Gluten-Free Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

Gluten free pumpkin streusel muffins
My new pumpkin muffin recipe- with streusel topping.

This isn't a Halloween post. Or a Thanksgiving post. Technically. Though Thanksgiving is just a stone's throw away- if you somehow conjure a metaphorical stone to metaphorically hurl into the time-space continuum, piercing the veil of eight and a half weeks that blows by in a singular exhale, surely faster than light. And this exhale, it was only following a previous breath- a breath I took yesterday- which turns out to be one year ago. A year since that Pumpkin Praline Pie I baked. I have a hard time wrapping my brain around this.

This is a post about time.

Some days I feel as if I am slave to the calendar, an unwitting cog in the wheel of the year with Sundays and holidays appointed by proxy, designated by some superior force that rules my random wandering nature with an unforgiving fist, demanding obedience. Charting the course of my life.

Then I remember the truth.

Time is an invention born of the Big Bang. Debris hurtling through space- at increasing velocity. And here we are, hurtling along with it. Stuck to a rock spinning its own orbital logic. Logic so tiny in the fantastical face of infinity, the depth and breadth of vast, hollow, endless space. In the beyond-comprehension scheme of things, we are all walking talking miracles. It is truly beyond extraordinary that we are here at all, with all the subatomic quantum level things that could go wrong. With all the near misses. And all that never was.

Life is breathtakingly rare, intricately fragile, and so surprising.

Perhaps that's why we set apart a season to ponder the harvest, to cultivate gratitude. I'm all for it. I'm all for it because of all the petty, surface level annoyances we endure, all the itches and aches and heartbreaks and mundane difficulties, all the tricks and rationalizations we serve ourselves to distract ourselves, just to survive. To get through the day. To endure until tomorrow. To re-imagine what is possible. Or ignore the inevitable. To flirt with meaning. To invite love in. To create a connection. To let go of something toxic. To embrace something raw or something tender. To risk something wonderful. Or scary. Because the risk gleams with promise.

The microcosm of this past year has been the microcosm of my life. Contractions and expansions. Sloughing off and gathering in. There's been some blooming. And some fading. Inner strength toughened. Muscles softened. Authenticity inches one step closer. Understanding melts into compassion. For myself, first of all.

I am learning to hold my imperfections to the light and examine them with less acidity. This single choice alone creates more room for compassion toward others. It's true what the sages say about loving yourself first. I no longer care to be my own worst enemy.

I'll leave that purpose to someone else.

Life Aging burnishes you. And tenderizes your heart. And things fall away. Often by themselves. So many concerns I once worried about- and obsessed over- are beginning to lose their charm, their once magnetic hold on me. What is important is spinning a new magic, a silvery soft magic that you can almost inhale just before dark, when the sky deepens into that particular November blue and tastes like snow.

I am grateful for so many things this year. For the ongoing privilege of motherhood. For the new family joined to us now in marriage and through heart strings. For old and new friends. For a warm bed shared. For the means to put food on the table (thank you Blogger). For these six years of gypsy living, taking the long way home. For this opportunity to string words together in cyberspace, and share recipes and ramblings with you.

Thank you.

Have a beautiful week. And while we're at it- a spooky-lovely Halloween. A heartwarming Thanksgiving. Small and quiet or big and boisterous. Be well fed, in every way.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Streusel Muffins
Pumpkin streusel gems cooling on the rack.


A friend was coming by to visit. So I wanted to create a new pumpkin muffin based on my moist and tender Pumpkin Pie Bread. I thought I'd add walnuts and a streusel topping. And cinnamon. I played around with my recipe and baked a batch of these little golden lovelies.

You could substitute pecans for the walnuts, if you like.

And then go read a page or two of A Short History of Everything. And we can talk about the whole time-space continuum thing.

It'll blow your mind.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Streusel Muffins
I admit it. I am pro-muffin. And pro-pumpkin.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Streusel Muffins Recipe

Originally published November 2011.

These muffins taste like a pumpkin pie that was transformed by a Fairy Godmother into warm little morsels of cakey goodness. Wave a magic butter knife sporting a daub of creamy vegan butter on these babies and you've got a treat worthy of a Prince. Or a Princess.


