Bread/ Desserts/ Holiday Food/ Thanksgiving

Pumpkin Cornbread

This moist and flavorful Pumpkin Cornbread recipe will become a family favorite, This classic cornbread is fluffy, and tender yet dense and moist, and has a deep pumpkin flavor with deliciously warm spices. No need to think about cornbread and dry in the same sentence anymore as this recipe will rival any cornbread recipe out there.

Try my Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread or this savory Cheddar Ham Cornbread next. Serve this Classic Southern Cornbread Dressing with your Thanksgiving Day menu.

Pumpkin Cornbread on a white cutting board. Served as a slice with a pat of butter on top and honey drizzled.

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to bust out the cornbread and add it to your seasonal holiday meal. I’ve adapted my highly rated cornbread recipe and added real pumpkin and not just spices to take this pumpkin cornbread up a notch as it rounds out the natural corn flavor. At our table, the kids and adults prefer pumpkin cornbread made from scratch to a buttered roll or croissant with their dinner. We even have to watch that there is enough to go around because someone always snatches seconds right away.

Pumpkin Cornbread can be served any time of the year with stews, soups, pork chops, chicken, and of course a Classic Roast Turkey or Honey Baked Ham.

Moist Pumpkin Cornbread served on a blue striped napkin with white checkerboard. Pumpkin cornbread is brushed with honey and topped with a pat of butter.

How to Make Pumpkin Cornbread

  1. Whisk together cornmeal, all-purpose flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  2. Stir in melted butter, sugar pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and cloves.
  3. Whisk in eggs well.
  4. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla extract. You can add half the buttermilk at a time to minimize splashing.
  5. Whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients.
  6. Pour into casserole dish.
  7. Bake in a 375°F oven for 50 minutes.
  8. Drizzle with ⅓ cup honey.
  9. Cut and serve.
The best Pumpkin Cornbread displayed on a white cutting board with a side profile view. Slathered in honey and topped with a pat of butter.

Pumpkin Cornbread Ingredients

  • Pumpkin Puree: Pumpkin “puree” in a can is pumpkin in its simplest form with no added spices or flavorings. Canned pumpkin “pie” is an example of pumpkin puree with added spices which should be avoided for this recipe.
  • Cornmeal: The star of the show! Used for sweetness and texture. I like to use Martha White medium cornmeal which will help to avoid any large grain pieces and results in a super soft bread.
  • Flour: Use basic all-purpose white flour. It is used in combination with cornmeal to give the best results.
  • Butter: When adding butter to this recipe I prefer “unsalted,” but you may use salted as well.
  • Sugar: The use of white granulated sugar is a cornbread recipe is debatable, but sugar serves an important role in aiding in a baked recipe being moister as sugar binds with other liquids. That said, I prefer my cornbread sweet, however, you may add less sugar to start or in the future.
  • Eggs: Eggs help to bind a recipe together and add richness.
  • Buttermilk: The use of buttermilk in a recipe gives it a rich tanginess. See notes below for a buttermilk substitute.
  • Baking Soda: I use a combination of baking soda and baking powder to lift the bread and add a lightness to it.
  • Vanilla: Use a good brand that you trust and like. Real or imitation is fine. Vanilla is essential as it adds sweetness and has an ability to enhance the other flavors, so your recipe doesn’t taste flat.
  • Cinnamon: Ground cinnamon infuses a warm flavor and adds depth.
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice: Pumpkin Pie Spice is a lovely combination of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice all-in-one so if you don’t have any on hand use the ones listed.
  • Ground Cloves: A little goes a long way as it adds depth when pairing with pumpkin.
  • Salt: Even if you use salted butter instead of unsalted, you can still add salt or opt out altogether. Salt will make the flavors pop even more.
  • Honey: I like to slather the top of the cornbread in honey and top each slice with a pat of butter.
Pumpkin Cornbread cut into a slice with a pat of butter on top. Text in center reads pumpkin cornbread. Second images shows a slice of pumpkin cornbread from the side.

Flavorful Variations

You can always doctor it up by adding white or semi-sweet chocolate chips, fresh cranberries (my favorite), pecans, or even little toffee baking bits. Even though this isn’t a pie-whip cream goes with everything! Of course, I like glazing the top with honey and a pat of butter before serving. In addition, a classic vanilla ice cream or even pumpkin ice cream (if you’re lucky enough to find it in a store near you) is also a favorite way to enjoy this seasonal cornbread.

Serve cornbread as a side dish, appetizer, snack, breakfast bread, or dessert.

Reader Tips and Questions

What if I don’t have buttermilk? I prefer buttermilk in this recipe. It adds a nice richness to the cornbread. However, you can make your own buttermilk substitute recipe. Simply click this article I made on buttermilk substitute.

Can I make this ahead of time? Yes, you can make this a couple of days ahead of time. Be aware you will have to adjust the leftover time.

How do I store leftovers? Store your leftovers in a covered Tupperware or container. 

How long do leftovers last? Leftovers will last 3-4 days. 

I like cornbread with no sugar. Can I adapt this recipe? Yes. The sugar in this recipe can be reduced to just a few tablespoons. However, if a sweeter bread is preferred, simply add more sugar or 1/4 cup honey to the batter.

DO warm a slice of cornbread in the microwave for 30 seconds for a fresh out of the oven warm taste. Next, top it with a pat of butter.

For more fall and autumn-inspired baking recipes, try these Caramel Apple Crisp Bars, a delicious Pumpkin Cheesecake, or these Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes.

Planning to make this for Thanksgiving? Be sure to check out these classic Thanksgiving recipes.

Pumpkin Cornbread

This moist and flavorful Pumpkin Cornbread recipe will become a family favorite, This classic cornbread is fluffy, and tender yet dense and moist, and has a deep pumpkin flavor with deliciously warm spices. No need to think about cornbread and dry in the same sentence anymore as this recipe will rival any cornbread recipe out there.
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Course: Appetizer, Dessert, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pumpkin cornbread
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 24 servings
Calories: 252kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 2 cups yellow cornmeal (I use Martha White medium)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • cups buttermilk
  • cup honey (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Prepare a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish with foil. Lightly grease; set aside.
  • Whisk together cornmeal, all-purpose flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  • Melt butter. Stir in sugar. Stir in pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and cloves.
  • Whisk in eggs.
  • Whisk in pumpkin puree, buttermilk and vanilla extract.
  • Gradually whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix until combined.
  • Pour into dish.
  • Bake in oven for 50 minutes. The center should be set when done.
  • Allow to cool. Drizzle with ⅓ cup honey. Cut and serve.

Nutrition

Calories:252kcal | Carbohydrates:37g | Protein:4g | Fat:10g | Saturated Fat:6g | Polyunsaturated Fat:1g | Monounsaturated Fat:3g | Trans Fat:1g | Cholesterol:50mg | Sodium:186mg | Potassium:129mg | Fiber:2g | Sugar:18g | Vitamin A:1902IU | Vitamin C:1mg | Calcium:43mg | Iron:1mg

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