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Pumpkin Swirl Brownies
During the fall, it seems like everyone is looking for pumpkin puree dessert recipes. Which is great because that's how I prefer my pumpkin. You know... treats like pumpkin chocolate chip blondies, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin cinnamon rolls, and… these moist pumpkin swirl chocolate brownies!
Now, I know what you’re thinking... another brownie recipe?! HEAR ME OUT, THOUGH! As someone who's quite the expert on brownies (I wrote a whole cookbook about them!), you can trust me when I say that you simply can’t beat brownies made from scratch... especially these brownies with pumpkin puree. Within the first five minutes of baking them, my entire house smelled of warm pumpkin chocolatey bliss and the finished brownies came out super moist and fudgy (although not as fudgy as my ultimate fudge brownies!).
So, whether you sneak a few for yourself and give the rest away to friends/family/neighbors, or you hog the whole pan, I just know that you're going to love these festive fall brownies. They taste like Thanksgiving and Christmas and Halloween all rolled into one; it’s festive and bold, yet easy enough to make as an everyday treat. Have I sold you yet?!
Ingredients for Pumpkin Swirl Brownies
These pumpkin swirl brownies don't require any special or fancy ingredients; in fact, you probably already have everything in your pantry! Here's what you'll need:
- Butter: The one and only.
- Dark chocolate: I love using 70% cacao dark chocolate in my baked goods; but you could also opt for a semisweet chocolate for this recipe. When it comes to baking with chocolate, make sure to use the highest quality one that has the fewest ingredients.
- Cocoa powder: I recommend using a Dutch-processed cocoa for that deep, chocolatey flavor although your regular unsweetened cocoa powder will work just fine!
- Espresso powder: This is different than instant coffee! Espresso powder further brings out the chocolate flavor; don't worry... your brownies won't taste like coffee, I promise! If you can't find it, just leave it out!
- Sugar: This recipe uses both granulated and light brown sugar for the ideal brownie texture.
- Vanilla: Leaving it out will result in brownies that taste a little bland.
- Salt: Brownies made without salt taste a little plain, so don’t skip it.
- Baking powder: For a little bit of leavening action.
- Eggs: Four large (room temperature) eggs are all you need.
- All-purpose flour: Only 2 cups of all-purpose flour is needed!
- Pumpkin puree: This is a brownie recipe with canned pumpkin. Make sure you use pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling.
- Vegetable oil: For the pumpkin portion of the brownies.
- Pumpkin pie spice: If you don't have pumpkin pie spice on hand, replace with: 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger, and ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves.
Recipe Troubleshooting & FAQ
PUMPKIN SWIRL BROWNIES: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Which size pan do you normally use for these pumpkin swirl brownies?
Honestly, whatever I happen to grab out of the cupboard first! The brownies pictured throughout this post were made in an 8x8-inch pan; using a 9x9-inch pan will yield slightly thinner brownies!
What's the best canned pumpkin puree?
My preferred go-to brands are either Libby's or Farmer's Market (organic); both of these canned pumpkin puree brands are available at most grocery retailers/online and have a nice full-bodied flavor to them!
Can I reduce the sugar?
I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s doing more than lending a sweet flavor; it’s actually helping with the structure of the overall brownie. I promise the brownies themselves aren’t overly sweet, so just follow the recipe as is!
PUMPKIN SWIRL BROWNIES: TROUBLESHOOTING
Help! My brownies came out too sweet! What did I do wrong?
It sounds like you used pumpkin pie filling instead of plain pumpkin puree! Pumpkin pie filling is a mixture of cooked, mashed winter squash that is blended with sweetener and spices… meaning you added spices and sugar to a mixture that was already spiced and sweetened. You'll have to start over with the recipe and make sure to use plain pumpkin puree next time!
Help! My brownies came out dry! What did I do wrong?
If you used cup measures as opposed to weight measures, there’s a larger chance your brownies will come out dry. Why? As weird as this sounds, measuring cups aren’t as accurate as you think. For example, somebody who scoops the measuring cup into the flour will have way more than somebody who uses a spoon to scoop the flour into the same sized measuring cup. This is why you should really be measuring by weight with a kitchen scale instead—it’s much more reliable and completely eliminates any inconsistencies.
However, if you used a scale to measure everything out and your brownies still came out dry, then it sounds like you overbaked them; be sure to keep a closer eye on them next time! Every oven is different, so I recommend checking for doneness 5 minutes before the time called for in the recipe!
*Originally posted on November 13, 2018.*
*Post updated on November 1, 2022*
Moist Pumpkin Swirl Chocolate Brownies
- 170 g dark chocolate (70% cacao), chopped
- 20 g unsweetened natural or Dutch process cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon espresso powder
- 240 g all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 200 g granulated sugar
- 110 g light brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 285 g pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 60 g vegetable oil
- 1½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice *see notes
- 115 g unsalted butter
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F (180°C). Grease an 8×8-inch (or 9×9-inch) metal pan then line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on all sides.
- Combine the chopped chocolate, cocoa powder, and espresso powder in a heatproof liquid measuring cup or medium bowl and set aside.170 g dark chocolate, 20 g unsweetened natural or Dutch process cocoa powder, ½ teaspoon espresso powder
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt, then set aside.240 g all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, using a handheld mixer, or using a balloon whisk by hand, whisk together the sugars, eggs, and vanilla until pale, fluffy, and well combined, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined.200 g granulated sugar, 110 g light brown sugar, 4 large eggs, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Divide the batter in half between two medium bowls. Stir in the pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, and pumpkin pie spice into one of the bowls until well combined, then set aside.285 g pumpkin puree, 60 g vegetable oil, 1½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- Add the butter to a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until the butter just comes to a vigorous simmer, about 2 to 3 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally. Immediately pour the hot butter over the chocolate mixture and let sit for 2 minutes. Whisk until the chocolate is completely smooth and melted, then stir the melted chocolate mixture into the other bowl.115 g unsalted butter
- Transfer half of the chocolate batter to the prepared pan. Top with two-thirds of the pumpkin batter. Repeat to make one more chocolate layer and one more pumpkin layer.
- With a small spatula or butter knife, gently swirl the two batters to create a marbled effect. Bake until set, 30 to 35 minutes for a 9x9-inch pan; 40 to 45 minutes for an 8x8-inch pan. Let cool in pan on a wire rack, then cut into squares and ENJOY!
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