This gluten free pumpkin bread is perfectly soft and moist, packed full of pumpkin puree and fall spices, and finished with a deliciously crunchy cinnamon-sugar crust. It’s incredibly easy to make and guaranteed to become one of your favourite fall desserts.
I’ve made four loaves of gluten free pumpkin bread just in the last week – partly because I’ve been trying to perfect this recipe… but mostly, because I simply can’t get enough of it.
This final version is about as perfect as it gets. It’s incredibly soft and moist, with an intense flavour of pumpkin and spice. It’s rich and comforting, and finished with a delightfully crunchy cinnamon-sugar crust. Usually, I’m all for glazes and icing – but for this loaf, the cinnamon-sugar crust is the perfect fit.
This gluten free pumpkin bread recipe is all about simplicity. While I’ve used several cups and bowls in the process (I’m a big believer in ‘mise en place’), it’s technically a one-bowl recipe that doesn’t require any special equipment – just a whisk will do.
The loaf takes a while to bake (about 1 hour 20 minutes), but the actual prep time is no more than 15-20 minutes, and then it’s just a matter of patience while the pumpkin bread bakes and fills your kitchen with the most delicious smell of cinnamon, nutmeg and fall baking.
Before we get to the bits and bobs of making this wonderful cake – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!
Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.
How do you make gluten free pumpkin bread?
Making gluten free pumpkin bread truly couldn’t be easier:
- Mix together light brown soft sugar and melted butter.
- Whisk together until pale.
- Add the pumpkin puree and mix together until combined.
- Add the eggs and mix well.
- Add the milk and mix well.
- Add the dry ingredients (gluten free flour blend, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt and spices) and mix well until you get a smooth batter with no flour clumps.
- Transfer the batter into a lined 2 lb/900 g loaf tin and smooth out the top.
- Sprinkle the top with a mixture of granulated sugar and cinnamon.
Why does pumpkin bread crack on top?
As pumpkin bread hits the heat of the pre-heated oven, the top crust bakes and dries out quite quickly, so that its crumb sets. The middle of the pumpkin bread takes longer to heat up and bake through – so, while the top crust is set, the raising agents in the middle of the pumpkin bread continue to act, causing the pumpkin bread to rise. This, in turn, causes the pumpkin bread to crack on top.
You’ll observe similar cracking for most loaf cakes or breads, like lemon drizzle cake, banana bread or pound cakes. In the case of gluten free pumpkin bread, this is even more pronounced as gluten free flours have a greater tendency to dry out.
This means that the cracking of the top crust of gluten free pumpkin bread can be more dramatic and uncontrolled, and can make the finished pumpkin bread look rather misshapen. That’s why I recommend drawing a shallow line (about 1 mm deep, with a toothpick or sharp knife) down the middle of the pumpkin bread batter, where you want the crack to appear, just before baking. This helps control the cracking and guarantees a pretty pumpkin bread loaf every single time.
Can you substitute brown sugar for white sugar in pumpkin bread?
While you could, technically, use white sugar instead of brown sugar in your pumpkin bread, I really don’t recommend it. Light brown soft sugar adds flavour and moisture to the bread, and it would be a shame to lose out on any of that.
Why is your pumpkin bread not cooking in the middle?
If your pumpkin bread isn’t cooked in the middle, it probably just needs a bit longer in the oven. If the top is browning too quickly, cover it with a sheet of aluminium foil (shiny side up) and continue baking.
If your pumpkin bread is still not cooked after a longer time in the oven (mine was baked after 1 hour 20 minutes – 1 hour 25 minutes in a 350ºF/180ºC oven), there are two main possibilities:
- You oven runs cold (i.e. it’s incorrectly calibrated): I would recommend you invest in an oven thermometer and try increasing the oven temperature slightly.
- You used volume measurements (instead of weighing your ingredients), and you incorrectly measured one or more of your ingredients. Volume measurements are notoriously unreliable, and I really recommend using grams/weight measurements!
How do you know when pumpkin bread is done?
To check when your gluten free pumpkin bread is done, insert a toothpick or skewer into the middle of your pumpkin bread – when it’s done, the toothpick/skewer should come out clean or with a few moist crumbs attached.
Can you add chocolate chips or nuts into pumpkin bread?
Definitely! I love my pumpkin bread plain, but you can add chocolate chips or chopped nuts – pecans and walnuts work particularly well.
And that’s it – making this gluten free pumpkin bread is really incredibly easy, and the results are simply amazing.
I hope you’ll love this recipe as much as I do.
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The Best Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread Recipe
For gluten free pumpkin bread:
- 200 g (1 ¾ sticks) unsalted butter, melted
- 200 g (1 cup) light brown soft sugar
- 330 g (1 ½ cups) pumpkin puree
- 3 UK medium/ US large eggs, room temperature
- 80 g (⅓ cup) whole milk, room temperature
- 240 g (2 cups) plain gluten free flour blend (I used Doves Farm Freee plain gluten free flour blend, which doesn't contain xanthan gum. You can also mix your own blend with 50% white rice flour, 30% potato starch and 20% maize flour by weight.)
- 50 g (½ cup) almond flour
- ½ tsp xanthan gum (omit if your GF flour blend already contains xanthan)
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground allspice
For cinnamon-sugar mixture:
- 1 ½ tbsp granulated sugar
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- Adjust the oven rack to the middle position, pre-heat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and line a 2lb/900g loaf baking tin with greaseproof/baking paper. (Dimensions of the loaf tin: 8inch/21cm long, 4inch/11cm wide and 3inch/7cm high.)
- In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and sugar until pale.
- Add the pumpkin puree and whisk well until combined.
- Add the eggs and milk, and whisk well until combined.
- Sift together the plain gluten free flour blend, almond flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices, and add them to the wet ingredients. Whisk or stir well until you get a smooth batter with no flour clumps.
- Transfer the batter into the lined loaf tin and smooth out the top.
- Mix together the granulated sugar and cinnamon for the cinnamon-sugar mixture, and sprinkle it evenly across the top.
- Use a toothpick or sharp knife to draw a line (about 1 mm deep) lengthwise down the middle of the pumpkin bread batter – this will help control the cracking. (See post for photo.)
- Bake in the pre-heated oven at 350ºF (180ºC) for about 1 hour 20 minutes – 1 hour 25 minutes, or until well risen, golden brown on top and an inserted toothpick/skewer comes out clean or with a few stray crumbs attached. Tip: If the pumpkin bread starts browning too quickly or too much, cover it with aluminium foil (shiny side up) and continue baking until done. It's best to cover it with aluminium foil when it starts becoming a deep golden colour.
- Once baked, allow it to cool in the tin for 5 - 10 minutes, then remove out of the tin and allow to cool completely on a wire cooling rack. (Although it's rather wonderful still slightly warm.)
- Storage: The gluten free pumpkin bread keeps well in a closed container in a cool dry place for 3 - 4 days.