You simply can’t go wrong with pie-flavored bread. This pumpkin babka features a tender, sweet dough stuffed with a perfectly spiced pumpkin pie filling, then cut, braided, and baked to create a yeasty sweet bread that is swirled throughout with goodness!—Amie MacGregor
Pumpkin Babka FAQs
You can store a cooled babka wrapped in plastic wrap or an airtight container on the counter for up to three days. Reheat it by the slice, in the microwave for a few seconds, or warm the whole babka in the oven for a few minutes.
Yes! If you decide to bake it ahead of time or just want to save some for later, a cool loaf can be wrapped tightly (in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil) and frozen for up to one month. Thaw, wrapped, at room temperature, then remove plastic wrap and warm in a 275℉ oven for 10 minutes.
Pumpkin Pie Babka
For the babka bread
- 1 cup whole milk, warmed slightly
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the bowl
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
For the pumpkin pie filling
- 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- Butter, for the loaf pan
- 6 tablespoons pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
For the streusel topping
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch table salt
- 2 tablespoons (1 oz) cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons water, for egg wash
Make the babka bread
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the milk, butter, sugar, egg, yeast, and vanilla and whisk together by hand.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add this to the stand mixer bowl, then using a large wooden spoon, mix together until a shaggy dough forms.
- Fit the stand mixer with the dough hook, then turn it onto medium. Beat the dough until it is smooth, elastic, and slightly tacky, 8 to 10 minutes. Add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary, to achieve the desired consistency.
- Butter a large bowl, place the dough inside, cover with plastic wrap, then place in a warm area to rise until the dough is doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
Make the pumpkin pie filling
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and ginger until well combined.
- Butter a 9- by 5-inch (23- by 13-cm) loaf pan and line with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and roll the dough out into a 15- by 15-inch (38- by 38-cm) square.
☞ TESTER TIP: If your house is warm, pop the dough in the fridge for a few minutes before rolling and shaping to firm it up, this will make it easier to cut and shape.
- Spread the pumpkin purée over the dough, leaving a 1 inch (2.5-cm) strip along the top. Sprinkle the spiced brown sugar mixture over the pumpkin purée. Brush the bare 1 inch (2.5-cm) strip with a bit of water. Roll the dough away from you into a log (try to maintain even thickness throughout). Pinch to seal.
- Using a serrated knife, slice the log in half lengthwise. Place the sliced halves faceup and side by side. Form an X with the two strips.
- Working from the center out, interweave the two strips by folding them over one another, alternating back and forth.
- When you reach the end, pinch the ends together. Repeat on the other half.
- Move the braided dough into the prepared loaf pan, compressing it to fit if necessary. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise until nearly doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
Make the streusel topping
- In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt until well combined. Use a pastry cutter or two knives to cut in the butter cubes until the streusel resembles small peas. Keep cold until the bread has fully risen.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water until foamy. Brush the proofed dough lightly with the egg wash, then sprinkle the streusel over top.
- Bake until golden and the internal temperature is 200°F (93°C), 40 to 60 minutes. Allow the babka to cool completely before slicing.
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Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This pumpkin babka is a lovely autumn loaf of soft pumpkin spice comfort. The recipe is overall clear to follow with some clarification and the pumpkin flavor actually comes through even with all the deep dark brown sugar and spice. Chocolate babka is still the favorite flavor but this is a very close second and miles ahead of a plain cinnamon one.
If you crossed a pumpkin pie with a brioche with a crumb cake with a cinnamon roll, the offspring would be this pumpkin spice babka. Every element is in harmony; the bread is tender, the brown sugar-pumpkin swirl is melty and comforting, the streusel topping adds a nice crunch, and the smell in the house while baking are all compelling reasons to try out this recipe.
I did cut back on the brown sugar, using 1/2 cup rather than 3/4 as I like my desserts to be a bit less sweet. I enjoyed a thick slice with a nice cup of coffee this afternoon and I could not be any happier.
Previously intimidated by babka recipes, I gave this one a try and I couldn’t be happier that I did. Each slice of pumpkin pie babka is made up of a pillow-y, tender sweet bread with generous swirls of fall spice. Transferring the dough to the loaf pan was the trickiest step but I realize now how forgiving it is.
I made the babka the day before and it tasted freshly baked the next morning. I can see where slathering butter on a slice would make sense but I was just happy unfurling the layers from the crust straight into the middle, enjoying every cinnamon-scented bite along the way.
This pumpkin babka recipe was a delightful combination of two of my favorites–babka and pumpkin pie. The filling of this pumpkin pie babka is reminiscent of pumpkin pie while not being too overwhelming for the lovely, soft bread. I might use half of the topping in the future, to cut down on the total sweetness content, but we also loved this recipe as written.
An offset spatula proved to be the best tool to spread the pumpkin evenly. Keep an eye on the dough during the rises – my yeast was a bit overactive and I tended to need to be toward the lower end of the rising scale. The finished babka was delicious for breakfast, a snack, dessert, or any time at all!
This pumpkin pie babka recipe makes a loaf of delicious, impressive-looking bread. I love that the pumpkin is part of the filling rather than the dough because the two parts are very well balanced. The bread dough is sweet and fluffy, there is just the right amount of pumpkin pie spiced filling, and the whole experience is like a pumpkin spice cinnamon roll.
The recipe does require a bit of time and effort, but it’s not difficult. I’ve particularly enjoyed having a toasted slice with my coffee in the morning!
Originally published November 9, 2021