Mom’s Pumpkin Bread

One of the loaves I made (For the finishing touch, I placed it on a nice serving platter.)

Every Thanksgiving, for as long as I can remember, my mom makes two loaves of pumpkin bread. In our family, this is an absolute favorite, especially because she only makes it once a year. As the loaves bake, the entire kitchen is filled with a sweet, enticing aroma of pumpkin and cinnamon. (The smell alone has been known to bring a crowd into my mom’s kitchen.) After it cools, we devour one loaf in the morning for breakfast and eat the other after our big Thanksgiving dinner in the evening.

I recently decided to try to make this family favorite for myself, and to my relief, it was not difficult at all. The hardest part was making sure that I left myself plenty of time for it to bake and cool. I brought one loaf into the office to share with my co-workers, and I gave the other loaf to my family. The first thing my family said: “It’s not even Thanksgiving.”

Traditional Pumpkin Bread

My mom’s recipe was originally from the 1978 Betty Crocker Cookbook (New and Revised Edition). Over the years, she has made some changes to it, so you may find this recipe is not the same as the original.

Servings: Makes 2 loaves.


  • 2/3 c. shortening
  • 2 2/3 c. sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 can (16 oz) pumpkin
  • 2/3 c. water
  • 3 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup of raisins

Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease the bottom of 2 loaf pans(9×5).

Find loaf pans at and in our store in Kidron, Ohio.

With electric beater, mix shortening and sugar in a large bowl. Add eggs, pumpkin and water.

Blend in flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and cloves. Stir in, by hand, walnuts and raisins. Pour into pans.

Bake for about 65 minutes.* Let it cool slightly. Then, loosen the sides of loaves from pans. (My mom always uses a butter knife.) Cool completely before slicing.

When finished, wrap and store in the refrigerator for no longer than 10 days.

*Baking time varies depending on your oven. Usually 65 minutes is all it takes, but you’ll want to give it the “toothpick test.” Just stick a toothpick into the center of each loaf. If the toothpick comes out clean (no gooey batter on it), the loaf is done. If the loaf isn’t done, put it back into the oven to bake, but you’ll want to check it often, so it doesn’t over bake and dry out.

My family and I always eat our pumpkin bread with a little Cool Whip on top.


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