Healthy Pumpkin Bread

Here’s the BEST healthy pumpkin bread, perfectly moist and cozy spiced. You’ll never believe it’s and made without flour…just 100% rolled oats! Naturally gluten free and dairy free.

Healthy pumpkin bread


Try this pumpkin bread,” I offered to Alex’s family. They took a moist, pumpkin-spiced bite and started to murmur their approval as I threw in, “It’s made of all oats, too! No flour.” They looked at me in astonishment. “What? This is amazing.” Yes, this actually happened with this Healthy Pumpkin Bread (paraphrased, of course!). It’s so moist, so cozy spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, you’ll hardly notice that’s made purely of oats…no flour at all. We don’t exclusively eat gluten-free, but we do love eating a treat that’s made of heart-healthy oats and tastes incredible. Here are all the tricks to making this tasty quick bread at home!

Ingredients in healthy pumpkin bread

Pumpkin bread is the best fall treat, but many of the recipes are just like eating glorified cake! That’s where this healthy pumpkin bread comes in. Let’s be honest though: you can’t ever really state that pumpkin bread is a health food, because it’s full of sugar. However, this one is healthier than the rest! It’s made of just whole grain rolled oats, meaning you get the health benefits of oats in every piece. (More on that below.) Here’s what you’ll need for this gluten free dairy free pumpkin bread:

  • Old Fashioned rolled oats: Do not substitute steel cut oats or instant oats! You need good ol’ rolled oats here. But you’ll be blending it into flour, so you can also substitute store-bought oat flour.
  • Sugar or coconut sugar: Use your dry sugar of choice.
  • Baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and salt: the usual suspects for baking
  • Pumpkin pie spice: Grab a bottle of store-bought or use our homemade blend.
  • Eggs: These are important because they bind the oats together. See more about vegan substitutes below.
  • Pumpkin puree: Use plain old pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling! (That’s different.)\
  • Neutral oil: Use organic vegetable oil, organic canola oil or grapeseed oil.
Healthy pumpkin bread

Make it all up in a blender!

Here’s the secret to this recipe: you make it all up in a blender! Many of our recipe testers mentioned how easy it is to just throw all the ingredients in a blender for this recipe. Here’s what to know:

  • It’s easiest with a high speed blender or quality blender. It also works with a not so good blender…you just need to work harder! Having some blender power behind you helps, but it’s not required. Know it might take a little longer to blend if your blender is not up to snuff.
  • First blend the oats into oat flour. You’ll throw in Old Fashioned rolled oats to the blender and turn it on. Watch as it turns into powdery oat flour! If your blender is not so great, you can also use store-bought oat flour.
  • Then add everything else and blend! The blender is the key to the fluffy and moist texture. It comes out so light and fluffy, you’ll be amazed it’s all oats.

A note about texture, cooling and cutting slices

After baking this healthy pumpkin bread, you’re going to want to eat it right away. Don’t do it! It’s important to let it cool down so the texture sets. If you cut it right away, the pieces will fall apart! Promise.

Another tip: cut the bread into fairly thick slices. This bread is beautifully moist and fluffy, but it is made with no gluten to hold it together. The texture is a little different from the normal pumpkin bread, so the best way to keep it together is to use thick slices (as you’ll see in the photos).

Healthy pumpkin bread dairy free gluten free

What people are saying about this healthy pumpkin bread

This healthy pumpkin bread comes out so beautifully moist and fluffy, you won’t really know it’s healthy! The only thing to note is that it’s slightly less sweet and oily than the normal pumpkin bread. That’s intended: because it’s designed to be healthier! We ran this recipe by lots of recipe testers, and here’s what a few had to say:

  • “WOW! I would have never guessed this was gluten free! The last pumpkin bread recipe I made with oats was SO dense and lacked pumpkin flavor! Honestly just tasted like oats! This one though – the pumpkin flavor is superb and it’s so light! LOVE!”
  • “Made the bread for a party and everyone loved it. Loved how it is healthy with all natural ingredients.”

Vegan variation!

As it is, this healthy pumpkin bread is gluten free and dairy free. Want to make it vegan? You can do that too! Here are a few options:

  • Substitute flax eggs. Use the recipe below and substitute flax eggs for the eggs: this is just ground flax seed mixed with water. It changes the texture of the bread slightly, but it works well as a binder in vegan baked goods.
  • Use our Vegan Pumpkin Bread recipe. Try our Vegan Pumpkin Bread: it’s incredibly moist and delicious. It’s made using refined flour so it’s not gluten-free, but it is vegan.

Are oats healthy?

One of the main ingredients that makes this healthy pumpkin bread is that it’s build on oats, not flour. That means you get all the benefits of oats that flour lacks. Here are some of the nutritional benefits of oats (source):

  • Oats are high in protein and fiber. 1 cup of raw oats has 11 grams protein (about 20% your daily need) and 8 grams of fiber (about 30% your daily need).
  • Oats have beta glucans, a type of soluble fiber that has potential benefits like lower cholesterol, better heart health, and reduced blood sugar and insulin responses.
  • Oats are very filling: they may reduce appetite and help you eat less calories.

