Ready or not, #PSL season has arrived! Let’s kick it off with VEGAN PUMPKIN BREAD. This marvelously moist, springy, and pumpkin-spiced bread is dairy-free, whole wheat, naturally sweetened, and uses a whopping WHOLE CAN of pumpkin (no weird pumpkin leftovers!).
Plus, this recipe contains NO OIL. The pumpkin does 100% of the lifting to make it super soft and tender, no extra fat or added sugars required.
The vegan pumpkin bread came to be a few weeks ago on an unexpectedly chilly morning. A crisp breeze ruffled the leaves in that particular way that belongs distinctly to autumn. I found a can of pumpkin in the pantry and took a poll on Instagram to see how many of you were ready for pumpkin recipes.
The answer? BRING ON THE SQUASH.
While I have dozens of healthy pumpkin recipes on my site both sweet and savory, pumpkin bread is what I crave first when pumpkin season arrives.
I love the way it fills my house with warm scents of cinnamon and nutmeg, how fast and easy it is to make, and the way every bite wraps me up like the fuzzy plaid scarves waiting to emerge from my closet.
Pumpkin bread recipes are also some of the simplest to make healthy and still taste fab. Pumpkin itself is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, antioxidants, iron, and more. Plus, since pumpkin is naturally moist, you can easily bake pumpkin bread without needing to add extra fat.
I also make pumpkin bread first for no other good reason than that I adore it, which is perhaps the best reason of all.
It’s also probably the reason I have a cache of healthy pumpkin bread, all of which I love for uniquely delicious reasons: Paleo Pumpkin Bread (this one is gluten-free and beyond moist); Healthy Pumpkin Bread (the timeless classic); Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread (has oatmeal and made me everyone’s favorite co-worker in my last job); Pumpkin Banana Bread (best of both worlds)…and I’m not done yet.
Especially when there’s this dairy free, oil free, refined sugar free scrumptiousness like this Vegan Pumpkin Bread to bake!
As I mentioned, this vegan pumpkin bread is made without oil. Instead I used applesauce, and it worked like an absolute charm.
Even if you aren’t vegan, I encourage you to try this healthy vegan pumpkin bread. It rises sky high and tastes like glorious fall days to come.
I adapted the recipe from my favorite Vegan Pumpkin Muffins (which have glowing reviews). I can’t wait for you try it.
How to Make Vegan Pumpkin Bread
- PUMPKIN. The whole can! It makes this bread unbelievably moist and tender, no oil required.
- White Whole Wheat Flour. This pumpkin bread is 100% whole wheat like my Vegan Zucchini Bread, but thanks to the mild flavor of white whole wheat flour, you’ll never suspect it.
- Pure Maple Syrup. Maple and pumpkin are fall flavor buddies! This recipe does not use sugar (the refined kind). Pure maple syrup is all you need. Note: do not use imitation maple syrup. It does not taste the same or perform the same in baking as pure (real) maple syrup.
- Flaxseed Meal. This omega-3 rich nutrient adds to the healthy factor of this vegan pumpkin bread and stands in for the eggs. (If you don’t need the bread to be vegan, you can use eggs instead.)
- Unsweetened Applesauce. Making this pumpkin bread with applesauce eliminates the need for oil. It would also be a delicious way to use this homemade crockpot applesauce.
- SPICES! Pumpkin on its own is actually pretty bland, so we need to spice it up. Pumpkin Pie Spice is a true time saver and worth adding to your pantry if you bake often. The one downfall is that it doesn’t have enough cinnamon in it (in my cinnamon-loving opinion), so I added some extra cinnamon to the recipe also.
- Pure Vanilla Extract. No resisting it.
- Unsweetened Almond Milk. Or any milk you like. If you are concerned with keeping the bread vegan/dairy free, be sure to use a dairy free option.
- Toppings and Mix-Ins. Feel free to top this pumpkin bread with chopped nuts, pumpkin seeds, or chocolate chips. It would also be delicious as a pumpkin cranberry bread.
Given my love of pumpkin and chocolate together, I suspect that a chocolate chip vegan pumpkin bread is sure to follow later this fall.
Another favorite feature of vegan pumpkin bread: it is SUPER easy to make!
