Deliciously fluffy Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones balanced for the perfect scone texture and best shelf life. You’d never know they are gluten free and wheat free. Make them dairy free too.
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My BEST Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones
These Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones are amazing. I’ll be honest… I have become so accustomed to great gluten free food, that it’s rare for me to be taken by surprise these days. Yet it’s hard to describe my joy when eating these little morsels. They have a characteristic light density with a perfectly soft crumb. And the pumpkin brings a gentle earthiness which is in complete harmony with the seasonally spiced sweetness.
I’ve tried them served ‘sweet’ and ‘savoury’… Indeed, they are utterly delicious topped with a slice of cheese and a little honey. But for the most INCREDIBLE treat, the pièce de resistance comes as Cinnamon-Spiced Maple Whipped Cream with an extra drizzle of Maple Syrup. Oh… My… Goodness. Complete HEAVEN! It’s like a gently sweetened cinnamon cloud. And the contrasting texture against the quiet resistance of the scone is sublime.
So… If you’re looking for the perfect seasonal treat, look no further. My Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones may be just the answer to your Autumn prayers.
Ingredients for Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones
There is nothing particularly unusual in my Gluten Free Pumpkin Scone recipe. It is indeed based on what I have found to be the best combination of ingredients for a light, fluffy, ‘tastes like wheat’ gluten free scone. (I have a whole Gluten Free Scone Index. I love them that much!) Nonetheless, I have made some gentle tweaks to hydration and other ratios for this recipe, to compensate for the moisture and additional ‘heaviness’ of the pumpkin. You’ll need:
- Gluten Free Flour Blend – I have tested this Pumpkin Scones recipe using both my GFA home-mixed white Blend A and my rice-free, wholegrain Blend B. Both can be found at the bottom of my What is Gluten Free Flour? page. But given that both work well, I have no doubt other commercial gluten free flour blends will be equally delicious.
- Xanthan Gum – Again, these scones have been tested with varying amounts (and none at all). The final recipe includes a little to give enough additional structure and extra shelf-life.
- Baking Powder and Bicarbonate of Soda – These are used in careful balance for the best rise and lightness.
- Caster Sugar brings a gentle sweetness to the scones. Either white or golden caster sugar are good.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice for a traditional seasonal flavour. As it’s tricky to source Pumpkin Pie Spice in the UK, I made my own with a combination of Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cloves and All Spice. I have included the recipe I created in the NOTES on the recipe card at the bottom of this post. Just bear in mind that the ratios are for a larger batch of spice mix.
- A pinch of Salt to enhance flavour.
I make gluten free scones with standard block dairy butter, but they are equally delicious made with a good dairy free alternative. As the fat is rubbed into the dry ingredients, using a BLOCK butter/alternative is important.
When fat is ‘rubbed in’, it breaks down into little grains that get distributed through the dough. When baked, these melt to create tiny pockets of fat and air that give the scones rise and flakiness.
The wet ingredients
- Milk and Lemon Juice (to make Buttermilk). This is important for making the scones softer, lighter and fluffier!
- Egg – For moisture, binding, structure and extra leavening.
- Pumpkin Puree – Obviously! These are Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones. This can be either from a tin or homemade.
I can’t find pumpkin or pumpkin puree – What can I use instead?
It may be different in other parts of the world, but in the UK, finding pumpkin puree out of season can be difficult. So what should you do if you can’t track any down?
The best alternative for making scones is to use sweet potato puree. This is easy to make by roasting sweet potato (in the skins), before popping the flesh into the blender to puree.
OR… Use a pouch or two of pure unseasoned baby food puree. (You wouldn’t believe how often I use baby food in baking 🤭).
Can I make these scones dairy free as well as gluten free?
Simply switch the butter for a creamy, like-for-like dairy free alternative. In the UK I recommend either Stork block or Flora Plant B+tter. And use your favourite dairy free milk to make the buttermilk.
Tips to make the BEST Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones
When making scones, it’s important to remember that gluten free dough is not the same as wheat dough. I tried and tested several batches of these Pumpkin Scones before being happy that I had the best recipe. So what tips can I offer?
Rubbing the fat into the dry ingredients
Rubbing the fat into the flour is a crucial part of the scone-making process. So…
- Make sure the butter is COLD, hard and cut into small cubes.
- Work quickly to avoid the mixture getting warm.
