10.01.21

Grain-Free Pumpkin Loaf

This Grain-Free Pumpkin Loaf is the perfect October treat for a festive dessert or to pair with a hot cup of coffee on a chilly morning — if we ever get chilly weather here in TX.

I know there are a lot of pumpkin bread recipes out there, but here I use a nutty brown butter, a blend of spices, and a hint of maple to make the loaf feel like fall and I’m tellin’ y’all it is GOOD.  Topped with a mapley-spiced cream cheese icing, this is a healthier take on the Starbucks cult-classic pumpkin loaf — with that craveable *moist* texture we all love.

I also love how versatile this can be. Skip the icing and toast up for breakfast with a swipe of nut butter, or ice it and serve as a dessert. It’s perfect for any occasion. 

A few notes about the ingredients used in this Grain-Free Pumpkin Loaf:

  • I use a blend of paleo flours to keep the crumb light and to avoid a dense loaf.
  • As far as flour swaps go, just stick to the flours listed here since other flours like coconut or cassava are not 1:1 swaps.
  • You can swap the browned butter for ½ cup of avocado oil, melted ghee, or melted coconut oil if you want to keep this paleo.
  • Canned pumpkin can vary in how watery it is. If your pumpkin is very thin, you may need to add a tablespoon or two of additional tapioca flour as a binder. 

Grain-Free Pumpkin Loaf

Serves: 10 People
Print
4.82 from 16 votes
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 10 mins
Total Time1 hr 25 mins

Ingredients

For the Loaf

  • 1 stick unsalted butter - or sub ½ cup avocado oil, 1/2 cup melted ghee or ½ cup melted and cooled coconut oil (*See note)
  • 2 large eggs - room temperature
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin puree - not pumpkin pie filling
  • 1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Zest of one small lemon
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking soda *see note below if making muffins!!
  • 1 ½ cup almond flour
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tbsp. ground flax seeds
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt

For the Icing

  • 4 oz. dairy-free cream cheese – I used Kite Hill
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1 Tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375. Line a loaf pan with a parchment paper sling, and spray with cooking oil spray. Set aside.
  • If using the butter, In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the butter. Allow the butter to melt and simmer, swirling the pan as it begins to get foamy, cooking for about 4-5 minutes. Once it begins to look golden and smell nutty, remove from the heat. Set aside to cool (to help speed up the process, I typically pour the browned butter in a bowl and place in the fridge).
  • Meanwhile, in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a medium mixing bowl using electric beaters, beat the eggs at medium speed for 2-3 minutes until very frothy and pale yellow. It’s important you beat the eggs for the full time so that they take on air, which will help the loaf rise.
  • When the brown butter is cool to the touch, add it (or the avocado oil, ghee or coconut oil*) to the eggs along with the coconut sugar, maple syrup, pumpkin puree, vanilla, lemon zest and juice, and the baking soda. Whisk well to combine. Let it set for about two minutes prior to adding the dry ingredients.
  • Add the almond flour, tapioca flour, ground flax, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, and salt. Mix on low until just combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Transfer the loaf to the middle rack of the oven, and bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a knife can be inserted into the center of the loaf and it comes out clean. If the top of your loaf starts to become overly browned, tent with foil and continue cooking until the bread is cooked through.
  • While the loaf is cooking, make the icing. In a medium bowl, using a hand mixer, add the cream cheese, almond milk, and maple syrup. Beat on low until smooth and creamy. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and a pinch of salt. Beat for one minute until well combined. Transfer to the fridge until you’re ready to ice the loaf.
  • Use the parchment sling and remove the bread from the pan and transfer to a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack. Using a butter knife or offset spatula, smooth the frosting over the surface of the loaf, allowing some to drip down the sides. Transfer to the fridge to allow the glaze to set a bit. Slice and enjoy!

Notes

*If you are using butter, follow the directions as listed to start by growing the butter. If you are using avocado or coconut oil, add that in step 4 when it says to add the brown butter.
 
