Well friends, I had every intention of posting a recipe or two last week, but a sore throat got in the way. I lugged my laptop along on a four day trip to Cleveland but spent every spare moment trying to sleep off this head cold. I’ll try to share more about my trip later this week, once I get my thoughts organized and my life back in order. I will say this: Cleveland is a delicious city!
I’ve already made two batches of this pumpkin bread, which is adapted from my ultimate banana bread recipe. It’s my trump card and I’ve been waiting until the right time to share it. Today I present it to you as a peace offering for my lackadaisical posting schedule.
This quick pumpkin bread is everything pumpkin bread should be: moist but not too oily, with a delectable spiced crumb that rises high in the oven. It’s made with 100% whole wheat flour, unrefined coconut oil and sweetened with honey, but you don’t have to tell anyone it’s healthy—they’ll just think it’s the best pumpkin bread they’ve ever had. Topped with a smear of peanut butter or a drizzle of coconut butter, it’ll stick with you from breakfast to lunch time.
And, bonus! This bread is easy to make and only requires one bowl, hence its title as the “ultimate” pumpkin bread recipe.
I’m sure some pumpkin purists would argue that I should have used homemade pumpkin purée for this recipe. I’ve heard mixed results on homemade pumpkin purée, though, and I justified my decision to use canned, organic purée by assuming that most of you would use it, too.
If you’re interested in learning how to make your own, here’s a post that shows you three ways to make pumpkin purée. But hey, if you get a craving and crank open a can of pumpkin in an off season, I won’t judge!
See all those pale yellow, round dots in the bread below? It’s millet, which you may recognize as bird seed, but people can eat it, too! It took a couple of slices for me to warm up to the crunchy element, but now I really like it.
If you’re feeling adventurous, mix some millet into your batter. It’s an idea I got from Joy the Baker’s whole wheat and millet banana bread recipe.
Honey Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 60 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 1 loaf 1x
- Category: Quick Bread
Whole wheat, honey-sweetened pumpkin bread that only requires one bowl to make. You don’t have to tell anyone it’s healthy!
- ⅓ cup melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup honey
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup pumpkin purée
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon, plus more to swirl on top
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon allspice or cloves
- 1 ¾ cups whole wheat pastry flour or regular whole wheat flour
- Optional- ⅓ to ½ cup rinsed millet
- 1 teaspoon baking soda*
- ¼ cup hot water*
- Optional- turbinado (raw) sugar for sprinkling on top
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius) and grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, beat oil and honey together. Add eggs, and beat well.
- Stir in pumpkin purée and vanilla, then the salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice. Stir in flour, just until combined. If you’re adding millet, stir that in as well.
- Add baking soda to hot water, stir to mix, and then mix briefly into batter until it is evenly distributed. Spread batter into the greased loaf pan.
- Sprinkle with cinnamon, and swirl with the tip of a table knife for a pretty marbled effect. Sprinkle a big pinch of turbinado sugar on top for a light, sweet crunch.
- Bake for 55 to 65 minutes. Be sure to check that the bread is done baking by inserting a toothpick in the top. It should come out clean. If the top of the bread jiggles when you pull it out of the oven, it’s NOT done! Let the bread cool in the loaf pan for 5 minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes before slicing.
- Adapted from my Ultimate Banana Bread.
- If you need a great loaf pan, I love my Le Creuset stoneware loaf pan. It’s non-toxic, heats evenly and cleans easily.
- *Update 10/13/14: After several years of being baffled by the hot water/baking soda trick, I can now definitively report that it’s an unnecessary step. If you prefer, you can just stir in ¼ cup water or milk (any kind) into the oil/honey/eggs and whisk the baking soda in with the spices.
Tried this today! My family of 8 all loved it!! (Even the pumpkin haters:)
Awesome, thanks Heather! Glad to hear it!
I made this about two days ago. It was SOOO delicious. I’m gonna try your banana bread recipe tonight!
Awesome! Thank you!
Hello just made pumpkin bread for first time and it seemed a little dry. And not as “pumpkiny” as I would like. Any ideas?
Hey Laurie, how did you measure out your flour? I use the spoon and swoop method—spoon the flour into the measuring cups, then level the top. If you scoop it into the cups, you could end up with nearly twice as much flour, which would make the bread both dry and less flavorful.
Just wondering what I could substitute the millet for (I don’t think I have any on hand right now). Oats? Thanks in advance!
I made muffins because I don’t have a bread pan. They are so good! I ran out of whole wheat pastry flour so I improvised and used 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour + 3/4 cup of instant oats. I also added millet, chopped pecans, and currants.
