Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins: skip the gluten, savor the flavor

gluten free pumpkin muffins

Looking for a colorful addition to your autumn bread basket?

You won’t do better than these pumpkin muffins.

Pumpkin, aside from its compelling autumnal flavor, is just plain pretty.

And unlike most fruits and vegetables, baking doesn’t seem to affect its color; your beautifully baked pumpkin muffins are just as brilliantly gold coming out of the oven as the batter was going in.

Are you hosting brunch for a crowd? Providing treats for a bake sale? So many folks are eating gluten-free these days, you’ll want to include these GF muffins.

Thankfully, they’re so tasty that even the gluten-eaters will enjoy them – and never know the difference.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan, or line the pan with papers, and grease the papers.

Whisk together the following:

3 large eggs
2 tablespoons molasses
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin purée

Set the mixture aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the following:

1 3/4 cups King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour or brown rice flour blend*
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or substitute 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, and 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg)

*Make your own brown rice flour blend: Many of our gluten-free recipes use our King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour, which includes ingredients that reduce the grittiness sometimes found in gluten-free baked goods. Our flour also increases the shelf life of your treats, keeping them fresh longer. The following make-at-home blend, featuring stabilized brown rice flour, works pretty well when substituted; and it tastes better than a blend using regular brown rice flour.

Whisk together 6 cups (32 ounces) King Arthur stabilized brown rice flour; 2 cups (10 3/4 ounces) potato starch; and 1 cup (4 ounces) tapioca flour or tapioca starch. Store airtight at room temperature. Note: You can substitute white rice flour for the brown rice flour if you like; it’ll make your baked goods grittier (unless you manage to find a finely ground version).

Add 1/2 cup soft butter.

Mix with an electric mixer until crumbly. The mixture will look like coarse sand.

Add the pumpkin mixture a bit at a time, beating well with an electric mixer after each addition.

Really, do this a blob at a time; don’t just dump the entire bowl of pumpkin/eggs into the dry ingredients all at once.

Also, be sure to scrape the bowl each time you add more of the pumpkin mixture. GF batters can be quite sticky, and you want to make sure you’ve collected all the “goo” off the bottom and sides.

Once all the pumpkin is added, beat for 1 to 2 minutes, until the mixture is fluffy.

Scoop the batter into the prepared pan, mounding the cups full. An overfilled muffin scoop works well here.

The batter will rise above the level of each cup; that’s fine.

Let the muffins rest for 10 minutes.

Bake the muffins for 22 to 25 minutes.

When done, the middle of a muffin will spring back when lightly touched.

Remove the muffins from the oven and let them rest for 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.

If your fingers can stand the heat, tip them in the muffin cups so their bottoms don’t steam. If you’re dexterous, you can do this with the tip of a table knife.

Break open and serve warm.

Butter is a good accompaniment, of course; as is apple butter, or pumpkin butter.

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. calacci

    I have a box of your muffin mix, could I add canned pumpkin to that to make pumpkin muffins? I bet with the nutmeg already in the mix it would be amazing. What instructions would I follow to do that?
    We haven’t tried the mix with adding pumpkin to it, but check out the reviews on the mix itself. Many folks will post their variations in their review, so maybe something about using pumpkin would be there. Good luck! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
    1. dherbel

      i had bought the GF muffin mix and added the canned puree pumpkin into the batter and added some ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg and it was really good.

    2. PJ Hamel , post author

      Excellent tip – I’m going to try this. I find a little bit more salt and a tad more sugar help bring out flavor, too – as does a splash of alcohol (brandy, etc.) Thanks! PJH

  2. Ginger

    If you didn’t want to bake GF could you sub All Purpose flour for the GF Flour mix and xanthun gum?

    Maybe, Ginger – probably. You could also make our Thanksgiving Muffins, which are pumpkin based; or bake our Pumpkin Leaf Muffins in a standard muffin pan. Both recipes yield delicious, moist pumpkin muffins. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  3. janetb21

    These look great! My son-in-law has Celiac, and he’ll be here for Thanksgiving. He loves pumpkin. I’m so glad to have something nice to bake for him!

    Reply
  4. SteelRain

    What’s the purpose of “cutting in” the soft butter and then subsequently adding the rest of the wet ingredients? Does this make for a more tender muffin? Does it also aerate the batter a bit less so that you get less volume? Should this technique be used for all gluten free muffins?

    In this specific g-f recipe, the butter is cut in in order to coat the flour particles in an effort to prevent over absorption of moisture when the pumpkin is added. Try this technique when working with any g-f muffin recipe calling for a fruit puree addition. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  5. Caelen

    Help! I’ve made these muffins twice and both times they ‘fall’ after I take them out of the oven. I follow the directions exactly, and baked them for 22 minutes the first time. They looked just like the photos when I took them out of the oven, but when I came back 10 mins later they were flat, short and dense. so I tried cooking another batch for 28 minutes, again looked great but fell later on, so top of muffin is muffin-like and bottom is just dense and bleh. I really want these to work. What am I doing wrong?

    Thank you!Gluten free baking can be very tricky…..it sounds like you may not be baking them long enough. Is you oven true to temperature? You may want to purchase an oven thermometer. Here is a link to our blog on these exact muffins.