To Make Muffins:
To make these into muffins, you'll just need to make a few minor changes.
  • Preheat over to 350 degrees F and grease a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray (or use muffin liners).
  • Use 2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Evenly distribute the batter into the muffin tin about 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 12-14 minutes.
  • Once cooled, add frosting, if desired.

51 Comments

  • Reply
    Theodora
    November 27, 2021 at 5:58 pm

    5 stars
    I made this for Thanksgiving, and everyone LOVED it! Even those who aren’t GF/DF. Definitely a recipe that we will be making again and again!

  • Reply
    Kelsey
    November 21, 2021 at 10:15 am

    i’ve made these muffins 4x already! i subbed half apple sauce, half pumpkin because it’s what i had on hand. not as pumpkin-y but still great!

  • Reply
    Sarah
    November 12, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    5 stars
    This is so good – I am loving your baking recipes! Making it for a second time – does the loaf need to be kept refrigerated or can it be stored at room temp after cooling? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Alex
      November 15, 2021 at 6:44 pm

      I store mine at room temp! Either way works!

  • Reply
    Carla Stinton
    November 3, 2021 at 11:07 pm

    I’ve made this loaf 3x already this fall. About to make it again tonight! I just don’t have cream cheese on hand! But that won’t stop me… this loaf is UNREAL.

  • Reply
    Allison
    October 29, 2021 at 2:00 am

    5 stars
    This was sooooo good! I also substituted the tapioca 1:1 with coconut flour and it tasted great!

  • Reply
    Aymee Zayas
    October 28, 2021 at 12:47 pm

    Hello! Any recommendations on what can I replace the flax seed with?

  • Reply
    Jen
    October 26, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    What a yummy recipe! I omitted the lemon and added chocolate chips the second time I made these and found them a little more “Autumn” flavored 😉

  • Reply
    Nadia
    October 25, 2021 at 7:36 pm

    5 stars
    I literally cannot believe how good this recipe is!!! It is the best pumpkin bread i have ever had in my life! I skipped the icing and added enjoy life chocolate chips only because i had everything on hand and they were amazing! And now i have a good excuse to try them again with the icing 😉 I want to make these for everyone i care about!!!!!!!!

  • Reply
    Naomi Saunders
    October 25, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    What is the weight of a stick of butter? Butter only comes in 250g blocks where I live. 😃😃

    • Reply
      Alex
      October 26, 2021 at 7:34 pm

      It is about 113g!

  • Reply
    Victory
    October 24, 2021 at 9:47 pm

    I made this today and it was soooo good!! I couldn’t find tapioca flour so I used corn starch instead and it turned out fine. The icing was delicious! I will have to make this a yearly tradition 🙂

  • Reply
    KC
    October 23, 2021 at 11:58 pm

    5 stars
    Rarely rate and comment, but this is by far the best pumpkin loaf I have ever made. Like, perfect amount of spice, the crust on the outside is just right, and the dairy free pumpkin spice glaze is so good.

    Alex, I’m so excited that your getting into baking. While I am 95% cook (not a baker), I am always looking for slightly healthier baking options that dont require expert baking skills.

    • Reply
      Alex
      October 24, 2021 at 1:20 pm

      Thank you so so much!!! I am so glad you loved it!

    • Reply
      Amanda
      October 25, 2021 at 2:04 am

      Un-freakin-believable. Best grain free treat I have ever had. We put salted butter on our slices instead of the frosting but WOW. JUST WOW.

  • Reply
    Kari pesce
    October 23, 2021 at 2:44 pm

    Hi. Can you freeze this bread? Also could you add chic chips? Tj add no you!

