized bowl.1.5 cup whole wheat pastry flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp baking powder, 3/4 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- In a large-sized bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add an egg and beat with an electric mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy (see the photo in post.)1/2 cup golden coconut sugar, 1/3 cup softened butter, 1 large egg
- Add in pumpkin and mix until combined.16 ounces pumpkin puree
- Add 1/4 flour mixture to wet ingredients, mix, and repeat three more times with the remaining flour until it's all combined. Do not overmix.
- Bake for 55 -75 minutes until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let cool on the counter for one hour, remove the pan, and let the bread fully cool on a cooling rack.
- Wrap bread in saran wrap and then aluminum foil to prevent drying out! We like ours cold, but it can be eaten warm, cold, or room temp!