Pumpkin Bread With Brown Butter and Bourbon Recipe (2024)

By Melissa Clark

Pumpkin Bread With Brown Butter and Bourbon Recipe (1)

Total Time
1 hour 15 minutes
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This hearty pumpkin bread is a sophisticated twist on the traditional version with the addition of bourbon (teetotalers can substitute apple cider), browned butter and cardamom.

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Yield:Two 8-inch loaves

  • ½cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • ¼cup bourbon (or use water or apple cider)
  • 1tablespoon vanilla
  • cups pumpkin purée, homemade or canned (1 15-ounce can)
  • 4eggs
  • ½cup olive or other oil (such as canola)
  • 2cups all-purpose flour
  • 1cup whole wheat flour
  • cups light brown sugar
  • teaspoons baking soda
  • 1teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½teaspoon ground cardamom

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (2 servings)

1877 calories; 61 grams fat; 33 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 19 grams monounsaturated fat; 5 grams polyunsaturated fat; 285 grams carbohydrates; 17 grams dietary fiber; 132 grams sugars; 35 grams protein; 1723 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Pumpkin Bread With Brown Butter and Bourbon Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    Heat oven to 350 degrees and arrange a rack in the center. Grease the insides of two 8-inch loaf pans with butter or line with parchment paper.

  2. Step


    In a large skillet, melt ½ cup (1 stick) butter over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the frothy white milk solids sink to the bottom of the pan and turn a fragrant, nutty brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Brown butter can burn quickly, so watch it carefully. (A tip: You will know your brown butter is almost ready when the frantic sound of bubbling begins to die down, so use your ears as well as your eyes and nose.)

  3. In a glass liquid measuring cup, combine bourbon and vanilla. Add water until you reach the ⅔ cup mark. In a large bowl, whisk together bourbon mixture, pumpkin purée, eggs and oil. With a spatula, scrape all the brown butter from the skillet into the pumpkin mixture and stir to combine.

  4. Step


    In another large bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and stir to combine.

  5. Step


    Divide batter between the two greased loaf pans. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet and transfer to oven. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Allow bread to cool completely before removing from pan.



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Cooking Notes

S. Parker

I think the most effective way to get bourbon flavor is to omit the bourbon from the recipe and drink it straight with a slice of this bread instead.

Noal Murphy

I made this with applesauce instead of oil (the brown butter adds enough oily flavor on its own); it came out absolutely delicious. Fantastic recipe! Perfect fall treat.


Cooking time for 8 mini loaf pans (for gift-giving)?

Sounds delicious!


Everyone loved this with the following tweaks:1/2 tsp of baking soda1/2 tsp of baking powder2/3 cup bourbon, no waterdouble the cinnamon, ginger, and cardamomIt was very moist and flavorful!

gnarly charlie

I adjusted the bourbon to seven Manhattans

Melissa Clark

Yes, I've done it many times.


For those who want to taste more bourbon, add another 1/4 cup of Bourbon after wet ingredients have been incorporated into the dry ingredients. To minimize the taste of the baking soda make sure to mix dry ingredients really well.

Tiara W

Wonderful recipe! I did double the spices and I also mixed the dry ingredients very carefully so as not to taste the baking soda. I will definitely cook this again but next time I'll reduce the baking soda to 1/2 tsp and add 2 tsp of baking powder.


For those with only one bread pan who need to make loaves back to back: this makes about 6 cups of batter in total, so 3 cups per pan.


Finally got around to making this (used bourbon), and my friends are still raving and asking for the recipe. Next time I'll add walnuts and bump up the spices (my preference), but I LOVED the fact that this isn't a super sweet loaf, and was saying I need to toast a piece and put peanut butter on it for breakfast...

Melissa Clark

The baking soda reacts with the brown sugar to make it rise, though I'm sure the powder couldn't hurt!


I used rum and the results were excellent - don't know how it compares to using bourbon, but everyone loved it


Made this tonight and am in love. I did make a few very minor alterations. I melted 1/2 c coconut shortening in place of oil, used dark brown sugar because that's what I had and subed water with bourbon...hiccup. Finally, I made a glaze with 10x sugar, cream and cinnamon plus, you guessed it, more bourbon and glazed while still warm. Best ever pumpkin bread.

