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Pumpkin Chocolate Marbled Zebra Bread isn’t just gorgeous and fun – it’s delicious, too! Make this Fall favorite quick bread recipe today for a festive Halloween-inspired treat.

Marbled bread has been sliced, revealing a swirled center.
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This pumpkin chocolate marbled zebra bread is an absolute stunner. It is quite inconspicuous when you see the whole loaf uncut but cutting into it seeing the gorgeous zebra stripes and marbling; you will impress every person at the table. The pumpkin and chocolate swirl beautifully together to create the most elegant zebra-like stripes.

Quick bread recipes are always a tasty hit. They’re easy to make, moist and sweet, and can be baked in under 2 hours. However, of all the quick bread recipes out there, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one this pretty!

This is the perfect dessert to hand out to friends and neighbors during the Halloween season. It looks like a ton of work went into it, since the stripes are so pretty, but it’s SO easy to bake a loaf of this stuff! Even if there are a few mess ups here and there, this bread always turns out vibrant and show-stopping. I know Paul Hollywood would definitely give me a handshake on this!

Chocolate and pumpkin never really interact with each other all too often in dessert recipes unless it’s during Fall and we’re baking with pumpkin, and that’s a real shame. They go together perfectly! The chocolate in this bread is rich and compliments the moist, spiced pumpkin in a dreamy way.

Multiple slices of quick bread are placed on a surface covered with newspapers.

Ingredients to make pumpkin chocolate marbled zebra bread

  • Flour – All-purpose is all you need.
  • Baking powder and baking soda – These two ingredients work together to keep your bread from becoming too dense. You need a little fluff, too!
  • Spices – Salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg are all you need to help enhance the natural pumpkin flavors. Pumpkin pie spice would be a great addition as well.
  • Pumpkin – Make sure you’re using pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling.
  • Sour cream – Full fat sour cream yields the moistest results.
  • Sugars – You’ll need both white granulated sugar as well as light brown sugar.
  • Eggs – I like to use farm fresh organic.
  • Oil – Canola or vegetable will both work.
  • Vanilla – Try to use real vanilla extract, not imitation.
  • Cocoa powder – Unsweetened works best!
  • Milk – Any milk you’d like to use should do the trick.
  • Chocolate chips – These are an optional topping, but totally recommended.
Several slices of bread are placed next to a butter knife.

Tips for making this marbled zebra bread

  • Read the recipe. This recipe is not that involved but it does help to read the recipe in its entirety so you know what you’re getting into. Specifically, there is a point in the recipe where it asks you to divide up the batter so you can have one pumpkin batter and one chocolate batter.
  • Don’t stress. I know how it feels to be a perfectionist and trying to get the zebra stripes perfect. Don’t stress about it too much. The batter is going to do what it’s going to do and you won’t be able to control that. Ideally, if you alternate each batter on top of each other, they will gently sink with its own weight and create the zebra striping for you.
  • Line your loaf pan. You want to be able to easily release this beautiful piece of art (honestly, it truly could be) so be sure to line your loaf pan with parchment paper and grease it well.
  • Don’t overmix. Who likes a tough and doughy slice of bread? Not me! When the batter just comes together, stop mixing so you don’t over-activate the gluten which will create a gummy, dense bread.
Two forks are placed next to two pieces of pumpkin chocolate bread.

Can I use pumpkin pie filling instead if pumpkin puree?

I recommend against that, and here’s why.

Pumpkin pie filling is already sweetened and flavored with spices, and in my opinion, it’s not flavored all that well. It’s typically super sweet and will make this bread way too sugary with little to no real pumpkin flavor. Avoid that by using pumpkin puree, which will bring a real pumpkin flavor that’s enhanced by the cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugars.

How long will pumpkin chocolate marbled zebra bread stay fresh?

In an airtight container at room temp, this bread will stay fresh for about 3-4 days.

To keep it fresh for a bit longer, pop it into the fridge where it’ll stay fresh for up to 10 days!

To reheat, I highly recommend popping this into the toaster oven so it can get nice and warm with a slight crisp on the surface. That’s my most favorite way of eating it!

A stack of bread slices is presented on newspapers.

It’s officially pumpkin season!

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5 from 3 votes

Pumpkin Chocolate Marbled Zebra Bread

Homemade pumpkin bread is one of the favorite fall recipes, packed full of flavors, but the only thing that can make pumpkin bread better is a swirl of chocolate, and we raise the favorite recipe to a whole new level. This Chocolate Pumpkin Zebra Bread is not only pretty but is super moist with a tender crumb. Say hello to your new fall bread recipe.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 10 slices


  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour, 190 grams
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree, 240 grams
  • cup full fat sour cream, 80 grams
  • ½ cup granulated sugar, 100 grams
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, 100 grams
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup neutral oil, 120 grams
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • cup cocoa powder, 40 grams
  • 3 Tablespoons milk, 45 ml
  • Chocolate chips, optional
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  • Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350 °F (177 °C). Grease an 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch loaf pan and line it with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl whisk eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar until combined. Whisk in pumpkin puree, sour cream, oil, and vanilla and whisk until smooth and well combined.
  • Using a rubber spatula fold in dry ingredients into wet. Don’t overmix.
  • Remove half of the batter and place it into a bowl. Add cocoa powder and milk into one half of the batter and mix until well combined.
  • Using a clean scoop, scoop ¼ cup of pumpkin batter into the bottom of the loaf pan. Top that layer with ¼ cup of the chocolate batter. The batter should naturally spread a little bit from the weight of the next dollop of batter. Repeat, alternating batter flavors, until you have used all of the batter.
  • Sprinkle the top with chocolate chips, if desired.
  • Bake for 55-70 minutes, or until a skewer comes clean out of the center. After 40 minutes cover the cake loosely with aluminum foil to prevent the top from getting too dark. Check toothpick test at 50 minutes mark.
  • Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then gently lift the cake out of the pan and transfer to the cooling rack to cool completely.


You can use a 9×5 inch loaf pan, but decrease the baking time to around 50 minutes.
Check doneness with a wooden skewer. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3-4 days or in the refrigerator for up to about 10 days.


Serving: 1slice, Calories: 295kcal, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 37mg, Sodium: 212mg, Potassium: 160mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 22g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

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  1. Nice recipe. One comment though.
    After measuring out exactly one half of the batter and adding cocoa and milk, I wound up with a lot more of the chocolate batter than the plain pumpkin batter. Maybe in the directions you could say to take out as bit less than half so the batter amounts would be more equal.
    Thanks for the recipe,

    1. @Julie Chiou, no as in I put 1 tablespoon of lemon into some lactose free milk and use that? (Because I can’t use sour cream )

      1. the consistency of sour cream vs. lemon + lactose milk aren’t the same but you can certainly try. you just might have to bake it a little longer b/c the batter might be slightly more runny.

  2. I really didn’t divide the batter evenly, not even close, so had more chocolate. Will measure total next time.
    I also added a bit more cinnamon to the chocolate mixture and mixed chocolate chips with cinnamon bits on top. Lovely!

  3. This is in the oven now and smells ~amazing~ I can’t wait to have a piece! The vanilla is listed as an ingredient, but isn’t in the recipe anywhere. I added it with the other wet ingredients so fingers crossed that’s right!

    1. thanks for the catch! you did it correct by adding it in with the other wet ingredients. i hope your bread came out beautiful!