Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

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Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread that's moist, delicious, and packed with pumpkin flavor and is made with healthy ingredients.

181 CALORIES31g CARBS6g FAT4g PROTEIN
6 Comments

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread that's made with good-for-you ingredients but still tastes indulgent and delicious. This easy pumpkin bread has all the fall flavors you want this time of year. You can also enjoy pumpkin season with these Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes and Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal.

It took me quite a long time to come around to pumpkin. I was never much of a pumpkin pie fan and even though I like pumpkin more than I ever have, I am still not a die-hard pumpkin spice fan.

However, one major exception to that is pumpkin bread. That I can get behind every time.

Why We Love This Healthy Pumpkin Bread

  • Make it in one bowl! No need to dirty up lots of dishes when making this quick bread.
  • Lower in sugar: This recipe uses natural sweeteners and has 1/3 of the amount of sugar as bakery pumpkin bread!
  • Nutritious: Although this great tastes indulgent, it is packed with whole grains, healthy fats, and nutrients.

It's one of my favorite things to eat this time of year. I love the notes of cinnamon and nutmeg and the subtle pumpkin flavor that comes through in every bite. Although I love bakery pumpkin bread, when I make it at home I make a lightened-up version using whole wheat flour and less sugar.  

To make this healthier pumpkin bread, I started with one of my favorite healthy banana bread recipes. This bread uses a combination of canned pumpkin, banana, and applesauce for sweetness and moisture. It's a really moist, dense bread, which I love and the pumpkin flavor really comes through. You won't taste the banana or applesauce at all. 

Pumpkin chocolate chip bread sliced on a wooden cutting board.

Ingredients and Easy Swaps

  • White whole wheat flour: There are lots of misconceptions about white whole wheat flour. It is 100% whole grain flour that is milled from wheat that is light in color, making it light brown or white in color. This wheat is slightly sweeter than standard brown whole wheat. The end result isn't as fluffy as all-purpose flour but it definitely lighter than typical dark brown whole wheat flour. It is a favorite in our house for baking. If you don't have it on hand, this recipe works with all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour.
  • Canned pumpkin: Make sure to use pure pumpkin without added sweeteners or spices. Mashed butternut squash, acorn squash, or another winter squash also works.
  • Mashed banana and unsweetened applesauce: This adds some natural sweetness and moisture to the bread. It can be replaced with extra pumpkin but the end result will be slightly less sweet. Feel free to use all banana or all applesauce for easier prep.
  • Honey and maple syrup: Using two different sweeteners here creates a more dynamic flavor, but you can replace it with all honey or all maple syrup.
  • Pumpkin pie spice: Use pumpkin pie spice or make your own with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. 
  • Coconut oil: This recipe uses coconut oil instead of vegetable oil which is often used. Swap in melted butter, avocado oil, or olive oil.
  • Chocolate chips: The chocolate chips are completely optional. Swap in chopped nuts, caramel chips, or dried fruit if you prefer. 

Is pumpkin bread healthy?

The simple answer is usually not, but luckily, this recipe for pumpkin bread is actually good for you. Most pumpkin bread is packed, I mean packed, with sugar. For example, the pumpkin bread at Starbucks has 410 calories, 15 grams of fat, and 39 grams of sugar in a single slice. In comparison, this healthy pumpkin bread has just 181 calories, 6 grams of fat, and 14 grams of sugar. Plus the sugar in the recipe isn't refined white sugar. It's sugar from bananas, applesauce, honey, and pure maple syrup. 

So let's talk about what else makes this a healthy pumpkin bread.

  • Pumpkin is packed with beta carotene, potassium, Vitamin C, and it is rich in antioxidants. It is also low-calorie and a great source of fiber,
  • White whole wheat flour contains more vitamins and minerals than standard white flour but doesn't have the same strong wheat flavor as standard brown wheat flour. It is made from a different type of wheat plant that is lighter in color and milder in flavor yet still maintains all the great benefits of choosing a whole wheat flour option.
  • Bananas are a great source of natural sweetness, are high in fiber, and can help with digestion from naturally occurring prebiotics. They are also high in potassium.

Healthy pumpkin bread with chocolate chips on a cutting board with parchment paper.

