Small Batch Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Bread

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Fall baking isn’t complete without pumpkin bread and this Small Batch Pumpkin Bread recipe with a Cinnamon Swirl Crunch topping is a must for the season!  This is an easy recipe that makes 4 individual loaves, or 2 mini loaves that are tender, moist, and full of all the fall flavors.  

Small Batch Pumpkin Bread

I think it is safe to say that Fall and pumpkin bread go together like peas and carrots.  So here you have it – the quintessential Fall baking recipe.  And if I do say so myself, these pumpkin bread mini loaves may be the best pumpkin bread I’ve ever had.  

Features of the pumpkin bread

  1. Small Serving – This recipe is enough to make 4 individual loaves, or 2 mini loaves of pumpkin bread.  
  2. Moist Pumpkin Bread – The pumpkin bread is tender, moist, and moist.   Yes – I said it twice, to reinforce it.
  3. Cinnamon Sugar Crunch – Cinnamon sugar is swirled on top for a sweet and crunchy topping.  I mean, I love streusel crumble, but the cinnamon sugar crunch may quickly take pole position.
  4. Delicately Sweet – The pumpkin bread is so delicately sweet that you won’t know whether to eat if for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  And you know what?  There is no judgment if you make these mini loaves part of your 3 squares a day!
  5. Reader Favorite – Thanks to all of you, this recipe for pumpkin bread is the most popular on the blog!  Everyone loves how tasty and easy it is – so I will go as far and say this is the best small batch pumpkin bread recipe!
Four symmetrically arranged mini pumpkin bread on a table

What Makes This Cinnamon Pumpkin Bread Recipe So Good

I am humble enough to never (probably ever) refer to one of my recipes as ‘the best’.  Because a persons palette and taste preference is completely subjective.  A great example is – my husband likes raisins in his oatmeal cookies.  That makes me cringe.  See – purely subjective.

So, from a self-taught home baker (who has had her share of pumpkin bread) – this is what I think makes this Small Batch Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Bread so good:

  • Super, duper, moist – There is that ‘m’ word again.  Still searching for its replacement.  But, this pumpkin bread is the epitome of a moist bake.  We are talking ‘you could keep these little loaves in a pretty cake dish on your counter for two days, and they will still be moist‘, moist.
  • The pumpkin bread tastes like pumpkin – Seems obvious, but worth stating.  I’ve had my share of pumpkin bread that tastes nothing like pumpkin.  Not these.  The fall squash shines in these mini loaves!
  • Fall spices – You hear and see this a lot these days, and I’m guilty of it too.  But fall spices are packed into just about every bake from mid-September to Christmas.  But, we need some pumpkin pie fall spices to go with our PSL’s.

There you have it – my humble little opinion on this recipe!

Single serving mini pumpkin loaf close up on a wood tray

What You Need to Make A Small Batch Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Bread 

Every baker has their own version of pumpkin bread.  And one thing I am becoming more certain of the more I test and bake, is:  to have a moist and tender crumb – in a cake, cupcake, muffin, or sweet bread – a neutral oil ensures that


  • Pumpkin – We are using canned pumpkin puree.  Not pumpkin pie filling/mix.  Full disclosure – I’ve never had pumpkin pie mix, nor have I seen it at my grocery.  However, make sure to stick with the 100% pumpkin.  You will have leftover pumpkin.  I have included a few pumpkin dessert recipes at the end of the post to use up the pumpkin puree!
  • All Purpose Flour
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda – I use both because they add to the browning and flavor of the pumpkin bread.  Not to mention the necessary lift for tall mini loaves.
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice – We already have enough on our plates with fall and holiday baking.  Which is why we are using the pre-made pumpkin pie spice to flavor this pumpkin bread.
  • Light Brown Sugar – I recommend light brown sugar.  The brown sugar adds moisture to the recipe and dark brown sugar may add too much.  Additionally, dark brown sugar may overpower the pumpkin flavor.  
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Canola oil – Any neutral oil will work.  One personal note – every time I bake with vegetable oil, I can taste it.  So, I stick with canola oil.  You could swap the oil for butter, but just know the bread may not turn out as moist.
  • Cinnamon Sugar – There supposedly is a proper ratio for cinnamon sugar (1 part cinnamon to every 4 parts sugar) – but I say there is some creative authority here.  Meaning, make it how you like it!

Baking Equipment

Making a small batch of pumpkin bread requires special equipment.  However, you can make this pumpkin bread into muffins using a muffin/cupcake pan, if that is all you have on hand.

