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I’ll never put pumpkin in pumpkin bread again

How do you make pumpkin bread without pumpkin? Try using roasted winter squash instead. (Yes, I am aware that pumpkin is a squash, but you know what I mean.) Sure, you can call it squash bread, but that might confuse people. Just call it the best pumpkin bread ever.

I made a double recipe of this bread twice last week. Yes, four loaves of “pumpkin” bread were consumed by my family and friends in just a few short days.The first time around, I gave a loaf away to friends and kept one for us to eat. About 24 hours later, I realized that BabyC and I had together eaten all but one slice of our loaf. Husband, who had been coming and going from work a lot, hadn’t even had a chance to try it! I felt obligated to make another couple of loaves so he could at least have a fair shot at it.

Kabocha squash (photo credit:

I tried this recipe with two types of large winter squash: an ambercup and a kabocha (see here for an illustrated guide to winter squashes). The ambercup squash had been sitting in our garage since November, when it came with one of our last CSA shares. It looks similar to a pumpkin but is brighter orange and has a slightly rough skin. It had kept beautifully in those cool temperatures, and the bread was perfect. The kabocha, purchased from my local grocery store, was equally good.

Until recently, these huge winter squashes intimidated me. It seemed like a lot of work to cut, peel, and cook. Butternut squash has always been my go-to winter squash. Thanks to the CSA, I was pushed outside of my comfort zone and forced to finally do something with that monstrous ambercup squash that waited patiently in my garage.

Both the ambercup and kabocha squashes were incredibly sweet and had a smooth texture. BabyC loved the leftover ambercup purée, and she rarely agrees to eat anything off of a spoon. This purée tasted like it was loaded with butter, but it was 100% squash. There was none of the stringiness that you often find with butternut or acorn squash. And when you purée pumpkin (or buy it canned), it is quite watery. These squashes made a thick, substantial purée, and I think this difference is what makes squash the superior base for this bread. Plus, roasting the squash caramelizes the sugars, further enhancing the flavors.

This recipe came from Simmer, a gorgeous food blog with amazing photos. Sadly, I didn’t take any photos of this bread or the squash that went into it, so I recommend checking the Simmer page for tempting photos. I made a few changes, and I went ahead and doubled the recipe. I can’t imagine why you would want to make just one loaf of this bread; you can always freeze a loaf or give one away.

Roasted Squash Bread

(Makes two loaves)


  • 1 large winter squash (recommend kabocha or ambercup) or 2 smaller types (such as buttercup or acorn) – 2 cups of purée required
  • 1 cup vegetable or mild canola oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 cups flour (I used half all-purpose + half whole wheat)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground clove
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional, of course. I used walnuts)


  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Prepare two loaf tins by buttering and sprinkling on a light layer of flour.
  • Wash the outside of the squash. Cut in half (this is the hardest step – be sure to have a good sharp knife) and scoop out the seeds. Slice into crescents 1-2 inches thick.
  • Lightly brush squash pieces with olive oil. Roast on a foil-lined baking sheet for 40-50 minutes. Flesh should be very soft.

{Addendum: A reader told me that she threw the whole squash in the oven and roasted it that way rather than cut it first, thus eliminating the laborious (and dangerous) cutting step. She roasted a large kabocha squash at 350F for about an hour an a half, until it was bubbling through the skin. Cool, cut, scoop out seeds, and separate flesh from skin, and you are good to go. I love this idea.}

  • Scoop the squash flesh away from the skin. Purée in a food processor or simply mash well with a fork or pastry masher.
  • Measure two cups of squash purée and combine well with the oil, eggs, and sugar.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add to the liquid mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in the nuts.
  • Pour batter into prepared loaf tins and bake for 45-55 minutes (still at 350F) or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool before slicing (this part is hard!).


  1. Love Kambocha squash – it has that vibrant, almost tropical quality to it. Looks delicious, thanks for sharing!
    – Alex from Simmer


    February 6, 2012
  2. Annette #

    Sounds delicious! Do you think it would affect it greatly if I reduced the quantity of sugar to 2 cups? I tend to reduce sugar amounts for breads in general, and it usually works, but since this is made with slightly different varieties of squash, just wondering if it would still taste ok…


    February 6, 2012
  3. Becky #

    Loved this, but I did reduce sugar to two cups, and I might go lower next time…was still sweet. Used apple sauce instead of oil too.


    November 1, 2012
  4. Sarvie #

    Hubbard squash is the best!!


    February 18, 2016

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