Pumpkin Banana Bread

updated Feb 28, 2022
thanksgiving
Pumpkin Banana Bread Recipe

Ripe, speckled bananas and earthy pumpkin give each spiced slice of this fall quick bread a moist texture and natural sweetness.

Serves8

Makes1 (9x5-inch) loaf

Prep15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook55 minutes to 1 hour

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banana bread sliced on a table
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

There are endless ways to enjoy pumpkin in the fall, but my absolute favorite is this pumpkin banana bread. Sweetly speckled bananas and earthy squash give each warmly spiced slice a moist texture and natural sweetness. When slathered with salted butter and paired with hot coffee, it’s simply the best fall breakfast around.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Are Pumpkin Purée and Mashed Bananas Interchangeable?

Yes! In most quick bread and muffin recipes, pumpkin purée and mashed bananas can be used interchangeably. The two purées are similar in texture and function, although bananas provide more sweetness to the baked good. In this recipe, we call for an equal mix of both (about 3/4 cup each), but you can adjust the proportions based on what you have in your kitchen, as long as you keep the total amount consistent.

Can I Use Frozen Bananas?

Both fresh and frozen ripe bananas can be used in this recipe. For frozen bananas, thaw the fruit first, making sure to whisk any liquid back into the mashed banana before measuring it and adding it to the batter.

3 Tips for Moist, Not Dense, Pumpkin Banana Bread

Pumpkin banana bread naturally has a moist texture, so while it won’t ever be super fluffy, it shouldn’t be dense or soggy. Follow these tips for the best texture every time.

  1. Measure the ingredients precisely: Overloading the batter with pumpkin or banana can weigh the bread down.
  2. Thoroughly mash the bananas: Lumps of bananas can read as gummy in the baked bread.
  3. Use a cooling rack. Avoid a soggy bottom by cooling the loaf for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove it to cool completely on a rack. This keeps the bottom of the bread from steaming.

What Do You Eat with Pumpkin Banana Bread?

Toast slices of pumpkin banana bread until the edges are just golden and spread with salted butter or whipped cream cheese. Or serve it for dessert by cutting the bread into cubes and layering with vanilla or pumpkin spice pudding and sliced bananas.

Pumpkin Banana Bread Recipe

Ripe, speckled bananas and earthy pumpkin give each spiced slice of this fall quick bread a moist texture and natural sweetness.

Prep time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook time 55 minutes to 1 hour

Makes 1 (9x5-inch) loaf

Serves 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray

  • 3/4 cup

    walnut pieces (optional)

  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 1 1/2 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon

    pumpkin pie spice

  • 2 teaspoons

    baking powder

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    baking soda

  • 2

    very ripe medium bananas (3/4 cup mashed)

  • 1

    large egg

  • 3/4 cup

    pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie mix)

  • 1/2 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup

    packed dark brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon

    vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

  2. If using walnuts, spread 3/4 cup walnut pieces on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. If the pieces are large, transfer to a cutting board and coarsely chop when cool.

  3. Microwave 1 stick unsalted butter in a small microwave-safe bowl in 20-second increments until melted, 40 to 50 seconds total. (Alternatively, melt in a small saucepan over medium heat.) Set aside to cool until just warm.

  4. Whisk 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda together in a bowl.

  5. Mash 2 medium bananas in a large bowl with a fork or potato masher until smooth with just a few small lumps (3/4 cup mashed). Add the butter, 1 large egg, 3/4 cup pumpkin purée, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, and whisk until combined.

  6. Add dry ingredients to the pumpkin-banana mixture, then stir with a rubber spatula until just incorporated but no dry spots remain. If using walnuts, reserve 2 tablespoons for topping, then fold the remaining into the batter.

  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle with the reserved walnuts.

  8. Bake until the bread pulls away from the sides of the pan, the top is cracked, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs attached, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes in the pan, then flip the bread out onto a wire rack and let cool completely before slicing.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. The bread can also be sliced, then wrapped tightly in aluminum foil and frozen for up to 3 months.

Muffin variation: Coat the wells of a 12-well muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper liners. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin wells, about 1/3 cup batter per well. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until the muffins are golden, the tops bounce back when pressed, and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes total. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.