This soft and tender applesauce pumpkin bread is full of comforting fall spices. You won't believe that it has less fat and calories than your traditional pumpkin quick bread because it tastes so delicious! They are also fantastic as pumpkin muffins, and can even be frozen for an easy make-ahead breakfast!
Applesauce pumpkin bread is my favorite thing for a crisp fall morning! There is something spectacular about the tender, moist bread, with warm spices in every bite. It is the perfect fall treat!
My original pumpkin bread recipe had an entire cup of oil. That is a lot! So I replaced half of the oil with applesauce. Making that substitution, we cut out almost half of the fat and a lot of unnecessary calories. The result was incredible and now this version is our favorite recipe!
If you are like me and love easy breakfast recipes with warm fall spices, check out these Buttermilk Spice Muffins and Banana Bread recipes! They are both delicious! These Air Fryer Pumpkin Donut Holes are also a treat!
- Pumpkin - This recipe uses canned pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. The difference is that pie filling has sugar and spices already added to it. We just want plain pumpkin for this recipe.
- Oil - Canola, vegetable, or coconut oil can be used with equal success. I do not recommend olive oil as it will impact the flavor of the bread.
- Applesauce - Unsweetened applesauce add moisture to the bread, and is used in place of some of the oil, making this a healthier pumpkin bread with fewer fat and calories in the recipe.
- Flour - Using all-purpose flour results in a tender loaf. You can substitute half of the flour with whole wheat. The bread will be a little denser but is still delicious.
- Spices - Adding the spices individually allows us to customize the proportions to get just the right warm spice flavors. Though you could also use 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice, instead of the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and clove.
Step One: Mix Dry Ingredients
For the right amount of flour, you can either weigh your flour or spoon the flour into your measuring cup. Do not scoop the flour out of the bag with your measuring cup or you will end up with too much flour, making your bread dry.
Add the spices and salt to the flour, and mix well. Then set aside until it is time to add the flour into the wet ingredients.
Step Two: In a Separate Bowl, Beat Eggs and Sugar
One of the secrets to soft and tender pumpkin bread is beating the eggs extra long. They would be really fluffy and pale yellow in color.
Next, add the sugar and beat the mixture for an additional minute, to allow the sugar to dissolve into the eggs.
Step Three: Mix in Pumpkin & Wet Ingredients
The pumpkin is added along with the oil, applesauce, and water.
Step Four: Stir in Dry Ingredients
Once the dry ingredients are added, you want to be careful not to overmix. Mix on low speed or you can even mix the flour in by hand.
You just want to stir until you no longer see the flour.
Step Five Bake
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared loaf pans and bake for 50-60 minutes.
To check doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the bread. When you remove the toothpick it should be clean.
Pro Tip: If the outside of the pumpkin bread is brown before the inside is fully cooked then you can cover the loaf pan with aluminum foil for the remainder of the bake time. This will help prevent burning.
Reader Review: "I made these today and they are fantastic. I am cutting out Starbucks and therefore the pumpkin bread that my son and daughter are obsessed with so I was desperate to find a substitute. This more than fit the bill and I think it is actually better." - Sam
- Mini-Muffins: My favorite breakfast hack is to bake this recipe in mini-muffin pans then freeze them! When it is time for breakfast just take a few out of the freezer and put them in the microwave for about 30 seconds and breakfast is ready!
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread: Before pouring the batter into loaf pans, stir in 1 ½ cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Bake according to recipe directions.
- Cream Cheese Pumpkin Bread: In a small bowl, beat together 8 ounces of cream cheese, ¼ cup all-purpose flour, ½ cup granulated sugar, and 2 eggs. Pour half of the pumpkin batter into the loaf pans. Top with dollops of the cream cheese mixture, then pour the remaining batter over the cream cheese.
Frequently Asked Questions
Store in an airtight container or wrapped in aluminum foil and store at room temperature for 3-4 days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week. The bread will stay freshest if you wait to cut it until you are ready to serve.
Wrap the whole loaf or individual slices in plastic wrap and then wrap in aluminum foil or place inside a freezer bag. Thaw overnight on the counter before serving. The bread will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
We enjoy pumpkin bread with eggs and sausage. If you are serving this to guests then it would be a delicious accompaniment to a sausage and egg breakfast casserole! Though sometimes I love to keep it simple and serve it by itself, warmed, and topped with some butter or cream cheese.
If you prefer an even lower fat recipe then all of the oil can be replaced with applesauce. However, the bread will have a much spongier texture.
Some readers have reported success with using Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Baking Flour, though I have not personally tested this flour in the pumpkin bread.
Let me know how you like this recipe by leaving a review! And follow along on Instagram @stateofdinner for behind-the-scenes and to be among the first to know when new recipes post!
Applesauce Pumpkin BreadRecipe by:
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour (455 grams)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon clove
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs
- 2 ½ cups sugar (500 grams)
- ½ cup canola or vegetable oil (118 ml)
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce (118 ml)
- ⅔ cup water (156 ml)
- 15 ounces pumpkin puree (425 grams)
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray two 9x5-inch loaf pans with nonstick spray.
