creative ways to use pumpkin bread this fall

You know what’s great about fall? Foods that feature pumpkin. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin cake, pumpkin doughnuts, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin beer, even pumpkin spiced lattes—it’s all good! But for me, one pumpkin-infused food hits the spot for a greater percentage of the year than the others—from the first day of September, all the way through the holiday season, in fact. Pumpkin bread. I don’t know why, but pumpkin bread isn’t just an Oktoberfest thing, or a Halloween thing, or a Thanksgiving thing, or a holidays thing. It’s a fall thing, and it’s great the whole season long.

So, what if I said we’ve only scratched the surface of our pumpkin bread consuming capabilities? I suppose you could stop reading and go back to living your life, enjoying your pumpkin bread like you always have, slice by slice, maybe with butter, or cinnamon, or, when you’re feeling really crazy, with brown sugar and caramel. Or, you could read on, leave your old life behind, cast off the shackles of convention, and join me on a culinary adventure to discover a new reality. One option continues you down the path you’re already on. The other option will change you in ways no one is sure to know—the only certainty is things will be different. The decision is yours, but you must make it now. Kind of feels like “The Matrix,” doesn’t it?

Ah, good. Now that you’ve chosen the path of adventure and enlightenment, the quest we’re about to embark upon will help us see new, creative ways to use pumpkin bread. Like Keanu Reeves’s Neo, you might even say, “Whoa,” a time or two. Hopefully, that’s the case. So, without further ado, here are ten “what ifs” for using pumpkin bread instead of some other, more common choice. Here goes!

1. Stuffing/Dressing

When I was younger, corn bread stuffing was avant garde. Now, it’s a bit passé. This year, what if you cooked up a pumpkin bread stuffing for your holiday dressing needs? All you’d do is find a recipe you like and add in pumpkin bread crumbs. Worth a shot, right? With a savory-sweet combo sure to dazzle your guests, this dish could find its way into the permanent rotation.

2. Salads

How do you turn a plain old salad into a fall salad? What if you topped it with pumpkin bread croutons? Of course! Crumble up some pumpkin bread, brush with melted butter or oil, and bake on a cookie sheet for 10 minutes. These crunchy accompaniments could add the taste and texture you’re looking for—and then some!

3. Soup

While we’re on the subject of pumpkin bread croutons, what if you used them (or a piece of toasted pumpkin bread) in your favorite fall soup? Think about it. You have a nice, plain butternut squash soup, which is fine. You’re actually looking forward to partaking. Then, inspiration hits, you add pumpkin bread croutons to it, and instantly turn your tastebuds to eleven!

4. Sandwiches

Imagine yourself the day after Thanksgiving. You go to the fridge, open it up, and are greeted with an abundance of leftovers sure to keep you satiated for the foreseeable future. Still a bit on the full side, you don’t care to indulge in a full-scale meal, opting for a sandwich instead. What if you decide this scaled down meal need not be boring, and you opt for the tasty, pumpkin-yeast bread you had the foresight to bake (or buy) a couple days ago for this precise reason? Well played, my friend. Well played.

5. Thanksgiving Stacks

thanksgiving leftovers club sandwich

Chowhound

Now, let’s say you just read the prior suggestion, and you scoffed, saying, “There’s no way I’m eating a modest sandwich when there’s so much good stuff to be had. I came to the fridge to eat like a king, and eat like a king I will.” Fair point. In that case, what if you made a Thanksgiving stack using pumpkin bread? It’s really quite easy. You start with a slice of that semi-sweet pumpkin bread, and you stack on whatever your heart desires. How about turkey, cranberry, mashed sweets, and green bean casserole? Or how about turkey, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts with bacon, and gravy? Or how about the carbtastic stuffing, mashed potatoes, and mac ‘n’ cheese? Whatever you pile on, you really can’t go wrong with a strong foundation of pumpkin bread. And, with a stack, each bite you take is loaded with all the flavors you love.

6. French Toast

You know what goes great with pumpkin bread? Brown sugar and maple syrup. So, what if instead of cinnamon bread, or white bread, you used pumpkin bread for your French toast? Sounds like a no-brainer option for any breakfast you want to distinguish as particularly fall.

7. Eggs Benedict

If you’re like me, you like eggs on the breakfast table. If that’s the case, what if you made eggs benedict, but swapped out the English muffin for pumpkin bread? The sweetness of the bread, matched with the saltiness of the meat (try bacon, canadian bacon, ham, sausage, or even crab), and the warm gooeyness of a perfectly poached egg will have folks begging for seconds.

8. Strata

Looking for another, more savory breakfast idea? What if you made a pumpkin bread strata? It’s easy, it’s delicious, and by incorporating pumpkin, it’s going to stand out! I’d recommend a maple sausage or maple bacon as your protein option. Then again, some of that leftover turkey might not be so bad, either. You could use a pumpkin-yeast bread, or a more traditional sweet pumpkin bread. You could even use plain white bread and combine it with a pumpkin mixture. Is that cheating? I’ll let you decide. What I can say is you will have taste-texture combo of pumpkin and bread—and that’s not bad at all. Here’s a recipe you might want to try.

9. Bread Pudding

Ever wanted to have a pumpkin dessert that wasn’t a traditional pumpkin pie? What if you made a pumpkin bread pudding instead? Like the strata above, you have options. You can use pumpkin-yeast bread, a more traditional sweet pumpkin bread, or a makeshift pumpkin bread (combining plain bread with a pumpkin mixture). It’s your call. Either way, I know I’d pay serious attention to a pumpkin bread pudding if it were placed in front of me. Click here for a recipe that looks delicious!

10. “Egg on Toast” Dessert Variant

In my dad’s family, a tasty summer dessert is something my grandma calls “egg on toast.” It’s a pretty easy recipe. Take a slice of pound cake, scoop Cool Whip, whipped cream, or ice cream on it, then top with half a peach. Easy enough, right? Well, what if we used that concept to create a pumpkin bread variant? Here’s what it might look like: 1) Start with a slice of pumpkin bread; 2) Scoop Cool Whip, whipped cream, or ice cream on it; 3) Top that will some baked apples or peaches; 4) Top that with some sweet granola; and 5) Finish it off with a caramel drizzle. Hmm. Yeah, I’d try that.

There you have it. Every good quest comes to an end, and we’ve reached ours. Hopefully this has proven to be enlightening and fulfilling. If this journey has taught me anything, it’s not to hold back in the kitchen. If there are flavors, ingredients, or items I like, I should be bold enough to think outside the box and incorporate them. Maybe you’ve learned the same, and maybe you have some new ideas for adding a little more pumpkin to your palate.

Check out all the best of pumpkins on Chowhound.

Related Video: 3 Epic Ways to Use Pumpkin Butter This Fall

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Greg is a Chicago guy who likes to cook, dine, and help others navigate their food choices. Why? Because food is an integral part of our lives, he's the best version of himself when he's well fed, and he wants to help others more consistently make a routine activity into something special. When he's not writing, he's watching sports, searching out ways to laugh, offering unsolicited-yet-rational positions on social media, handling the domestic responsibilities of a husband and dad, and figuring out his next meal.
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