For more benefits, go to Oats 101: Nutrition Facts.

Gluten free pumpkin bread recipe

More healthy pumpkin recipes

When it’s pumpkin season…the craving strikes! Here are all our favorite pumpkin recipes:

  • Pumpkin Smoothie Tastes like pie…but it’s loads healthier! This tasty drink features yogurt, fruit and pumpkin pie spices.
  • Cozy Pumpkin Oatmeal or Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal The perfect fall breakfast idea! It’s got just the right spice and sweetness to make mornings cozy.
  • Pumpkin Waffles Lightly spiced and made with real pumpkin puree for a cozy special breakfast.
  • Healthy Pumpkin Muffins The streusel topping takes these easy pumpkin muffins over the top! The pumpkin spiced inside plus sweet crunch is downright heavenly.
  • Pumpkin Dip This healthy dip is perfect for apples!

This healthy pumpkin bread recipe is…

Vegetarian, dairy-free and gluten-free. For vegan and plant-based, see the notes above.

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Healthy pumpkin bread

Best Healthy Pumpkin Bread


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (15 votes, average: 4.47 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 10 to 12 pieces 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Here’s the BEST healthy pumpkin bread, perfectly moist and cozy spiced. You’ll never believe it’s made without flour…just 100% rolled oats!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Old Fashioned rolled oats (or 3 cups purchased oat flour; do not substitute steel cut or instant oats)
  • 1/2 cup sugar or coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice*
  • 3 eggs (or flax eggs for vegan)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Grease an 8 or 9-inch bread pan with coconut oil or oil.
  2. Add the oats to a blender and blend until the oats are finely ground and resemble a flour. Add all the remaining ingredients to the blender. Blend until they all come together into a fully smooth batter, stopping and scraping the bowl of the blender as necessary.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out mostly clean (the exact timing depends on the size of pan and your oven).
  4. Allow to cool in the pan until room temperature (this is important for the texture). Run a knife around the edges and invert. Slice into thick pieces and serve (because it’s 100% oats, thicker slices are better). Storage info: Stores for about 3 days at room temperature: keep it on a cutting board and cover with a towel. Or store refrigerated for 1 week, or freeze it in slices for up to 3 months.

Notes

*Or use 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon each ground ginger and allspice, and 1/2 teaspoon each cloves and nutmeg. 

  • Category: Quick Bread
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Healthy

Keywords: Healthy pumpkin bread

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

11 Comments

  • Reply
    Simon Beckett
    October 14, 2020 at 4:32 am

    The bread looks awesome. Which is the best way to defrost it after refrigerated?

    • Reply
      Sonja Overhiser
      October 14, 2020 at 11:03 am

      Easiest way to defrost after freezing is to let it sit at room temp!

  • Reply
    Ksenia @ At the Immigrant's Table
    October 14, 2020 at 7:19 am

    I can just see the texture of this beautiful pumpkin loaf! I wonder if you can use another flour in place of the oat flour? Maybe a mix of almond and coconut?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      October 14, 2020 at 10:09 am

      I’m not sure if the almond flour would be too crumbly, but let us know if you tryit!

  • Reply
    claire
    October 15, 2020 at 8:00 am

    I’m thinking of making this for a toddler and subbstituting the oil for unsweetened apple sauce and then reducing the sugar content. I know some recipies can handle an oil/apple sauce subsitiute and others cannot. What do you think the chances are?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      October 15, 2020 at 3:29 pm

      The oil really balances and adds some richness to the oat flour. Maybe try just reducing in by 50%? I think you can definitely try reducing the maple. Good luck!

  • Reply
    Cynthia A Schoenbauer
    October 15, 2020 at 10:01 pm

    Can I substitute honey for the sugar? I am suprised that people actually use sugar anymore in recipes because we all know how bad simple sugar is for digestion and blood sugar levels. I am only interested in the recipes that are truly natural without simple sugars.

    • Reply
      Sonja Overhiser
      October 16, 2020 at 11:36 am

      Hi there! We love using natural sugars and use them in lots of our recipes! This pumpkin bread has both sugar and maple syrup, because sugar adds structure to the bread in a way that maple alone cannot. If you’re looking for a quick bread with all natural sweetener, try our banana bread! Here’s a link: https://www.acouplecooks.com/healthy-banana-bread/

  • Reply
    Maddie
    October 16, 2020 at 7:23 pm

    If using pre-ground oat flour, would I still need 3 cups? I’m guessing it would be less? If I measure out three cups of regular oats, I assume that would end up being slightly less than 3 cups of oat flour once ground, accounting for the small gaps of air between the oats when measuring?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      October 17, 2020 at 11:05 am

      Oddly enough, 1 cup of oats turns into 1 cup of oat flour due to the fluffiness. You can just use 3 cups!

  • Reply
    Cynthia A Schoenbauer
    October 16, 2020 at 8:34 pm

    Natural sugar is NOT natural. It is not even better than GMO products. You did not hear my point and glossed right over it. Simple sugars are extrudated from a whole product and mixing them with good foods does not redeem them! Please do not gloss over this fact. Cooking with whole foods is much more of a challenge and if you cook with simple sugar you are not adding anything to the world. Just saying…

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