Tips for Making Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

  • When buying canned pumpkin, make sure to buy plain canned pumpkin without any added sweeteners or spices. It should just be pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling. Canned or homemade squash puree also works.
  • I like to add a banana and applesauce since it adds natural sweetness to the bread. You could replace this with extra pumpkin if you don't want to use banana or applesauce. You will need about 1/2 cup of extra pumpkin puree.
  • If you don't like pumpkin pie spice, you can just use cinnamon instead. This is perfect for people who don't like nutmeg or cloves, which are usually a part of pumpkin pie spice blends.
  • This recipe works great for muffins as well, just cut the cooking time down since muffins will cook a lot more quickly than bread.
  • Chocolate and pumpkin are one of my favorite combinations so I always add chocolate chips. You can leave these out if you want. It will reduce the calories by about 35 calories.
  • Get creative and try out other mix ins! You could add nuts, carob chips, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, yogurt chips, dried fruit, and more.

Can I freeze healthy pumpkin bread?

If you are lucky enough to have leftovers, this bread freezes well. Make sure to let the bread fully cool before freezing it. Then you can freeze the entire loaf or freeze it in individual portions. I love freezing the bread in individual slices and then grabbing them to throw in school lunches. They will defrost during the day and be ready just in time for lunch.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most common questions about making this healthy pumpkin bread.

There are three main reasons pumpkin bread can come out too dry. The first is not having enough liquid in the recipe. Add some extra milk or pumpkin if the dough seems dry. Overmixing can also cause pumpkin bread to be dry. Mix the ingredients until just combined. Lastly, bread dries out when they are cooked too long. Remember it will continue to cook as it cools. 

This pumpkin bread will keep for 4-5 days. For best results, store it in the fridge if you are planning on keeping it for more than 2 days. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months. 

This recipe makes delicious pumpkin muffins. Just divide the mixture between prepared muffin tins. Then bake for the muffins for 23-28 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. 

Sliced pumpkin bread with chocolate chips on a board with spoons on the side.
The Recipe
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Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

PREP TIME: 10 Min
COOK TIME: 50 Min
TOTAL TIME: 1 Hours
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Ingredients

USMETRICS
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup nonfat milk (or nut milk)
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 3 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1.75 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

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Instructions

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1

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Stir together the pumpkin, banana, applesauce, milk, honey, maple syrup, oil, and eggs. Once well combined, add the cinnamon, vanilla extract, baking soda, and salt.

Baking soda and cinnamon being added to a bowl of pumpkin and banana.
2

Then using a spoon, stir in the flour. The batter doesn't need to be perfectly smooth but try to get out any big chunks. Fold in the chocolate chips, saving a few to sprinkle on top of the bread before baking.

Flour being mixed into pumpkin and eggs.
3

Pour into a bread pan (I used a 9 x 5) sprayed with cooking spray or use parchment paper.

Pumpkin batter being poured into a bread pan.
4

Bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean and the bread is cooked through.

Baked pumpkin bread in a bread pan with chocolate chips.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving
Calories 181
Calories from Fat 50
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g
9%
Saturated Fat 4g
18%
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
0%
Cholesterol 31mg
10%
Sodium 219mg
10%
Total Carbohydrate 31g
10%
Dietary Fiber 2g
7%
Sugars 14g
Protein 4g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the authorMeet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
6 Comments
On Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
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Amna
September 30, 2021 - 14:18
Add a Rating:
5
Thank you for this recipe! I didn’t have applesauce so I added more banana but otherwise followed the recipe, and it was great!! I’m wondering for next time, could I sub almond flour to make it even healthier?? Thanks!
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Heather Webber
August 10, 2021 - 14:42
Can this be made into muffins instead of bread?
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Christine Russo
June 10, 2020 - 18:38
i am allergic to coconut is there another oil i can substitute? Thank you!
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August 20, 2020 - 11:53
Any neutral oil, like vegetable or sunflower oil, will work.
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Crystal
April 8, 2020 - 14:01
Add a Rating:
5
I cannot believe you don’t have any comments. I made this this morning and it was amazing. It didn’t taste like I had swapped out any unhealthy ingredients for healthier ingredients. Even my five-year-old loved it. Thank you!
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Christine
September 26, 2020 - 03:50
I leave this bread. I wanted a pumpkin bread with minimal sugar. This is wonderful. This is my go to pumpkin bread.
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