- Grab a small and a large mixing bowl. In the small bowl, stir the flaxseed meal together with the water and set aside. Let it gel for a few minutes. This creates a flax “egg” that will bind the vegan pumpkin bread and help it rise too.
- In the large mixing bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Add that magic flax egg!
- In a separate bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. If you accidentally go overboard on the pumpkin spice, I will not judge.
- Add the dry ingredients all at once to the wet ingredients and stir. Be gentle.
- Now it’s time to bake! Line an 8×4-inch loaf pan with parchment paper (no one likes sticking). Scrape the batter in (it will be thick but don’t worry). Sprinkle the top as your heart desires.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 325 degrees F, then loosely tent the pan with foil to keep the top from browning too quickly. Keep on baking for another 50 to 60 minutes (70 to 80 minutes total), until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
- Now the hard part: let it cool in the pan for a full hour. This will give the flavors time to marry and make the bread easier to cut. Serve yourself a big ‘ol slice and ENJOY.
How to Store Vegan Pumpkin Bread
- To Store. Keep bread at room temperature according to this guide for How to Store Muffins and Quick Breads for up to 2 days. This bread is SUPER moist, and doesn’t last as long at room temperature. If you want it to last longer, I suggest placing it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- To Freeze. Place vegan pumpkin bread in an airtight freezer safe storage container or ziptop bag for up to 3 months. I also love to wrap and freeze individual slices for quick pumpkin bread portions.
Recommended Tools To Make Vegan Pumpkin Bread
- This is my absolute favorite loaf pan. (It comes in a 9×5-inch size also.)
- Obsessed with this spatula. It’s great for sautéing and mixing batter, and is super easy to clean and heatproof.
What are you most excited to bake this fall? I’d love to hear from you in the comments. And if you make this recipe, please let me know! Your enthusiasm and hearing you enjoy my recipes makes my day, every day ♥
Vegan Pumpkin Bread
- 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
- 5 tablespoons water
- 2/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree about 1 ½ cups (not pumpkin pie filling!)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- For topping: pumpkin seeds chocolate chips, or chopped raw walnuts or pecans (optional)
- In a small bowl, stir the flaxseed meal together with the water. Set aside for 5 minutes to thicken (this creates 2 “flax eggs.”) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8×4-inch loaf pan with parchment paper so that two sides of paper overhang two opposite sides of the pan like "handles." Lightly coat with nonstick spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the maple syrup and applesauce until well blended. Add the thickened flaxseed mixture, and stir until fully combined. Stir in the pumpkin puree, almond milk, and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the white whole wheat flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients all at once to the wet ingredients. By hand, stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, just until the flour disappears. The batter will be very thick.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle the top with chocolate chips, nuts, or pumpkin seeds as desired. Bake for 20 minutes, then loosely tent the pan with foil to keep the top from browning too quickly. Continue baking for 50 to 60 additional minutes (70 to 80 minutes total), until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Be sure to test the bread and a few different places to make sure that it is fully cooked through. An even easier way to check: use an instant read thermometer! When it registers 200 degrees F at the center of the loaf, the bread is baked.
- Place the pan on a wire rack, and let it cool in the pan for 1 hour. Gently remove the loaf from the pan using the parchment paper handles, and transfer the loaf to the wire rack to finish cooling completely. Enjoy!
- If you do not need the pumpkin bread to be vegan, you can replace the flax eggs (2 tablespoons flaxseed meal + 5 tablespoons water) with 2 large eggs at room temperature (omit the water).
- No pumpkin pie spice? Use 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice.
- TO MAKE GLUTEN-FREE: I haven’t yet experimented with making this bread gluten-free. If you’d like to try, I would recommend starting with a 1:1 baking blend like this one.
- TO STORE: Store at room temperature according to this guide for How to Store Muffins and Quick Breads for up to 2 days (this bread is SUPER moist, so it doesn’t last as long at room temp) or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze for up to 3 months. I also love to freeze individual slices for quick pumpkin bread portions.
- Recipe adapted from my Vegan Pumpkin Muffins.
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Oh my gosh, this was amazing! I’m new to this plant based world, so I was somewhat skeptical. Well, I am a skeptic no more!!! I made a few mods based on what I had available and sweetness preference: 2 tsp of monk fruit sweetener, spelt flour as no whole wheat white flour, hemp hearts in place of flax meal. Lastly, I used walnuts and pecans.