  • Brownie Pan – I used this non-stick brownie pan to make the individual loaves.
  • Mini Loaf Pans – 2 of these mini loaf pans can also work to make the pumpkin bread.
  • Mixing Bowls
Close up of mini pumpkin bread loaf on wood tray

Tips For Making Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Bread Minis

  • Use pure pumpkin – A can of pure pumpkin is what we need for this recipe.  You may see cans of Pumpkin Pie Filling, and this is not what we want for this recipe.
  • Light brown sugar, not dark brown sugar – Light brown sugar adds just enough moisture to the bread.  Whereas dark brown sugar may add too much and the flavor may mask the other flavors in the bread.
  • Try canola oil – Whenever I use oil in my recipes, I reach for the canola oil because I find it does not impart any unnecessary flavor.
  • Use a brownie pan to make individual loaves – This pan has 12 cavities and is similar to a cupcake pan.  I have provided a link above in the Baking Equipment Needed.  
  • Line the pan(s) with parchment – We want to make sure we can get the bread out of the pan!  We do spray the pan with cooking spray, but for added insurance, I recommend lining with parchment paper.  For the brownie pan, a strip of parchment long enough so you have some overhang to lift the loaves out of the pan.
  • Don’t forget the cinnamon sugar swirl – We only swirl the cinnamon sugar on top of the batter, rather than mixing it in all of the way.  Adding it just on the top creates the sweet and crunch top.  
Top view of pumpkin bread loaves on a cutting board

Common Questions For Making Small Batch Pumpkin Bread

Can this pumpkin bread recipe be doubled?

While I have not tested it, you can try to double the recipe and let me know how it turns out!

Can I use pumpkin pie filling instead of pure pumpkin?

Pumpkin pie filling tends to have added ingredients that we don’t necessarily need in the recipe. And as the name implies, it is best served as a filling for a pie. Pure pumpkin allows us to create the ideal texture and flavor.

Can I cut back on the sugar and omit the cinnamon crunch topping?

You certainly can, but the crunchy topping is part of what makes this pumpkin bread taste so good!

Will butter work instead of the oil?

Butter should work, but I believe the pumpkin bread will not turn out as moist. If you use butter, I would recommend melting it and adding it with the liquid ingredients.

What else can I use to bake the pumpkin bread in?

You can use a muffin/cupcake pan lined with cupcake liners. The number of cupcakes you get from the recipe will depend on how full you fill the liners. I recommend 2/3 full which may yield 5 to 6 muffins.

What can I make with the leftover pumpkin puree?

I have included some dessert recipes below that you can use the leftover pumpkin puree in!

Can this pumpkin bread be made gluten free?

Great question, and I do have a Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread recipe on the blog!

Recipes For Leftover Pumpkin Puree

Cinnamon swirl pumpkin bread loaves on a wood tray

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Close up of a slice of pumpkin bread
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Small Batch Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Bread

Yield: 5 Mini Pumpkin Bread Loaves
Fall baking isn’t complete without pumpkin bread and this Small Batch Pumpkin Bread recipe with a Cinnamon Swirl Crunch topping is a must for the season!  This is an easy recipe that makes 4 individual loaves, or 2 mini loaves that are tender, moist, and full of all the fall flavors. 
Prep10 mins
Cook20 mins
Total30 mins


  • 1 – Square Brownie Pan (or) 2 – Mini Loaf Pans


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup pure canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons Cinnamon Sugar - 3/4 teaspoon ground Cinnamon for every 1 tablespoon of sugar


  • Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Lightly grease the baking pan(s) and line with parchment paper – long enough to hang over the sides to use as a sling to lift the bread out of the pans. If using the brownie pan, line 5 of the wells with 1-inch strips of parchment that hang over the sides.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, add the egg, granulated sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin, vanilla extract, and canola oil. Whisk together until smooth.
  • Sift or sprinkle the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt over the top of the wet ingredients. Whisk until no dry streaks remain. Tip – To sift the dry ingredients into the wet – Set a fine mesh strainer over the bowl with the wet ingredients, add the dry ingredients into the strainer and sprinkle over the batter.
  • Scoop even amounts of batter into the prepared baking pan(s). Spoon a generous amount of cinnamon sugar over the batter. Gently swirl it just on the top of the batter with a knife.
  • Baking: in a brownie pan – 20-22 minutes; in 2 mini loaf pans – 28-30 minutes; or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean. Cool the pumpkin bread in the pan set on a wire cooling rack for 10-15 minutes. Invert (or lift) the bread out of the baking pans to cool on the wire rack completely. Enjoy!


  • Pumpkin – Depending on the brand, canned pumpkin can have different names, but is the same thing:  Pumpkin Puree, Pure Pumpkin, 100% Pumpkin, Organic Pure Pumpkin.  Just be sure it is not Pumpkin Pie Filling
  • Brownie Pan – I used this non-stick brownie pan to make the individual loaves.
  • Mini Loaf Pans – 2 of these mini loaf pans can also work to make the pumpkin bread.
  • Leftover Pumpkin – I have included a few pumpkin dessert recipes at the end of the Blog Post that use pumpkin puree.
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Erin Cernich
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