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Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting

What could be more warming and comforting than Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting?

This recipe elevates the much loved old fashioned pumpkin bread to new levels with a smooth, tangy cream cheese frosting. Incredibly moist with just the right amount of spice, it’s easy to make this pumpkin bread right now.

Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting with two slices cut.
You’ll love the flavor and the creamy frosting!

Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting is the kind of recipe that will create memories. Just like my Cinnamon Granola and my Italian Apple Cake, you won’t be able to get this bread out of your mind. Yes, it’s that good!

Just like my other quick bread recipes, Banana Bread with Nutella or Date Nut Bread, this one contains no yeast and comes together fast! Some might say it’s almost like a cake but this pumpkin loaf with cream cheese icing is better because it’s so easy.

If a cool change in the air has you thinking of cozy, indulgent treats then this Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting recipe is for you!

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Quick and Simple – Making this recipe couldn’t be more easy. The batter is just a matter of combining wet and dry ingredients while the frosting comes together in minutes.
  • Warming Spices – As the pumpkin bread bakes your kitchen will be filled with the cozy and familiar scents of the season. It will take just one bite into the soft, fragrant bread to guarantee you’ll be baking this recipe time and time again!
  • Moist and Soft – This bread will stay moist and fresh for days thanks to the olive. It’s just so soft that you might get confused and think this is a cake. 
  • Nostalgic – Just like when I make my mother’s Italian Cream Puffs or nonna’s Crostoli, this is the type of recipe that brings back wonderful memories and feelings. Food has an amazing ability to do that.

For complete ingredient quantities and full instructions, please scroll to the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page.


Ingredients for this recipe for pumpkin bread.

For the Pumpkin Bread, you need some basic ingredients many of which you’ll probably already have if you’ve been baking.

  • All purpose flour – For this recipe, all purpose flour will create the ideal texture. You don’t want self rising flour because will add that in the quantity that’s perfect for this recipe. 
  • Granulated sugar – regular granulated white sugar is all you need. If you have superfine or castor sugar that will also work.
  • Light brown sugar – the extra molasses in brown sugar adds just the right amount of caramel flavors to this recipe. Use dark brown sugar if that’s what you have.
  • Olive oil – use regular or light flavored olive oil to add moisture and flavor to this moist easy pumpkin bread.
  • Milk – whole milk is my preference but use whatever milk you have.
  • Eggs – large or extra large eggs. Free-range eggs are my fav.
  • Pumpkin puree – canned pure pumpkin puree needed for this recipe not pumpkin pie filling. If you can’t find canned pumpkin puree where you live, you can make your own. Use the remaining pumpkin puree to make delicious Pumpkin Biscotti!
  • Salt – fine salt will blend in the best for this recipe.
  • Baking powder and baking soda – these are the rising agents for this recipe. Be sure that they are fresh.
  • Spices – ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves are the classic flavors of pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread.
Ingredients for this cream cheese frosting recipe.

For the cream cheese frosting, you need whole milk and ground cinnamon plus:-

  • Cream Cheese – avoid low-fat cream cheese because it’s generally too thin for a good frosting consistency.
  • Powdered sugar – also known as confectioners or icing sugar.
  • Butter – just a little unsalted butter is needed for the frosting. If you’ve only got salted, that will be okay because it’s such a small quantity.

See recipe card for quantities.

How to make pumpkin puree

I like to make my pumpkin puree in the oven but you could use a microwave, pressure cooker or steamer. It’s important to use the right pumpkin. You can use sugar or pie pumpkins. Butternut, squash (known also as butternut pumpkin in some parts of the world) is also suitable. The pumpkin you choose should be naturally sweet and have a smooth, dense texture.

To make the pumpkin puree, wash and cut the pumpkin into large pieces. Place on a baking sheet, cover with foil, and roast at 350ºF (or 180ºC) for 30 to 45 minutes or until fork tender. When cool enough to handle, scrape away any seeds and peel off the skin. Use a food processor to puree until very smooth. If the puree has excess moisture, allow to drain in a cloth lined sieve. 


Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC degrees F. Butter and flour or line a 9 x 5 inch (23 x 12½ centimeter) pan.

Whisking dry ingredients.

Whisk flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.

Whisking orange brown thick liquid.

In another bowl, combine the sugars, oil eggs, and pumpkin puree in a large mixing bowl. 

Dry ingredients being blended into a brown batter.

Combine the dry ingredients into the wet until just mixed.

Orange batter being poured into a loaf pan.

Scrape the batter into prepared pan and bake.

Creamy frosting being beating with an electric mixer.

Make the cream cheese frosting

Creamy frosting being spread on a loaf cake.

Spread the frosting thickly on the pumpkin bread.

Hint: This recipe makes a thick frosting for pumpkin bread that will frost just the top of the loaf. Make cream cheese glaze for pumpkin bread that drips down the sides by adding more milk to the frosting, drop by drop, until you have the desired consistency. You may need to encourage the frosting to drip down the sides.


  • Olive oil – I love the flavor of olive oil but if it’s not for you use sunflower, coconut or your favorite oil. The equivalent amount of melted butter can also be used though the taste will be a bit different.
  • Spices – Substitute pumpkin spice instead of ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
  • Pumpkin Puree – make your own if you can’t find canned pumpkin puree. Steam or microwave pieces of pumpkin, then puree in a food processor to make it very smooth. Line a sieve with muslin or a clean cloth, scrape in all of the puree then allow to drain the excess liquid. 


