Better-than-Starbucks Pumpkin Bread

updated Oct 24, 2020
Pumpkin Bread Recipe

A moist and tender pumpkin bread that's even better than the one from Starbucks.

Makes1 (9x5-inch) loaf

Prep10 minutes

Cook1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Sure, a warm Spinach, Feta, and Egg White wrap hits the spot when I’m hungry and in a rush. And I have a soft spot for the trio of cake-y Petite Vanilla Bean Scones, which my mom used to pick up for me whenever she stopped for an extra-hot latte on her way home from work.

But the very best thing from Starbucks’ bakery case is their Pumpkin Bread. It doesn’t matter whether I’m buying it at 6 a.m. from the Cincinnati mall as a pick-me-up during Black Friday shopping, if I’m treating myself on a Saturday afternoon at the location near me in Brooklyn, or if I’m grabbing a piece at the airport before boarding a flight. The thick slice is always reliably soft, moist, and tender; every time I never think I’ll be able to finish it, and every time there’s not a single crumb left in sight.

The only thing better than sitting down to a slice of pumpkin bread at Starbucks is whipping up an even better loaf in my kitchen. This homemade version is much more cost effective, fills my house with the most delicious scents of pumpkin and cinnamon (far better than any pumpkin spice candle), and means I can have a slice whenever I please.

Finally, a Pumpkin Bread Recipe That Uses the Full Can of Pumpkin

This copycat bread’s best quality is that it uses the full 15-ounce can of pumpkin purée, which means no measuring (just dump the whole thing into the mixing bowl) and no awkward amount of purée left over. The substantial amount of pumpkin also makes the bread super-moist and tender, as does using canola oil instead of butter. We got this tip from Smitten Kitchen, whose pumpkin bread inspired this one.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

You’ll whisk the batter by hand in just one bowl, meaning it’s in your oven in just 10 minutes. As it bakes, it rises up above the edges of the pan, creating a super-impressive loaf, and emerges from the oven with a nice, crispy top — you know, the kind you just want to pull off and snack on rather than bother with a slice.

If you’ve ever had Starbucks’ pumpkin bread, you know it’s more like cake than bread. But thanks to a bit of salt and a full tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice in the batter (and a generous sprinkle of salted pepitas on top), this homemade version doesn’t taste too sweet. However, we’ve also made this recipe with 1/2 cup less sugar and it still turns out great.

The Moment of Truth: Is It Better than Starbucks’?

I knew I had created the best homemade pumpkin bread I’d ever tasted. But how would it stack up to my beloved Starbucks slice?

I bought a piece from Starbucks and cut it into four pieces, then cut a thick slice from my loaf and did the same. I set them out for my roommates (they’re getting used to this blind taste-test business) and had them give me their honest feedback.

Everyone agreed: When pitted against a homemade loaf, Starbucks’ bread lost its appeal. It tasted oily and artificial and way too sweet. The homemade version, on the other hand, was the perfect balance of sweet and spicy, tasted super fresh, and the pumpkin seed topping was much saltier and crunchier. It was clear we had a winner on our hands.

More Starbucks Favorites You Can Make at Home

Pumpkin Bread Recipe

A moist and tender pumpkin bread that's even better than the one from Starbucks.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes

Makes 1 (9x5-inch) loaf

Nutritional Info


  • Cooking spray

  • 2 cups

    granulated sugar

  • 1 (15-ounce) can

    pumpkin purée (about 2 cups)

  • 1/2 cup

    vegetable or canola oil

  • 3

    large eggs

  • 1 tablespoon

    pumpkin pie spice

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    baking powder

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon


  • 2 1/4 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup

    roasted, salted pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas)


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

  2. Place the sugar, pumpkin purée, oil, and eggs in a large bowl and whisk until smooth and combined. Add the pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and whisk to combine. Add the flour and fold it in with a rubber spatula until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds, then gently press them into the batter to ensure they stick.

  3. Bake until a toothpick comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs attached, 65 to 75 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Recipe Notes

Storage: The pumpkin bread will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for several days. It can also be wrapped in aluminum foil and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or in a 300°F oven for 20 minutes.