Thank you, Jen! Your version sounds great!
Looks delicious. Would replacing the honey with maple syrup work? Thank you!
Yes, it will! I’d actually recommend working from my updated version of this recipe; it’s a little easier to follow.
Mmmmm, yum. I cannot wait to try this bread. I love the honey, whole wheat flour and coconut oil combination. This is a perfect bread for the fall months. I have included the recipe on my blog! Thank you!
Do you think instead of two real eggs, I could use two flax eggs? Or would it ruin the consistency? I would love to make this tonight for my work’s Thanksgiving potluck tomorrow! :)
I made this recipe today for the second and it turned out horrible. The first time I made it, I doubled it and added walnuts and it was beautiful even though I had to cook it for way longer than specified. Today I doubled it again without the walnuts and I had to bake it for almost two hours. It’s still not done all the way inside too! Ugh. What do I do? Is it unsalvageable? I also used olive oil this time and coco oil last time. Help!
I made the recipe exactly as written and it needed way longer to bake, too. I had to take it out at an hour and a half, and it was still inedible (and I don’t mind underbaked stuff usually)! Such a shame because it smelled great and the batter looked promising before baking.
This was great! I love your healthy apple muffins and I’ve been dying to try this so I baked this as soon as I got up this morning :) so good! I just used 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice and added some maple syrup to the honey since I didn’t have quite 1/2 cup. I used almond milk for the liquid. I ate the first piece all healthy with peanut butter and bananas…I ate the 2nd slice with leftover homemade cream cheese frosting :)
Thanks for a great recipe!
Can I use butternut squash as an alternative to pumpkin?
I made this recipe today with field pumpkin puree (from jack-o-lanterns) instead of canned pumpkin. Field pumpkin tastes very similar to butternut squash so it would probably work. Just make sure it’s not really watery; you may want to strain or squeeze some of the liquid out of the squash puree before using it.
I made this recipe as muffins this morning. I baked them at 325F for about 25-30 minutes. YUMMMM!!! I adjusted the honey to 1/3 cup and added a few chopped dates and pecans. It was still plenty sweet but not overwhelming. We used pumpkin puree from our jack-o-lantern pumpkins that we made after Halloween. Since it’s field and not sugar pumpkin it wasn’t as pumpkin-y, but still really good.
I’m digging the eco-friendliness of this variation. Saving the Jack-o-Lantern filling is such a good idea! I’m glad your version worked out well :)
It’s definitely more of a a swuash flacor than traditional pumpkin, but they were free (from my kids’ preschool) and a veggie so we will use them!
I’ve made this wonderful recipe twice now. But this second time it barely rose at all. I’m wondering if the few changes I made had something to do with this: used applesauce instead of oil (I saw this suggested somewhere here, Kate); Splenda instead of honey; 1 c whole wheat flour, 3/4 c white flour; used convection instead of regular bake. I used convection because I’ve also had trouble getting items baked in a loaf pan cooked all the way through.
Many thanks for any help!
I just had my first piece and it’s delicious! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful recipe!
You’re welcome, Elise :)
I made it with one-for-one GF flour. It turned out great!! :D
I have made this bread over and over and it is always a winner!! I have never used canned puree (not sure if this is available in Australia! ), but instead just steam and mash the pumpkin. It is also very forgiving of the changes I have occasionally been forced to make, such as rice malt as a honey substitute, flax eggs for my vegan friends, and absence of millet. Would definitely recommend this to anyone!!
Thank you, Natalie! I’m glad your substitutions went well, too.
I can’t wait to make this pumpkin bread recipe. I love the banana bread recipe.
Can I use millet flour instead of whole millet?
No, the millet is added just for the texture. I would just omit it.
This was ok, but I like it a little sweeter and a little more moist.
I’m sorry you felt that way! I tried to hold back on the amount of sweet to keep it on the healthier side. You can always add more if you would like.
Just made it this morning and it is delicious. Just the right amount of sweetness. I substituted about a half cup of ground flax seed for the flour to give another healthy addition. Ver easy to make. Thanks!
You’re welcome, Steve!
Kate- I’m going to make this bread this weekend and am thinking of following Steve’s lead with the flax seed. Do I need to increase my liquids when I do this, and if so, can you tell me how much?
Delicious!! I’m excited to try baking it. Can you replace the honey with maple syrup by any chance?
It should work, but let me know what you think of it with maple syrup!