1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup millet flour
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger or GF pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup organic coconut oil
2 organic free-range eggs, beaten
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon bourbon vanilla
1 rounded cup chopped walnuts

For the streusel topping:

1/4 cup organic light brown sugar
2 tablespoons brown rice flour or coconut flour
1-2 tablespoons organic coconut oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add in the coocnut oil and beat until crumbly. Add in the eggs, pumpkin and vanilla, and beat until the batter is smooth and sticky- about two minutes. Add in the walnuts and stir to combine.

Spoon the batter into twelve muffin cups, filling them close to the top. Smooth the tops using the back side of a wet teaspoon.

Combine the streusel topping ingredients with a fork, or by rubbing the mixture with your hands. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the muffins.

Bake in the center of the oven till domed and firm, about 22 to 25 minutes. A wooden pick inserted into the center should emerge clean.

Cool briefly, then remove the muffins from the pan, and cool them on a wire rack. (This helps keep their bottoms from getting soggy.)

Serve warm with a schmear of vegan butter (or the real moo-cow thing, if you prefer). These would also be fab with cream cheese.

Wrap and freeze leftover muffins for easy on-the-go treats.

Cook time: 23 min

Yield: One dozen muffins

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Recipe Source:

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NOTE: I'm now using less brown rice and brown rice flour, and eating fewer rice cakes, etc. Here's why- there is elevated arsenic in rice.

For substitution help, please see my guide to baking with substitutions here.



  1. Gorgeousness! Wishing you and Steve and your extended family a wonderful and warm Thanksgiving.

  2. I am, as always, gladdened - and humbled - by your talent, your grace, your wisdom, your beauty.

    Things fall away.

    Happy 102... and counting.


  3. humbled by you Karina, shares like this are hard, deep, and yet extremely freeing. Many congrats on 102! And here's to the next hundred to come! (((((((((((hugs!!!))))))))))))

  4. Congratulations on your hundred and two days, and thank you for reminding me what is important about this holiday. It's not what I can or can't eat, or who does or doesn't show up for dinner. It is about appreciating what we have, those we love (absent and present) and the opportunity to share that love with others.

    I'm ashamed to admit I had forgotten.

  5. JUST marvelous! These look so moist and I cant wait to taste them with this recipe "as is". I so appreciate your talent. It is inspirational. It is truly a gift from God to us, your readers/followers! Much love and grace your way!

  6. Congratulations on 102! :-) What a blessing and privilege it is to get to catch a glimpse of your heart through your writing. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with your readers. May your holiday be filled with laughter, joy, and beautiful memories <3

  7. Always so eloquent. Thank you for sharing so much. You are amazing.

  8. Your postings are often so timely for me - especially this one. Though we have one day a year set aside for gratitude, it's writings such as yours that remind me there are many more days in the year to show gratitude, compassion and to remember what's really important. Congratulations on 102!

  9. Karina, thanks for sharing such inspirational and meaningful thoughts with all of us and congrats on 102 days! These muffins look so delicious I may make them tonight for a Thanksgiving breakfast! I am also making 2 of your recipes for Thanksgiving desserts -- your new pumpkin bars and the quinoa pumpkin cookies (with mini choc. chips). Hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving -- and thanks to you for making my GF world better with your recipes :) !

  10. One of my favorite books! I just finished his latest book Home: A Short History of Private Life. Equally fascinating. Thank you for the lovely recipe!

  11. I baked your delicious pumpkin cupcakes for a bridal shower over the weekend. My family decided the cupcakes were much better than the traditional pumpkin roll I bake for Thanksgiving. So we froze the leftovers and happily anticipate eating them tomorrow! So long forever, pumpkin roll! I'm getting ready to make your pumpkin praline pie today -- my mouth has been watering ever since I first read the recipe. Thanks for providing us with such wonderful recipes!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! And congratulations on Day 102! Such a proud accomplishment!

