Tasty Tuesday: Perfect Pumpkin Bread

Last week when I wrote about comfort food, some of the things I mentioned are foods that I think of as ones that “only my mom makes right.” Well, the longer I cook, the more things I find that only *I* make the way I really like them! This pumpkin bread recipe is one of my all-time favorites. I got the “bones” of this recipe from my mother-in-law years ago, but I’ve tweaked and adjusted and massaged it so much that it really is MY recipe at this point.

This recipe is huge. It makes 5 regular sized loaves of pumpkin bread. It barely fit into my 5 qt. mixer bowl. If I ran the mixer on the lowest speed, nothing jumped out; by the time everything was added, there was about 1/4″ of space between the batter and the top of the bowl. It fits better in a 6 qt. mixer. There is no reason, however, that this bread needs to be made in the mixer. Stirring it up in a huge tupperware bowl or an oversized mixing bowl also works just fine. (I use my mixer because I am Quite Lazy.) If you don’t want to end up with five loaves of pumpkin bread, you can easily cut this recipe in half and make two extra large loaves.

I TRY to wrap and freeze a couple of loaves so I always have something in the freezer for unexpected guests, but sometimes I don’t get to the bread before it’s all been devoured. (Those male teenaged locusts at my house make every freezing endeavor a race, doncha know!)

Perfect Pumpkin Bread (Click Here for printer-friendly version)

  • 1 1/3 c. vegetable oil
  • 5 c. sugar
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 large 29 oz. can of pumpkin (If you are halving this recipe, use a 1 pound can. Rule of thumb is that 2 c. pumpkin=1 pound.)
  • 1 1/3 c. water
  • 4 1/2 c. flour
  • 2 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 4 t. baking soda
  • 3 t. salt
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. ground cardamom (optional, but try it–it’s really tasty!)
  • 2 t. ground cloves
  • 2 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1 t. ground allspice
  • 2 c. raisins (you can also try 1 c. raisins and 1 c. cranberries; the original recipe way back when called for currants, but I never have those just lying around)
  • 2 c. chopped pecans or walnuts (you can use either nut, but which nut you use will make a difference in the final result.)

Mix together all the liquid-y ingredients and pumpkin. Mix in spices, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Stir in flours and make sure there are no pockets of flour that don’t get mixed in. Add nuts and raisins last. (Note: you can omit the nuts if there is a nut allergy problem. If you also omit the raisins, you probably need to add a little extra flour. If you omit both nuts and raisins, you will probably end up with four loaves instead of five.)

Pour into five greased loaf pans and bake at 325° for approximately 1 hr. and 15 minutes. Bread is done when the toothpick or skewer comes out clean. Don’t overbake. If you use smaller pans, the loaves will bake faster.

As always, the best moment to eat this bread is immediately after it gets out of the oven! This makes a great breakfast food, especially when topped with a slice of sharp cheddar. This is also a nice guest food to serve with a cup of coffee at any time.

Wrap this bread in foil and then in plastic to freeze. This is a great “being prepared” food to have when you need something at the drop of a hat.

Want to use fresh pumpkin instead of the canned stuff? Check out how to cook up fresh pumpkins on My Sister’s Kitchen.

Barb Kelley



  1. Yay! I posted it to Google Docs for those of you that want to print out this recipe.