    • Reply
      Alex
      October 24, 2021 at 1:21 pm

      yes you can definitely freeze! I have muffins in my freezer now! And choc chips would be a delicious add in! 🙂

  • Reply
    Audrey
    October 22, 2021 at 11:04 pm

    5 stars
    Help! I have made this AMAZING loaf perfectly three times now – but this third time is the first time I’ve made the icing in the recipe. However I used a Greek Yogurt cream cheese (still thick!) vs. the recommended Kite Hill. I followed the measurements to a T, but I used a 1995 immersion blender to mix as I don’t have a hand mixer, and I made it way too thin! Recommendations on how to thicken up the icing?

    • Reply
      Alex
      October 24, 2021 at 1:23 pm

      I think the immersion blender blends it, but doesn’t “whip” it as much to get that creamy texture you want.

  • Reply
    Chelsea
    October 22, 2021 at 8:20 pm

    5 stars
    Delicious! I’m SO impressed with this recipe. Perfect crumb and nice crunch on the outside. Will definitely make again!

  • Reply
    Casey Ann Muzzi
    October 22, 2021 at 3:15 pm

    I recently went to Anchorage to visit my nephew & his wife. Your very used cookbook was in her kitchen. I ordered it on the spot. I have cooked quite a few recipes and love them all. I’m so EXCITED !!! to cook this one today. Can I swap sweet potato purée for pumpkin ????? Thank you

    • Reply
      Alex
      October 22, 2021 at 8:40 pm

      Hi Casey!! I am so glad you ordered the book I hope you enjoy it as much as your nephew!
      and yes– you can use SP puree– it, of course, will tweak the taste a bit, but the texture should stay just the same!

    • Reply
      Cherese Villalta
      November 4, 2021 at 5:40 pm

      This is the best grain free bread I’ve had. You couldn’t even tell there was almond flour in it. The texture was so smooth and not grainy.

  • Reply
    Kirsten
    October 20, 2021 at 7:37 pm

    Hi Alex, what can I use instead of ground flaxseed?

  • Reply
    Codi Knight
    October 17, 2021 at 11:40 pm

    These are outstanding! I used Farmer’s Market Pumpkin Puree from Central Market and I didn’t think it was watery. My family is a big fan of mini muffins so I made them as minis. I baked them for 20 minutes then once cooled, dipped the tops in the icing. My kids raved and my house smelled amazing!! Thank you Alex!

  • Reply
    Cassidy
    October 17, 2021 at 9:50 pm

    3 stars
    The instructions do not include to add the baking soda anywhere so I missed that step and the bread did not turn rise! I noticed afterwards that it was in the ingredient list but not the instructions.

    • Reply
      Alex
      October 18, 2021 at 11:53 am

      Hi! I just checked and it is in the instructions, when you add the pumpkin/lemon zest/etc!

    • Reply
      Jen
      October 26, 2021 at 3:58 pm

      Actually, it’s the baking powder that doesn’t specifically get mentioned when to add. I just included it with the other dry ingredients.

  • Reply
    Michelle
    October 17, 2021 at 2:42 am

    5 stars
    Amazing!! Everyone loved it! Only question is how was your icing so white?

  • Reply
    Maggie
    October 12, 2021 at 2:25 am

    5 stars
    This came out amazing. The cream cheese frosting was perfect.

  • Reply
    Sonja Nelson
    October 10, 2021 at 4:49 pm

    5 stars
    Alex – You cracked the code on this recipe -take it to the bank now! I’ve tried for years to recreate my moms pumpkin bread recipe, which contained veggie oil, white sugar and white flour. Your recipe does it. We’ve made 2 loaves in 24 hours, first with raisins and then with chocolate chips. I went with avocado oil and made it in one bowl, beating eggs with a whisk. I’m sharing this recipe far and wide, it’s a super star.

    • Reply
      Alex
      October 11, 2021 at 11:43 am

      wow thank you so much!

  • Reply
    Vicky
    October 10, 2021 at 12:14 am

    5 stars
    Super delicious muffins! Cook time was definitely longer than suggested. They were good warm but honestly, they were DELICIOUS after being chilled in the fridge…tasted just like pumpkin pie!

