Pumpkin Spice Babka

Pumpkin spice babka recipe

​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 35 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Rising Time: 4 hrs
Total: 5 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
239 Calories
9g Fat
35g Carbs
6g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 239
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 11%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 90mg 30%
Sodium 268mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 35g 13%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Protein 6g
Calcium 59mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Ribbons of pumpkin spice goodness run through the sweet yeasted dough of this beautiful babka. Studded with dried cranberries, it makes a delicious fall or winter treat with coffee or tea. Toast a slice and slather it with cream cheese for breakfast, or serve it as part of a Thanksgiving dessert spread.

This seasonal babka—which is Kosher dairy or pareve—is perfect for Rosh Hashana, when pumpkin holds symbolic meaning for a good new year. And with its fall flavors of pumpkin spice and cranberry, it's also ideal for the harvest holiday of Sukkot.


  • For the Dough:
  • 1/2 cup milk or soy milk (gently warmed)
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons (1/2 packet) active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus 2 to 4 tablespoons more if needed
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea or kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, coconut oil, or non-hydrogenated margarine
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as canola or sunflower
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Optional: 1 large egg
  • For the Filling:
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • Generous pinch cardamom
  • Generous pinch nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • For the Cinnamon Syrup:
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for pumpkin spice babka
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or a large bowl, combine the soy milk and yeast. Allow to stand until foamy, about 5 to 10 minutes.

    Combine soy milk in mixer
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, white whole wheat flour, sugar, and salt.

    Whisk flour
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  4. Add to the yeast mixture, mixing with a wooden spoon or the mixer’s dough hook on medium speed.

    Add yeast mixture
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  5. Add the butter, coconut oil or margarine and mix until incorporated.

    Add the butter
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  6. Add the canola or grapeseed oil and the vanilla, and continue beating until incorporated. Add the egg (if using), and mix until the dough begins to pull into a ball. Knead with the dough hook for 5 minutes, or by hand on a lightly floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the dough is slightly tacky but smooth. If the dough is very sticky, knead in additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, just until the dough is no longer too sticky to handle (Note that if you are not using the egg, the dough may need more kneading, and may not look totally smooth). If you’ve been kneading the dough by hand, return it to the bowl, cover and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. 

    Add canola
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  7. While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and nutmeg. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the babka. 

    Prepare the filling
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  8. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

    Grease pan
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  9. When the dough has risen, punch it down gently.

    Punch down dough
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  10. Transfer to a lightly-floured surface and pat the dough into a rectangle. Roll the dough out until it is about 11 by 15 inches and about 1/8-inch thick.

    Roll out dough
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  11. Spread with the pumpkin filling, leaving a 1-inch border around the sides. Sprinkle evenly with the cranberries.

    Add filling
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  12. Starting on the long side, roll the dough up jelly roll-style. Pinch the ends together gently to seal. Place the roll seam side down. 

    Roll dough up
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  13. With a sharp knife, cut lengthwise through the roll–don't worry if some of the filling oozes out–shaping the babka can get a little messy!

    Cut lengthwise
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  14. Lay halves side by side, filling side up. Starting in the middle, and keeping the filling up as much as possible, twist the rolls together by laying one over the other until you get to the ends. Pinch the ends together to seal.

    Twist dough
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  15. After you've twisted one end, do the other side in the same way.

    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  16. Carefully transfer the loaf, filling side up, to the loaf pan. If the twisted loaf is longer than the pan, gently compress the ends between your hands to shorten the loaf.

    Transfer to loaf pan
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  17. Cover the pan with a clean tea towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place until the babka mostly fills the pan, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. If you’d prefer, you can also cover the pan with plastic and refrigerate overnight. You will need to bring the babka to room temperature before baking.

    Cover the pan
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  18. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

    In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water and cinnamon. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, just until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is syrupy. Remove from the heat and set aside.

    Sauce in pan
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  19. Bake the babka in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.

    Bake the babka
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 
  20. Drizzle evenly with about 2 tablespoons of the cinnamon syrup, then return to the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more, or until the babka is golden and firm to the touch.

    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  21. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack.

    Cool on rack
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  22. Brush with a little more of the syrup, and allow to cool completely before cutting. 

    Brush top
    ​The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


  • If you have an egg allergy or are vegan, you can make the babka dough without the egg. The dough will be a little trickier to knead, and the crumb will not be as airy, but the babka will still be tasty!