“This is our favorite cornbread. My husband said not to make any others in the future. It’s awesome at the bottom of a bowl of black bean chili” ~Megan
Cornbread is one of the easiest baking projects imaginable, probably one of the very first recipes most of us learn to make. It’s delicious, and the recipe is so forgiving ~ there are a million ways to change it up. Like my pumpkin cornbread, for instance. A little pumpkin puree, some brown sugar, and a dash of molasses makes it the best cornbread I’ve ever tasted. It’s the perfect side for Thanksgiving, and I can’t even tell you how many fall meals we round out with a batch of this deliciously moist cornbread.
what you’ll need for pumpkin cornbread
- canned pumpkin puree
- Libby’s is the brand I usually buy, it’s consistently good quality. You’ve heard this a million times…but don’t confuse it with canned pumpkin pie filling!
- brown sugar
- vegetable oil
- corn meal
- baking powder
- cardamom and nutmeg
- sub cinnamon for the cardamom if you like.
what type of cornmeal to use
You have lots of leeway here; any type of cornmeal will work for cornbread, just keep in mind the way your choice will affect the final product.
- Fine Cornmeal: Creates a soft, cake-like cornbread with a smooth texture.
- Medium Cornmeal: Results in moist, flavorful cornbread with a slightly grainy texture, striking a balance between tenderness and heartiness.
- Coarse Cornmeal (Polenta or Stone-Ground Cornmeal): Produces rustic, hearty cornbread with a pronounced corn flavor and a satisfying crunch due to larger particles.
Additionally, cornmeal can be white or yellow:
- White Cornmeal: Usually milder in flavor, producing a delicate, lighter-colored cornbread.
- Yellow Cornmeal: produces the classic ‘corny’ flavor and a deeper, golden yellow cornbread.
I love it when a recipe can be laid out in broad strokes
Pumpkin cornbread is the kind of approachable recipe that could easily be memorized.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.
- Whisk the wet ingredients together in a larger bowl.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the wet, just until combined.
- Turn into your pan and bake.
To make this recipe ahead for the holidays you can mix the dry and wet separately the night before and bake off the next day. Cornbread cooks quickly, so you could actually bake it while the turkey rests, and bring it to the table hot out of the oven!
what to expect
This is a savory quick bread, meant to be served with meals in the same way you’d use regular cornbread.
The pumpkin gives this cornbread a nice moist texture and subtle flavor.
You won’t get hit over the head with a pumpkin spice vibe, I use just a hint of spice.
pumpkin cornbread tips and faqs
Yes, a 9″ square pan will work fine. If you use a standard 9×5 loaf pan you may need to bake it a little longer to get it cooked through the center.
Yes, just be sure it’s a 9″ size.
Yes, but I recommend draining or cooking down your fresh puree until it has the thick consistency of canned pumpkin, for best results.
Like many cornbread recipes this one does include a bit of sugar. Brown sugar adds moisture and brings out the flavors in this pumpkin cornbread without making it taste overtly sweet.
Yes. While I chose to underplay the pumpkin spice vibe, you could use a pumpkin spice blend to emphasize it.
Yes, use a good quality gf baking mix in place of the wheat flour. Cornmeal is naturally gluten free, but if you’re sensitive make sure yours is produced in a gluten free facility.
Yes, it freezes beautifully. Let it cool completely before wrapping and freezing to avoid condensation.
I use it in the same way I use plain cornbread: with soups and chiles, mostly. But also for when I need an easy quick bread to round out a fall meal like meatloaf, pot roast, or roast chicken, for instance.
- 9 inch round cake pan or spring form pan
- Set the oven to 375F
- Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and spices in a medium bowl.
- In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, eggs, pumpkin, oil, molasses, and buttermilk. Make sure it all gets thoroughly combined.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the wet, mixing just until there's no dry flour left.
- Turn into a buttered 9 inch spring form pan, spreading out evenly. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool for a few minutes in the pan, then remove and serve warm or continue to cool to room temperature.
Other cornbread recipes to try
- The Best Blueberry Cornbread
- Hatch Green Chile Cornbread
- Boston Market Style Cornbread Recipe
- Cranberry Cornbread
- Perfect Cornbread Recipe