This gluten-free pumpkin loaf is perfectly tender and moist and is naturally vegan-friendly. It's loaded with real pumpkin flavor and plenty of pumpkin spice and is incredibly easy to make! Pack it in lunches, spread it with cream cheese for breakfast or serve it with tea for the perfect fall snack.
Best Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread Recipe
What makes this gluten-free version of classic pumpkin bread the best? Well, for starters, its super easy to make and doesn't require any special equipment, simply a whisk and 2 mixing bowls (but you can get by with just one bowl too). It tastes just like traditional pumpkin bread with a moist, soft and squishy texture and perfect blend of warming fall spices like cinnamon, clove, allspice, ginger and nutmeg.
This pumpkin bread recipe can easily be made vegan as it already egg-free and doesn't need any egg-replacers. If you're thinking "how?", well, for dense quick breads like this and banana bread for example, they are already made with ingredients that are naturally binding. Flours and starches are binders and thickeners. Pumpkin and banana for that matter also thicken and bind. I've tested this with flax eggs and it was too gummy. I've tested it with a 1-to-1 gluten free flour blend containing xantham gum and again it was too gummy. It really doesn't need eggs or gums to get that perfect texture. That said, if you want to add eggs to this, feel free. Eggs will add richness and increase the fluffiness of the final loaf.
I found that using a mix of different readily available gluten free flours made the best loaf. If you do a lot of gluten free baking you probably have all of the flours in your pantry already. If you'd rather use a store-bought gf flour blend then I suggest an all purpose gluten-free flour blend without xantham gum.
Pumpkin Purée: The star of this recipe is pumpkin of course. I like to make my own pumpkin puree from roasted pumpkins, but canned pumpkin is fine to use. If making your own, use dry sweet pumpkins or winter squashes like buttercup squash, ambercup squash, sugar pumpkin, etc.
Gluten Free Flours: The combination of white rice flour, oat flour, almond flour and tapioca starch creates the perfect soft and squishy crumb structure in this recipe. If you are sensitive oats, replace it with sorghum flour. Use a very fine milled rice flour like Bob’s Red Mill White Rice Flour. You can use a store bought oat flour like Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Oat Flour or make your own by blending rolled oats in a blender into a fine flour. If you're sensitive to oats, replace it with sorghum flour. Almond flour or almond meal helps create a tender crumb structure. Use sunflower seed flour/meal or pumpkin seed flour/meal as nut-free alternatives to almond flour. Just note that they may give a green hue to baked goods. Tapioca starch is made from the starchy root of cassava aka yuca and also acts as a binder while providing elasticity and chew to the pumpkin bread. Note that tapioca starch which made from the extracted starch of cassava root is not the same as cassava flour which is made from the entire root. I have not tested this recipe with cassava flour yet.
Sugar: Regular granulated white sugar works well in this recipe but more flavor can be achieved by using unrefined sugars like whole cane sugar, coconut sugar or maple sugar. You can also use light or dark brown sugar. These darker sugars add notes of caramel, molasses or maple that pair so well with the pumpkin pie spices.
Pumpkin Pie Spice: The combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and clove gives pumpkin bread that classic fall pumpkin spice flavor. I've listed out the individual amounts in the recipe card, but feel free to use a pre-made pumpkin spice blend if you prefer.
Milk: Regular milk adds moisture to the recipe. You can also use buttermilk, but omit the added apple cider vinegar if you do. Use any unsweetened non-dairy milk such as soy milk, almond milk or oat milk as a vegan-friendly replacement.
Oil: Neutral tasting oil adds fat that will help keep the bread moist and tender. I prefer to bake with extra olive oil, but other options include avocado oil, grape-seed oil, sunflower seed oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil. You can also use melted butter but it may result in a drier pumpkin loaf.
Vinegar: A splash of apple cider vinegar or white vinegar will react with the baking soda to ensure the loaf rises. If using buttermilk, which is naturally acidic, then you can omit the vinegar. Use lemon juice as an alternative to vinegar.
Leavening agents: Baking soda and baking powder will make the pumpkin bread rise. Note that gluten-free baked goods will not rise as high as conventional baked goods. While this recipe produces a domed loaf it is not going to be as pronounced as pumpkin bread made with all-purpose wheat flour that contains gluten.
Kosher salt: A touch of salt brings out the flavors in baked goods and really makes all of the spices, sweeteners and pumpkin flavors pop.
How to Make GF Pumpkin Bread
Step 1: Make the pumpkin bread batter
Whisk the dry ingredients together in a separate large bowl the add them to the wet mixture. Alternatively, sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients through a mesh strainer or with a flour sifter.
Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture with a rubber spatula until they are just combined. Fold in any optional mix-ins such as nuts or chocolate at this point.
Step 2: Bake the pumpkin bread
To create a uniform center crack in the top of the loaf run a butter knife down the center of the loaf to create a weak point in the batter.
Bake the pumpkin bread in the center of the oven until it rises with a domed top that is dark golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs. If the loaf starts to brown too fast cover it with aluminum foil shiny side out for the rest of the baking time.
Step 3: Cool and serve
Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes then run a butter knife around the edges and turn it out onto a wire rack. Allow it to cool to completely to room temperature before slicing into it. Pumpkin bread is even better the next day if you can wait that long to cut into it!
How to Store Pumpkin Bread
Pumpkin bread is one of those baked goods that just gets better the day after its baked. The flavors come together and really shine. To store pumpkin bread, wrap it in plastic wrap, or in a sealed bag and it will stay fresh for up to 4 days at room temperature.
To freeze pumpkin bread, wrap it in plastic wrap then store in in a sealed freezer bag for up to 6 months in the freezer. Thaw, then slice and serve. Or slice the bread first and place pieces of parchment paper between the slices before freezing them in a freezer bag.
