This Downeast Maine pumpkin bread is simple to make, perfectly spiced, and full of delicious fall flavors. It’s terrific for breakfast, brunch, and snacking, and is one of the best pumpkin bread recipes you will make!
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Maine pumpkin bread recipe
I’ve made it my goal this year to share as many pumpkin recipes as possible with you. After classic pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, and streusel pumpkin bars, I’m sharing another fall favorite – this moist Downeast Maine pumpkin bread!
One of my cousins lives in Boston, but his wife Linda is original from Maine. Years ago, she gave me this pumpkin bread recipe. It has been in her family for decades, treasured and handed down from grandma to mom to her and now to her kids.
I honestly teared up when Linda suggested I share her Maine pumpkin bread recipe on the blog so more people could enjoy it. It just shows what a sweet and generous person she is. Now, back to our moist pumpkin bread recipe!
Reasons to love Downeast Maine pumpkin bread
- All the fall flavors: This pumpkin bread tastes super flavorful and aromatic with the addition of pumpkin puree and a generous scoop pumpkin pie spice.
- Stays moist for days: Thanks to vegetable oil, the bread will stay moist for days with no dry pumpkin bread anywhere in sight!
- Easy to make: Another thing I love is how simple pumpkin bread with oil is to throw together. Mix up the ingredients, pour into a pan, and bake.
- Versatile: Maine pumpkin bread is incredibly versatile because you can include your favorite add-ins. It’s delicious with chocolate chips and chopped nuts. Check below for more mix-in ideas!
Pumpkin bread ingredients
This Downeast pumpkin bread uses easy pantry staples that you probably already have on hand. Let’s talk about each! You can find full measurements in the recipe card below.
- Pumpkin is the most important ingredient in this moist pumpkin bread recipe. As always, make sure to use pure canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling. I use Libby’s in all my baking and always have great success.
- Spices: Pumpkin pie spice, a mix of warming fall spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves, infuses every bite of this bread with aromatic flavor.
- All-purpose flour provides structure to the homemade pumpkin bread. One important thing: Make sure to use a kitchen scale or spoon and level your flour. Too much flour can result in a super dense loaf of bread.
- Sugar: You’ll find a mix of brown and white granulated sugar in this recipe. We typically use dark brown sugar, but light brown sugar works fine too.
- Oil helps to ensure the pumpkin bread stays moist. You can either use vegetable, canola, sunflower, or melted coconut oil.
- Eggs: A couple of eggs help to bind the batter together. You want the eggs at room temperature, so they incorporate easily into the batter.
- Vanilla extract deepens the aroma and adds sweetness.
- Baking powder helps the bread rise nice and tall.
- Salt: A sprinkle of salt enhances the other flavors.
How to make Downeast Maine pumpkin bread
This amazing pumpkin bread is pretty simple to make, and you will sing its praise for a long time. It’s absolutely perfect for breakfast, brunch, snacking, and just about any fall occasion.
#1: Prep work
- Preheat your oven to 350°F / 180°C / gas mark 4.
- Grease a 9 in x 5 in / 23 cm x 12 cm loaf pan well with non-stick cooking spray or vegetable oil. I also like to line my baking pan with a piece of parchment (baking) paper. The parchment paper makes it incredibly easy to clean the pan and helps lift the bread out.
#2: Whisk together dry ingredients
- To a large mixing bowl, add the all-purpose flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine and break up clumps.
#3: Mix wet ingredients
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the canned pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined.
#4: Combine batter
- Next, add the dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients and stir the two together.
- It’s best to only mix until the two are just combined and you no longer see streaks of flour. You may still see a few lumps, but that’s okay.
#5: Bake pumpkin bread
- Then pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread it out evenly.
- Pop the bread into the oven and bake for 60 to 75 minutes.
- Start checking the bread after 50 minutes. The bread is ready once a skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- You can tent the bread with a piece of foil if it starts to brown too much before it’s done baking.
#6: Cool bread
- Let the bread cool in the pan for about 20 minutes.
- Then use the parchment paper overhang to transfer the bread onto a wire rack to cool completely.
#7: Wrap bread
- For the best flavor and moistness, wrap the cooled pumpkin bread in 2 layers of plastic wrap and let it sit overnight before slicing into it. Trust me, the wait is worth it!
#8: Slice + serve
- Cut the bread into slices and serve at room temperature or warm slightly in the microwave. You can eat your pumpkin loaf bread with a pat of butter and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup. Enjoy!