- Mix flour, baking soda, spices, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon clove, ¼ teaspoon ginger, 1 teaspoon salt
- Beat eggs on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes, until light-colored and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat on high for an additional minute.4 eggs, 2 ½ cups sugar
- Add the oil, applesauce, water, and pumpkin to the egg mixture and stir on low speed until combined. Stir in dry ingredients on low speed until just combined and no flour is visible.½ cup canola or vegetable oil, ½ cup unsweetened applesauce, ⅔ cup water, 15 ounces pumpkin puree
- Divide the batter equally between the two loaf pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow bread to cool completely before removing and slicing.
For miniature muffins bake for 12-15 minutes. Yield: 84 mini-muffins How to Store: Store in an airtight container or wrapped in aluminum foil and store at room temperature for 3-4 days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week. The bread will stay freshest if you wait to cut it until you are ready to serve. How to Freeze: Wrap the whole loaf or individual slices in plastic wrap and then wrap in aluminum foil or place inside a freezer bag. Thaw overnight on the counter before serving. The bread will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
I was looking for something to bake with my pumpkin flesh I had in the freezer. I only hope this will work once I cook and mash the pumpkin. It simply looks amazing and cannot wait to make it. You did mention honey can be used instead of sugar???
Tks for the wonderful recipe.
Yes, honey can be used. But if you use honey then leave out the water, as the honey will add enough moisture.
Hi! I’m a new baker and when you said mix all dry ingredients I did just that. So then I didn’t have sugar to mix onto my eggs. Is sugar not considered a dry ingredient?
Oh no! When baking sugar is usually considered a wet ingredient since it typically gets mixed in with eggs and butter. But you are right, that is very confusing! I will update the recipe to make it more clear. I appreciate you sharing!
Could I leave out the water and use low-fat milk instead?
I have not tested this recipe using milk and cannot guarantee the results. However, I do substitute milk for water in other baked items with good results, so it would probably work fine.
So light and amazing! I halved the amount of sugar so it was the perfect amount of sweetness. The applesauce and the pumpkin makes this loaf so moist and delicious
Thank you so much for sharing, Cari! I am thrilled that you loved this recipe!
Hi, I was wondering if I can use brown sugar and white sugar in this recipe?
Hi Peggy! I haven't tried substituting brown sugar, though I have used honey and it worked great, and I am certain that brown sugar would work just fine also. Because brown sugar has more moisture than granulated sugar you can probably skip adding the extra water.
This pumpkin bread is amazing! So glad I found this recipe. Better than Starbucks, for sure! Hubby refused to believe it's made with applesauce.
Excited to make this pumpkin bread! It has all the right ingredients for a moist, flavorful bread. The step by step instructions in your post are really helpful too!
Excited to bake this pumpkin bread this weekend, I'll make my own applesauce and use this recipe for the pumpkin bread. I just got all my Fall spices and this will be perfect.
Oh, homemade applesauce just takes this to the next level! Yum!
There is nothing better than homemade pumpkin bread filled with lots of spices, and the added applesauce. Glad to find your recipe. Also, thank you for adding the water to the ingredient picture.
I am so glad that you found it helpful!
Loved how easy this was to make and super tasty too. BONUS: the house smells spectacular.
Isn't the smell just amazing?
This was exactly what I was looking for. This recipe is AMAZING! I made regular sized muffins and added chocolate chips. I had to freeze half of the muffins and they freeze very well. Going to make this again - mini muffins next time!
Chocolate chips are a wonderful addition! YUM!!! I am so glad that you love this recipe. Thank you for sharing!
Two and one half cups if sugar Really !!?? I make as well eat lucky charms.
This does make 2 loaves of bread. If you are concerned about the sugar you can certainly reduce it, but since this is a comfort food website you'll find that great taste is a priority for my recipes. 😀
This looks like a great fall recipe!
It is so delicious! I hope you enjoy it too.
This was an easy recipe to follow and I loved the option for applesauce instead of some of the oil. My family is gobbling the muffins up.
Yay! I am really happy that you found this recipe easy and delicious! Thank you for sharing!
I made these today and they are fantastic. I am cutting out Starbucks and therefore the pumpkin bread that my son (2) and daughter (1) are obsessed with so I was desperate to find a substitute. This more than fit the bill and I think it is actually better. I did both regular and mini muffins and the moisture is perfect. I doubled the batch with the plan to freeze them and I am so glad I did! My son literally ate 9 mini muffins and he is NOT a good eater and never even finished his Starbucks pumpkin bread when I did get it for him. Thank you so much for the recipe, it is definitely going into the rotation especially since I can batch bake and freeze for easier mornings.
I love this, Sam! Isn't it the best when you find a recipe that your picky child will eat? I have that same struggle with my youngest. I am so glad that he enjoyed the muffins and that this recipe worked well as your Starbucks replacement!
I love the pumpkin spices and the applesauce makes it so moist.
I am so glad that you enjoyed this recipe! Thank you for letting me know!