In a fit of organization earlier this week, I started to clean out our pantry, a well-intentioned task that stopped abruptly when I came across a stray can of pumpkin. Right around this time, I felt the lightest twinge of hunger, and we also happened to have a few spotty bananas lurking on the kitchen counter. Fate had spoken. Forget the pantry reorg—it was time for healthy Pumpkin Banana Bread!
Moist, lightly springy, and pleasantly spiced, this mashup of my two greatest quick bread loves, banana bread and pumpkin bread, is whole wheat, naturally sweetened with honey, and defies seasonal designation.
Pumpkin bread feels quintessentially autumn and banana bread like a delicious default (“have ripe bananas, will bake”).
I adore them both, but this week I was craving something a little more out of the ordinary, which ironically enough turned out to be something in between.
This Pumpkin Banana Bread recipe takes the best of these two classic breakfast recipes and combines them into one of the most tender, moist, and satisfying healthy quick bread recipes you’ll ever bake.
Healthy Pumpkin Banana Bread—The Best of Both Worlds
Considering my laundry list of healthy pumpkin bread recipes (Vegan Pumpkin Bread, Healthy Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread) is rivaled only by my collection of healthy banana bread recipes (ahem, classic Healthy Banana Bread, Paleo Banana Bread, Cream Cheese Banana Bread…), it was only a matter of time before the two got together to create a tasty pumpkin and banana bread baby.
Although this bread is melt-in-your-mouth tender thanks to the combo of the banana, pumpkin, and Greek yogurt (a key ingredient in Cream Cheese Banana Bread), all of which make baked goods magnificently moist, it has enough density to make it taste satisfying and leave you feeling nourished and complete.
I love to warm up a big slice of this bread for breakfast (try it smeared with peanut butter) or snitch it cold from the fridge when I’m craving an instant pick-me-up, and it makes a lovely treat for coworkers, neighbors, and anyone whose day you’d like to brighten.
This pumpkin bread has notes of vanilla and honey, the spice is subtle but present, and it rises beautifully in the pan.
What to Add to Pumpkin Banana Bread
- I added toasted chopped pecans, which give the bread a pleasing warmth and satisfying crunch.
- Toasted walnuts would also be scrumptious (they’re my favorite in these Healthy Banana Muffins).
- I don’t think I need to tell you this, but a handful of chocolate chips, either in place of or in addition to the nuts, would not be remiss.
- Dried fruit, such as dried cranberries or chopped dried apricots, would be lovely.
Dietary Considerations and Substitutions
- As written, this healthy bread is 100% whole wheat but doesn’t taste it at all thanks to white whole wheat flour, which is mild and tastes like regular white all-purpose flour in this recipe.
- If you’d like Pumpkin Banana Bread gluten free, you can use the same amount of a 1:1 gluten free baking blend like this one.
- To make the Pumpkin Banana Bread vegan is trickier. Because this bread is already so moist, I fear using flax eggs in place of the regular eggs would be risky, and the yogurt would need to be swapped too. I’d suggest scratching your pumpkin itch with these Vegan Pumpkin Muffins instead.
- I haven’t yet tried this recipe as Pumpkin Banana Bread muffins or Pumpkin Banana Bread mini loaves, but I think that either would work nicely with the same batter (you could also try these Healthy Pumpkin Muffins instead). Simply check early and remove your muffins/mini loaves when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- For paleo Pumpkin Banana Bread, I’d refer you to either this Paleo Pumpkin Bread or this Paleo Banana Bread. I haven’t developed a paleo version that combines both banana and pumpkin yet, but you could try swapping part of the pumpkin/banana in either recipe for some of the other to create a combo of your own.
If you do want to play around with the banana and pumpkin ratios in these recipes, see below.
How to Substitute Pumpkin for Banana in Bread
Generally, you can substitute pumpkin for banana in bread (so you can play around with the paleo recipes above if you want a pumpkin/banana combo), but please note a few key things:
- Ripe banana usually tastes sweeter than pumpkin, so if you are swapping pumpkin for banana, you may want to add a tablespoon or two of brown or granulated sugar (don’t add too much or you may throw off the consistency of the batter). Do not add liquid sweeteners like honey or maple syrup, as they can throw off the consistency of the batter by making it too moist.
- Pumpkin is also fairly bland on its own, so I recommend adding more spices.
When in doubt: look for a recipe that’s already written for the type of bread you want to bake. I have many pumpkin (see my list of healthy pumpkin recipes) and banana bread recipes (see my full list of healthy baked goods/breads), so I’m betting there’s one to meet your needs!
