This moist and rich gluten free pumpkin cornbread is the perfect way to complete any fall meal, or as a base for stuffing for the holidays. Top a warm slice with some butter and honey!
The best pumpkin cornbread — moist, tender, and gluten free!
- quick and easy to make
- made with simple ingredients in one bowl
- moist, tender, and lightly sweet
The pumpkin flavor of this incredibly tender cornbread isn’t overpowering, but baking with pumpkin butter (instead of straight-up canned pumpkin puree) means there’s no mistaking it. The pumpkin pie spice lends a hand as well.
The batter is quite thick, but not so thick that it’s difficult to mix and stir. It's only as sweet as the sugar in the pumpkin butter, plus three tablespoons of honey. No added white or brown refined sugar at all. And I’ve made it successfully with store bought pumpkin butter (Trader Joe’s makes a great one!) and my homemade variety. They are both delish.
If you prefer your cornbread straight-up, try my recipe for Old Fashioned Naturally Gluten Free Cornbread. That one in its original form is pure cornmeal, no flour at all. It’s also very lightly sweet. Either one can be made in a cast iron skillet, for an extra crisp crust, or in a baking pan. Just imagine how it would taste with a big, steaming bowl of chili!
Gluten free pumpkin cornbread ingredients
- Gluten free flour – I prefer to make this recipe using Better Batter gluten free flour classic blend, since it provides the right amount of tenderness and structure. Be sure your blend uses a superfine rice flour, is well-balanced, and contains xanthan gum (if not, just add some as directed in the recipe).
- Cornmeal – This recipe calls for about as much coarsely ground yellow cornmeal as an all purpose gluten free flour blend, since together they provide enough texture for this to taste like cornbread, but it's still smooth and tender.
- Baking powder and baking soda – These are the chemical leaveners that provide much of the rise of this cornbread in the oven. Be sure yours are fresh, or they won't react as we expect.
- Pumpkin pie spice – You can make your own pumpkin pie spice with the component ground spice ingredients, or buy it ready-made in a jar or tin. It has all the warm spices that make this taste like pumpkin!
- Butter – Melted, unsalted butter provides tenderness, moisture, and acts like a flavor delivery system for all that pumpkin goodness.
- Honey – This rich, liquid sugar adds sweetness and depth of flavor.
- Eggs – The eggs add structure and richness to the cornbread, and help it rise in the oven.
- Pumpkin butter – Pumpkin butter is made by cooking down pumpkin puree, spices, and rich sweeteners like maple syrup to make a thick paste that tastes like we wish pure pumpkin did. It delivers a ton of flavor without all the moisture that pumpkin puree has.
- Milk – Whole milk or half-and-half (half milk, half cream) provides moisture and tons of richness, leading to excellent taste and texture.
Tips for making the best gluten free pumpkin cornbread
Choosing the right cornmeal for tender cornbread
My absolute favorite type of cornmeal for baking is coarsely ground cornmeal, as it doesn’t dissolve into the baked good entirely. It retains a chewy texture that I love.
But if you have a more finely ground cornmeal, it will still work in this forgiving recipe. Just be sure to measure by weight, not volume!
No pumpkin pie spice? Try this
If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, and don’t want to make your own (with the simple spices listed below), you can simply substitute it for 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon plus 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg. Those are the two spices that make fall baking unmistakable anyhow.
Serving gluten free pumpkin cornbread
- Serve warm for breakfast, and top each piece with a pat of butter and a drizzle of honey
- Serve alongside your gf green bean casserole on the holiday table
- Make a plate with a generous piece of gf meatloaf and crisp roasted broccoli
How to store gluten free pumpkin cornbread
This cornbread is moist enough that it can be covered and stored at room temperature for 2 days and stay fresh. You can place tightly wrapped pieces in the refrigerator for a couple of days, but they may begin to dry out, so I prefer to freeze leftovers.
Can you freeze gluten free pumpkin cornbread?
Yes! For longer storage, slice your cornbread into squares, wrap each piece tightly in freezer-safe wrap and place it in the freezer for up to 2 months. Defrost at room temperature and refresh in a warm toaster oven.