    Reply
    1. Barb

      Making sure they spring back to the touch was perfect. They were done, light and moist. Also I folded in raisons gently between the beating and the resting stage. Delicious with raisons though I will cut down the sugar next time as they add sweetness.

  6. DWgirl

    Took these to a friends house(they have 11 kids and are going gluten free)and had amazing feedback, after 10 minutes I was asked to give the recipe 3 times by various kids.

    Reply
  7. naryia

    Can you make these like the pumpkin doughnuts that were sent out in the email today, 9/7/2012? Or do they have to be in muffin form?Go for it!!! Betsy@KAF

    Reply
  8. Rachel F.

    These were so good! I cut the sugar in half and used turbinado instead of white sugar and they still came out great. You’d never know they were gluten-free!
    Success! We are happy to hear it! Elisabeth

    Reply
  9. Elona

    Just curious – why is there a ten minute rest time before they go in the oven? I forgot to do this and the muffins are in the oven. Thanks for any response!

    No big deal; it gives the gluten in the flour a chance to relax (making the muffins more tender), and gives the leavening a chance to get going. Your muffins will be fine, Elona – no worries! PJH

    Reply
    1. Liz

      I thought these were gluten free muffins. There shouldn’t be any gluten in the flour that needs to relax.

    2. Susan Reid

      Hi, Liz. In the case of gluten-free flour blends, the rest time isn’t for relaxing gluten (which, as you point out, isn’t there).The rest time is for the starches in the flour blend to absorb liquid and begin to gel, which improves the texture once the muffin is baked. Susan

    3. Barb

      “it gives the gluten in the flour a chance to relax”????? There shouldn’t be any gluten in the flour. Is there?

    4. The Baker's Hotline

      As Susan mentioned, there is no gluten in this recipe. What PJ suggested is true for wheat based muffins, but she misspoke about this particular recipe. Sorry for the confusion! Jon@KAF

  10. 262ray

    My daughter loves pumpkin and I recently found I have the skin form of celiac disease. Can I make the muffins but as bread? Should I do anything differently besides the length of baking time?
    The concern I have for making this a bread is that it may not bake well in the center. You could try mini loaves that would not be so thick if you are looking for a loaf shape. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  11. farpod

    These came out great. I used the KA Gluten free flour. The texture was so close to a wheat based treat. My 11 year old was thrilled that he could have his favorite treat again.

    Reply
  12. gfmom

    Just made these for my daughter who’s on a gluten free diet. They came out great and she gobbled it up! Even my very picky son loved them. Thank you!

    Reply
  13. hotcoles25

    I have just started a gluten free diet. Many of the books I have read say to stay away from potato starch and tapioca starch. Just wondering if there is any flour mixture with something different for those ingredients.

    The reason most like to limit the potato and tapioca starch is because of their high glycemic index. If you want to limit this, there are many other gluten-free grain flours out there like amaranth, quinoa, millet, coconut, almond, and sorghum. Tapioca and potato starch are most used because of their ability to mimic the textures and flavors of wheat flours. Feel free to try other flours to see what works best for you! Kim@KAF

    Reply
  14. rhead

    What about substituting the sugar with honey, molasses or maple syrup?

    Maple sugar is fine grained sugar….you might consider testing a recipe using sugar with maple syrup for the closest flavor profile. We’d love for you to report what works in your test kitchen – Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

    Reply
  15. Katie

    These were fantastic! Great consistency. I didn’t have any molasses so I used maple syrup and it was fine. Also added some walnuts, and would like to add a splash of brandy next time like someone suggested.

    Reply
  16. Penny

    Just put these in the oven. Followed the recipe exactly but my batter seems much thicker than the pictures on here. Hope they are ok!! I bake all the time so not a beginner, not sure why the batter is so thick.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Please let us know how they turn out! If there is an issue, we are happy to help. Jon@KAF

    2. Penny

      The taste of the muffin is good but the texture came out way too dense. The batter was too thick, I wonder why? Would love to try this one again, any suggestions? They are edible but not at all fluffy. Help please.

    3. MaryJane Robbins

      HI Penny,
      It could be in the way you measured out the flour. Give the hotline a call so they can help troubleshoot in real time. ~ MJ

  17. Jessica

    I made these today, and they are delicious! Although I have been baking for years, I am new to GF baking, and have had some troubles adapting old favourites to my new dietary restrictions. These muffins really assuaged my cravings for a fall treat, and will become a go-to for lunch boxes and after school snacks. The only thing I changed was to add a tablespoon of vanilla extract to the liquids, as I find this helps to accentuate the pumpkin flavours, otherwise I made it as written. Thanks for such a great recipe!

    Reply
  18. Amy

    Love these muffins – have made them twice now and the second time I made them I sprinkled Brown sugar and cinnamon on top before baking. I was just wondering if anyone has tried doubling this recipe and if so, how did it turn out?

    Reply
  19. James Sklar

    I am planning on making this recipe with stevia. Since the molasses will be omitted, is there another substitute? Also, three eggs seems excessive, could I use 1 or 2? And I don’t use baking powder, I use baking soda, would it be a 1:1 sub?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I’m sorry to say that the changes you are asking for will greatly alter this recipe. The sugar and eggs in this recipe provide structure and the baking powder is required for leavening. While some alterations may work, I fear that changing these important ingredients will end in recipe failure. Good good with your substitutions, and happy baking! Jon@KAF

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