This delicious sour cream pumpkin bread is an easy, must-make recipe for Fall! The sour cream makes it extra rich and moist, while the pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice load the batter with flavor. The batter comes together in minutes, making it a perfect Fall treat for beginner bakers.
Fall is in the air, and you know what that means? Pumpkin everything! This sour cream pumpkin bread tastes like the classic, nostalgic pumpkin bread from your childhood. The sour cream adds rich depth of flavor and creates the softest loaf ever.
With pumpkin puree, brown sugar, and all the warm Fall spices, this makes a delicious pumpkin breakfast (it's amazing with a cup of coffee), brunch, dessert, or snack. It's so versatile and you'll have a hard time not going back for another slice.
If you're looking for a beginner-friendly pumpkin recipe to make this Fall, this is it! In just 1 bowl, the batter comes together easily in minutes. This recipe also doesn't require special equipment!
For more simple pumpkin recipes, try these pumpkin biscotti, pumpkin cream cheese swirl muffins, pumpkin cheesecake with graham cracker crust, pumpkin protein balls, or almond flour pumpkin muffins next.
Here are some notes about the ingredients used. For the full ingredient list and instructions, see the recipe card below.
- Pumpkin puree- Make sure you're using real pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling! Look for canned, steamed pumpkin with no additional sweeteners or spices. The only ingredient should be pumpkin. This recipe uses a whole can- yay for no leftovers!
- Sour cream- Sour cream adds moisture and richness. It also has acid that interacts with baking soda to help the bread rise. Take it out of the refrigerator an hour before baking to reach room temperature so it isn't clumpy.
- Oil- I like making quick breads with oil instead of butter because it's liquid at room temperature, whereas butter is solid. This makes the bread extra moist! Use a flavorless, neutral oil like canola oil or vegetable oil so the pumpkin flavor shines.
- Eggs- 2 large eggs bind the other ingredients together. Make sure they're room temperature so they're easy to mix in. Take them out of the refrigerator with the sour cream.
- Apple cider vinegar- Don't worry, you can't taste it! Apple cider vinegar helps tenderize the gluten and is key for making a tender, soft pumpkin loaf.
- All purpose flour- I recommend measuring it with a food scale for the most accuracy. Over-measuring the flour will make your pumpkin bread dry and dense.
- Baking powder & baking soda- These leaveners work together, reacting with heat and acid to help pumpkin bread rise and get fluffy. When expired, baking powder and soda lose their potency, so check the date before you use them.
- Pumpkin pie spice- This is a mixture of spices used in pumpkin pie. It typically contains ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. You can find bottled pumpkin spice at most grocery stores and spice shops, or you can make your own!
Substitutions & Variations
- For a gluten free option, substitute Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten Free Baking Flour.
- Plain kefir, Greek yogurt, or buttermilk can be substituted for the sour cream.
- Make the pumpkin loaf a little sweet by adding ½ cup of chocolate chips, mini chocolate chips, or dried cranberries.
- Add some crunch by topping the bread with pumpkin seeds, chopped nuts, or a streusel topping. You can use the streusel from my mini cinnamon muffins.
- Spread cream cheese frosting on top for extra sweetness and tang.
Helpful Equipment & Tools
Bake the bread in a 9x5" 1 pound loaf pan. You can use a larger pan if needed or split the batter between mini loaf pans. Use an aluminum pan, not silicone because the bread will burn!
Step by Step Instructions
Before you start baking, preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C, line a loaf pan with parchment paper, and set aside.
STEP 1: First, add the pumpkin puree, sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla extract, and apple cider vinegar to a large mixing bowl. Whisk everything together until well combined.
STEP 2: Use a rubber spatula to fold the all purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin spice into the wet ingredients. Fold until the dry streaks of flour just disappear.
STEP 3: Pour the batter into your prepared pan. Sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired and bake for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with a few moist crumbs.
STEP 4: Take the pumpkin bread out of the oven and let it cool in the pan for 20 minutes before transferring to wire cooling rack. If you leave it in longer than 20 minutes, condensation will form and make the bread soggy.
Let it cool to room temperature, slice, and enjoy!
Expert Baking Tips
- Measure your flour correctly. Weighing the flour in grams with a kitchen scale will have the most accurate results. Metric measurements are provided in the recipe card below. If you don't have a scale, fluff the flour up in the bag before scooping into your measuring cup.
- Don't overmix. The best way to ensure a soft, tender crumb is to fold only until the ingredients are just incorporated. If you overmix your batter, you'll have a tough, gummy bread.
- Be careful to not underbake! Pumpkin bread and banana bread have to bake for a long time because of their thick batter. If it isn't baked all the way, the top of the loaf will look raw and sink. To make sure it's done, bake until the top is firm and a toothpick comes out totally clean.
Storage & Freezing
Sour cream pumpkin bread lasts at room temperature for up to 5 days. Once it's completely cool, transfer the whole loaf or individual slices to an airtight container or leave it in the pan and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. You can refrigerate it too but it'll dry out a bit faster.
Once the loaf is completely cool, cut into individual slices and transfer them to an airtight, freezer-safe container. They'll last in the freezer for up to 3 months! I don't recommend freezing a whole, unsliced loaf because it will take a long time to thaw.
To defrost, place a piece on a plate and let it sit on the counter for a couple hours to get soft again.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Divide the batter into a lined jumbo muffin tin to make bakery-style muffins.
This pumpkin loaf has a thick, wet batter, so it takes a while to bake. If you take it out too soon, the center might not be cooked all the way through. Periodically check the doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center. If the toothpick comes out with batter on it, put the bread back in the oven for a few more minutes before checking again. You may also want to use an oven thermometer to ensure your oven is at the right temperature throughout.
If the bread is gummy, it's most likely because you overmixed the batter. The dry ingredients need to be just folded in until the dry streaks disappear. Overmixing makes too much gluten develop, and too much gluten causes gumminess.
Before you cut into the bread, make sure it's completely cool. If it's still warm, it'll fall apart!
More Fall Recipes to Try
Sour Cream Pumpkin Bread
- 450 grams pumpkin puree 1 can
- 120 grams sour cream room temperature
- 112 grams oil
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 240 grams all purpose flour
- 230 grams granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C, line a loaf pan with parchment paper, and set aside.
- Add pumpkin puree, sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla, and apple cider vinegar to a large mixing bowl. Whisk until well combined.450 grams pumpkin puree, 120 grams sour cream, 112 grams oil, 2 large eggs, 2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Fold flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin spice into the wet ingredients with a rubber spatula until no dry streaks remain.240 grams all purpose flour, 230 grams granulated sugar, ½ teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired and bake for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let the pumpkin bread cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Allow to cool completely, slice, and enjoy.