This moist and tender gluten free pumpkin swirl bread is packed with fall spices and will fill your home with the best smells of the season.
The most wonderful time of the year 🍂
I consider fall to be the most wonderful time of the year. Not only is school back in session (I’ll take the chaos of back-to-school over the chaos of teenagers with too much unstructured time), but there’s a chill in the air, and every candy in the world has miniature sizes for sale 🍫.
If you love pumpkin, then this gluten free pumpkin bread recipe is a must. If you don’t love pumpkin, but even just like it, I think you’ll love this recipe. If you really don’t like pumpkin, go on and hit the recipe index for another recipe entirely. 🙃
What sort of pumpkin 🎃 is best for baking?
I rarely make fresh pumpkin for baking, since I just don’t think it’s better than canned packed pumpkin. And of course, it’s much more work than just purchasing an inexpensive can of packed pumpkin.
So for me, the best pumpkin for baking is the kind that comes in a can! But if you’d like to make your own, in my recipe for homemade pumpkin butter, I discuss how to roast a fresh pumpkin.
I’ve found that the best pumpkins for baking are small “sugar pumpkins,” preferably ones that are around 5 pounds. When baked, they have dense, soft flesh that isn’t stringy.
The large pumpkins that you use for carving jack-o-lanterns are just the worst for baking. But the easiest, and often the best, pumpkin is canned.
True, the canned stuff might not always be pumpkin, but instead might be butternut squash. Either way, it tastes like true pumpkin and that’s all that matters—especially when it’s paired with all the flavors and aromas of pumpkin pie spice.
Why add a swirl?
I’ve been making a beloved recipe for gluten free pumpkin bread for years. It’s moist and fork-tender, as well, and melts in your mouth.
I was inspired by the cinnamon swirl in this banana bread to try adding a swirl to pumpkin bread. Adding a swirl of cinnamon-sugar (or here, pumpkin pie spice) not only sneaks more flavor into a seasonal favorite recipe.
The cinnamon-spice swirl creates the most wonderful crust on top of the bread that almost splinters in your mouth. I dare you not to pick that topping off the top of the bread before it even gets to the plate.
The pumpkin pie spice in this recipe is plentiful, with a total of 3 teaspoons between the bread batter and the swirl. If you’re concerned that it’s too much, feel free to dial it back in either portion of the recipe. I wouldn’t go below 2 teaspoons total, but it’s completely up to you.
Ingredients and substitutions
Dairy-free: To make this recipe dairy-free, you’ll need to replace the butter in both the bread batter and the swirl, and the buttermilk in the bread batter. I recommend replacing the butter with virgin coconut oil (triple-filtered coconut oil has no coconut odor or taste).
My favorite nondairy buttermilk replacement is similar to my favorite dairy-containing buttermilk replacement. Simply replace the 2/3 cup buttermilk with 1/3 cup nondairy milk and 1/3 cup plain nondairy yogurt.
I haven’t tried these substitutions, but I have made them in similar recipes and feel reasonably confident that they will work well.
Egg-free: Since there are only two eggs in this recipe, you may be able to replace them each with a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel). If you prefer a “flax egg,” you should even be able to use that in this recipe without suffering a typical unpleasant flax taste since the other ingredients and spices in this bread are so flavorful.
Corn-free: In place of cornstarch, you can use potato starch or arrowroot.
Pumpkin butter: I often prefer baking with pumpkin butter to baking with plain canned pumpkin. It has a much more concentrated flavor and less liquid than plain canned pumpkin.
I always used to make my own homemade pumpkin butter, since I rarely saw prepared pumpkin butter for sale. These days, I see prepared pumpkin butter on many grocery store shelves, including my local (beloved) Trader Joe’s.
If you need to make your own pumpkin butter, just be sure to plan ahead. You’ll need to make the pumpkin butter, and allow it to cool to room temperature before baking with it. Make a big batch, though, as you’ll want to bake with it all season, and it’s delicious eaten on toast.
Pumpkin pie spice: To make your own pumpkin pie spice, combine the following ingredients in this ratio (simply multiply or divide all ingredients equally to make more or less):
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg