You’d never know this is actually healthy whole wheat pumpkin bread! Just a few swaps & adjustments to a standard pumpkin bread recipe yield this moist, lightened-up bread that’s secretly lower in sugar.The Internet may not need another pumpkin bread recipe, but I have to share this one since it’s the best healthy pumpkin bread I’ve ever had. When I started making my own pumpkin bread several years ago, I experimented with my normal quick-bread healthy baking substitutions to see what’d work best.
After some trial and error, I’ve developed a healthier recipe that tastes just like standard pumpkin bread so you’d never know it’s lightened up. I’ve made this no less than 15 or 20 times. It’s a fall/winter go-to treat and it makes a great gift.
First, I’ve reduced the amount of sugar by one-third. Years ago, I learned that in most recipes, you can reduce the sugar by one-third without a noticeable difference. Second, I’ve substituted unsweetened applesauce for half of the oil, and I’ve used a healthier oil (coconut or avocado oil both work well) instead of the standard vegetable oil. Third, I’ve used whole-grain flour, sprouted spelt flour, and whole wheat pastry flour with success.
You can also add chocolate chips, white chocolate chips or cinnamon chips, or you can use chopped walnuts or pecans. I like all of the above, so I use whatever I happen to have and always sprinkle extra on top before baking the bread. You know, for the aesthetic.
Save Some for Later
One awesome thing about quick breads is that they freeze really well. This recipe makes two loaves, so you can eat one right away and freeze the other whole. Once the bread is cooled, just wrap in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and place in a freezer-safe bag.
Or, you can cut it into slices and freeze each individual piece. Then, the night before you want to eat it, just pull a piece out of the freezer and place it in the fridge. In the morning, you’ll have a single serving of fresh pumpkin bread waiting!
If you try this healthy pumpkin bread, feel free to let me know in a comment or take a picture and tag me @livbane on Instagram. Hope you enjoy!
Healthy Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread
- 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped, plus extra to sprinkle on top of loaves
- 3 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or sprouted spelt flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 /2 cup coconut oil or grape seed oil
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl: flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice.
- In a large measuring cup, stir together oil, applesauce, water, and eggs. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Incorporate pumpkin puree and vanilla extract, stirring until just combined.
- Grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans and distribute the batter evenly between the two pans. Sprinkle extra nuts on top of loaves before placing in oven.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a loaf comes out mostly clean with just a few moist crumbs. Tent with foil during the last half of baking if top is getting overly brown. Let loaves cool in pans for at least 30 minutes before removing.
Photos and text updated 12/19/17
Heavily adapted from this recipe
Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday says
I love playing around with recipes, and it looks like you achieved an awesome result! I love pumpkin bread, and one of the few ways I actually like white chocolate is with pumpkin things – all the spices counter the sweetness a little. That said, I also love dark chocolate chips in my pumpkin bread (surprise, surprise!).
That’s such a good point! I’m typically not a fan of white chocolate by itself since it can be really sweet (which is why I love dark chocolate- the more bitter, the better!), but I think the spices balance out the sweetness of the white chocolate really well.
Faith VanderMolen says
I need to make pumpkin bread ASAP now! Love this pics too!
amy @ Health Happiness and Balance says
I need to try out this recipe, anything pumpkin-y with spices is right up my street haha:)
Elsie @ Sharing Healthiness says
I have never actually had pumpkin bread before so I think it is about time I make it! I agree bread is much better and that way you get to choose the portion size..Ha! 🙂
Oh yeah, you can play the “sliver game” with a loaf of pumpkin bread allllll day long!
Julia @ Lord Still Loves Me says
I love how vibrant this bread looks. The orange hue instantly makes me excited to try this out. Also, white chocolate chips? Sold. Sold. Sold. Love this!
There’s nothing like bright colors in food when they come from all natural sources- gotta love pumpkin!
This looks awesome!! I love how you made it so much healthier (but still super delicious!) …and wow! White chocolate chips/ cinnamon chips!?! What a fun idea!! <3 Great recipe girl!!
rachel @ Athletic Avocado says
this looks so moist and delicious! I love the addition of walnuts!
Yum! This bread looks so moist and flavorful. I hate when my bread comes out dry. I’ll have to try this! And I love regular chocolate chips, or pumpkin bread absolutely slathered in peanut butter, but I am up for trying your recommendation of white chocolate chips!
I’ve never tried peanut butter on my pumpkin bread! You’ll definitely have to give white chocolate chips a try- I tried the combo first in a loaf of pumpkin bread from my favorite bakery back home and haven’t looked back since 🙂
That looks so moist and delicious! I hate when my bread is dry. I love slathering my pumpkin bread with globs of drippy peanut butter! And I also love chocolate chip + pumpkin, but I will definitely have to try your white chocolate chip suggestion. 🙂
I am completely the same on the love affair with Fall and a recent realisation that pumpkin things are sooo good (I was put off by a nasty pumpkin dish I had some years ago and only had the courage to try it again in one of Arman’s (The Big Man’s World blogger) recipes this year).