Just did the recipe! Came out perfect with wonderful aroma of spices and honey! Love it! TY
Looks delicious! Do you think adding pumpkin pie seasoning instead of all 3 spices? I think I’ll try it and see:)
I have made this recipe and I love it. It’s perfectly sweet without all the unnecessary added sugar that comes with store bought sweets. This page is saved under my favorites so I can reference it again.
Great to hear, Paris!
the bread turned out great.can not wait to try more of your recipes.
Can I make this recipe gluten-free? What can I substitute for honey?
Hi! I recommend a gluten free flour mix like Bob’s Red Mill 1:1. This is meant to have honey, but maple syrup might work.
I have made this many times as written and it is amazing! I tried to make it GF today, and was so confident it would turn out I doubled the recipe. I used Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 and sadly it did not turn out at all- literally would not cook through even though I ended up trying for two hours! (checking every 5 minutes). I will go back to gluten for this one!
Have you tried this recipe with sprouted wheat?
I haven’t, Kelly!
Finding good recipes made with whole wheat is difficult and I am very impressed! We folded in a cup of chocolate chips and it was amazing!!!
I wasn’t impressed with this recipe. It was just okay. The only thing I left out was the millet. If I were to make it again, I would double up on the spice and add some walnuts or currants (or both) for something a little extra. Easy recipe to follow. Just not what I wanted when craving that pumpkin spice flavor.
I’m sorry you didn’t love this, Jeanna! What pumpkin spice did you use? I find that they can vary sometimes.
Greetings- can you substitute gluten free flour for the whole wheat? Thanks!
Hi Jamie! Try my pumpkin bread recipe instead. It works well with the recommendation provided! I hope you love it.
I made this recipe into 12 muffins. Baked about 24 mins at 375, PERFECT!!
I added a cup of golden raisins, which is a lovely addition.
I made these as “healthy” muffins, and made a dozen decadent white flour, sugary, chocolate chip muffins the same day…the Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins are superior.
Fourth time baking a double batch of this divine pumpkin loaf! I use 1/3 cup of oats, as per the muffin recipe, along with 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and it always comes out perfect! My go to sweet treat while on a dairy and soy free diet due to breastfeeding.
I love it! I’m glad you are able to enjoy them, Lizzy.
Hmmm… It’s really not sweet at all. Next time I’ll look for a recipe with more sugar. I added raisins soaked in hot water as well. Hopefully my family will still eat it.
Hi Lana, I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this recipe. I appreciate your feedback.
Made this today. Everyone in the house enjoyed it tremendously. We like that it’s not as sweet as many store bought breads. Added Walnuts delish.
I made 4 loaves of this bread. Each one turned out perfect. I love the honey instead of sugar since both my husband and I substitute honey for pure sugar. The texture and flavors all were the best taste for a fall treat. I left out the millet but found the bread was still perfect! Thank you for posting it. I just baked my 4th loaf to share with family members.
I’m glad you have made so much already! I appreciate your review, Angela.
How much is 1 cup ?
Hi Dorte, I use US measurements. This table can be helpful for conversions.
This is delicious! I used pumpkin pie spice and added pecan halves to the top. I was a little short on honey but plenty sweet. I used the leftover pumpkin purée to make a vegan pumpkin soup for lunch. I love pumpkin season and this bread is a healthy addition to my fall breakfast line up! Thanks Kate.
This bread recipe came together quickly and its delicious! I will be making this again! Thanks Kate!
You’re welcome, Claudia!
We made this in mini muffin form with our preschool class. We used homemade pumpkin puree, and it turned out great! So many parents were asking us for the recipe because the kids loved it!
How fun! Thank you for sharing, Anna.
Would this recipe work for mini loaf pans? How many, and baked how long?
Hi Jan, I haven’t tried it but it should. You will need to cut the time down. I’m not sure how much without trying it.
I followed this to a t and it’s got to be the worst pumpkin bread recipe ever! It was so dry and the batter was so thick.. it’s all wrong.. I’m not sure how you came up with this????
Hi Mark, I’m sorry to hear that. Did you spoon and level your flour? It sounds like you had too much flour or missing and ingredient.
Nope, give this a thumbs down. Definitely add sugar on top, but no one would bother eating this in my family and that says a lot. Love many of your recipes, but not this one.
I’m sorry you didn’t love this one, Lynne. I appreciate your feedback.
One thing that frustrates me with online recipes, it is rarely mentioned the placement in the oven – middle rack or lower rack. I placed mine in the middle – waiting for the loaves to finish baking.
Hi Sharon, rule of thumb is to bake on middle rack unless stated otherwise. I hope you were able to enjoy it!
Love this recipe. I can’t have refined sugars and this alternative is perfect for helping to satisfy my sweet tooth. Thank you!