This easy pumpkin chocolate chip bread is made in one bowl with no mixer using simple ingredients like olive oil, Greek yogurt, and of course, pumpkin puree and plenty of chocolate chips. It features a cozy blend of fall spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, and the recipe makes just one loaf, not two!
We’re talking pumpkin bread today! One of my favorite culinary delights of fall, besides baked apple cider donuts and caramel apple galettes, of course. Pumpkin bread is nostalgic, homey, and comforting.
Why you’ll love this easy pumpkin chocolate chip bread
- TEXTURE – The texture of this chocolate chip pumpkin bread is velvety and plush, the crumb is dense, and the sweetness is just right.
- LESS SWEET – I’ve reduced the sugar vs a typical recipe, which allows the pumpkin itself and the spices to shine through.
- HEALTHIER – I used olive oil and Greek yogurt for fat, moisture, and a more complex flavor; by contrast, typical homemade pumpkin bread recipes use vegetable oil and a lot of sugar. I find most of these recipes to be very one note flavor-wise and overpoweringly sweet. You will not find that here!
- STRONG PUMPKIN SPICE FLAVOR – I went heavier on the cloves than most recipes do, and that’s because (i) I love the scent and taste of cloves and (ii) the flavor is distinctively autumnal. If you don’t like cloves, you can reduce or eliminate and it will be just fine.
- ONE BOWL, NO MIXER REQUIRED – that’s right, the batter comes together with a bowl and a whisk, and you don’t need a mixer to make it. Easiest pumpkin bread recipe ever?
- YIELDS JUST ONE LOAF – many pumpkin bread recipes yield 2 loaves (they do this so they can use up an entire 15 ounce can of pumpkin in one recipe). That’s way too much for my family of two, so this recipe has been scaled down to make just one loaf of pumpkin chocolate chip bread!
The recipe development process
When doing research on the various incarnations of pumpkin bread recipes in the world, one thing became abundantly clear: most rely on a virtual mountain of sugar for flavor. And I get it, because pumpkin puree on its own is not sweet — it’s a squash, not a fruit — but there is no need for 1.5 cups of sugar in ONE loaf. I knew I could do better.
This was a similar problem to the one I encountered when developing my recipe for the easiest banana bread, so I had some tricks up my sleeve that I thought might work for pumpkin bread too.
In that recipe, I used a combination of only 1/3 cup each of brown and granulated sugar for sweetness, combined with the bananas. The issue is that when you reduce the sugar in a recipe, you also lose some moisture and flavor. You have to compensate for that, and I did so with yogurt and melted butter in that recipe.
For this chocolate chip pumpkin bread recipe, I knew I needed slightly more sugar than banana bread because of the squash’s lack of sweetness, but not much more. A hefty dose of yogurt, olive oil, and spices (modeled after the ratios in my spiced pumpkin bundt cake) would provide flavor and moisture, and chocolate chips would provide sweetness on their own.
So after a few (tasty) tests, here’s what it came down to:
- Pumpkin puree. 1 cup of the totally unsweetened, NOT pumpkin pie filling canned variety. Many people say you can only use Libby’s because it’s thicker and less watery but I used Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and a random store brand in my tests, all to equal effectiveness. I think you could use homemade pumpkin puree as well, but make sure it is as drained as possible before using in the recipe.
- Brown sugar. 3/4 of a cup will do it. Did you know brown sugar is just granulated sugar mixed with molasses? The molasses provides moisture and flavor, and we need that in this pumpkin bread!
- Greek yogurt. 1/2 cup provides moisture, flavor, and protein.
- Olive oil. Just 1/3 cup. I decided to use olive oil because most pumpkin breads call for oil rather than butter. Oil lends itself to a beautifully moist crumb. You can use extra virgin or a refined variety, and you won’t notice the flavor. If you prefer, melted butter or coconut oil would work too.
- Egg. Just one, for structure.
- The good spices: vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. You could use 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice instead, but I like controlling the ratios.
- Chocolate chips: I prefer to use dark chocolate chips, but use what you like! You could use mini chocolate chips too.
- A sprinkle of turbinado or coarse sugar (and more chocolate chips) on top. This creates an epic, crackly crust that shatters when you bite into it! Just look!
For this pumpkin bread with chocolate chips, you’ll need the following equipment:
- Large bowl
- Liquid measuring cup
- Rubber spatula
- Kitchen scale – I highly recommend weighing your ingredients for most accurate results, especially the flour! This is the primary way I bake these days as it is much more precise than using measuring cups (and there are less dishes to clean).