Tips for the best Downeast pumpkin bread
I think this Downeast Maine pumpkin bread is one of the best pumpkin bread recipes out there. To ensure yours turns out amazing as well, follow these easy tips!
- Parchment paper sling: To make it easier to release your pumpkin loaf bread from the pan, I recommend lining it with a sling of parchment (baking) paper.
- Use pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling: The two are often sold right near each other, even in similar-sized cans. Pumpkin puree is simply cooked, pureed pumpkin without any additives. Pumpkin pie filling is pumpkin puree with added sugar and spices.
- Use oil: Although I’m a huge fan of baking with butter, I suggest sticking to oil with this recipe. It gives the bread such a moist, tender crumb. You can use any neutral-tasting oil here. Vegetable, canola, sunflower, or melted coconut oil will work. If using melted coconut oil, make sure the other ingredients are at room temperature, so the coconut oil doesn’t harden when you mix everything together.
- Measure flour: For accurate measurements, weigh the flour with kitchen scales or use the spoon and level method. Too much flour would make the bread dry and crumbly.
- Avoid overmixing: It’s best to mix the dry and wet ingredients together until just combined. Overmixing the batter can lead to a denser loaf of bread.
- Tent the loaf with foil: If the top of the bread seems to get too brown after 45 minutes of baking, loosely cover the pan with a piece of tin foil.
- Check doneness: Nothing is worse than going through the trouble of baking pumpkin bread only to find that you under or over-baked it. Aside from the skewer test, an instant-read thermometer is the best way to determine doneness. The bread is ready when the instant thermometer (inserted in the center) reads 205°F / 96°C.
Pumpkin bread topping
Feel free to sprinkle sugar over the top before baking to create a crunchy, sweet crust. Turbinado and demerara sugar are great options, but regular brown or granulated sugar are also good.
Another idea is to top the bread with a handful of pepitas. Or you can frost your loaf with a thick, fluffy layer of my homemade pumpkin bread icing.
The recipe makes great pumpkin muffins too! Simply divide the batter between lined muffin wells and bake for 22 to 27 minutes.
Pumpkin Bread Mix-ins
Feel free to customize this sweet pumpkin bread to your heart’s content. I’ve added a few delicious mix-in ideas below to get you started.
- Nuts: For delicious pumpkin nut bread, stir 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans into the batter.
- Chocolate chips: To make chocolate chip pumpkin bread, fold 1 cup milk, semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips into the batter.
- Cranberries: Add 1 cup dried cranberries to create pumpkin cranberry bread.
- Orange zest: Add a hint of bright orange flavor by zesting the peel of 1 organic orange into your batter.
A warm slice of Downeast Maine pumpkin bread is such a treat on a chilly fall morning. We love it with a cup of coffee or a tall glass of cold milk. I like to reheat slices in the microwave for a few seconds to give them that fresh-out-of-the-oven taste.
To turn this pumpkin bread into a delicious dessert, place thick slices into microwave-safe bowls and microwave each piece for 10 to 15 seconds. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a drizzle of caramel syrup, and candied pecans. It’s dessert heaven!
And if you’re looking for a breakfast idea, transform the loaf into pumpkin bread French toast!
How to store Maine pumpkin bread
Store your Downeast pumpkin bread in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days at room temperature. If you want to keep it longer, I recommend refrigerating it. It will last up to a week in the fridge.
Freeze Downeast Maine pumpkin bread
If you made more pumpkin bread than you can eat, don’t worry. It freezes beautifully for 3 to 4 months so you can enjoy it later. Here’s what to do:
- Whole loaf: Wrap your loaf very tightly with plastic wrap and store it in a freezer-friendly container or large freezer bag. To defrost, place the bread on the counter several hours ahead of time and let it warm to room temperature.
- Individual slices: Wrap each slice airtight in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. To thaw a piece, set it out on the counter and let it come to room temperature. Alternately, unwrap your slice and heat in the microwave in 30-second bursts until warmed through.
More pumpkin treats
Once you start baking with pumpkin, you won’t be able to stop! To make it easy, I’ve gathered up a few of our other favorite pumpkin recipes. Try them all and let me know which is your favorite!
- Condensed Milk Pumpkin Bread
- White Chocolate Pumpkin Cookies
- Easy Pumpkin Pudding
- Evaporated Milk Pumpkin Pie
- Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Easy Pumpkin Squares
Tried and true quick bread recipes
Expand your recipe collection with a few more of our other quick bread recipes. They’re simple, prepared with easy ingredients, and will leave your family satisfied.