Alison Dahl

Has anyone tried to use a bundt pan for this recipe? If so, what changes were made and did you add a glaze?

Elizabeth Stith

Seems to me some golden raisins might be a good addition. Anything else?

holly S

I loved this recipe so much and it kept moist for a while.


We had puréed butternut squash so we substituted it for the pumpkin. We used cider, not bourbon 1 and 1/2 c light brown sugar rather than 1 and 3/4Added in 1 c chopped walnutsand 1 and 1/2 c chocolate chips- which we probably didn’t need to addFlavor of batter is spectacular


Double bourbon, double spices. Add chocolate chips. Cut baking soda by half and add BP. Can’t really taste brown butter but probably still helps. Could skip that step.


So, I made this and followed the recipe closely. I did amp up the spices a bit and added a tad bit more bourbon. It took 45 minutes to bake. The verdict is mostly positive. The bread/cake was very moist, with a nice pumpkin flavor. But there was a slightly bitter taste for me - either the bourbon or the cardamon.

Lisa in Los Angeles

I made this with the bourbon and was surprised that I could still taste it - it's very subtle - even with the rich pumpkin puree and all the spices. My husband went nuts - he loves pumpkin bread on any occasion, but as soon as he smelled it cooking, he couldn't wait to try it. Fantastic flavor, very moist and delicious.


I tried it with cake flour instead of all purpose flour. Came out lighter and fluffier. Will try again with more bourbon and more spices.

Helen J

I made it again with the following modifications and taste was enhanced.Substitute cake flour for all purpose flour.Up bourbon to 1/2 cupAdd 1/2 tsp ground nutmegAdd 1/2 tsp ground clovesUp cinnamon to 2 tspUp ginger to 1 tspUp ground cardamom to 1 tsp


would like to know this as well "Cooking time for 8 mini loaf pans (for gift-giving)?"Thank you


I know probably no one else is interested in calories but this is way on out there:Nutritional analysis per serving (2 servings)1877 caloriesIs one serving an entire loaf?


2 tea rasal.hanout. Metal pan. Just blend dry and wet for moist and flake. half tea b soda half tea powder


I tea rasal hanout plus ginger.


Upped spices. Rasal hanout and garam masala. Fold wet into dry for moist and flake.

Hope Anderson

I made it as written except for using rye flour in place of whole wheat, which I didn’t have. The result was overly moist and heavy—ok only when heated. If I made it again, I’d omit the water.


Made a few changes to the recipe. I’m not a fan of wheat flour, so I used 3 cups of flour and added two handfuls of walnuts.The bread was delicious.I made it as part of my Holiday gifts.


Great! Had to grind fresh cardamom, so halved the amount as it was pretty potent, and this worked out perfectly. Decrease soda to 1/2 tsp and added 1T baking powder. Otherwise made with no changesI suspect you could do 2:1 whole wheat, rather than 1:2 whole wheat, and have a similarly tasty bread Kept well, I think it might’ve even tasted better on the second or third day.


I had a pumpkin left over from a farm share and my son is a distiller. Made this (twice) and it is so delicious. Moist and flavorful.

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Pumpkin Bread With Brown Butter and Bourbon Recipe (2024)


Why does my pumpkin bread have no flavor? ›

Why does my pumpkin bread taste bland? Make sure to follow the recipe exactly. That means—don't leave out the salt, don't cut the amount of sugar, and use the specified amount of cinnamon.

Why did my pumpkin bread come out gummy? ›

If your pumpkin spice bread is gummy or undercooked in the center, it's typically because it either 1) needed more time to bake in the oven or 2) the batter was too wet, which led the bread to collapse in on itself a bit (this happens if you measure ingredients by volume, rather than by weight: it's easy to ...

Why is my pumpkin bread soggy? ›

Common problems when baking quick breads

Tough texture: This is a clear sign of over-mixing quick breads or too high oven temperature. Soggy bread: If your batter is left for too long before baking or you don't have enough baking soda or baking powder, you will have soggy bread.

Why is my pumpkin bread so dense? ›

Pumpkin bread can become dense if there is not enough hydration or wet ingredients in the recipe. Another cause is overcooking the bread which can cause it to dry out. Remember, it's always easy to keep cooking if it isn't done but impossible to take cooking time back.

