Pumpkin Banana Bread

Pumpkin Banana Bread

I’m a firm believer that pumpkin bread isn’t just for the fall season and this recipe proves it. Pumpkin banana bread combines the best of two snacking cake worlds: the sweet glory of banana bread and the quintessential warm spices we dream of during fall season. You normally find pumpkin puree and bananas as interchangeable ingredients in baked goods, and that’s because they function similarly, providing a rich texture and flavor.

Use Yogurt for Quick Bread Perfection

I love the addition of Greek yogurt in any quick bread or cake because it adds even more moisture for the ideal texture days after baking. Plus, the acidity reacts with the baking soda to give a fluffier, loftier crumb. You can easily swap in buttermilk or a mixture of milk and lemon juice for the yogurt in a pinch.

Oil > Butter (This Time)

Similarly, oil contributes to the moisture of the cake since it remains in liquid state at room temperature, whereas butter solidifies. Additionally, cakes tend to bake up taller with oil as butter can weigh down the batter. If the flavor of the olive oil is too intense for you, feel free to sub in a more neutral-tasting oil such as vegetable.

Serve It Up in Style

You can double this recipe for a larger pan or two loaves, adjusting the bake time as needed. If you want to add even more fall-forward sweetness, you can whip up a maple or cream cheese glaze to drizzle over the cake after it’s cooled to room temperature. I love to enjoy a slice with a dollop of yogurt and drizzle of honey. Or, you can keep it simple with a smear of salted (always salted) butter and a hot cup of coffee on the side.

“This pumpkin banana bread was delicious, with loads of pumpkin spice flavor and moisture from the pumpkin and mashed banana. The quick bread was an easy preparation and an excellent choice for fall and holiday baking. My loaf was perfectly baked in 60 minutes.” —Diana Rattray

Pumpkin Banana Bread/Tester Image A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray or butter, for greasing

  • 1 cup coarsely mashed very ripe bananas, from about 2 medium bananas

  • 2 large eggs

  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 cups (255 grams) all purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans, walnuts, or pepitas, for garnish, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 F.

    pumpkin banana bread ingredients gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Photographer: Jen Causey, Prop Stylist: Christina Daley, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall

  2. Lightly grease a 9-x 5-inch loaf pan, then line with a parchment paper sling, letting excess hang over the long sides for easy transfer after baking.

    loaf pan lined with parchment paper

    The Spruce Eats / Photographer: Jen Causey, Prop Stylist: Christina Daley, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall

  3. Whisk together the bananas, eggs, and brown sugar in a large bowl. Continue to whisk and gently mash the banana mixture until the batter is smooth and only a few small lumps remain.

    wet ingredients for pumpkin banana bread in bowl with whisk

    The Spruce Eats / Photographer: Jen Causey, Prop Stylist: Christina Daley, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall

  4. Add the oil, yogurt, pumpkin puree, and vanilla to the bowl, whisking well until combined.

    yogurt and pumpkin puree added to wet ingredients in bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Photographer: Jen Causey, Prop Stylist: Christina Daley, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall

  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk into the wet ingredients just until you no longer see traces of flour. Use a silicone spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and fold the batter together a few more times to completely combine.

    dry ingredients added to bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Photographer: Jen Causey, Prop Stylist: Christina Daley, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall

  6. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing it into an even layer. Tap on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles. If you like you can top with nuts at this point (I use untoasted since they will brown as the cake bakes) or wait and sprinkle onto a glaze after baking.

    loaf pan filled with pumpkin banana bread batter

    The Spruce Eats / Photographer: Jen Causey, Prop Stylist: Christina Daley, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall

  7. Bake the loaf until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs, 50 to 60 minutes.

    pumpkin seeds on top of banana pumpkin bread batter

    The Spruce Eats / Photographer: Jen Causey, Prop Stylist: Christina Daley, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall

  8. Let the bread completely cool in the loaf pan, then use the parchment paper sling to remove the it from the pan. Top with a glaze (see options below) or serve with a scoop of yogurt, if desired.

    pumpkin banana bread on cooling rack, testing with toothpick

    The Spruce Eats / Photographer: Jen Causey, Prop Stylist: Christina Daley, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe Tips

  • Make sure your bananas are thoroughly mashed so your bread doesn’t have pockets of gumminess.
  • Don’t overmix the batter otherwise the bread can turn out dense. I like to whisk the flour just a little to ensure there are no clumps, then fold in the remaining dry ingredients with a spatula, making sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  • To avoid your bread coming out dry, take it out of the oven when your toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs. It may seem like it needs more time, but the bread will experience some carry over cooking while it cools.

Recipe Variations

  • You can use neutral oil such as vegetable oil if you find olive oil to have too strong of a taste. Alternatively you can substitute butter for the oil using a 1 to 1 ratio.
  • You can easily swap in granulated sugar or coconut sugar in place of the brown sugar.
  • Fold in chocolate chips or dried fruit for some pops of fun.
  • You can turn this loaf into muffins by greasing a standard 12 cup muffin tin, filling the cups 2/3 full with batter, and baking for about 20 minutes in a 350 F oven.
  • Top it off:
  • Maple glaze: 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Cream cheese glaze
  • Coffee glaze: 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons brewed coffee or espresso
  • Whipped cream
  • Salted caramel

How to Store

  • Store leftover cooled bread wrapped in plastic wrap or in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
  • You can freeze the cooled loaf, wrapped in parchment paper and placed in a resealable bag for up to 3 months.

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