Recipe: Go Gluten-Free & Still Eat Your Holiday Pumpkin Bread

Tori Garten


Silver Spring, Maryland, United States

Nutrition, Women's Fitness, Cooking and Baking

pumpkin bread, pumpkin loaf, pumpkin muffin, Starbucks


I admit it. I have a weakness for the Pumpkin Loaf at Starbucks. The leaves change color, the angle of the sun changes, the air is crisp, and before you know it goblins make way for turkeys. And my taste buds demand pumpkin bread. I am a firm believer in maintaining a connection with the seasons through the foods I eat.



Alas, this year it was not to be. My love affair with Pumpkin Loaf came to a dramatic end when the need for a gluten- free diet made it demands known.


I decided to call upon all resources, knowledge and experiences.  Having given up corn years ago due to a food allergy, I was already familiar with label reading, organic grocery stores, and swapping out ingredients. As a reformed carb junkie with a weakness for baked goods, I knew an absence of baked goods was not going to be the answer to going gluten-free.


Our taste buds are so used to the taste and texture of wheat-based baked goods. I figured some of this could be overcome with the moisture and deep flavors of quick breads. Before going completely gluten- free last month, I had begun experimenting this summer with some family recipes. Having had success with chocolate zucchini cake and high protein hippie cookies (oatmeal banana peanut butter chocolate chip), I figured pumpkin bread, with its high moisture content and layer of spice, had a high percentage chance of success.


While still new to the gluten-free baking scene I have so far stuck with gluten- free flour mixes that typically combine 3 or so types of flours. I intend to branch out for holiday cookie baking season, as some of the more delicate flavors might not stand up to some of the bean flour taste found in the combination mixes. There is a great article on Living Without that talks about the flavors and textures of different types of flours. Another key element you’ll want to learn about is xanthan gum. This helps add back in the elasticity that gluten provides to bake goods.


When it comes to gluten-free baking, Google is your friend. There are numerous blogs, such as the Gluten Free Goddess that can give you a running start on your baking efforts.



Baking your own gluten-free baked goods does take time - and an initial investment in flours and xanthan gum. To be more inspired to make the time to bake, I consider it an investment in my health and buying more quality per day. It takes creativity and a sense of adventure, and a willingness to experiment.


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I find that when giving up or eliminating a specific food type it helps to see it as an opportunity to expand your experiences. Frame it in your mind as adding a whole class of new foods - new flours, new grains, room for more veggies, not as giving up wheat-based bread. You might be surprised as you discover new foods you overlooked previously due to the convenience and availability of foods with gluten. After I gave up corn I discovered fantastic fruit sodas without corn syrup, and tasty veggie chips and bean chips to replace corn chips. I now regularly bring these to family gatherings - by request! I imagine the same could happen with going gluten-free.



Who says I can't have a pumpkin muffin and eat it too?


Pumpkin Streusel Bread

Here is the original recipe - I modified the ingredients to make this gluten-free.

  • Topping:
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chilled butter or stick margarine, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour gluten-free flour mix, such as Bob’s Red Mill
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup raisins or substitute dried cranberries or dried cherries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons xantham gum
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • Cooking spray




Preheat oven to 350°.


To prepare topping, combine first 4 ingredients until crumbly. Set the mixture aside.


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To prepare bread, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 8 ingredients (flour through nutmeg) in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture. Combine the pumpkin and next 5 ingredients (pumpkin through eggs) in a bowl; add to flour mixture. Stir just until moist. Spoon batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with topping. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.


This recipe also makes great muffins for individual servings. Gluten-free baked goods can get sticky. If you won’t be eating all of it in a day or two, consider freezing individual servings for a quick breakfast or snack. They taste great partially defrosted!

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