- Use cold hands (washed in cold water if necessary to bring the temperature down)… OR use a Pastry Blender so you don’t need to touch the fat at all!
- With each ‘rub’, lift the mixture and drop it back into the bowl from a little height. This helps to keep it cool and airy.
- Don’t ‘over rub’. Stop when the mixture looks like coarse sand.
Chill the mixture
If you have time, chill the mixture after the fat has been rubbed into the flour and before adding the liquid. It doesn’t have to be long… just 20 to 30 minutes. Although this isn’t essential, it helps to ensure the butter flecks stay firm.
Avoid adding extra flour
Other than to enable rolling, try to avoid adding extra flour to the dough. Unlike standard wheat versions, the dough for gluten free Pumpkin Scones should be very moist. If it feels sticky and looks ‘loose and ‘shaggy’, that’s exactly right!
Don’t overwork gluten free scone dough
When the dough is mixed, it’s gently compressed together before rolling. Never knead or overwork it. This supports the creation of air pockets, giving rise and lightness. The dough pile is then transferred to a lightly floured surface, ready to roll.
Cut your Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones TALL
When making gluten free scones (of any variety), cut them TALL. Because they lack the structure and power that gluten offers, they will not rise as efficiently. And they need to be cut and baked a little differently to ensure the best texture.
So… In addition to ensuring a shaggy dough (as described above), it is important to roll gently and to cut them to a height of at least 5 cm. I also found that due to the additional density that comes from the added puree, pumpkin scones benefit from a diameter limited to a maximum of 6 cm. This seems to ensure the heat and upward lift hits the dough evenly throughout.
Cut the scones sharp and straight
To avoid wonky, tilting scones (that rise unevenly), cut the dough straight down and do NOT twist the cutter as it is pressed.
Because the pumpkin scone dough is a little sticky, it also helps to lightly flour the cutter to allow it to release more easily.
And lastly… The type of cutter used can make a difference. Metal cutters tend to be sharper and thus cut more effectively. And for tall-cut scones, the cutter works best if it matches the height of the dough (at least). I use these particular scone cutters, which are perfect for the job.
Glaze your Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones
For a professional, shiny-topped finish, remember to glaze the tops before baking with egg wash. I know that some recipes add a spoon of puree to the egg wash for a more orange top (which you can choose to do). But I have found it unnecessary as natural egg wash alone (without milk) enhances the colour beautifully.
I have tested making scones with an additional sprinkling of Demerara sugar and cinnamon on the top before baking. This adds a delightful crunch to the final bake. But they are equally delicious without (which is how I personally prefer them for serving versatility).
Bake on a HOT tray
For the best rise, bake gluten free scones on a HOT tray. The easiest way to manage this is to pre-heat the tray at the same time as the oven… Place the cut dough scones to one side as you work… Then when ready to bake, take the tray from the oven and quickly transfer the scones (with the help of a palette knife), popping them into the oven with as little delay as possible.
The immediate contact with the hot base helps push the scones upwards, giving extra rise and fluffiness.
How to serve Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones
Now… where do I start on this one? I’ve tried them served both with sweet toppings and carefully paired cheese options and both are a delight! My favourites so far…
The cheesy options
- Sharp hard cheese (cheddar-type) and honey
- Blue cheese
- Brie and prosciutto
- Manchego cheese and chorizo
- Cinnamon-Spiced Maple Whipped Cream (and an optional extra drizzle of Maple Syrup). To… Die…For! I’ve provided the recipe for the whipped cream on the recipe card.
- Straight honey (clear, thick or whipped)
- Jam or curd (with or without whipped cream, crème fraiche or clotted cream)
- Chocolate spread
Or… just slathered in butter.
How long will these Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones last?
When I develop a recipe, it’s really important that it lasts as well as a wheat version. Thus, these scones should stay soft enough to eat cold for a couple of days, provided they are kept in an airtight container. That’s not to say they won’t lose some of their ‘just baked’ freshness, but they won’t be hard like many gluten free scones.
Nonetheless, if you are a lover of warm scones, then simply heat them in the microwave for a few seconds, or in the oven (wrapped in foil).
Can I freeze Pumpkin Scones?
Yes. You can freeze Pumpkin Scones in an airtight container for up to 2 months. When ready to eat, defrost them at room temperature and pop in either the oven (wrapped in foil) or in the microwave, to bring them back to ultra-deliciousness.
Ready to make my recipe for Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones?
And that’s it. My recipe for gluten free Pumpkin Scones is ready and waiting at the bottom of this post (just scroll down an inch or two further). I hope you love them.
If you love a great Pumpkin bake, we have others on the blog. Favourites include…
- Baked Pumpkin Donuts with Cinnamon Sugar
- Pumpkin & Walnut Cake
- Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake
All shared with my love
Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones
- measuring jug
- flat-bladed knife
Pumpkin Scone Dough
- 350 g gluten free plain flour blend Tested with either Gluten Free Alchemist Blend B (wholegrain) and Blend A (white) – see NOTES
- 1¼ tsp xanthan gum (or 2 tsp psyllium husk as preferred) – If using a commercial flour blend already containing xanthan gum, do not add more.
- big pinch fine sea salt
- 4 tsp baking powder gluten free
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda baking soda
- 2½ tsp pumpkin pie spice (see NOTES below for how to make from scratch)
- 35 g caster sugar superfine sugar (golden or white)
- 100 g butter or dairy free block alternative – cold and cubed
- 110 g milk (Preferably full fat. Optional dairy free)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 large egg (cold) UK large (Canadian ‘Extra Large’; Australian ‘Jumbo’; and US ‘Extra or Very Large’)
- 100 g pumpkin puree (tinned or home made)
Egg wash and rolling
- Extra flour for dusting and rolling
- I egg (lightly beaten)
Cinnamon Spiced Maple Whipped Cream
- 300 g double cream (or whipping cream or heavy cream)
- 2 to 3 tbsp maple syrup (to taste)
- ¾ tsp ground cinnamon (or to taste)
- In a large mixing bowl, weigh and mix together the flour, xanthan gum, salt, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, pumpkin pie spice and sugar, until all lumps are broken down and the mixture is well-blended.
- With finger tips (or a pastry blender), rub the butter into the flour mix until it resembles coarse sand. (for hot hands see NOTES).
- If possible (although not essential), chill the rubbed-in mixture in the fridge for half an hour or so.
- In a measuring jug (or medium bowl) mix the milk with the lemon juice. Stir and leave to stand at room temperature for about 10 to 15 minutes to make homemade buttermilk (It should become grainy/lumpy).
- Meanwhile, base-line a large baking sheet with baking paper and place in the oven to pre-heat.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6.
- Add the egg to the buttermilk and beat with a fork until blended. Then add the pumpkin puree and beat through again until even.
- Add the liquid to the flour mix.
- Gently stir the mixture using a flat-bladed table knife until it has become evenly damp and clumpy. Be careful not to overwork. It should be a very 'shaggy' dough.
- With lightly-floured hands, carefully bring the dough into a ball and press lightly together (do not over-work or over-condense). It should still be quite sticky, however if very wet, very lightly dust with a little extra flour to make it easier to handle.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly-floured surface.
- Gently press the dough down to flatten slightly and (if necessary) very lightly sprinkle with flour to prevent sticking.
- Roll the dough out using a rolling pin to a thickness of about 5 cm.
- Using a 6 cm round scone cutter, cut the dough into rounds, by pressing straight down. To prevent the cutter sticking, it may help to dust it with flour before using.
- As each scone is cut, set it to one side until ready to bake.
- Bring any remaining dough together and repeat the rolling and cutting process until all the dough has been used, trying hard not to 'work' the dough too much.
- Using a pastry brush, glaze the top of each scone with a little egg-wash.
- Carefully take the pre-heated baking tray from the oven and (either by hand or with a spatula) quickly transfer the dough-scones to the tray, ensuring about 3 centimetres space around each one for an even bake.
- Using oven gloves, put the tray back in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes (for medium-sized scones) until well-risen and golden.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Maple Whipped Cream
- Put all the ingredients for the whipped cream in a mixing bowl and vigorously whisk together until the cream has started to thicken.
- Once the cream starts to thicken, slow the mixer down and stop whisking frequently to check the consistency.
- Stop whisking when the cream is thick enough not to be runny and has a soft pillowy consistency.
- Top cut scones with spoonfuls of whipped cream and an extra drizzle of maple syrup to serve.
- 2½ tbsp (23g) ground cinnamon
- 1½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp ground all spice
© 2019-2023 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist