Here’s How To Make the Starbucks Pumpkin Loaf at Home

by Ella

There’s something undeniably comforting about the arrival of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Loaf on the fall menu. The warm blend of spices, the tender crumb, and the sweet aroma of pumpkin create a sensory experience that signals the changing of seasons. But what if you could enjoy that delicious treat anytime you wanted, right in the comfort of your own home? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to recreate Starbucks’ Pumpkin Loaf, ensuring you can savor its rich, pumpkin-y goodness whenever the craving strikes.

Starbucks Pumpkin Loaf

The Starbucks Pumpkin Loaf is a beloved seasonal offering that has garnered a dedicated following. Its popularity stems from a harmonious blend of flavors and textures. This moist and spiced pumpkin bread is studded with chopped pecans and crowned with a generous layer of cream cheese frosting. It's the embodiment of autumn in every bite.
Prep Time10 minutes
Active Time30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Yield: 1
Cost: $3


  • 9x5-inch loaf pan
  • Parchment Paper
  • Mixing bowls
  • Electric mixer or hand whisk
  • Cooling Rack
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • spatula


For the Pumpkin Bread:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 4 oz (1/2 cup) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Start by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C). This ensures that your pumpkin loaf bakes evenly.
  • Line the bottom of your loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving some overhang on the sides. This will make it easier to lift the loaf out of the pan later.
  • In a mixing bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, and ground allspice. Sifting helps aerate the dry ingredients and ensures even mixing of the spices.
  • In another mixing bowl, combine the vegetable oil and granulated sugar. Use an electric mixer or a hand whisk to beat them together until well incorporated.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once the eggs are fully incorporated, add the canned pumpkin puree. Mix until the batter is smooth and well blended.
  • With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredient mixture in three parts, alternating with the water. Begin and end with the dry ingredients. Mix just until each addition is fully incorporated; overmixing can lead to a denser loaf.
  • If you're using pecans, gently fold them into the batter until evenly distributed. The pecans add a delightful crunch and nutty flavor to the loaf.
  • Pour the pumpkin bread batter into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top with a spatula to ensure even baking.
  • Place the loaf pan in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 60-70 minutes. To check for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the loaf; it should come out clean or with a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
  • Once the pumpkin loaf is baked to perfection, remove it from the oven and let it cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Then, use the parchment paper overhang to carefully lift the loaf out of the pan and transfer it to a wire cooling rack.
  • While the pumpkin loaf is cooling, prepare the cream cheese frosting. In a mixing bowl, beat together the softened cream cheese and unsalted butter until creamy and well combined. Gradually add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract, continuing to beat until the frosting is smooth and fluffy.
  • Once the pumpkin loaf has cooled completely, generously spread the cream cheese frosting over the top. You can frost the loaf while it's on the cooling rack, which allows any excess frosting to drip down.
  • Using a sharp knife, slice the Starbucks-inspired Pumpkin Loaf into thick, irresistible slices.

Variations and Tips for Perfecting Your Starbucks Pumpkin Loaf

Creating the perfect Starbucks-inspired Pumpkin Loaf at home is a delightful endeavor, and there’s room for creativity and customization. Whether you want to tailor the recipe to your preferences or experiment with different variations, here are some tips and ideas to help you perfect your pumpkin loaf:



Gluten-Free Pumpkin Loaf: For those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease, you can easily adapt this recipe by using a gluten-free flour blend in place of regular all-purpose flour. Look for a gluten-free flour mix that’s suitable for baking.


Vegan Pumpkin Loaf: To make your pumpkin loaf vegan-friendly, you can replace the eggs with flax eggs or applesauce. Use 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed mixed with 2.5 tablespoons of water per egg, or substitute each egg with 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce. Also, choose a dairy-free cream cheese frosting or make a simple vegan frosting using powdered sugar and dairy-free milk.


Nut-Free Pumpkin Loaf: If you or your loved ones have nut allergies, you can omit the chopped pecans or replace them with seeds like sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds (pepitas) for added texture and crunch.


Pumpkin Spice Variation: While the recipe already includes a delightful blend of spices, you can customize the spice level to suit your taste. If you’re a fan of stronger spice flavors, increase the amounts of ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, and ground allspice for a bolder taste.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Loaf: To add a delightful twist to your pumpkin loaf, consider folding in semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks into the batter. The combination of pumpkin and chocolate is a heavenly pairing that’s sure to please.

Tips for Perfecting Your Pumpkin Loaf:

Room Temperature Ingredients: Ensure that your eggs, canned pumpkin puree, and cream cheese (for the frosting) are at room temperature before starting. Room temperature ingredients blend more smoothly and evenly into the batter.

Proper Measuring: Use proper measuring cups and spoons for accurate measurements. Level off dry ingredients like flour with a flat edge to avoid over-packing.

Don’t Overmix: When combining the wet and dry ingredients, mix just until they are incorporated. Overmixing can lead to a denser loaf.

Toothpick Test: To check for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the loaf. It should come out clean or with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. If it comes out with wet batter, the loaf needs more baking time.

Cooling Time: Allow the pumpkin loaf to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack. Cooling in the pan helps set the structure, making it easier to remove.

Generous Frosting: Don’t skimp on the cream cheese frosting! A generous layer adds sweetness and balances the spiced pumpkin flavor. You can also garnish the frosting with additional chopped pecans for extra visual appeal.

Storage: Store your pumpkin loaf in an airtight container in the refrigerator to maintain freshness. It can stay moist and flavorful for several days when properly stored.

Freezing: You can freeze slices of pumpkin loaf for longer-term storage. Wrap each slice tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and place them in an airtight container or freezer bag. When ready to enjoy, thaw them in the refrigerator or microwave.

Serving Suggestions: Serve your homemade pumpkin loaf with a warm cup of coffee, tea, or hot cocoa. You can also get creative with your choice of beverages, such as a spiced chai latte or a cinnamon-infused cappuccino.

Share the Joy: Homemade treats like Starbucks-inspired Pumpkin Loaf make wonderful gifts. Consider baking extra loaves to share with friends, family, or neighbors during the fall season.

With these variations and tips in mind, you have the flexibility to tailor your Starbucks Pumpkin Loaf to your liking and dietary preferences. Whether you’re craving a gluten-free, vegan, or extra-spicy version, or you simply want to enhance the flavors with chocolate chips, your homemade pumpkin loaf will be a delicious and comforting treat that captures the essence of fall.

FAQs About Making Starbucks Pumpkin Loaf

Q1. Can I Use Fresh Pumpkin Instead of Canned Pumpkin Puree?

Yes, you can use fresh pumpkin puree instead of canned pumpkin puree. To make fresh pumpkin puree, select a sugar or pie pumpkin, cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, and roast it in the oven until tender. Then, scoop out the flesh and puree it in a food processor until smooth. Measure the amount needed for the recipe, and you’re ready to go.

Q2. I Can’t Find Pumpkin Spice; Can I Make It at Home?

Certainly! Pumpkin spice is a blend of ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, and ground allspice. You can make your own by mixing these spices in the following proportions:

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

Adjust the quantities to match the amount needed for your recipe.

Q3. Can I Reduce the Sugar in the Recipe?

Yes, you can reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe to suit your taste or dietary preferences. However, keep in mind that sugar contributes to the texture and moisture of the pumpkin loaf. Reducing it too much may affect the final result. You can experiment with reducing the sugar slightly and gradually to find the right balance for your palate.

Q4. What Can I Use Instead of Pecans or Nuts?

If you have a nut allergy or simply prefer not to use nuts in your pumpkin loaf, you can omit them altogether. Alternatively, you can replace the pecans with seeds like sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds (pepitas) for added texture and a nutty flavor without the allergenic risk.

Q5. My Pumpkin Loaf Sank in the Middle. What Went Wrong?

A sunken middle in a pumpkin loaf can occur for several reasons:

Underbaking: Ensure that you bake the loaf for the full recommended time and use a toothpick test to check for doneness. The center may still be raw if you remove it from the oven too soon.

Overmixing: Overmixing the batter can result in a dense loaf that sinks in the middle. Mix the ingredients until just combined to prevent this.

Expired Baking Soda: Check the expiration date of your baking soda. If it’s expired, it may not provide enough leavening, causing the loaf to sink.

Q6. Can I Freeze the Pumpkin Loaf?

Yes, you can freeze pumpkin loaf for longer-term storage. Wrap individual slices or the entire loaf tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Place them in an airtight container or freezer bag to prevent freezer burn. When you’re ready to enjoy it, thaw the slices in the refrigerator or reheat them in the microwave.

Q7. Is There a Substitute for Cream Cheese Frosting?

If you prefer not to use cream cheese frosting, you can opt for a different frosting or glaze. Consider a simple vanilla glaze made with powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and a small amount of milk. Alternatively, a spiced glaze with powdered sugar and pumpkin pie spice can complement the pumpkin loaf’s flavors.

Q8. How Do I Store Leftover Pumpkin Loaf?

To store leftover pumpkin loaf, place it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Store it in the refrigerator to maintain its moisture and freshness. It can stay delicious for several days when properly stored.

Q9. Can I Make the Pumpkin Loaf in Advance for an Event?

Yes, you can prepare the pumpkin loaf in advance for an event. Baking it a day or two before your event and storing it in the refrigerator can enhance its flavor and moisture. Just be sure to keep it well-covered to prevent it from drying out.


Recreating Starbucks’ Pumpkin Loaf at home is a rewarding culinary adventure that allows you to capture the essence of fall in every slice. With the warm blend of spices, tender crumb, and decadent cream cheese frosting, this homemade treat will fill your home with the aroma of autumn and delight your taste buds.

So, the next time you find yourself yearning for Starbucks’ Pumpkin Loaf, don’t rush to the nearest coffee shop. Instead, gather your ingredients, follow our step-by-step guide, and experience the joy of baking this iconic treat in the comfort of your own kitchen. Your senses will thank you, and you’ll have a Starbucks-worthy pumpkin loaf to savor anytime you desire. Happy baking!



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