This is the Secret to the Best Pumpkin Bread

Photo: Nancy Nehring/Getty Images
Hint: It's not what you think. 

Fall is here and you know what means—it’s pumpkin season! From lattes to pies, we’re embracing all things pumpkin spice. There’s just something about heading into the chillier months that makes us want to crank up the oven, break out the butter, and start baking. And quick bread, as the name implies, is the easiest loaf of all. In addition to quick breads rising faster than traditional yeast breads, they’re also a long-lasting treat that you can freeze and serve over and over again. When those rich, warm flavors of autumn and hearty comfort food start calling your name this season, it's the perfect time to swap out banana and zucchini bread for delicious pumpkin bread. Trust us, you won’t be able to resist the smell of this spiced wonder wafting through the air.

Related: What's the Difference Between Canned Pumpkin and Pumpkin Pie Filling?

But as with most baked goods, there’s a very large margin for error. Even if you follow Mama’s tried-and-true family recipe exactly to the letter, you could still end up with dry, bland, and crumbly results. To make your pumpkin bread stand out from the rest, we’ve got the secret to transform lackluster loaves into incredibly decadent, moist slices. It doesn’t involve using fresh purée over canned Libby’s, or adding condensed milk and extra butter. Although, those ingredients will certainly deliver delicious results, too. No, the surprising ingredient here is...orange juice.

Before you turn your nose up at the idea of mixing orange juice with pumpkin, we’d like to point out that incorporating citrus fruits into cakes, breads, and pastries offers a subtle, refreshing flavor and just enough fruity zing. It’s completely unexpected yet it all comes together beautifully. Another reason for adding orange juice in pumpkin bread is that it pulls double duty, both in taste and texture. First, it acts as a moistening agent, tenderizing each crumb. Secondly, it gives the bread a hint of sweetness, complementing common autumnal spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.

But you don’t want the orange to overpower the pumpkin. So add just a splash of juice concentrate, using these soft and fluffy pumpkin bread recipes as a base.

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Happy fall, y’all! Make the most of the season with a sweet, pumpkin-filled loaf that functions as breakfast, dessert, and an edible homemade gift.

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