This paleo pumpkin bread is everything you want in a healthy fall baking recipe – easy to make, perfectly pumpkin flavored and spiced, and insanely delicious. It’s paleo, low carb, and refined sugar free, healthy enough for breakfast, and sweet enough for a treat. This bread freezes beautifully, so go ahead and double the recipe and savor the flavor all winter long!
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Happy Halloween my friends! If you’re already pumpkin-ed out, I’m terribly (not) sorry to inform you that I am going to be bottom-of-the-barrel-useless with helping you out of that position. Pumpkin season is still going strong in this kitchen and we’ll continue to rock it’s deliciousness straight through the New Year in one way or another, most likely in the form of several more loaves of this paleo pumpkin bread.
This is a riff on my paleo zucchini bread, except with more awesomeness in the form a spiced, nutty swirl through the center. It looks like a smile right in the middle of each slice, which is apropos given how happy this healthy-ish treat makes me feel.
This bread takes just 15 minute to toss together, and about an hour to bake. The finished pumpkin bread has a crusty golden exterior and moist and tender interior. My kids happily ate this for breakfast and as an after school snack for a week straight, and since they are they ultimate barometer of any baking recipe’s success, I’m gonna go ahead and call this one a win.
How to Make Paleo Pumpkin Bread
This paleo pumpkin bread is nutty and sweet with a spiced swirl through the center that makes each slice (and you) grin from ear to ear. Take care to use super fine almond flour (from blanched, skinless almonds) instead of almond meal in order to nail the texture. Feel free to use pre-mixed pumpkin pie spice in lieu of the spice blend in the recipe card.
Mix together the spice blend using cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and ginger.
Prepare your batter. Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl, including half the homemade spice blend, and the wet ingredients in another. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just barely combined. This is important for texture! Lumps are totally fine.
Pour half of the batter into an 8″ loaf pan that’s been greased with coconut oil or olive oil spray. Pick up the loaf pan and drop it onto the counter a few times to even it out.
Now we’re going to make our nutty and spiced “smile”. Sprinkle the remaining half of the spice blend all over the batter, then top with two tablespoons of coconut sugar, and two tablespoons of chopped pecans (or walnuts, or a blend, or another nut of your choosing). Try to make the nut and spice layer as even as possible.
Then scrape the remaining batter on top of the spice blend, and top with the remaining pecans.
Transfer the loaf pan to the oven and bake on a rack positioned in the center of the oven at 325°F for 50-55 minutes. Rotate the loaf pan once halfway through cooking. It’s done when the crust is firm and golden brown, the bread springs back slightly when you press with two fingers, and/or a toothpick or bread tester comes clean when inserted into the center.
Remove from the oven, cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove the bread from the pan and cool on a wire rack. Allow the bread to cool until it comes to room temperature, or it’s going to fall apart. Sorry friends, that’s the rules with paleo baking.
How to Store Paleo Pumpkin Bread
Paleo baked goods need some extra TLC for storage, so don’t toss in on the counter and hope for the best (been there, done that!).
- This bread keeps well at room temperature stored in an air-tight container for up to a day or in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- To freeze, wrap it in aluminum foil then plastic wrap or place into an airtight bag; it’ll keep for about 2 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or on the counter, then remove the plastic and reheat in the aluminum foil in a 350°F oven for about 15 minutes. This will decrease the counter or fridge shelf life by about half.
Why Does My Paleo Bread Sink in the Middle?
I don’t know.
Just kidding! Here’s the thing – I’ve baked many paleo breads over the years, and without fail, they all sink, some a little more than others. Almond flour is simply much heavier than wheat flour, and because it has no gluten to “activate”, it doesn’t rise much. That being said, there are two things you can do to get “fluffier” paleo pumpkin bread:
- Do not over-mix the batter. This is a little counter intuitive, because you might think that more air in the batter will give an airier finish, but it’s just not meant to be. As the bread cools, it will sink as those air pockets cool and collapse because physics. Mix until just barely incorporated and you’ll have less risk of sinkage.
- Don’t add nuts to the top. This only adds more weight to the top of the bread, furthering the sink factor. Sinking doesn’t bother me, so I don’t follow my own advice on this note.
- Bonus tip: separate the eggs and whip the whites until soft peaks form. Fold in the whipped eggs whites last using a spatulas, after you’ve combined the dry and wet ingredients. The egg whites form more stabilized air bubbles, which are much less likely to collapse after cooling. Again, I don’t do this because I honestly can’t be bothered with this kind of fussiness, and I find the texture of the recipe as written to be perfectly moist, tender, and airy. But texture is personal preference, so give this a try if you prefer a more delicate bread.
Dietary Accommodations and Variations
- Naturally paleo and gluten free
- Dairy free and refined sugar free
- Substitute walnuts or chopped almonds, or make your own nut blend
- Alternative mix-ins: raisins or dairy free chocolate chips
- You can double this recipe and use one entire 15-oz can of pumpkin puree. It will be slightly less sweet and vivid in color, but you won’t have to find a reason to use up the leftover pumpkin.
More Healthy(ish) Treats
Need more treats? Of course you do! Each of these are delicious, fall-ish, and at least partially guilt free.
- Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bars
- Gluten Free Apple Crisp
- Life Changing Paleo Brownies
- Blueberry Vanilla Applesauce
- Mom’s Super Moist Carrot Cake (FYI, this one is only “healthy” because carrots)
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Paleo Pumpkin Bread
This paleo pumpkin bread is nutty and sweet with a spiced swirl through the center that makes each slice (and you) grin from ear to ear. Take care to use super fine almond flour (from blanched, skinless almonds) instead of almond meal in order to nail the texture. Feel free to use pre-mixed pumpkin pie spice in lieu of the spice blend below.
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 2 c almond flour
- 1/2 c coconut sugar plus 2 tablespoons
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 c pumpkin puree
- 1/3 c olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 c chopped pecans
Position a rack in the center of the oven, then heat to 325°F. Spray an 8" loaf pan with olive oil spray or grease with coconut oil.
Combine the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger in a small bowl. Set aside. Alternatively, substitute the spice blend with 2 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice blend.
In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, 1/2 cup coconut sugar, baking soda, salt, and half the spice blend..
In a second bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, olive oil, eggs, and vanilla.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix using a spatula using gentle sweeping motions until just barely combined.
Pour half the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Drop on the counter a few times to even out the batter. Sprinkle the batter with the remaining spice blend, the two remaining tablespoons of coconut sugar, and half the pecans. Pour the remaining batter on top of the spice and nut layer and smooth using the spatula. Sprinkle with the remaining pecans.
Place the loaf pan in the oven and bake for 50-55 minutes, rotating once halfway through. The pumpkin bread is done when the crust is crisp and golden, the bread springs back when you gently press with two fingers, and/or a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.
Remove the bread from the oven and set onto a wire rack to cool in the pan for ten minutes. Remove the loaf from the pan and cool on a wire rack for at least 2 hours, or until it reaches room temperature.
Store the paleo bread in an airtight container on the counter for one day, or in the fridge for 5 days. Freeze by wrapping in aluminum foil, then plastic wrap, and store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Place on the counter or in the fridge overnight to defrost, then remove the plastic wrap and reheat in a 350°F oven for 10-15 minutes.
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