My Grandmother’s Pumpkin Bread

Seriously the best Pumpkin Bread I've ever had. Better than any of the newer, fancier versions - hands down!!

My Grandmother’s Pumpkin Bread, to me,  is the “pinnacle” of Quick Breads. It’s a gorgeous bread, very moist, perhaps just a bit dense, and redolent of spices that signify fall. Heavily flavored with spices that must have, at one time, been quite exotic: cinnamon & clove.

My Grandmother's Pumpkin Bread

My Grandmother’s Pumpkin Bread

I never saw my Grandma’s recipe box until after her death, and as I went through the yellowed, faded cards I saw recipes that were familiar (Salmon Loaf, Ham Loaf, Apple Cake with Caramel Rum Sauce – go Grandma!) and others not (Prune Whip). Her Pumpkin bread, though; this one I set aside. I knew I’d be making it very soon.

Back in the 60’s, no family gathering was complete without an array of quick breads, served on a platter. Walnut, Date Nut, and of course the ubiquitous Banana Bread always put in an appearance, but this bread was my all out favorite.

The recipe makes two loaves, and freezes well, but make one for home and bring the other to your next fall gathering or to the office. You’ll find, I think, that everyone will be absolutely charmed.

My favorite way to serve? Sliced thickly on a plate, a bit of butterscotch or caramel sauce drizzled over, and a dollop of Brandy Spiced Whipping cream. (Just whip your cream as usual and add about a teaspoon of brandy and pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, apple or pumpkin pie spice.)

My Grandmother's Pumpkin Bread

My Grandmother’s Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread

  • Servings: 2 loaves (10 slices ea
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
  • 2/3 cup shortening or 2/3 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 2/3 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 16 ounces canned pumpkin (if you’re buying a 15 ounce can, or even a 29 ounce can and dividing it, don’t worry about it, the bread will still be fine.)
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 1/2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream shortening with sugar, add eggs, pumpkin and water.

In another bowl, sift together rest of ingredients, or place in bowl and whisk together.  Add to pumpkin mixture.

Pour into two greased loaf pans and bake for about one hour at 350 degrees.  (This may vary depending on what size you use – the bread will darken a bit and crack.  It’s done when a toothpick put about halfway between the edge and the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.)  As with all baked goods, do not overbake.

Note:  I usually bake this in a 9 x 5 bread pan because I have two – it is slightly more elegant looking (taller) when baked in an 8 x 4 pan.  If you bake in a Pyrex pan, turn your oven down 25 degrees.

from the kitchen of

Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
  • Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Read Strategies Applied for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.

Kitchen & Cooking Hacks:

Measure butter/shortening by displacement of water.

Measure butter/shortening by displacement of water.

When measuring Shortening, Lard or Butter that isn’t in sticks, use the displacement method. Fill a measuring cup with cold water, leaving out the amount you with to measure. For instance, in a two cup measuring cup, if you wish to measure 1/2 cup of shortening, fill with 1 1/2 cups of water. Add shortening until the level comes to 2 cups. Since it floats, you may need to press down slightly on the fat to submerge for an accurate measurement.


Per Serving: 266 Calories; 8g Fat (27.1% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 45g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 42mg Cholesterol; 314mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 1 1/2 Fat; 2 Other Carbohydrates.

Put Your Own Spin on It: 

Although we like this plain with butter (and reheat it in the microwave for a moment with a pat of butter after it’s cooled) this bread would be wonderful in thick slices with a dollop of brandy spiced whipping cream, or even drizzled with caramel sauce.

My Pay Off:

Two loaves for less than the cost of one small, rather mediocre loaf at the grocery store.  I also know exactly what’s in it, and it takes only minutes to mix up.  We sometimes eat quick breads like this for breakfast – it’s certainly no worse than many cereals or pancakes.

I’m curious what you think of this Old Fashioned treat, Pumpkin Sweet Bread.  We think it’s perfect for fall, or anytime!  I hope you like it.

Recipe made October 2011


8 thoughts on “My Grandmother’s Pumpkin Bread

  1. Since I moved the the U.K., I’ve had to learn to make this from actual pumpkins. No canned pumpkin here–they not only don’t know what it is, they can’t think why anyone would want it. Or why someone else would put it in a can. It’s more work, but it’s still good.

  2. Brandy spice whipping cream? Whaaa? I’ve never heard of such wonderfulness!

    Now I must make this for sure. : )

    Off to see if I even have brandy in me cupboard…

    • LOL, Lolly…I suggest you add a touch of brandy to sweetened whipping cream until you like the taste…if you go the other way around you might be overcome before you get it on the pumpkin bread….

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