Healthier Marbled Pumpkin Bread

Healthier Marbled Pumpkin Bread

This healthier marbled pumpkin bread is lightly sweetened and made with whole wheat flour making a healthy alternative for traditional pumpkin bread

Healthier marbled pumpkin bread is an impressive fall treat

How cool is this bread?!

I love making quick breads for a few simple reasons:

  • Easy to make
  • Moister than most traditional cakes
  • Delicious on its own – no icing needed

But even the most flavorful quick bread doesn’t really have that awe factor worthy of a holiday celebration.

Think about it. What’s more enticing: a slice of cranberry bread or a frosted sugar cookie in the shape of Rudolph at Christmas? I’d pick Rudolph every time.

But this pumpkin bread isn’t just another orange loaf at a bake sale. This is the Rudolph of pumpkin breads.

Healthier Marbled Pumpkin Bread

Inspiration for this festive pumpkin bread

When I saw this marbled banana bread over at Smitten Kitchen, I knew I wanted to try out the technique. However, I wanted a flavor other than banana.

So a couple weeks ago when I was brainstorming Halloween recipes, I started thinking about how perfect a dark chocolate swirl would be against orange from pumpkin.

Healthier Marbled Pumpkin Bread

How to marble healthier pumpkin bread

As proud as I am of my marbling, I’m sure many of you could make an even more impressive pattern.

And for any of you who are creatively challenged like I am, trust me when I say that it’s hard to mess this up as there’s no “right” way for it to look.

Once you have your “base” batter made, you’ll separate it into two separate bowls. To one bowl you’ll add ¼ cup of dark cocoa powder. Then, to the other add ¼ cup of white whole wheat flour.

Next, alternate dropping spoonful’s of each batter into a greased loaf pan.

The idea is to make almost a checkerboard pattern with the batter.

Once all the batter is used up, take a sharp knife and make 2-3 figure-8’s through the batter.

Healthier Marbled Pumpkin Bread

Baking healthier marbled pumpkin bread

While most pumpkin breads take about 55 minutes to bake, I found mine was ready after 50 minutes. Honestly I could have even been taken out 2 or 3 minutes earlier.

Cooking time really depends on your oven.

I recommend setting a timer for 45 minutes and checking in 5-minute intervals until a toothpick comes out almost clean – it’s okay if there’s a few crumbs sticking to it.

Healthier Marbled Pumpkin Bread

Toppings for healthier marbled pumpkin bread

Personally, I think this bread is best with a hot cup of coffee.

However, for a little extra sweetness and filling power, I recommend adding almond or peanut butter.

For the more adventurous, cream cheese is one of my family’s favorite additions on quick breads. May sound strange, but trust me. Just make sure that the cream cheese is either softened or whipped.

More Healthy Pumpkin Bread Recipes

Healthier Marbled Pumpkin Bread

This marbled pumpkin bread is both a trick and a treat for Halloween as no one will guess that it’s made with whole wheat and lower in sugar than traditional pumpkin bread!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Healthy, Pumpkin Bread
Servings: 12 slices
Author: Kelli


  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk any milk will work
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ¼ cup ~141 grams plus ¼ cup (~28 grams) of white whole wheat flour, separated
  • ¼ cup 24 grams dark cocoa powder


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease loaf pan.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together oil, maple syrup, and eggs. Next, add pumpkin, milk, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt.
  • Slowly stir in 1 ¼ cup (141 grams) of flour until just combined.
  • Pour half of batter (about 1 ½ cups) into another mixing bowl.
  • Add remaining ¼ cup (28 grams) of flour to one bowl and the dark cocoa powder to the other bowl. Stir both until just combined.
  • Alternate drops of batter into prepared pan, in a loosely checkerboard-style pattern. Run a sharp knife through batter in a figure-eight pattern. Make about 2-3 figure-eight’s.
  • Place pan in oven and bake 50-60 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.


Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

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Healthier Marbled Pumpkin Bread

Add a comment


  • Nina | feel good eating AvatarNina | feel good eating4 years ago

    I don’t really make ‘bread’ (banana, pumpkin etc), but this has got me thinking I really want to – I think the addition of the cocoa has got me haha!

  • Jenny Shea Rawn AvatarJenny Shea Rawn4 years ago

    What a gorgeous pumpkin bread. Can’t wait to try this! Love that you added dark cocoa. YUM.

  • About Kelli McGrane Headshot

    I’m Kelli MS, RD, and my mission is to prove that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. Follow along to learn more about food and cooking, with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

    About Kelli McGrane Headshot

    Welcome to The Healthy Toast!

    Here you’ll find realistic healthy recipes designed by a registered dietitian with your busy lifestyle in mind.

    Whether you’re a busy professional or new mom, the goal of The Healthy Toast is to provide you with the recipes and nutrition info you need to live your healthiest life, even when life gets crazy. As I’m a firm believer in a whole-foods, non-diet approach, I hope my website shows that good nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. 

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