Pumpkin Walnut Bread

pumpkin-bread2-660 Sweet and savory, delicious and nutritious, a vegetable and a dessert: pumpkin bread is all things to all men. And women. And dogs, if they can get their paws on some. (Although I suspect cats would just bat it around for awhile before disdainfully leaving the room to find some furniture to ruin. But I digress).

Pumpkin bread, like pumpkin itself, is a lovely thing. This one is nicely spiced, not too sweet, easy to make, and stores well. And? A brilliant way to use up that leftover pumpkin purée from Thanksgiving: you know, the extra can you bought “just in case.” Below is a double recipe: enjoy a loaf today, and tuck the extra in the freezer for the inevitable last-minute holiday gathering. Enjoy!

pumpkin-bread1-660Pumpkin Bread


  • 3 cups (13 and ½ oz) whole white wheat flour (Wild Hive Farm “all purpose”)
  • 1 cup (7 and ½ oz) turbinado (raw cane) sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups pumpkin purée (fresh, frozen or canned)
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup walnut oil (or neutral vegetable oil)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce (or substitute apple or pumpkin butter)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, plus extra for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare bread pans with a light spritz of cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients: flour, salt, sugar, baking soda and spices. Stir in chopped walnuts. In a medium bowl, mix wet ingredients: eggs, pumpkin, buttermilk, oil, applesauce and vanilla, beating eggs well and mixing until homogeneous.
  3. Fold together wet & dry ingredients until just mixed. Scrape into prepared pans; tap several times on the counter top to settle dough into the corners of each pan. Sprinkle some chopped nuts across the top of each pan. Bake until tops are nicely browned and a cake tester comes out clean, approximately 40 – 45 minutes for mini-loaves (see Options below to adjust timing for other pans).
  4. Cool in pan for about 20 minutes, then remove from pans and allow to cool completely on cooling rack. The bread is crumbly while still warm, so cooling completely will allow for clean slices.

Yields two large loaves (9 x 5 inch), four mini loaves (3 x 6 inch), 20 muffins, or about 4 dozen mini-muffins.


  1. Add 1 cup of chocolate chips, coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate, dried cranberries, raisins or apricots, or a combination.
  2. Pecans and filberts make a nice substitution for the walnuts. Sometimes I use ½ cup pepitas and ½ cup nuts.
  3. You can, of course, use regular all-purpose flour. Whole wheat bread flour is a coarser grind and contains more gluten, which can make the bread more crumbly and a bit tough. Whole wheat pastry flour makes a more tender bread, but it can be very dense and I have difficulty getting the middle fully cooked before the outsides are overly browned.
  4. Cooking times for alternate pan sizes: large loaf = 50 – 60 minutes, muffins = 25 – 30 minutes, mini-muffins = about 20 minutes.


Up to 2 days wrapped in a clean kitchen towel, or up to 1 week, double-wrapped in plastic wrap, at room temperature. Up to 10 days, well-wrapped, in the refrigerator, and up to 6 months in the freezer. If freezing, double-wrap in plastic wrap or foil and then place the wrapped loaves into a heavy-duty Ziploc bag (to prevent freezer burn).


Pumpkins are in season in the Fall, but on a cool kitchen counter or a root cellar will last well into Winter. Pumpkin purée can be frozen for use year-round.


  1. Hi! I made this bread last month (with a few changes). It was tasty! I used some local flour that had kind of a course grind and I thought it made the bread taste kind of bran-muffin like, so next time I think I’ll add some raisins and make it in a muffin pan. Yum!

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