This is a variation of our whole wheat quick bread recipe. Pumpkin may be the taste of fall, but with canned pumpkin, you can make this bread year round! This whole wheat pumpkin bread with chocolate chips boasts the benefits of whole grain nutrition and contains less sugar than your favorite store bought or bakery versions. Packed with a whole can of pumpkin, toasted pecans, melty chocolate chips, and a touch of spice, this bread has got it all!
Three Must Know Cooking Skills
For recipe success, learn how to:
Culinary Tips for this Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
Measure the flour properly to prevent dense bread. Fluff, spoon, and level; don’t scoop and pack!
Whisking the dry ingredients together mimics sifting and evenly distributes the ingredients, so don’t substitute another utensil.
Toast the pecans before baking to ensure the best flavor.
Add the chocolate chips and pecans after whisking the dry ingredients to ensure even distribution.
Add the canned pumpkin with the liquid ingredients.
Don’t overmix the batter! Watch our muffin method culinary technique video to learn how to mix the batter just enough so that you end up with a light and fluffy quick bread.
When measuring brown sugar, pack it in the cup. If you are trying to reduce your sugar consumption or prefer less sweet bread, reduce the sugar to 1/3 cup; the recipe will still come out great!
If your oven runs hot, check the bread for doneness after 50 minutes. To check for doneness, insert a toothpick into the middle of the loaf. If it comes out clean, it’s done! If it’s not done but the top of the loaf is getting too dark, loosely cover with a piece of foil and return to the oven.
The type of loaf pan will impact cook time. Dark metal pans will cook bread faster than ceramic pans.
- White Whole Wheat Flour: substitute whole wheat pastry flour or spelt flour for a similar taste, color, and texture. You can also substitute 1 cup whole wheat flour and ½ cup all-purpose flour. We don’t recommend subbing all regular whole wheat flour, as the bread will come out dense and grainy. To make gluten-free quick bread, use a gluten-free flour mix, such as Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Flour.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: substitute cinnamon, apple pie spice, or make your own pumpkin pie spice.
- Chocolate Chips: substitute any variety you like – white, semi-sweet, or dark. We recommend dark chocolate for optimal nutrition. Mini chocolate chips work too! Want a vegan pumpkin bread? Choose dairy-free chocolate chips.
- Walnuts: substitute toasted chopped pecans or slivered almonds.
- Pecans: walnuts or pumpkin seeds are other classic pumpkin pairings, but feel free to substitute your favorite nut.
- Pumpkin: substitute freshly made pumpkin puree or any other fruit or vegetable puree – sweet potato, butternut squash, or mashed banana. Just keep in mind that it will no longer be pumpkin bread!
- Buttermilk: substitute plain yogurt, Greek yogurt, kefir, or sour cream. You can also make your own buttermilk by mixing ½ cup milk or milk alternative with ½ Tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice.
- Brown Sugar: substitute cane sugar, but note that the flavor will be slightly different.
- Canola Oil: substitute avocado oil. Do not substitute olive oil, as this has a strong flavor. Do not substitute vegetable oil, as this is not a heart-healthy oil.
- Eggs: to make this pumpkin bread vegan, substitute the eggs with flax eggs. To make one flax egg, mix 1 Tablespoon of ground flaxseeds with 3 Tablespoons of water and let it rest for 10 minutes. Eggs help leaven the bread, so a vegan version might not be quite as fluffy.
Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract for an extra touch of warm and sweet flavor.
Want to make mini whole wheat loaves? Prepare mini loaf pans with parchment paper or non-stick spray and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
This batter works for whole wheat pumpkin muffins too! To make muffins, prepare a 12-cup muffin pan with liners or non-stick spray. Use a portion scoop to divide out the batter. Cook for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Want some more whole wheat quick bread recipe inspiration?
Use our quick bread base recipe to make this recipe to your taste, or check out some of our other variations!
You just need a few pieces of equipment for this simple pumpkin bread recipe:
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Nested mixing bowls
- Tovolo scoop spatula
- Dark bread loaf pan
- Parchment paper (optional)
Is this a Healthy Pumpkin Bread?
Many pre-made breads or store bought mixes contain way too much added sugar. Some even contain up to or even more than your daily allowance of sugar – yikes! The key ingredients that make this easy pumpkin bread healthier than store bought varieties are whole wheat flour, pumpkin, and less sugar than leading brands.
Whole Wheat Flour
Whole wheat flour is a good source of fiber, B vitamins, Vitamin E, trace minerals, and phytochemicals. Replacing refined grains (i.e. white flour) with whole grains (i.e. whole wheat flour) may reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. (1)
Pumpkin is a great source of beta carotene, fiber, and potassium. These nutrients promote immune function, gut health, good cholesterol, and normal blood pressure. Be sure to purchase pure pumpkin puree and not canned pumpkin pie filling, as this contains added sugar.
Less Added Sugar
High sugar consumption is not good for health, and in general, most Americans eat way too much. Men should aim to consume less than 9 teaspoons (~36 grams) of sugar per day, and women should aim to consume less than 6 teaspoons (~24 grams) of sugar per day. (2) Each slice of bread in this recipe has ~2 teaspoons (8 grams) of added sugar.
Serving Suggestions for Healthy Pumpkin Bread
We doubt you’ll be able to resist slicing a warm piece of this whole wheat pumpkin bread when it’s fresh out of the oven! Enjoy on its own for a satisfying snack or dessert, topped with almond butter for a balanced breakfast, or as a tasty treat after lunch.
Storage Tips for Homemade Pumpkin Bread
Because this is a moist bread, it will spoil more quickly at room temperature. Store the bread in a bag or container at room temperature for a couple of days or in the refrigerator for up to one week. Make sure the bread is entirely cool before storing.
Want to make a batch of this pumpkin spice bread recipe for later? This bread is great for the freezer! Once cooked, cool completely, wrap, then store in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months. You can also freeze individual slices for quick single-serve options. When ready to eat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator or warm individual servings in the toaster or microwave.
Want more healthy pumpkin recipes?
Try out these favorites, and as always, adjust to YOUR taste!
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips
- 1 ½ cups white whole wheat flour*
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- ½ cup toasted chopped pecans
- 1, 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 2 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare a 9×5 bread loaf pan with nonstick spray or parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, gently whisk flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add chocolate chips and pecans to flour mixture. Toss to evenly coat.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, buttermilk, brown sugar, oil, and eggs.
- Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture. Using a spatula, fold ingredients just until moistened. Do not overmix.
- Pour batter into the prepared bread loaf pan. Bake 55-60 minutes or until slightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Enjoy!