  • Chocolate Chip  – add ½ cup of chocolate chips to the pumpkin bread batter before baking.
  • Walnut Pumpkin Bread – add ½ cup chopped walnuts to the pumpkin bread batter before baking. For pumpkin nut bread, add your favorite chopped nuts.
  • Pumpkin Bread with Pumpkin Seeds – sprinkle the top of the bread with ¼ cup pumpkin seeds before baking. Omit the cheese cheese frosting.


This recipe for Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting uses a 9 x 5 inch (23 x 12½ centimeter) metal loaf pan. You could use a glass loaf pan if that’s all you have.  I prefer a metal loaf pan because it conducts heat better which means the pumpkin bread bakes more evenly.


Store this Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting in a sealed container in the fridge so that the cream cheese doesn’t spoil. It will stay quite fresh for 4 or 5 days…possibly longer.

For longer storage, freeze in a sealed container for up to one month. Thaw on the counter. Pumpkin bread can also be frozen without the frosting.

Top tip

Cross section of loaf cake with frosting.

Use scales for measuring for complete accuracy. If you don’t have scales, take care when measuring into cups, especially the flour. To measure flour correctly, stir to loosen then spoon into the measuring cup and level off with the back of a knife. Avoid packing flour when measuring.

Once you’ve combined the wet and dry ingredients, avoid excessive beating. Overmixing can lead to the development of gluten in the flour, resulting in a tougher bread texture. Using a delicate and gentle touch while mixing ensures that the Pumpkin Bread remains airy and fluffy.

Add the milk slowly to the cream cheese frosting. If you add too much, the frosting will be too thin. This can be corrected by adding a little more powdered sugar. 

Refrigeration will thicken and set the frosting. Return the pumpkin loaf to cool room temperature before serving.


Should you refrigerate pumpkin bread?

Unfrosted pumpkin bread can be kept at room temperature. However, as soon as you frost it with cream cheese frosting it must be refrigerated.

Why is cream cheese frosting runny?

Cream cheese frosting will be runny if too much liquid has been added or if it has melted because the temperature in the room is too warm. Both can be rectified. If you’ve added too much liquid, simply stir in some powdered sugar until you reach the desired consistency. If the cream cheese frosting has become too warm, refrigerate until chilled then check the consistency and adjust if necessary.

Does cream cheese frosting thicken?

Yes, cream cheese frosting will thicken when chilled.

Serving Suggestions

Overhead view of pumpkin loaf cake with two slices cut.

I enjoy Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting for breakfast a dollop of Strawberry Jam – different but good! Or as a snack throughout the day. But the best thing about this tasty recipe is that it makes an ideal dessert. Serve it with my Stewed Pears, Apple Compote, or Poached Pears in Red Wine for a perfect seasonal dessert that everyone will enjoy!


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Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting with two slices cut.

Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting

This Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting is an easy quick bread full of the flavor of pumpkin and all the traditional pumpkin pie spices. The cream cheese frosting is the ideal tangy and cream complement to this delicious bread.
5 from 30 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings:12 people
Author: Marcellina


  • 1 9 x 5 inch loaf pan


  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (100 grams) packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup olive oil See Notes 1 and 2
  • cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 cup (240 grams) pure pumpkin puree See Notes 3 and 4
  • ¾ teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon See Note 5
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves

Cheese Cheese Frosting

  • 4 ounces (115 grams) cream cheese at cool room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons (60 grams) unsalted butter at cool room temperature
  • 1 cup (110 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk as needed


Pumpkin Bread

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC degrees F. Brush a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with olive oil and line with non stick parchment paper.
  • Use a whisk or fork to combine the sugars, oil eggs, and pumpkin puree in a large mixing bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and use a rubber spatula to combine. Mix until the ingredients are just combined.
  • Scrape the batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Allow the loaves cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then remove from the pan and allow to cool completely.
  • When cold, spread the cream cheese frosting on top of the cake. If you prefer more firm frosting, refrigerate to set the frosting before serving.
  • Serve pumpkin bread with cheese cheese frosting in thick slices.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together on high speed using a handheld or stand mixer.
  • Slowly add the powdered sugar beating until the frosting lightens and becomes fluffy.
  • Mix in the ground cinnamon and 1 or 2 tablespoons of milk to make a spreadable frosting.
  • If the frosting is too thin, add a little powdered sugar. If the frosting is too thick, thin with a drop or two of milk.


  1. Use regular or light flavored olive oil. Or substitute with neutral oil like sunflower.
  2. Replace oil with melted butter if you prefer.
  3. Don’t use pumpkin pie filling.
  4. Make your own pumpkin puree by roasting a sweet pumpkin then process until smooth.
  5. Pumpkin pie spice can be used instead of individual spices.
Tips for Success
  • Use scales for accuracy.
  • If you don’t have scales, take care when measuring especially flour. Stir flour to loosen then spoon into the measuring cup and level off without packing the flour.
  • Don’t over mix the batter. Stir until just combined.
  • The cream cheese frosting thickness can be adjust by adding more or less milk. If you’ve add too much milk, beat in a couple tablespoons of powdered sugar to thicken the frosting.
Tried this recipe? Give it a star rating and leave a comment below!

Nutritional Estimate Per Serving

Calories: 360kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 218mg | Potassium: 168mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 3477IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I made this pumpkin bread this afternoon and it turned out fantastic. I followed the instructions exactly. As Marcellina stated, it was very easy to make. The family loved it. Grazie Marcellina!