What happens if you put too much pumpkin in pumpkin bread? ›

You might think you could overcome the lack of flavor by adding more pumpkin purée to your recipe, but you'd be mistaken: By the time you've added enough purée to taste it, your baked good would have a soggy texture on account of all that moisture.

How do you enhance pumpkin flavor? ›

Both black and white pepper work, but will add different flavor notes. High-quality black pepper is my favorite since it has citrusy, floral notes that complement pumpkin and the other spices so well. White pepper is also a great option and will bring a more subtle, umami-rich note to the spice blend.

How to know if pumpkin bread is done? ›

So, to know when pumpkin bread is done, look for the crack on the top of the bread, which is a tell-tale sign it's either done or close to being done. Then stick a skewer or toothpick into the center of the bread. If it comes out clean, it's ready to come out of the oven.

How do I keep my pumpkin bread from sinking in the middle? ›

If your oven isn't up to temperature consistently during the baking time, you may experience sunken cakes or loaves. Use an oven thermometer to gauge the accuracy of your oven. At the very least, try waiting 10 minutes after the oven has beeped to signify it has preheated before actually baking anything.

Should pumpkin bread be stored in the fridge or on the counter? ›

Should Pumpkin Bread be Refrigerated? Pumpkin bread stores fabulously well at room temperature due to the pumpkin and oil. It does not need to be refrigerated unless you want to make it last an entire week.

Can I rebake undercooked pumpkin bread? ›

It's not as easy as they make it sound to salvage undercooked pumpkin bread, but if you're lucky this handy trick will work. Heat the oven to 350 F, return the bread to the oven, and bake for another 10 to 20 minutes. This should cook the inside and will work even if the loaf has cooled a little.

Why does my pumpkin bread crumble when I cut it? ›

Too much flour and not enough water can cause crumbly bread – people often do this if the dough is too sticky and they add more flour rather than kneading through it. Other culprits can be overproving or not kneading enough – the things you need to do to get a good structure.

Why did my pumpkin bread split on top? ›

The thick, rough crack is a sure sign of insufficient steam. The crust wasn't moist enough to be flexible, so it hardened and set before the loaf was done expanding. Another possible reason is that your baking temperature was too high, resulting in the same effect.

How do you make bread lighter and fluffier? ›

Add Sugar

Adding sugar weakens the gluten structure, absorbs water, and eventually makes the bread lighter and softer. As a result, sugar improves the bread's taste, structure and texture. Yeast also eats up sugar to produce carbon dioxide, which raises the dough and makes bread fluffy.

What happens if you use too much baking soda in pumpkin bread? ›

It's important not to use too much baking soda in recipes, as it can result in a metallic, soapy flavor. It is much more powerful than baking powder – you only need about 1/4 teaspoon baking soda per cup of flour to leaven baked goods.

What is the best flour for bread? ›

While bread flour is the best option, it can sometimes be used if you don't have bread flour. “Check the protein content,” advises Chef Jürgen, since it can vary from brand to brand, and an all-purpose flour that contains protein on the higher end of the range, 12 to 13 percent, will produce a better outcome.

Why does my bread lack flavor? ›

Salt adds flavor to bread. If none or too little is used in a recipe, the bread will lack the right flavor and taste "bland." If you reduce the amount of salt, try adding some dried herbs to increase the flavor. Too much yeast in bread will give bread an off-taste.

Why does my pumpkin pie taste bland? ›

If the recipe doesn't use enough spice, or if the spices were old enough to have lost much of their flavour, or if the mixture isn't well balanced, then the pie is not going to taste right and could be quite bland.

What can I do with tasteless pumpkins? ›

  1. slice it up thinly and put it on pizza.
  2. dice it up and add it to couscous, rice, or pasta sauce (a cream-based sauce with paprika and garlic is nice, maybe sauteed sliced onions, spinach, bacon, chicken)
  3. make some pumpkin pie spice and use it and the pumpkin for baking: cupcakes, brownies, whatever.
Dec 4, 2014

Why doesnt pumpkin spice taste like pumpkin? ›

Pumpkin spice blend is usually a mix of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. Pumpkin spice blend can even be added to alcoholic drinks. When you use real pumpkin and not a canned puree, you control the level of sugar and spices in the finished food.


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