Perfectly spiced pumpkin bread with a tender crumb and warm, cozy flavors is the ideal autumn treat. This gluten-free quick bread is flavored with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and vanilla. Top with a swoosh of maple butter and enjoy as an extra special breakfast, an afternoon snack, or a festive dessert for your holiday gatherings.
If pumpkin doesn’t make its way into the coziest time of year can we even call it Fall? I’m not sure.
This is the season for baking treats laced with warm spices that call us to embrace hygge vibes by wearing flannel pj’s past noon with a creamy spiced steamer in hand and a warm slice of gluten-free pumpkin bread that has the most wonderful texture and crumb. Top it off with a generous schmear of maple butter and we’re ready to tuck in.
🌟 Why you’ll love this recipe
This gluten-free pumpkin bread is not too dry and not too moist, not too sweet and definitely not bland. Goldilocks would say it’s just right.
I know that surveys overwhelmingly say that most of us hate the word ‘moist’ but hear me out on this. Pumpkin bread needs to have a bit of moisture. Obviously not so much that it tastes mushy, soggy, or wet but for lack of a better word (if you’ve got one let me know in the comments), a balanced moisture content in a quick bread like pumpkin bread can really make or break whether or not we’re reaching for a second slice.
Finding that perfect texture and crumb is often the biggest challenge with gluten-free baking, but after testing and tweaking this recipe over and over again I’ve got a definite winner for you.
The three other people in my house have a habit of knocking out each loaf I bake in less than 24 hours so depending on who will have access to your finished pumpkin loaf, consider doubling the recipe and making two loaves. Or you could always just hide it (insert mischievous laugh).
🛒 Ingredients & suggestions
Questions about ingredient substitutions, brand recommendations, and ingredient suggestions are common and welcome here. I’m not going to claim I know all of the answers because one can only test so many variations of gluten-free pumpkin bread, but here are my thoughts and recommendations.
- Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-To-1 Flour: DO NOT substitute a different all-purpose gluten-free flour blend. This quick bread recipe was developed using this specific gluten-free flour. No two gluten-free flours blends are the same so substituting a different gluten-free flour blend may result in a dramatically different and possibly unedible outcome.
- Pumpkin puree: I went the easy route and used canned pumpkin puree. Homemade pumpkin puree can be made by roasting a sugar pie or baking pumpkin but this is one of those ingredients where canned pumpkin is just as tasty and it saves the extra work of cleaning, roasting and pureeing a whole pumpkin. I found that using a whole can of pumpkin puree made the bread too heavy and moist so this recipe will leave you with a small amount leftover. If you’re unsure of what to do with the remaining amount add it to this tasty butternut squash soup!
- Brown sugar: Half granulated white sugar and half brown sugar can also be used but I love the slightly warmer flavor of using all brown sugar. Brown sugar is also naturally moist unlike white granulated sugar, resulting in a softer and moister gluten-free pumpkin bread.
- Avocado oil: A neutral-flavored oil like avocado oil (or sunflower oil) lends toward a perfectly moist, tender crumb without affecting the flavor of the pumpkin bread.
- Kosher salt: Salt enhances the flavors of the sugar and spice. Kosher salt contains larger salt crystals than table salt so do not substitute them one for one. If table salt is all that you’ve got, cut the amount you use by at least half.
- Spices: Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; with just enough of each to give the bread those warm, cozy flavors without being overpowering. Feel free to adjust how you prefer though.
For a full list of ingredients and quantities see the recipe card at the end of this post.
🔪 Step-by-step instructions
Step 1: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Prepare a 9×5 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray and line the bottom and sides with a piece of parchment paper sized to fit.
Step 2: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice.
Step 3: In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla until combined.
Step 4: Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until incorporated.
Step 5: Using a spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Smooth out the surface of the batter with a spatula or butter knife.
Step 6: Sprinkle the top with pepitas. This is completely optional but adds a tasty little crunch. You could also swap the pepitas out for pecans, walnuts, or chocolate chips.
Step 7: Bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Step 8: Remove the loaf from the oven and allow the bread to cool in the loaf pan for about 10 minutes, then remove it from the pan and place it on a wire rack to cool. Slice and serve with a big schmear of maple butter.
👩🍳 Recipe tips
- Use a scale to weigh your ingredients. Some websites suggest spooning flour into a measuring cup one spoonful at a time and leveling the top off while others simply dunk the measuring cup into the bag of flour and then level it off with the edge of a knife. No one will ever get the same amount twice in a row using either of these measuring methods. When baking, the most accurate method for measuring ingredients is to weigh the ingredients on a food scale. A food scale is a minimal investment for a guarantee that your pumpkin bread will turn out delicious each and every time.
- Do NOT substitute the gluten-free flour recommended in this recipe for a different gluten-free flour. Not all gluten-free all-purpose flour blends are equal. There are dozens of gluten-free flour blends on the market and I have yet to see two gluten-free flour blends at the store or online that use the same ingredients and the same proportions of those ingredients. With this in mind, you are bound to get different results if using a flour blend other than the one recommended in this recipe.
- Check the loaf after 45 minutes and if it’s browning too quickly move it to a lower rack or cover the loaf loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil for the last 15 minutes of baking.
💭 Frequently asked questions
It sure is!
Yep! Any canned pumpkin you purchase should contain just one ingredient, pumpkin. If it lists any other ingredients in the nutritional information, it’s not what you want for this recipe. We want just plain, simple pumpkin puree.
Remove the bread from the loaf pan, allow it to cool, then wrap it in aluminum foil or store in an air-tight container. Store on the countertop or in the fridge for up to 10 days. It will probably disappear by then though. 😉
Yes! Allow the bread to cool to room temperature and wrap the loaf in plastic wrap making it as airtight as possible. Then wrap the loaf with a second layer of aluminum foil over the plastic wrap or place the plastic-wrapped loaf in a freezer-safe storage bag.
And that maple butter? Super easy. Whip up some room temp butter, pour in the maple syrup, whip it again, and schmear it on your gluten-free pumpkin bread like no one is watching. ♡
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