Thank you so much for a realistic recipe that is also equally as delicious (if not more so) in comparison to traditional recipes.
Hi Kakalina! So glad you enjoyed the bread! Thank you for this kind review!
This recipe is so amazing and delicious. It’s moist and perfectly sweet and the best part is that there’s no oil and a fairly simple list of ingredients. As a vegan type 1 diabetic this is exactly the kind of recipe I’m looking for. I’ll be making this on repeat! Happy Fall!
Hi Liv! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
Mhhhh. Good! My nutritional needs wouldn’t allow for that much maple syrup sugar, so for half I replaced w two dripoerfips liquid stevia then a couple Tbsp milk to allow for the moisture loss.
Hi Julie! So glad you enjoyed the bread! Thank you for this kind review!
Thankx for this amazing 👌🏻 delicious bread
Hi May! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
I don’t know what I did, but I tried this recipe two times and I could not get it to cook through. I had to separate it into two loaf pans when, after 1 hour of cooking, the center was still soupy. After baking for an additional hour, it’s still kind of like bread pudding.
The changes I made:
sub whole wheat pastry flour for white whole wheat flour (internet said I could do this 1:1)
sub cow milk for almond milk
29, rather than 30, oz of pumpkin
1/2 to 3/4 tsp salt, for 1 tsp kosher salt
added ~1/2 cup chopped pecans in the batter
And, I accidentally added the pumpkin before stirring in the flax.
I was baking in a metal loaf pan.
None of this seems to me like it should have made such a drastic difference in baking needs or texture. I actually tried the recipe twice with the same results each time.
The flavor was delicious, but I’m baffled about what went wrong.
I’m thinking next time I might try my regular whole wheat flour next time and bake in a jelly roll pan to make bars, instead? My son can’t have egg, and I love pumpkin bread, so I really want this to work.
Hi Rebekah! First I would not recommend substituting the white whole wheat flour for whole wheat pastry flour. An important tip to remember when baking with whole wheat pastry flour is that it’s less fine and therefore is slower to absorb liquid in recipes. Also I would check to make sure your oven is baking at the right temperature. Hope this helps!
It’s in the oven now. Yum! Can’t wait.
Hope you enjoy it Deborah!
Hi, I baked this bread 90 min at 325 oven but even after 90 minutes it still wasn’t baked through. It seemed there was too much batter for 9×5 pan. Please include any adjustments for regular white flour ingredient in this recipe as that is all I had. I’m looking forward to tasting soon. Happy Fall
Hi Donna, I’m sorry you had trouble with this recipe! Typically when a recipe contains white whole wheat flour you can normally substitute all purpose flour and equal parts. And it would work well here. It doesn’t sound like using a different pan size would’ve cause an issues. It’s so hard for me to say without being in the kitchen with you. Baking wise, it could be that your oven temperature was off (do you have an oven thermometer? You’d be surprised!). Again, I’m sorry you had trouble with this recipe, and I truly wish it would’ve turned out for you!
Can you make this recipe with whole wheat flour
Hi Carolyn! Your bread may have a slightly more pronounced wheat flavor, but it should still turn out delicious. I hope you enjoy it!
It’s good, but you have to bake it much longer then directed, it has too much moisture and is very dough like in the middle.
I’m sorry to hear that you had trouble with the recipe, Barb. The method and timing has worked well for myself (and others) but I know how frustrating it can be to try a new recipe and not have it work out, so I really wish you would’ve enjoyed it!
Thank you for the recipe. I might give it a try later.
I have two questions.
1.) Is it okay to just put the ingredients in my breadmaker and let it mix and bake in there?
2.) Where does the saturated fat come from? If it is from the canned pumpkin puree, there is nothing I can do about it. But I was wondering if it came from anything else and if so if I could substitute something to get the saturated fat down some more?
Hi John! I do not have much experience with a breadmaker, so I am unsure. Also I have no idea where the saturated fat comes from. Hope you enjoy the bread!
How cow this bread is SO soft, SO spongy, and naturally sweetened!!?? I did almost double the spices and it’s still not quite spiced enough for me, but I will definitely be making this bread many times in the future!
Hi A! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
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