However, I now have 3 cans of pumpkin puree (thank you WholeFoods for the 3 for £5 offer!) and this pumpkin bread recipe looks too good not to try!
Do you think coffee infused dark choc chips would work well as an add in? xx
Sounds like a great deal on pumpkin! And I bet coffee infused dark chocolate chips would be incredible in this bread! You’ll have to let me know if you try it 🙂
Fall is just THE best and strangely enough, I have actually only come round to enjoying pumpkin this year as it is something I had also avoided for ages after a bad experience in the past.
However, I have now fallen in love and since I have 3 cans if pumpkin puree in my cupboard (thank you WholeFoods for the 3 for £5 offer!), this recipe looks like a delicious way to use them!
I might be tempted to use some dark orange- infused chocolate chips as pumpkin and orange strangely seems to work for me… xx
Apologies for the double post- my computer said the first one hadn’t gone thorough and as I was rewriting I got thinking about chocolate orange instead of chocolate coffee!
Whichever I end up choosing though, I still can’t wait to try the recipe 🙂
Oooh that tip about white chocolate chips is so true! Also BUTTERSCOTCH chips in anything are great. I just made brownies and put candy corn M&Ms in them. Those are white chocolate m&ms with a candy corn tasting shell. Talk about NEVER STOP EATING them!!!
I’d say I’m a scone person. This month at work we have cinnamon scones (with cinnamon chips) and I am in LOVE!
I have not made bread in a while because it makes a lot and I get tired of it after a couple days. I think a single serve pumpkin bread would be awesome!
Mmmm, I LOVE scones but haven’t had one in forever! Whenever I make bread, I’ll freeze individual slices in plastic wrap and defrost them one at a time 🙂
Lisa @ panning The Globe says
I so want a slice of this right now! I love pumpkin bread and I’m so happy to have a lighter version – looks delicious!
Georgie Morley says
Giiiirl this looks so good. Love the idea of using apple sauce to lighten it up. This bread is basically fall in bread form. I personally am a fan of both muffins and bread. I like the muffin top but breads are easier to eat. (am I the only one who struggles with muffins?)
Haha! I do love muffins but I agree, they’re a bit harder to eat! (And I really just love the muffin tops haha).
This looks absolutely delicious! Your pictures make it look even better. Printing this out so I can make it later! Thank you for the recipe!
I knew I picked up 6 jars of pumpkin for a good reason yesterday! Excited to use this recipe for Joshua’s pumpkin bread this week. Thanks for sharing, Liv!
Dani @ Dani California Cooks says
My HS boyfriend and I thought we had discovered the “craziest” combination when we would buy these pumpkin spice chocolate chip cookies in the grocery store. Little did we know that they were already on trend!
Haha! You two sound like such foodies 😉
Oh my – this will definitely be on my next to make recipe once I have the courage to make banana bread! I think this would taste really good with some raisins thrown in – I don’t know about you but I love pumpkin and raisins. It’s just something about that combo!
Also thanks for that self hosted blogging advice you gave me! It helped a lot when it came to setting up my self hosted site – http://www.apinchofpurebliss.com
I bet raisins would be great in this! The combo of cinnamon + raisins is hard to beat. Excited to see your new site- heading over to check it out now!
Exactly! I love love cinnamon and raisin – it screams FALL! I am excited for you to see the new site! It honestly gives me happy vibes every time I log on and get to work on the site and I am loving learning what it means to run my blog and website!
Ooh, I love the SITE re-design. And you made pumpkin bread which is one of my fall faves! 🙂
Carol Eiseman says
What great Christmas presents these loaves would make when everyone is getting too much sugar
pumpkin and banana bread are my faves! this recipe sounds great Liv!
Wow! The pumpkin bread looks delicious!I know you always make healthy recipe but this one looks really awesome! Why should I not try!
Just made this into muffins! Baked for 25 minutes and they came out perfect and yummy! I used 3/4 cup brown sugar instead of 1 1/2 cups sugar and it turned out great! Thank you!!
Erin A. says
This looks delicious! Thank you for sharing this 🙂 How much vanilla extract do you use when incorporating the pumpkin puree?
1 teaspoon! Just updated the recipe– sorry about that!
Mollie Patanelli says
What could I use in place of apple sauce.
Hi Mollie! The applesauce mostly just adds moisture, so you could try mashing up one ripe banana really well and adding that or just using a full 1 cup of oil (no applesauce or banana) like the original recipe I adapted this bread from !
Wow, what a tasty !!!!! I like it to take. Thank your for shearing a delicious recipe.