Pumpkin bread: 5 quick and easy makeovers

‘Tis the season for pumpkin bread. Moist, tender, and brilliant orange, it’s the essence of autumn – and at the top of everyone’s “must-bake” list these days.

But what happens when the thrill is gone?

I mean, a slice of pumpkin bread is really tasty. But it’s still just a slice of bread. And as wonderful as sliced bread can be, it can sometimes get a shade… old. Creatively speaking, anyway.

If you’ve ever wondered exactly what “the next best thing since sliced bread” really is – read on.

Pumpkin bread: 5 easy makeovers via @kingarthurflour

Here it is, sliced pumpkin bread. (Or banana bread, or zucchini bread… any type of quick bread will work.) Maybe you cut up a loaf for brunch, and it didn’t get finished. Or perhaps you’ve got your eye on one of the “makeovers” in this post.

Whatever the reason, sliced pumpkin bread is the basis for our first variation –

5 Things to do with Pumpkin Bread-3A

Pumpkin Bread French Toast

Whip up the soaking batter from our French toast recipe, omitting the sugar.

Dip; fry; enjoy. I’ve showered this piece with cinnamon-sugar, but feel free to top with maple syrup – or homemade ginger syrup, which is an equally tasty companion.

Let’s stay in breakfast mode. You won’t believe how simple it is to turn pumpkin bread into another morning favorite –

Pumpkin bread: 5 easy makeovers via @kingarthurflour

Pumpkin Bread Crumb Pancakes

Tender and moist, these pancakes rely on pumpkin bread for their wonderful golden color.

Pumpkin bread: 5 easy makeovers via @kingarthurflour

Start by using your food processor to turn a slice or two of pumpkin bread (about 3 1/2 ounces) into 1 cup of crumbs.

Add the following to the processor:

1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg

Process briefly, just until well combined. Pour circles of the batter onto a lightly greased griddle set on medium-high heat.

Cook the pancakes for 2 to 3 minutes on the first side, until golden brown. Flip and cook the other side for about 2 minutes. Serve warm. Yield: about 8 medium (3″) pancakes.

We’ve had a hearty breakfast; now let’s jump to dessert. And since we have the griddle out already, we’ll use it for a simple yet sumptuous treat –

Pumpkin bread: 5 easy makeovers via @kingarthurflour

Grilled Pumpkin Bread Sundaes

Butter the griddle, and fry a slice of pumpkin bread on both sides until crisp. Top with ice cream and sauce: homemade caramel sauce is a logical choice, though hot fudge wouldn’t be amiss.

Pumpkin bread plays a key role in another easy dessert –

Pumpkin bread: 5 easy makeovers via @kingarthurflour

Pumpkin Bread Parfait

Make these layered treats in wide-mouth half-pint mason jars, for a the sweetest little take-along dessert you’ll ever see.

Pumpkin bread: 5 easy makeovers via @kingarthurflour

Start with cubes of pumpkin bread that you’ve let sit out overnight, to dry up a bit; you want the bread to hold its shape once it’s covered with filling.

Whip up a batch of your favorite pastry cream. Or opt for easy instant pudding: butterscotch (as I’ve used here), chocolate, vanilla cheesecake, your choice. There’s even a pumpkin instant pudding that appears right around this time of year.

Place cubes of bread in the bottom of the jar. Top with pastry cream or pudding, then another layer of bread, then more cream/pudding. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Finally, something for the kids – or adults who have a whimsical relationship with their food.

Pumpkin bread: 5 easy makeovers via @kingarthurflour

Chocolate-Dipped Pumpkin Bread Pops

Use large (1 1/4″ or so) cubes of pumpkin bread. Or do as I’ve done here: bake the bread (banana bread, in this version) as mini muffins, rather than a loaf.

Melt some chocolate chips. Dip half of each bread cube in the melted chocolate. Add a pretzel stick for a handle, if desired.

Pop into your mouth. Enjoy.

What else can you do with pumpkin bread – or any other quick bread, for that matter? Share (via comments, below) your best creative makeover ideas or recipes starting with pumpkin bread, or banana bread, or zucchini bread…

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Although ravioli and gnocchi sound delicious (could there ever be too much of those?!), butternut squash can take the place of pumpkin in this Easy Pumpkin Bread recipe without making many changes. Just be sure to roast the squash, skin side down, so that it caramelizes and brings out a subtly sweet nutty flavor. Scoop out the filling and puree it in a blender or with an immersion blender after it has cooled. Voila, you will have butternut squash bread in no time! Kye@KAF

  1. Comet

    While I respect some one’s wanting to bake any way they like; please be aware that by “saving” animals while baking–from what? IF you don’t like caged eggs–buy cage free. If you don’t like butter–Why DO you hate America?