The next time you are craving a cozy breakfast treat that tastes extra special, are ready for a relaxing baking session, or stumble upon a loose can of pumpkin waiting to meet its tasty purpose, give this Pumpkin Banana Bread recipe a try. It’s one of the best bread recipes I’ve baked, and I know it will a favorite of yours too!
Recommended Tools to Bake This Banana Bread
- 8×4 inch loaf pan (I am a diehard fan of this pan and this brand’s entire line of bakeware)
- Non-slip mixing bowls
Pumpkin Banana Bread
- 1/2 cup pecan halves or walnut halves optional; you can also swap other mix-ins of choice such as golden raisins, cranberries, or chocolate chips
- 1 cup mashed banana the riper the better (about 2 large bananas)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar or light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup pure pumpkin puree NOT pumpkin pie filling
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and a pinch of ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. If using nuts for the mix-ins, spread them onto a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake until toasted and fragrant, about 8 to 12 minutes depending upon the size of the nuts. Do not walk away during the last few minutes of baking (this is when nuts love to burn). Immediately transfer to a cutting board. Let cool a few minutes, then roughly chop. Lightly coat an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.
- In a small bowl, mash the bananas measure them out to ensure that you have 1 cup. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a mixing bowl, beat together the butter and coconut sugar until smooth and combined. Beat in the measured banana, Greek yogurt, honey, eggs, pumpkin (feel free to reuse the measuring cup you used for the banana to measure the pumpkin), and vanilla. Sprinkle the pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt over the top. Sprinkle the flour over the top, then with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir by hand, just until the flour disappears. Fold in the pecans or another mix-ins.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and let rest uncovered at room temperature for 15 minutes (Don’t skip this step! Resting helps the flour absorb the wet ingredients and will give you a better texture and flavor).
- Bake the bread for 55 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Another quick check is to see if the bread reaches 190 to 200 F degrees F on an instant read thermometer. Check the bread at the 35-minute mark. If it is browning more quickly than you would like, loosely tent the pan with foil and continue baking as directed. Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool completely, then remove the bread from the pan wrap the loaf tightly in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or even better, overnight (I know this step sounds odd but it works and makes the bread taste incredible). Slice and devour!
- This bread recipe works well when doubled! For the pumpkin, use the full (15-ounce) can. It will be a scant 1 cup of pumpkin per loaf, but the recipe will turn out fine.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months. I like to cut the cooled bread into slices, then wrap and freeze them individually and pull them out as I need/want/CRAVE them.
- To bake as muffins (not yet tested but based on my best judgment): Line a muffin pan with paper liners or lightly coat with baking spray. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 or so of the way to the top. Bake at 375 degrees F for 22 to 27 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
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This is really good and really moist! I added more of the pumpkin spices because our usual pumpkin bread has a lot of flavor, but did not add nuts or chocolate. I liked that it was super easy and used minimal dishes too! My youngest son wasn’t a fan but I think he just wants to complain about something this morning…
I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Amy! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
Suuuuper moist! I couldnt wait till completely cool and snuck a slightly cooled but warm slice. Delicious! Its so moist its like a dessert pudding 🤤 definitely going to be my breakfast for a couple of days. I feel I couldve added more pumpkin spice seasoning, or maybe my mix was getting a little old hahaha I swear I’ll get fresh spices soon
Hi Tash! So glad you enjoyed the bread! Thank you for this kind review!
Can you sub melted coconut oil for the butter?
Hi Amy, I haven’t tried the recipe that way, but I think you could experiment! The texture may turn out slightly different, but if you do give it a try, I’d love to hear how it goes.
Hi Erin! Thanks for the recipe and I was curious what the last step (refrigerating for 1 hour or overnight) does for the bread? (does it not dry it out?)
Hi Tiffany! I know this step sounds odd but it works and makes the bread taste incredible! Hope this helps!
Is this something that should be done with the muffins as well? Or, should they be stored with your usual muffin storing instructions? Thanks!
Hi Selena! Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months
Made this recipe a few times now and it is AMAZING!!! So delicious. Love the combination of bananas and pumpkin! Just made it again but as muffins and they turned out perfect. Followed your advice on the cooking time for muffins!
Hi Kira! So glad you enjoyed the bread! Thank you for this kind review!
Highly recommend! Made this last night with with gluten free flour 1:1 replacement and toasted pecans. Used my blender to mix all the wet ingredients and added in the dry to the blender and it still came out great!! I refrigerated overnight like suggested and it was perfectly moist for breakfast this morning-a big hit! Will definitely be making again! Thanks Erin!
