If there's anything that gets the internet going, it's an incredibly easy recipe that takes a small handful of ingredients. Bonus if it's a combination that doesn't seem like it would work in the first place (see pesto eggs and ranch pickles). Two-ingredient pumpkin bread ticks all of these boxes. It calls for—you guessed it—two simple pantry ingredients and about five minutes of prep. No wonder it's making the rounds on Tiktok.
Even though this convenient recipe (which combines a boxed cake mix and pumpkin purée) is having a moment, it's not a new concept. Weight Watchers promoted the concept as muffins several years ago since it's a low point (read: low fat) food with no added butter, oil, eggs, or milk. TikTok users have turned the concoction into a quick and easy bread that's fit for the fall season.
How to Make 2-Ingredient Pumpkin Bread
Pretty much every TikTok video makes it the same way. Grab yourself a box of spiced cake mix and a can of pumpkin purée. Combine them in a bowl and mix the thick batter with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add to a greased or parchment-lined loaf pan and smooth out to make level. Bake at 350 F for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the pan, cool, and dust with powdered sugar before serving.
Seems simple, right? It is! Mostly! When mixing, it takes some real brute force to get the mixture to completely combine. I'm not sure why all of these TikTokers insist that you need to beat the crap out of it with a wooden spoon, but halfway through mixing the batter I thought "why aren't I just using my hand mixer?" I recommend you learn from my mistakes and just use a mixer. I also found that the bake time was far too short; it took 45 minutes before a toothpick came out of my bread without wet batter attached.
My Review of 2-Ingredient Pumpkin Bread
While I love a good hack, I was skeptical that this bread recipe would stand up to classic pumpkin bread. No eggs or oil? Seems too good to be true! Turns out the truth lies somewhere in between my skepticism and TikTok's unending optimism. Is it as good as homemade pumpkin bread? Absolutely not. Is it still pretty good and surprisingly so since it only calls for two ingredients? Yes, yes it is.
The flavor of the bread is pleasant with a subtle sweetness, nice pumpkin flavor, and mix of spices. If you'd like more spice, just toss in some extra cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. I had some cinnamon sugar leftover from another recipe and I sprinkled it on top before baking, which added a bit of texture and sweetness. The texture of the bread, while moist, was where things went awry for me. My loaf wouldn't slice properly—it was a little too gummy, sticking to my knife and rolling into sticky crumb balls. The slices easily fell apart.
With that said, I still ate it happily. I might be willing to make it again with some tweaks (adding an egg or two, increasing the bake time a bit more), but homemade pumpkin bread is easy to make and trumps this version's texture and flavor any day.
Tips for Making 2-Ingredient Pumpkin Bread
- Bake it longer. While most of the recipes on social media call for 30 to 35 minutes, that's not long enough to bake the bread properly. Keep baking until a toothpick comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs attached (more like 45 to 55 minutes).
- Add an egg (or two). Commenters on videos for this recipe noted that they liked the texture better after adding an egg or two. I'll definitely be trying that next time.
- Make as muffins. The Weight Watchers version may have been onto something. It seems like baking these in a smaller size would help with the texture a bit. Note that the bake time will be much shorter.
- Add a topping. Some commenters insisted that a cream cheese frosting is required (and I'm not going to argue with that), but I like spreading slices with some pumpkin or apple butter or cinnamon cream cheese.
- Try a different cake mix. While this version is perfect for fall, many commenters noted that they love using a chocolate cake mix and that any cake mix will work. You can also add chocolate chips or nuts to the batter, too!