Healthy Pumpkin Bread

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This healthy pumpkin bread is made with fiber-rich whole wheat flour, naturally sweetened with maple syrup and packed with warm spices. It’s moist, fluffy and makes for the perfect fall treat. Plus, it can easily be made vegan.

This healthy pumpkin bread is one thing that I absolutely love making during the fall months! It’s loaded with pumpkin flavor, warm spices and tastes so good with a cup of hot coffee on a crisp fall morning. Pair it with my pumpkin spice latte for the ultimate fall experience.

That said, most pumpkin breads are far from being a health food. They’re loaded with sugar and lack fiber, so I set out to create a pumpkin bread recipe that’s lower in sugar and made with a higher-fiber flour, but still tasty and satisfying. And I finally nailed it!

A loaf of healthy pumpkin bread on parchment paper on a cutting board. There's three slices of bread near the loaf with a cutting knife, three cinnamon sticks, and small pumpkins also nearby.

What Makes This Pumpkin Bread Healthy?

As I mentioned above this pumpkin bread recipe is relatively healthy in comparison to traditional recipes…

  • I used fiber-rich whole wheat pastry flour instead of traditional all-purpose flour.
  • I used coconut oil and applesauce instead of butter
  • It’s naturally sweetened with pure maple syrup instead of refined sugar.
Ingredients measured out to make Healthy Pumpkin Bread: whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, cinnamon, sea salt, vanilla, pumpkin, eggs, unsweetened applesauce, maple syrup, coconut sugar and coconut oil.

Ingredients Needed

  • whole wheat pastry flour whole wheat pastry flour works better than regular whole wheat flour if you’re looking for the light and fluffy bread that regular all-purpose flour provides, but still want the nutrients of whole wheat flour. My favorite brand is Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour.
  • baking powder and baking soda – to help the bread rise.
  • cinnamon – the perfect spice pairing for this bread.
  • pumpkin pie spice – you can make homemade pumpkin pie spice with just cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg or use a store-bought spice blend.
  • sea salt – to bring all of the flavors together.
  • pumpkin puree – use canned pumpkin or make your own pumpkin puree. If you use canned pumpkin from the store, make sure the ingredient list is just pumpkin – don’t accidentally buy pumpkin pie filling! It’s loaded with added sugar.
  • eggs – gives the loaf structure.
  • maple syrup – a natural sweetener that pairs perfectly with the spices and pumpkin.
  • vanilla extract – a delicious flavor enhancer.
  • coconut oil – helps bind the wet and dry ingredients together and add some richness.
  • unsweetened applesauce – keeps this bread moist without adding extra oil!
  • cinnamon sugar topping – optional but highly recommend adding a coconut sugar and cinnamon mixture before baking to create a delicious, sweet crust!
Side by side photos of Healthy Pumpkin Bread in a pan, before and after being baked. Topped with cinnamon coconut sugar.

How to Make

Prep: Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare your loaf pan by spraying it with cooking spray or lining it with parchment paper.

Mix dry ingredients: In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt.

Mix wet ingredients: In a medium bowl whisk together pumpkin, eggs, maple syrup, oil, applesauce and vanilla until smooth and combined.

Combine: Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir well until just combined.

Make topping: In a small bowl mix together coconut sugar and cinnamon for the topping.

Bake: Pour batter into the loaf pan and top with coconut sugar cinnamon topping and place on the center rack of oven. Bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool before removing from pan.

A loaf of healthy pumpkin bread on parchment paper on a cutting board.

Substitutions & Notes

Flour – If you can’t find whole wheat pastry flour you can also use white whole wheat flour, 1 cup all-purpose and 3/4 cup regular whole wheat or 1 3/4 cup all-purpose. Lots of options!

Coconut oil – Melted butter or any neutral oil like olive oil or avocado oil will work as a substitute for the coconut oil.

Maple syrup – Feel free to swap the maple syrup with honey or agave.

Vegan – Swap 2 flax eggs for the regular eggs to make this loaf vegan. Just a note that if you use flax eggs the loaf might not rise as much.

Gluten-free – You can try using a gluten-free flour blend in place of the whole wheat pastry flour. I haven’t tested it myself, but Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour would be a good option. The bread might not rise as much, but I’m sure it will still taste delicious! I also have a couple grain-free pumpkin options for you! These flourless pumpkin muffins are made with almond butter and SO amazing. Or this quinoa flour pumpkin bread with chocolate chips is another delicious, hearty option.

A loaf of healthy pumpkin bread on parchment paper on a cutting board. There's three slices of bread near the loaf with a cutting knife, three cinnamon sticks, and small pumpkins also nearby.

Optional Mix-ins

I didn’t add any extra mix-ins to this recipe because I love the texture and flavor without but if you want to take this pumpkin bread to the next level, feel free! Here are some ideas:

  • chocolate chips – an obvious first choice! I recommend adding Lily’s chocolate chips to keep the sugar and carbs down while still adding decadent chocolate flavor.
  • chopped nuts – if you like nuts in your quick breads, add a handful to this batter! I recommend walnuts or pecans, but any nut will do.
Multiple slices of healthy pumpkin bread leaning against one another on a cutting board with a knife, cinnamon sticks, and a small pumpkin nearby.

