Pumpkin Muffins/Bread

[*Note, this recipe is for canned pumpkin. Don’t switch this to a fresh pumpkin – it won’t work. I’ll post that recipe another time.]

We made pumpkin bread loaves to bring to school every fall when I was a kid. It was very popular – teachers, the school nurse, *everyone wanted the recipe. The mistake they made, of course, was using the wrong pumpkin. I’m pretty sure when teachers took me aside to ask if my mom left anything off of the recipe card she gave them (but that would waste food!), they used canned pumpkin. Silly teachers, that’s just not how we did things at our house.

I do still have my mother’s great recipe for pumpkin bread, but it requires a fresh pumpkin. We only used Long Island Cheese Pumpkins (mom insisted they have the best flavor and consistency for baking), and I spent many hours cutting and steaming them. Because fresh pumpkins have a lot more water in them than the canned kind, of course it didn’t work if other cooks switched them.

This recipe is the nicest one I’ve found for canned pumpkin, since I haven’t found an acceptable fresh pumpkin substitute in the places I’ve lived outside of L.I. and have not been successful (yet!) in growing them myself. I found this recipe online somewhere and have not edited it.

Pumpkin muffins
Golden brown pumpkin muffins


  • (1) 15-ounce can of pureed pumpkin
  • 4 eggs
    • Vegan option: replace every egg with 1-1/2 tbsp.  of veg oil (or vegan egg substitute) and  1-1/2 tbsp. water, plus 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 cups white sugar (I think you could use a little bit less if you prefer it not sweet)
  • 3-1/2 cups unbleached flour (PSA: Don’t eat bleach.)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • OPTIONAL: raisins, walnuts use @ 1 cup total


Blend together the first 5 ingredients. If you’re all proper about it, you can mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl first (ok, it does help save your stuff if you mess something up), or you can do what I do, which is put them all into the bowl with the blended wet ingredients and then mix it all together. If you like raisins or walnuts (I make mine with raisins), stir in – by hand – a cup or so of whatever at the end.

Bake in a pre-heated 375-degree oven (center rack) for about 17 minutes for muffins.  Be sure to grease & flour the pans (or use spray oil) whether you use muffin trays or loaf pans. If you prefer to make loaves, this recipe will do (3) 7×3-inch pans that will need to bake about 50 minutes. Check if they’re done like you would anything else, using a toothpick inserted in the center (if it comes out clean, it’s done) or if the tops bounce back when you touch them.