Gluten free pumpkin cornbread: substitutions
Gluten free, dairy free pumpkin cornbread
To make this recipe without dairy, try replacing the butter with vegan butter. Miyoko's Kitchen and Melt are my favorite brands. For the milk or half and half, try canned coconut milk.
Gluten free, vegan pumpkin cornbread
To make this recipe vegan, you'll need to replace the eggs, dairy, and honey. Replace the dairy as explained just above, try maple syrup in place of honey (use a teaspoon or two less), and try 1 “chia egg” for each of the 2 eggs. To make a chia egg, place 1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds and 1 tablespoon lukewarm water in a small bowl, mix and allow to sit until it begins to thicken.
Substituting the pumpkin butter
The pumpkin butter can be substituted for an equal amount of roasted and pureed sweet potato. This recipe was originally developed to be made with sweet potatoes, and it was so good!
Sweet potatoes that have been roasted in their skins this way don't have too much moisture, so be sure not to steam or boil your sweet potatoes to prepare them.
Just pierce sweet potatoes all over with a fork, then bake them in a 400°F oven until the flesh begins to shrink away from the skin (about 45 minutes, depending upon the size of the potatoes). Peel and puree the sweet potato until smooth.
More cornbread and pumpkin recipes you have to try
If you love cornbread, and you love pumpkin, here are a few more recipes that you might just love, too. How many have you already tried?:
- Gluten Free Cranberry Cornbread is a lightly sweet quickbread made in a loaf pan and studded with festive, tangy cranberries
- Gluten Free Cornbread Stuffing is a classic savory holiday dressing made with cornbread in place of chunks of bread. Try using this pumpkin cornbread as your base!
- Classic Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie (or Sweet Potato Pie) is the classic pumpkin dessert with a flaky gf pie crust and a smooth pumpkin-flavored custard filling.
- Easy Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread Recipe | Made with Pumpkin Butter Also made with pumpkin butter like this pumpkin cornbread, this loaf of pumpkin quick bread is packed with flavor.
Is cornbread gluten free?
Cornbread is naturally gluten free if it's made without wheat flour, and only with pure cornmeal or corn flour. This recipe isn't naturally gluten free, as it is made with an all purpose gluten free flour blend and cornmeal.
Can I make this pumpkin gluten free cornbread with almond flour?
No, this recipe won't work if you use almond flour in place of any other ingredients like the all purpose gluten free flour blend or cornmeal. A recipe for quick bread made with almond flour would have to be developed for that purpose, like our Bakery-Style Almond Flour Muffins.
How do you make the pumpkin butter for this gluten free pumpkin cornbread recipe?
The pumpkin butter is made by placing pumpkin puree from a can in a big, heavy pot along with some apple juice or cider, maple syrup, and pumpkin pie spices. It's then cooked down until the sugar begins to caramelize and some of the moisture from the pumpkin puree evaporates, leaving an intensely flavored pumpkin paste.
Can I use pumpkin puree or pumpkin pie filling for this gf pumpkin cornbread recipe?
No you can't use plain pumpkin puree in place of pumpkin butter, since it has too little flavor and too much moisture here. Pumpkin pie filling is too thin to use as a substitute for pumpkin butter.
Is Trader Joe's pumpkin cornbread gluten free?
No, Trader Joe's pumpkin cornbread mix is made with wheat flour, so it is not gluten free.
Gluten Free Pumpkin Cornbread
- 1 cup (140 g) all purpose gluten free flour blend (I used Better Batter; please click thru for full info on appropriate blends)
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
- 1 cup (132 g) coarsely ground yellow cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter melted and cooled
- 3 tablespoons (63 g) honey
- 2 (100 g (weighed out of shell)) eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten
- 6 ounces pumpkin butter (homemade or store bought)
- ¾ cup (6 fluid ounces) half-and-half or whole milk
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.
- In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice, and whisk to combine well.
- Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter, honey, eggs, pumpkin butter and milk, mixing to combine after each addition. The batter will be thick.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top into an even layer with a wet spatula.
- Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until lightly golden brown on top and firm in the center to the touch. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out with no more than a few moist crumbs attached.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes or until firm enough to transfer to a cutting board and slice into 9 square of each size. Serve warm.
- Store any leftover bread in an airtight container at room temperature. Warm in a toaster oven before serving.