Tips For Success

  • Don’t over-mix: One of the key steps to achieving fluffy, tender bread is to avoid over-mixing the batter otherwise you’ll end up with pumpkin bread that is dense and gummy. Stir until just combined for the best texture. It’s okay if there are a few streaks of flour left.
  • Line your loaf pan: Don’t forget to line your loaf pan with parchment paper for easy removal. I also recommend spraying the sides of the pan with cooking spray so the sides don’t stick to the pan.
  • Don’t skip the topping: The cinnamon sugar topping is the best part, IMO! It results in a crispy, crunchy sweet topping that is simply irresistible!
  • Test for doneness: Insert a toothpick into the center of the loaf to check if it’s done. If it comes out clean or with just a few crumbs, the loaf is ready to come out of the oven.
  • Let cool completely: I know it may be tempting to dig into this loaf right away, but trust me when I say you’ll want to let your loaf cool completely before slicing. The loaf continues to bake as it cools and if you cut it too soon it might seem undercooked or fall apart.
A slice of healthy pumpkin bread on a small plate with a small bite taken out of it.

How to Serve Pumpkin Bread

This healthy pumpkin bread is arguably delicious for any part of the day! I would eat this for breakfast, a mid-day snack or even dessert! I love putting a slice in our toaster oven to reheat and topping it with a little nut butter. Here are more ideas:

  • toast the pumpkin bread and spread on coconut butter or traditional butter
  • cream cheese – plain, vanilla or cinnamon cream cheese would be delicious spread on top a slice of this pumpkin bread
  • warm up a slice and top with apple butter or pumpkin butter
  • toast a slice and serve with a spread of butter and drizzle of honey on top
A loaf of healthy pumpkin bread in a loaf pan.

How to Store Leftovers

After allowing your pumpkin bread to cool completely, store it in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer storage, store in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for 1-2 months.

If you freeze this loaf I recommend slicing it into individual pieces before freezing so you can easily pull one slice out at a time. To defrost, place the bread in the fridge overnight to thaw.

More Pumpkin Recipes

More Quick Bread Recipes

Be sure to check out the full collection of pumpkin recipes and all my quick bread recipes here on EBF.

4.61 from 128 votes

Healthy Pumpkin Bread

This healthy pumpkin bread is made with fiber-rich whole wheat flour, naturally sweetened with maple syrup and packed with warm spices. It's moist, fluffy and makes for the perfect fall treat. Plus, it can easily be made vegan.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 10

Ingredients  

Topping

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare 1 regular sized loaf pan (8.5 inch) by spraying it with cooking spray or lining it with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt).
    A woman's hand uses a whisk to mix the dry ingredients for the healthy pumpkin bread.
  • Combine the wet ingredients (pumpkin, eggs, maple syrup, oil, applesauce and vanilla) in a medium-sized mixing bowl and blend well.
    A woman's hand uses a whisk to mix the wet ingredients for the healthy pumpkin bread in a large bowl.
  • Add the liquid mixture to the dry and stir well until just combined.
    A woman's hand uses a silicone spatula to combine the wet and dry ingredients for the healthy pumpkin bread in a large mixing bowl.
  • In a small bowl mix coconut sugar and cinnamon for the topping.
    Ground cinnamon and coconut sugar in a small bowl.
  • Pour batter into the loaf pan and top with coconut sugar cinnamon topping and place on the center rack of oven. Bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
    Healthy pumpkin bread in a loaf pan after being baked.
  • Allow to cool before removing from pan.
  • Bread should keep at room temperature for at least 3 days. For longer storage, keep in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for 1-2 months.

Video

Notes

  • Whole wheat pastry flour: If you can’t find whole wheat pastry flour you can also use white whole wheat flour, 1 cup all-purpose and ¾ cup regular whole wheat or 1¾ cup all-purpose. For a gluten-free option, you could try a gluten-free 1:1 flour blend.
  • Eggs: Flaxseed eggs can be used to replace the regular eggs to make this loaf vegan. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice with topping | Calories: 146kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 258mg | Potassium: 47mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Breakfast/Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: healthy pumpkin bread
Did you make this recipe?Mention @eatingbirdfood and tag #eatingbirdfood!

About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

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191 Comments

    1. Hi Christine – I haven’t tried it, so I am not sure how it would change the texture or consistency of the bread. If you give it a try, let me know how it turns out.

  1. 5 stars
    I make this into muffins and it is so good. This is the best healthy pumpkin bread/muffin recipe ever. I bake the muffins in a regular muffin pan at the same temp and they are done in about 25 minutes. They are the perfect amount of sweetness and so moist! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!

    1. Ah this is amazing, Christy! I am so glad these turned out great for you as muffins and you are loving them. Thank you so much for giving this recipe a try and for coming back and sharing your review & star rating, it means so much to me!

  2. 5 stars
    with all the interrupting ads on this page.. somehow I left a review on the muffins instead of the bread. too much to click and close to find the right thing. yikes

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