- Loaf pan: you can use a 9″x5″ or 8.5″x4.5″ loaf pan – I give directions for both options in the recipe. Your bread will be taller if you use the smaller pan, but will be delicious either way.
How to Make Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread: Step by Step
There won’t be many steps here because this recipe is designed to be streamlined and quick! Only one bowl needed, hallelujah.
- Whisk together your wet ingredients (pumpkin, brown sugar, oil, Greek yogurt, egg, vanilla) in a large bowl.
- Whisk in the dry ingredients – first the spices, baking soda, and salt until well-combined, then add the flour and stir gently just until a batter forms and there are no longer flour pockets.
- Stir in the chocolate chips (best part)…then scrape into a greased or lined loaf pan and top with a sprinkle of turbinado or regular granulated sugar (for that shattery crust) and more chocolate chips.
- BAKE! This loaf requires 45-55 minutes, depending on the size of your pan. If you’re using a 9×5″ loaf pan it will be on the shorter side, and for an 8×4″ loaf pan, it will be on the longer side.
Recipe Tips and Substitutions
- Measuring flour: make sure to either weigh your flour (using a kitchen scale) for most accurate results or use the spoon and level method. Don’t just scoop flour directly from the bag – this compacts the flour and you will have more than you’re supposed to, leading to dry, sad pumpkin bread.
- Flour substitution: you can substitute an equal amount of all-purpose GF mix with xanthan gum, or can replace up to 1/2 cup of the flour with finely ground oat flour for a bit more chew to the bread. You could also substitute white whole wheat flour for the all-purpose flour.
- Spices: you can substitute 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice in place of the individual spices if you prefer.
- Greek yogurt: I used 2%, but 0%, whole, or a thick Greek-style plant-based yogurt will also work. You could also substitute with sour cream if desired.
- Olive oil: can substitute with an equal amount of another oil or melted butter if desired.
- Make this pumpkin bread recipe into pumpkin chocolate chip muffins: divide the batter among 10-12 muffin cups and top with extra chocolate chips and a sprinkle of sugar. Bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees without opening the door and bake another 12-14 minutes until domed and set.
This pumpkin chocolate chip bread can be stored and keeps well:
- at room temperature for up to 4 days
- in the refrigerator for up to a week. Simply microwave individual slices for 10-15 seconds to reheat.
- The bread can be frozen, well wrapped, for up to 3 months. Allow to come to room temperature for 1-2 hours before serving or microwave individual slices for 30 seconds to reheat.
I love the shattery sugar crust on top of this bread. Combined with the velvety crumb, soft texture, fall spices, and healthy amount of chocolate chips, it’s a lovely bite of autumn flavor. What I need, what WE need, is this pumpkin chocolate chip bread on repeat every day for the rest of October, November, and beyond. It tastes like, as my friend Colleen put it, “fall in my mouth. Truly heavenly.”
Can’t argue with that.
More Pumpkin Recipes
- Easy Pumpkin Spice Muffins
- Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Baked Pumpkin Donuts with Maple Glaze
- Pumpkin Pancakes
- Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
- 1 cup (227g) canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- ¾ cup (154g) brown sugar, packed
- ½ cup (115g) plain Greek yogurt
- ⅓ cup (80 ml) olive oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups (188g) all-purpose flour (measured via spoon and level method if not weighing)
- ½ cup (85g) chocolate chips, plus more for sprinkling over top
- 1 Tablespoon turbinado or coarse sugar, for sprinkling over top
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line a loaf pan (9"x5" or 8.5"x4.5") with parchment paper, or grease well. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, brown sugar, Greek yogurt, olive oil until well-combined. Add the egg and vanilla, and whisk again until smooth and slightly thicker.
- Whisk in spices, baking soda, and salt until evenly distributed and smooth. You'll notice I didn't have you mix these with the flour – we want the spices evenly incorporated into the batter before adding flour so less stirring (and therefore gluten formation) is required once the flour is added.
- Dump your flour into the bowl and stir gently with a spatula or fork until a fairly smooth and well-combined batter is formed. Stop stirring once there are no pockets of flour remaining.
- Fold in chocolate chips gently until evenly distributed through the batter.
- Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan. Top with additional chocolate chips and turbinado sugar, if desired.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs attached. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack before turning out and slicing.
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