This recipe for Healthy Pumpkin Bread is tender, naturally sweetened, spiced to perfection, and features a delicious cream cheese swirl for the ultimate twist on a classic recipe.
This pumpkin bread with cream cheese swirl is hands down my favorite version of pumpkin bread!
It is moist, sweet, and filled with a sweet surprise. You would never know it has been made healthier because it tastes like a guilty pleasure.
Pumpkin bread is often made with a hefty amount of refined sugars and oil. This recipe swaps out a few key ingredients to make a healthier version of pumpkin bread that tastes just as delicious as the classic recipe.
- Whole Wheat Flour: Instead of using enriched flour, this recipe uses whole wheat flour.for added fiber, nutrients, and a dose of whole grains. You can use either whole wheat flour or whole white wheat flour. Whole white wheat flour will result in a lighter loaf of bread, but is still 100% whole grain.
- Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is used in place of refined sugar, as a natural sweetener. Plus maple and pumpkin are a perfect pairing.
- Applesauce: This recipe for healthy pumpkin bread uses applesauce to help keep the bread moist and tender and cut back on the amount of oil added. Be sure to use unsweetened applesauce to keep the bread free of refined sugars.
- Oil: You will only need a fraction of the oil that pumpkin bread typically calls for. Opt to use either melted coconut oil or canola oil.
- Pumpkin Puree: Pumpkin not only gives this bread its pumpkin flavor, but it is a great source of vitamin A and fiber. Be sure to use 100% pure pumpin puree not pumpkin pie filling.
How To Make Healthy Pumpkin Bread
- Over a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, ground ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon and then gently whisk together. While you can opt to simply whisk together the dry ingredients and skip sifting, sifting will help to remove any clumps of baking soda or baking powder that are really quite unpleasant to bite into.
- In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, pumpkin puree, oil, maple syrup, and applesauce.
- Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture and gently fold together with a spatula or wooden spoon until everything is just combined. You don't want to overmix the dough, but you want to be sure the flour is fully moistened. Set the mixture aside.
- Prepare the cream cheese filling by mixing the cream cheese, vanilla, egg, and maple syrup together using a handheld mixer until smooth and creamy.
- To assemble the pumpkin bread, grease a loaf pan with butter, cooking spray, or line with parchment paper. Spread out half the pumpkin bread batter into the pan. Spread the cream cheese filling over the pumpkin bread and then dollop the remaining pumpkin bread batter on top of the cream cheese filling. Do not worry about the batter fully covering cream cheese.
- Bake the bread until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes on the cooling rack. Then remove the pumpkin bread from the pan and cool for an additional 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.
Pumpkin bread will last for up to 4 days when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Because this quick bread is made with no preservatives and whole grains, it will grow mold quickly if stored at room temperature for longer than 24 hours.
You can also freeze this pumpkin bread for up to 3 months by allowing it to cool after baking, wrapping it in plastic wrap, and then a layer of foil. Place into a freezer-safe bag and store in the freezer. Allow the bread to defrost in the refrigerator overnight.
The cream cheese filling is optional--but highly encouraged, as it adds a sweet, tangy surprise that pairs perfectly with the pumpkin flavor. If you would like to omit the cream cheese swirl, just pour the entire Pumpkin Bread into the loaf pan and bake for the same amount of time.
It is CRUCIAL to use softened cream cheese, not cold cream cheese. Your cream cheese should be at room temperature before trying to mix it together with the egg and maple syrup. If not, you will have a lumpy cream cheese swirl.
Yes! Omit the cream cheese filling or use vegan cream cheese for the swirl.
I prefer to use a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger in place of pumpkin pie spice, as I find pumpkin pie spice to be a bit overpowering. You can certainly omit the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger and replace them with 1 ½ teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice.
More Healthy Baked Goods
- Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins
- Cinnamon Applesauce Muffins
- Healthy Banana Bread
- Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins
If you enjoyed this pumpkin bread recipe with a cream cheese swirl, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
Healthy Pumpkin Bread
For the Pumpkin Bread
- 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon grated whole nutmeg
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted or canola oil
- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
For the Cream Cheese Filling
- 8 ounces softened cream cheese
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-inch loaf pan with butter or cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
- Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg together over a large mixing bowl and then gently whisk to combine.
- In a separate mixing bowl, mix together 2 eggs, maple syrup, oil, applesauce, and pumpkin puree until well combined. Add into the dry ingredients and fold the wet and dry ingredients together until just combined.
- Prepare the cream cheese filling, by mixing together cream cheese, vanilla extract, 1 egg, and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup together with a handheld mixer on medium speed until creamy and smooth.
- Pour ½ of the pumpkin bread batter into the prepared loaf pan. Pour the filling on top of that. Then finish by gently dolloping the remaining bread batter onto the filling. (It is okay if it is not perfectly covered.)
- Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool the bread in the loaf pan on a cooling rack for 10 to 15minutes. Remove the bread from the pan and continue to cool to room temperature before slicing and/or storing.