  • Reply
    Marisa
    October 7, 2021 at 11:24 pm

    5 stars
    Made these as muffins and they were absolutely delicious. Some grain free breads/muffs taste so eggy, but these had a perfect moist crumb. I will say they took significantly longer than 12-14 minutes..it was closer to 30 minutes for 12 muffins.

  • Reply
    Janel
    October 7, 2021 at 3:36 pm

    This is probably breaking the rules but I couldn’t find tapioca flour anywhere so I used corn starch instead and it turned out amazing! Also, I subbed cream cheese with greek yogurt and added corn starch to the icing as well to make it thicker and wow I’m impressed. The fridge time does make all the difference though after applying the icing, so that may be what others are having issues with consistency wise of the icing. Thank you so much for this recipe, Alex! You never fail to impress.

  • Reply
    Lisa Batz
    October 6, 2021 at 8:26 pm

    Hi Alex! This is Lisa, I met you on Rise Fitness zoom call, I was the first person to sign on. Sounds delicious!
    Do you think the coconut sugar can be replaced with raw honey? Thank you! I love all of your recipes!

    • Reply
      Alex
      October 8, 2021 at 1:09 pm

      Hi Lisa!! Thank you so much for joining that call, was so fun!
      I wouldn’t swap honey for the coconut sugar in this particular recipe- i think it would alter it too much and it wouldnt turn out the same.

  • Reply
    angela
    October 5, 2021 at 3:31 pm

    I baked mine for 75mins and still seems too wet in middle, is that normal?
    I bake a lot of gluten free loafs and always takes 65mins

    • Reply
      Alex
      October 5, 2021 at 9:49 pm

      It shouldn’t have taken that long! it’s definitely moist but shouldn’t be wet. Did you see the note re: different types of pumpkin puree? That could make a difference.

  • Reply
    Megan
    October 4, 2021 at 3:47 pm

    Can I sub the tapioca flour with arrowroot? Excited to try this!

  • Reply
    Megan
    October 3, 2021 at 8:06 pm

    Hands down, this the BEST pumpkin loaf I’ve ever made (grain-free or otherwise!). Thank you so much for this amazing recipe! I didn’t have tapioca flour on hand, so I substituted an equal amount of arrowroot flour. I also decreased the amount of coconut sugar and added Lily’s Dark Chocolate Chips. I will be making this all fall!

  • Reply
    KJR
    October 3, 2021 at 1:41 am

    5 stars
    Delicious! I followed the recipe almost exactly and it came out so good!
    I didn’t have powdered sugar so I made my own with coconut sugar. I made the loaf and my bake time ended up being about 49 minutes. Can’t wait to share it with neighbors and co-workers tomorrow!

  • Reply
    Cameron
    October 2, 2021 at 1:41 am

    5 stars
    This was amazing. My icing was runny and I have idea what I did wrong. I’ve looked over the recipe 10 times but the bread was unbelievable. You killed it again Alex!

  • Reply
    Francesca
    October 1, 2021 at 9:21 pm

    Ooooh can’t wait to make this! I have reg cream cheese, does that make a difference in the recipe?

    • Reply
      Alex
      October 2, 2021 at 11:59 am

      You can def use regular cream cheese!!

    • Reply
      Katie
      October 6, 2021 at 10:01 pm

      Hi! Just wanted to confirm for muffins it’s 2 tsp baking POWDER and only 1/2 tsp baking SODA? It’s very different than the loaf so I wanted to make sure! Thanks! : )

      • Reply
        Alex
        October 7, 2021 at 12:26 pm

        yes!

  • Reply
    Cameron
    October 1, 2021 at 7:01 pm

    4 stars
    Really good! Love the lemon with the pumpkin flavors! I went for muffins and needed to bake mine longer.

  • Reply
    Brittany
    October 1, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    My son is allergic to almonds…. Do you think I could sub oat flour for the almond flour?

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