Try this Tennessee Pumpkin Bread recipe

Pumpkin bread loaf over white wooden background

Tennesseans love the color orange. The fall is a great time to embrace this vibrant color—and not just because of football. While some may be excited about  getting a pumpkin spiced coffee drink, a dish closer to home is Tennessee Pumpkin Bread.

Legend has it that Tennessee Pumpkin Bread was first created at the University of Tennessee Bakery in the early 1970s. While the exact origin is unknown, many believe that a UT student or staff member created the recipe, which has been handed down and enjoyed for decades.

Why has this particular recipe stood the test of time? For one, it’s delicious. It’s also easy to make. You don’t have to use yeast, and you don’t have to wait for the dough to rise before you bake it. It doesn’t require any fancy techniques or complicated steps, so almost anyone can make it.

Tennessee Pumpkin Bread is also versatile: you can serve it for breakfast, with a meal, or even for dessert. You could make French toast with it or serve it with tea and coffee. And for the most part, the recipe calls for ingredients that many cooks already stock in their kitchens. You might have to buy some pumpkin, but you may already have all the other ingredients.

Tennessee Pumpkin Bread Recipe

3 cups of sugar
1 cup of oil
4 eggs
1 16 oz. can of pumpkin
3 ½ cups bread flour
1 ½ Tsp soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla flavoring
½ cup water


  1. Combine sugar, oil and eggs. Mix well.
  2. Add pumpkin and mix well.
  3. Add dry ingredients and mix.
  4. Add vanilla and water. Mix.
  5. Grease and flour two (9 x 5 x 3 inch) loaf pans.
  6. Bake 1 hour in 350-degree oven.
  7. Let rest to warm temperature and enjoy!

Substitutions can make Tennessee Pumpkin Bread healthier

If you’re looking to make a healthier version of this pumpkin bread, you could consider making a few substitutions.


You may be able to use applesauce or mashed bananas in place of the cup of oil. Just be aware that it may affect the texture of the bread. Applesauce or fruit puree will cut down on the calories, but it can make the bread softer.


You can also substitute some whole wheat flour for some of the white flour. However, you don’t want to replace all the white flour with whole wheat flour, as that can affect the texture. Since pumpkin bread is a quick bread—that is, it uses baking power as a leavening agent instead of yeast, you could try swapping ¼ or ½ of the white flour for wheat flour. It might be better to start with a smaller amount on your first attempt and see what you think of the result.


Reducing sugar can be tricky because it’s not an even swap. You can use natural sweeteners such as honey, molasses and maple syrup, but depending on what you choose, you may have to add a little more or a little less.

WellTuned guide to avoiding added sugar during the holidays

Give it a try

Intrigued? Try making the Tennessee Pumpkin Bread and see if it lives up to the hype! You can always put your own spin on it to make it suit your taste, too.

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Jennifer Larson

Jennifer Larson is Nashville-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years of experience. She specializes in health care and family issues.

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