Classic gluten free pumpkin bread, made simply with just the right spices in one bowl. A moist, tender celebration of fall!
The brilliant color of the loaf comes from the pumpkin (of course), and the pumpkin pie spice. That’s just a simple, fall-like blend of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves and nutmeg.
This pumpkin bread recipe is only lightly sweet, and very satisfying. The spices make it smell like fall, and the pumpkin butter make for the perfect rich, fall taste and tender texture.
Serve it for breakfast, instead of those fake pumpkin “flavored” cereals in the grocery store. I don’t even want to know what is in those!
What’s the batter like for this quick bread?
Even though the word “bread” is in the name of the recipe, this is a quick bread, not a sandwich bread. A quick bread is like a muffin or cake, but baked in a loaf pan.
It tends to be less sweet than a full-blown cake, which is what makes it more like a muffin. But the crumb is cake-like.
I don’t want to over-explain things that might seem obvious. But then I get a comment on a quick bread saying that someone was “very disappointed” in the recipe and their inability to make a sandwich on it…
The batter for this pumpkin bread is really very thick. It should be smooth and uniform in color before you transfer it to the loaf pan and bake it, but that can be a bit challenging since it’s so thick.
If you have a stand mixer, that’s the easiest way to get a uniform batter. Just use the paddle attachment and beat just until smooth.
I usually start out thinking I’ll be able to mix the batter with a spoon, get a bit frustrated and take out the hand mixer. The batter tends to climb up the beaters, but it’s easy to scrape off. And by that point, you’re really don’t mixing.
Dusting the top with cinnamon sugar is a good idea
Dusting the top of the bread with cinnamon sugar before baking adds some extra sweetness to a bread that doesn’t begin with a ton of sugar. Plus, it creates a thin, crackly layer that adds visual and textural interest.
I do have a recipe for gluten free cinnamon swirl pumpkin bread, too. That’s a much dressier version of this pumpkin loaf.
Adding a simple dusting of cinnamon sugar on this simpler recipe is an even simpler way to add texture, fragrance, and flavor. As a testament to how optional the topping is, though, I’ve made this recipe every year since 2013 without the dusting. But I doubt I’ll go back!
Ingredients and substitutions
Replacing the dairy in this recipe means replacing the butter and the buttermilk. In place of butter, I recommend using vegan butter, and my favorite brands are Melt and Miyoko’s Kitchen.
If you can’t find one of those, or you can’t have coconut (both of those brands of vegan butter are coconut oil-based), maybe try one of the newer Country Crock brand “plant butter” sticks. They have one derived from avocado oil and one from olive oil. I haven’t tried them myself, though, so please report back if you do try them!
There are two eggs in this recipe. You can try replacing each of them with one “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel).
If you can’t have corn, try using arrowroot. Even potato starch should work fine.
“Pumpkin butter” isn’t a nut butter. It’s a reduced, spiced, and sweetened version of pumpkin puree. You can buy it during the fall and winter seasons (I like Trader Joe’s brand), or make your own homemade pumpkin butter with my recipe (<—-linked).
Since it’s been cooked down, it has more pumpkin flavor than pumpkin puree—which you’ll find has little pumpkin flavor. Plus, it has much less liquid. You cannot use pumpkin puree in its place in this recipe, or any other that calls for pumpkin butter.
I make a big batch toward the beginning of the fall season, and bake from it for weeks if not months. When I see it on the shelves, I also buy a couple jars. Remember, though, I’m doing a lot of recipe testing, so I need a lot ingredients so I can fail fail fail and live to try again another day!
Yield: 1 loaf pumpkin bread
2 cups (280 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1/4 cup (36 g) cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (See Recipe Notes)
2/3 cup (133 g) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (28 g) packed light brown sugar
6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
2/3 cup (5 1/3 fluid ounces) buttermilk, at room temperature (See Recipe Notes)
5 ounces pumpkin butter, homemade or store bought, at room temperature (See Recipe Notes)
Cinnamon-sugar, for dusting (optional) (See Recipe Notes)
For pumpkin pie spice
To make your own pumpkin pie spice, combine 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger + 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves + 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg.
For the buttermilk
If you’ve run out of buttermilk, you can use half (1/3 cup) milk and half (1/3 cup) plain yogurt. They can both be dairy-free if you can’t have dairy.
For the pumpkin butter
About half the time, I buy pumpkin butter (most often from Trader Joe’s), and the other half I make it using my recipe (linked above). The store bought pumpkin butter is usually more gooey, but the recipe is equally successful either way.
For the dusting cinnamon sugar
Dusting the top of the raw loaf of pumpkin bread with cinnamon sugar creates very thin, crunchy layer of fragrant sweetness. It’s entirely optional, though.
I usually keep a cinnamon-sugar mixture in a small, sealed container on my kitchen counter, since it’s just so useful. I use 1 full teaspoon ground cinnamon for each 3/4 cup of granulated sugar. You should add cinnamon to taste, though.
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease and line a standard 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pan and set it aside.
In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, salt, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and sugars, and whisk to combine well, breaking up any lumps in the brown sugar. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the butter, eggs, buttermilk and pumpkin butter, and mix until smooth and uniform in color. The batter will be very thick. You can try using a handheld mixer to ensure a smooth, even batter. It will climb up the beater blades, so just keep scraping it down and carry on.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, pressing it into all corners of the pan so there aren’t any gaps in the baked bread. With wet fingers and/or a wet spatula, smooth the top of the batter into an even layer and score it about 3/4-inch deep along the length, down the center of the bread using a sharp knife at a 45° angle. Dust the top generously with a layer of the (optional) cinnamon sugar mixture, and score again down the center if necessary to reestablish the scoring.
Place the loaf pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the top is domed and lightly golden brown in color, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with no more than a few moist crumbs attached (nothing gooey at all!) (45 to 55 minutes). Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Slice and serve once cool.
First published on the blog in 2013. Photos and video all new, recipe tweaked to include .