Growing up, my mom made mini pumpkin bread loaves every Christmas for friends, neighbors, and family. I always wondered what her prized recipe was, and of course it was the one from Libby’s pumpkin! Over time, I’ve modified that recipe to be, what we think, is the best dairy-free pumpkin bread. And this year, I continued her tradition of gifting those precious little loaves.
The Best Dairy-Free Pumpkin Bread with So Many Options
The beauty of basic recipes is that they are immensely versatile. I have many options in the recipe, plus other tips and substitutions or this dairy-free pumpkin bread recipe in the FAQs below.
I Only Have 8×4-inch Baking Pans. Can I Use Them?
Yes, this dairy-free pumpkin bread recipe will make about three 8×4-inch loaves. The baking time will be similar, but I would start checking in at 50 minutes, just to be sure.
Can I Use Whole Wheat Flour?
This will make the bread a bit denser. If you opt for whole wheat flour, I would use whole wheat pastry flour. Or use half all-purpose flour and half white whole wheat flour. These two options can prevent your dairy-free pumpkin bread from becoming a doorstop! Or simply use my favorite Healthy Pumpkin Bread Recipe, which is 100% whole wheat.
Can I Use a Different Type of Sweetener?
You can substitute coconut sugar, which will be less sweet, or sucanat. Liquid sweeteners will change the bread consistency, so that would need to be tested before I could make recommendations. I do not have baking experience with sugar-free sweeteners. But I have heard that Swerve sugars work quite well.
Can I Use Less Sugar?
My recipe already uses a touch less than the classic, and we don’t think it’s too sweet. But, you can reduce it a little more, if preferred. You can lower the regular sugar to 1 cup, without too much difference in the texture. As you start to reduce it more, the bread will be a little less tender, and obviously less sweet!
What Oil Do You Recommend?
Your favorite baking oil should work great! I typically use extra-light olive oil (not extra-virgin) or grapeseed oil. But it’s up to you! Most neutral-tasting oils are seamless in this dairy-free pumpkin bread. If you opt to use coconut oil, make sure your water and eggs are at room temperature. If any ingredients are cold, the oil will bead up. It begins to solidify once it hits the cold. If this happens, just mix! Your mixer should heat it up enough.
Will the Bread Come Out Oily?
Some people complain that pumpkin bread made with oil comes out a little greasy. This is a deficiency in the directions, not the fault of the oil. The eggs in the recipe emulsify the oil and water so there isn’t separation in baking (which causes greasiness). But you have to make sure you fully emulsify them before adding the flour blend. You’ll know that everything has come together when you have a thick, uniform orange liquid. It will no longer have an oil or water layer on top.
The Wet Mixture is Splattering. What Can I Do?
You do need a very large bowl for this recipe, and it helps if your mixer has a low speed. You can start on low and gradually move up to medium. Alternatively, you can combine the wet ingredients in your blender, and then pour them into the flour blend and stir.
Can I Use Dairy-Free Butter Alternative instead of Oil?
Yes, you can! You can either use melted buttery sticks or spread, or cream softened butter alternative with the sugars and then blend in the other wet ingredients.
Can I Use Less Oil?
This really isn’t a high fat quick bread. It’s just a high quantity one, so it seems like a lot of oil. Nevertheless, if you like to substitute applesauce for oil, you can substitute 1/2 cup applesauce for 1/2 cup of the oil. This will make the bread more dense, more moist, and a touch more sweet. You might need to bake it for longer.
How Can I Substitute the Eggs?
Will this Recipe Work at High Altitude?
I would reduce the baking soda to 1 teaspoon, and add 1 teaspoon baking powder. If baking at very high altitude, you might want to skip the baking powder. If your dairy-free pumpkin bread deflates at all or has a funny after taste, then it likely has too much baking soda for your altitude.
Special Diet Notes: Classic Pumpkin Bread
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, and vegetarian.
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup oil
- ⅔ cup water
- 4 eggs
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease two 9x5-inch loaf pans or six 5x3-inch mini loaf pans. Dust them with flour or line with a strip of parchment paper, like shown in the picture above.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, pumpkin spice, baking soda, and salt.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar, oil, water, and eggs with a hand mixer or stand mixer until completely emulsified. Start with the mixer on low, as this is a very liquid blend. Increase gradually to avoid splatter. Once blended, there should no longer be a layer of oil or water on the surface.
- Add the flour blend to the wet mixture and stir or mix on low until just combined. It's okay if some small lumps remain.
- Divide the batter between your prepare pans and level it out.
- Bake for about 60 minutes for the larger loaf pans or about 45 minutes for mini loaves. The loaves are done when a toothpick inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean.
- Let the loaves cool for 15 minutes or more on a wire rack in the pans, then turn out and let cool completely before slicing.
- Wrap the loaves in plastic wrap to store. The flavors will develop and meld more if made a day in advance. They will keep at room temperature for a few days, or freeze for longer storage.
Cinnamon Sugar Topping: For a sweet topping, whisk 2 tablespoons sugar with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Sprinkle atop the loaves before baking. Use coarse, demerara, turibinado, or coconut sugar if you want a slight crunch on top.
Streusel Topping: In a small bowl, whisk together ½ cup all-purpose flour, ½ cup brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Add ¼ cup dairy-free buttery spread or sticks, and whisk until coarse crumbs form. Evenly sprinkle the mixture atop your loaves before baking.
Add-In Options: Add 1 cup (or more) dairy-free chocolate chips, chopped walnuts or pecans, raisins, dried cranberries, fresh cranberries (for tartness!), dried blueberries, or fresh blueberries.