Health(ier) Pumpkin Bread


I like me some bread that’s more like a cake. So when I saw my friend M. posting on Facebook about her awesome pumpkin bread, I asked for the recipe and made it.

It’s from a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, with some modifications (at the bottom).

Here’s the recipe straight from my cook book (Better Homes and Gardens) and I’ll add my variations on the bottom. I try to do it a bit healthier but it in no way tastes healthy…it is AMAZING!

Pumpkin Bread
3 cups sugar
1 cup cooking oil
4 eggs
3 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2/3 cup water
1 15 ounce can pumpkin

1. Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of two 9x5x3-inch, three 8x4x2-inch, or four 7 1/2×3 1/2×2-inch loaf pans; set aside. In a very large mixing bowl beat sugar and oil with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add eggs and beat well; set aside.

2. In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Alternately add flour mixture and water to sugar mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Beat in pumpkin. Spoon batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 55 to 65 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely on wire racks. Wrap and store overnight before slicing. (I didn’t do this and it was fine when sliced after cooling).

Prep: 20 min; Makes 32 servings


1. Sub 1 cup no sugar added applesauce for the cooking oil.

2. You can sub white whole wheat flour for the all-purpose flour. I used half whole wheat and half all-purpose and it still tasted very very moist.

3. If you use something that’s not canned pumpkin, like Pacific Natural Foods Organic Pumpkin Puree (in a 17.6 oz carton)  increase the flour to 4 cups.

4. Fold in a bag of dark chocolate mini chunks or Nestle mini chocolate chips after the pumpkin is beat in (you can also fold in nuts if you want).

6. Cook the whole thing for 60 min in a large, long Pyrex dish (not separate loaf containers)…approx 15x10x2-inch…and keep it in there for cooling/storing. Cover for storage. It rises a good amount so make sure there is room at the top of the dish for that.

Happy eating!


It was really good. I used the chocolate chips and basically ate this all last weekend.

So while I wouldn’t call it “healthy” it’s certainly healthier than other delicious baked goods you could be eating. I love having it with a cup of coffee and think it’s probably a lot fewer calories and higher nutritional value than what you’d find at a coffee (cough: Starbucks) shop.

The 3 cups of sugar seemed like a lot of sugar to me, but I didn’t have any artificial sugar (and I don’t really like artificial sugar) and wasn’t sure how to change it with, say, honey, or less sugar. If you have ideas for that, let me know in the comments.

Published by Margaret Dilloway

Middle grade and women's fiction novelist. FIVE THINGS ABOUT AVA ANDREWS, (Balzer + Bray 2020); SUMMER OF A THOUSAND PIES. MOMOTARO: Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters (Disney Hyperion); TALE OF THE WARRIOR GEISHA and SISTERS OF HEART AND SNOW, out now from Putnam Books. HOW TO BE AN AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE was a finalist for the John Gardner fiction award. THE CARE AND HANDLING OF ROSES WITH THORNS is the 2013 Literary Tastes Best Women's Fiction Pick for the American Library Association. Mother of three children, wife to one, slave to a cat, and caretaker of the best overgrown teddy bear on Earth, Gatsby the Goldendoodle.

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