    But seriously–if you think you are saving animals by NOT using their products–esp non-life taking products like butter and eggs–you should think this thru. If we don’t USE these animal products–the animals themselves have NO reason to exist and will die out –go extinct–if WE don’t take care of them. We do not have the resource to keep animal species that serve no other useful purpose and cannot not exist in the wild. Dairy cows are not likely to be needed if no one uses dairy products. Butter; cream; milk; –gone. Along with the cows. You are calling for extinction here! No one can do dairy cow “rescue” in a NYC apartment–and farms don’t have the land to spare to house animals with no purpose. The vet care alone would bankrupt them.

    This also applies to : pigs; sheep; goats; chickens; domestic ducks and geese; all of which would go extinct if we don’t have a USE for them. And that would be very sad.

    Ironically about the ONLY “animal” we domesticate and NEED for other reasons than direct food production is–the Honey Bee.

    1. Margy

      Comet, I agree with you. We eat butter, milk, eggs, cheese, etc., also some meat and poultry. All of these we obtain from local sources where we know the producers, have toured the farms, and have seen that the animals are not confined and are being treated humanely; and, in the case of meat, humanely slaughtered. No CAFO produced products. Our ancestors had eaten these foods for thousands of years, and I prefer not to eat artificially created “butters” and other foods. I would never criticize anyone who chose to be vegan for whatever reason. However, it has been my experience that the reverse is not always the case.

  2. Linda

    Your french toast version looks like it might be two thin layers with a custard or frosting of some sort. Or maybe a special butter?

    Do tell!


  3. Paul from Ohio

    Ah yes, what to do with Pumpkin Bread after the first slices are enjoyed warm from the oven, then another day or so……….then? OH YEAH!

    All of these are DELICIOUS MAKEOVER OPTIONS!!! Love each and every one of them. PJ you’re always piquing my bake something new something old/new spirit! I’m thinking Cinnamon Bread might also go into all of these as the starter bread!

    Happy Fall to All!

  4. sheila

    Love the parfait idea- i think I’ll try it with custard. Custard is so good on so many things- like apple pie, and you don’t get it nearly often enough for breakfast. 😉
    I wonder though- do you have a recipe for pumpkin bread using molasses? I loved that spice-laden dark pumpkin bread best, but Mom’s recipe is long lost, and I can’t quite recreate it. I thought it may have come from her old Good Housekeeping cookbook, but I found what I thought was the right edition, and it wasn’t there.

  5. Dianemw

    Yum!!! Can’t wait to try the French toast, and the pancakes are genius! Who knew!! I love making KA Microwave Bread Pudding with leftover Double Chocolate Zucchini and Pumpkin Breads. PJ, your blogs are the best!! Thanks!!

  6. Carolyn Leighton

    Hi, PJ – I am not a vegan, but I prefer to bake only vegan recipes both for health reasons, and because of my love of animals.

    I only use King Arthur flour (love the wheat pastry flour!) and would encourage you to include vegan options for all of your recipes – this is a growing community and will be a win for King Arthur, for vegans, and most of all, for all the animals all of us can save by making vegan choices even one time.

    I look forward to hearing back from you.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Carolyn, I’d love to be able to accommodate not only your request, but those of so many of our other readers asking for versions of our recipes modified to meet special dietary desires and/or needs. Unfortunately, with the pace of recipe development and content publishing, there simply isn’t time to do this. Many of our yeast bread recipes are vegan; and hopefully, since you’re baking vegan, you can figure out how to modify some of the recipes you’d like to try so that they use your preferred egg and dairy substitutes. I’m sorry I’m not giving you the answer you probably would have liked – PJH

  7. waikikirie

    Hi PJ….Great minds think alike. I was wondering the other day about making mini muffins out of banana bread and here’s an added bonus. I think my husband would love the French toast idea. One of his favorite breakfast that he orders out is Bananas foster French toast. Breakfast for dinner this week for sure. (With baked bacon, of course)

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Boy, great minds really do think alike, we’re having breakfast for dinner a lot lately too. BAKE ALL THE BACON! ~ MJ

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