Hi Jill! Thank you so much for letting us all know how it worked out with the gluten free flour 1:1! So glad you enjoyed it!
Can I use all purpose flour instead white whole wheat flour?
Hi Kayla! you can use all-purpose in the same amount here. I hope you enjoy!
A truly delicious, healthy and easy recipe and the result is just phenomenal! The smell, the texture, the flavors…Absolutely a winner among the banana bread recipes :)
Hi Bernadette! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
Can I substitute whole wheat flour for oatmeal flour
Can I substitute butter for coconut oil
Hi Loren! I’ve only tested the bread as written so I can’t be sure about those substitutes. If you decide to experiment, let me know how it goes!
I am so excited to try this. I just instant potted a pie pumpkin so I had that purée an 2 very ripe bananas. I came across your recipe and looks very yummy. I had all the ingredients. I did do walnuts and pecans, added 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder, and topped it with a caramel drizzle and fresh ground cinnamon on top. Can’t wait to see how it turns out.
Hi Shanteee! Hope you enjoy it!
Absolutely delicious. I doubled the recipe and made 2 cakes and used half honey half treacle. It was so moist and tasty, almost bread pudding texture, just scrumptious. I will definitely make this again for personal taste I would add more spices. I did refrigerate them overnight but couldn’t help have a slice when it was still warm, delicious! thanks
Hi Dawn! So glad you enjoyed the bread! Thank you for this kind review!
The perfect combination of pumpkin bread and banana bread – this recipe is easy to make and so delicious. I mixed by hand vs using a mixer and it came out great. I also added pecans per the recipe.
Hi Carolyn! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
Super moist and flavorful! I didn’t add the sugar and it was perfect. Thank you so much for the recipe
Hi Cecile! So glad you enjoyed the bread! Thank you for this kind review!
For some reason this just didn’t want to cook for me. Outside nearly burnt, inside undercooked: After an hour the toothpick was still goopy so I tried to salvage it by turning down the temp and covering w foil. Cooked for 20 min. More. It kind of deflated… I removed, cooled. Picky kids LOved the taste though!
Hi Sunny! I’m so sorry that you had trouble with this recipe. I (and other readers) have had success with the time listed, but every oven can be different. I hope it goes better next time.
Great recipe – tips on baking appreciated and the flavour is lovely. A little butter spread on top adds that little something!
Hi Di! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
Made. this recipe into muffins. Ate one about an hour after baking them. Sooooo delicious!
Hi Rhonda! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
After all the work of baking the pumpkin etc I was so disappointed that it came out as a lump that didn’t rise. The only thing I can think of is that the baking powder and baking soda weren’t mixed in properly because the recipe doesn’t call for mixing the dry ingredients separately…anyhow I’ve never had a lid tune out so poorly :(
I’m sorry you to hear had trouble with the recipe, Melissa. I know it’s frustrating to try a new recipe and not have it turn out. I (and many other readers) have enjoyed them, so I really wish they would’ve been a hit for you too! It’s hard to say what went wrong without being in the kitchen with you.
This recipe worked really well as muffins (375° for 27 minutes)
Great to hear! Thanks Olivia!
It’s raining here in my neck of the woods (Toronto, Canada)…no better day than to make something warm and delicious. I had ripe bananas, I had pumpkin puree and the first recipe that came up in google was this one!
I didn’t have baking powder (and I was already well into the mixing stage…uh oh), but google to the rescue…lemon and baking soda…it worked perfectly cause that loaf came out incredibly moist and just perfection!
Didn’t wait for it to be completely cool though (we are rule breakers up here in the north…Sorry!!…we just couldn’t resist…)
This is a keeper and thank you for turning this dreary, wet, cold Canadian day around!!
Hi Maggie! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review and so glad it worked out for you!
Wonderful recipe to use up leftover pumpkin and ripe bananas. Made into jumbo muffins. Accidentally used too much baking powder but they still turned out. Perfect transition from summer to fall bread!
Hi Selena! So glad they still turned out!
Erin, your recipe is AMAZING! I was looking for a healthier way to make pumpkin-banana bread and chose to use your recipe because it still incorporates butter as opposed to coconut oil or other alternatives. I didn’t have enough banana to make a full cup so I subbed the missing banana with more pumpkin puree. Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly as written. It took 60 minutes in my oven to achieve a clean toothpick and internal temp of 190F. After it cooled, I wrapped it in plastic and left it on the counter overnight. The loaf was incredibly moist and flavorful with just the right amount of sweetness. This recipe is a keeper and will be on regular rotation in our house!
Hi Traci! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
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