How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree
Making your own pumpkin puree is super simple and easy to do, and the best part is it will taste so much better than store bought pumpkin puree. The first thing you should know is that pumpkins and winter squashes are all technically pumpkins, but there are a few types that are especially good for using in baked goods. Use dry sweet pumpkins to make a thick rich puree with the best flavor. My favorite ones for this are buttercup squash (not to be confused with butternut squash), ambercup squash, honeynut squash, and koginut squash. Sugar pie pumpkins are the classic pumpkins used to make pumpkin puree, but I much prefer these other varieties.
To make it, first preheat the oven to 425˚F and line a half sheet pan with piece of parchment paper. Then cut your chosen winter squash in half and leave the seeds in it. Place the squash cut side down onto the parchment paper and roast it until you can stick a fork through it, approximately 30-40 minutes. Let it cool slightly then turn the pumpkin halves over and scoop out the pumpkin seeds, which will come out easily now that the flesh is tender. Scoop out the roasted pumpkin meat, leaving the skins behind, and transfer it to a food processor. Process the roasted pumpkin into a silky smooth puree.
How long does homemade pumpkin puree last?
Store the squash puree in a sealed container and refrigerate it for up to 4 days or measure it out into freezer safe bags or containers, label and freeze them for up to 6 months to use at another time. Use this pumpkin puree to make my vegan pumpkin spice muffins or my easy vegan pumpkin pie recipe!
Pro tip: For times when I don't want to dirty the food processor and make more dirty dishes, I don't puree the roasted pumpkin. Instead I simply mash it with a fork like you would do with bananas when making banana bread.
Weigh the Ingredients: I always recommend using a kitchen scale to weigh ingredients when baking. It is the most accurate way to bake and ensures that you will get the correct results from any recipe.
Use a thermometer: Because all ovens are different it is always a good idea to use an oven thermometer so you know the true temperature of your oven. They are inexpensive and widely available.
Make ahead: The pumpkin puree can be made way ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen. You can also make your own pumpkin spice blend by scaling up the listed amounts of each spice in the recipe card and stored in a spice jar. Lastly, this quick bread can be made the day before for the best results.
I'm not a dietician so can't speak to the nutritional value of pumpkin bread. This recipe is made with wholesome ingredients including whole grains with options to use unrefined sugars.
Why does pumpkin bread rise then fall?
This pumpkin bread recipe will settle a bit as it cools but should still retain a domed top. It's not going to be as domed as a conventional bread with gluten, which creates structure in breads. If you've tried other recipes that have sunk or have a flat top it it most often then too much leavening agent was used. If you add to much the baked good will rise too quickly and ten fall before its done baking or soon after it starts cooling. Try reducing the amount of baking soda and/or baking powder.
If your pumpkin bread is not cooked through the middle then it may just need more time to bake. Look for the signs that is it done rather than sticking to a specific time. If it seems like it is taking too long too bake then it could be that your oven temperature is off, which is why I suggest using an oven thermometer to know the actual temperature you're baking at. If the temperature is way off you may need to calibrate your oven. It could also be that you didn't weigh the ingredients and used less accurate volume measurements. You could be adding too much or too little of something when using cup measurements instead of weighing ingredients.
This pumpkin bread is ready when the top is domes and cracked with a dark golden color, the edges pull away fro the sides of the pan and a cake tester inserted into the middle of the bread comes out clean with a few moist crumbs.
Both homemade and opened canned pumpkin puree will last 3-4 days in the fridge. Store leftover pumpkin puree in an airtight container or bag.
More Delicious Pumpkin Recipes To Try:
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Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread Recipe
- 235 g pumpkin puree 1 cup
- 133 g granulated sugar ⅔ cup, or unrefined sugar
- 90 g maple syrup ¼ cup
- 80 g milk ⅓ cup, or non-dairy milk
- 66 g extra-light olive oil ⅓ cup, or any neutral-tasting oil
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
- 1-½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground clove
- ¼ teaspoon ground all-spice
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon grated whole nutmeg
- 100 g white rice flour
- 60 g oat flour approx. ½ cup, or sorghum flour
- 60 g almond flour approx. ½ cup
- 60 g tapioca starch approx. ⅓ cup
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F/175˚C. Grease and flour a standard 8x4-inch loaf pan with butter and any gluten free flour.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, sugar, maple syrup, milk, oil, vanilla, and spices until smooth, about 1 minute.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the flours, tapioca starch, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture with a rubber spatula until they form a smooth thick batter, being careful not to over-mix the batter. Optionally fold in any mix-ins such as chocolate chips, toasted walnuts or pecans, pumpkin seeds, etc. at this point.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top with the rubber spatula. To create a uniform center split in the top of the loaf, run a butter knife down the middle of the loaf in a straight line. This will create a weak point and the loaf will naturally split at that point as it bakes. Optionally sprinkle on any toppings such as cinnamon sugar, pepitas, chocolate chips or nuts at this point.
- Bake the loaf for 1 hour and 10-15 minutes or until it is rises with a domed top that is dark golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean with a few crumbs.
- Cool the pumpkin loaf in the pan for 10 minutes then run a butter knife around the edges and tip it out onto a cooling rack. Allow it to cool completely before slicing.
- The mix of spices in this recipe can be replaced with 2-½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice blend.
- To store pumpkin bread, wrap it in plastic wrap, or in a sealed bag and it will stay fresh for up to 4 days at room temperature.
- To freeze pumpkin bread, wrap it in plastic wrap then store in in a sealed freezer bag for up to 6 months in the freezer. Thaw, then slice and serve. Or slice the bread first and place pieces of parchment paper between the slices before freezing them.