  12. Uplifting and beautiful. Thank you for this most beautiful blog. It feeds me in every way.

  13. A truly beautiful post from a beautiful person.I have been pondering some of the same thoughts about the passing of time. I'm so thankful I have you in my life (I just wish we lived closer to each other.) xoxo

  14. do we need to melt the coconut oil at all? thanks! :)

  15. karina, you are so much more than a goddess of the GF realms. without you i believe i would be dead from starvation by now. you bring to this world of ours a light that is beautiful and original, a way of seeing that inspires and a palette that is uniquely your own. i am grateful for everything you offer here, most especially your heart.

  16. karina, you are so much more than a goddess of the GF realms. without you i believe i would be dead from starvation by now. you bring to this world of ours a light that is beautiful and original, a way of seeing that inspires and a palette that is uniquely your own. i am grateful for everything you offer here, most especially your heart.

  17. Thank you for this lovely post! And thank you for opening more of a window into your world. We all have our mountains, and when others share their successes it helps those going through them persevere. It helps me, anyway. Life is difficult right now. It will periodically be difficult, but we can still be happy.

    When I inform people (and inevitably, they must know) of my dietary "issues", I get the same old response: "Oh. That sucks for you!" But, it really doesn't. I wouldn't be the crazed experimental baker that I am today were it not for my little boy, who graced the world with his strong-willed little self over three and a half years ago. I am thankful for being aware of his allergies and now mine (Oh, gee thank you docs for 25+ years of intense stomach problems and dermatological issues and you always telling me you "don't know" what the problem is!)

    And I must say, while I have been referencing your recipes for years, I have never followed one without at least a few substitutions- until now. These muffins are delicious! I made them not more than an hour ago. Okay, so I used pecans. I hate nuts in baked things, but I have learned that you should always give things a second, third, okay, maybe fourth chance. You might like it. It might just be different in a special new formula and hit a chord with you.

    Oh, and another reason I am thankful for the allergies... I eat SO. HEALTHY. My kids eat healthy, and they are aware of food CHOICES. Every time I see my daughter make a good choice when it comes to food, or decline a store bought cupcake, or inform a friend why it's a good idea to eat your brussels sprouts ("...and after a couple tastes, it might taste good!"), I am so proud of her.

    Anyway, tangent... Your muffin recipe is bomb. But then, I do love most of your recipes! :)

  18. I feel nourished having just read this post. Who needs Thanksgiving dinner? Thanks for the beautiful reality that your heart and mind can so fluidly express. I love you.

  19. Ah Karina, beautifully written and very touching, as usual. Congrats - you are a devil tamer. Go girl.

  20. Karina, your words are just so touching and encouraging to me. Thank you so very much for saying what I'm often times feeling but can't put into words. Keep it up, please!!

  21. What a lovely post. Your heart-felt thanks for life has transcended to all of those around you. I always feel that this time of year is about being thankful for the mountains we have climbed and hopeful that the valley we will encounter will be gentle to us. Keep up your powerful work - on all levels. We are thankful for you!

  22. Karina,
    I'm a bit of a newcomer to your blog - the pumpkin pie bread (and made as muffins) were perfectly delicious. Also love the delicious GF Bread in the breadmaker. Your posts get my brain thinking and warm my heart and soul. And until now recipes have turned out as expected. However, just made a batch of these pumpkin muffins w/ streusel topping and though I followed the recipe carefully (ingredients + bake time), they are so dry! I know you don't suggest substitutions, so I will figure out on my own (perhaps adding almond milk), but I wondered if anyone else had the same problem, or there is something obvious I've overlooked. (wet ingredients were just coconut oil, pumpkin, eggs & vanilla, right??) Thank you!

  23. These are definitely moist muffins. Sounds like they may have been over-baked. Or your oven runs hot. Also- I use dry nested cups for measuring flour, spooning flour in, not scooping directly into the bag. Climate also makes a difference in batters- was the batter very stiff? (Mine was not- but I live in a fair amount of warm humidity here at sea level in California).

  24. Wow so beautiful.... I've been feeling my own strange sense of time lately. A different reality where one breath is the universe and we pluck out of it what we choose in that moment. Amazing - guess that's what happens when you work from home. ;)

    Love the recipe can't wait to try it as the season of feasting and potlucks begin. I've got a GFV pumpkin recipe posted too - but with real pumpkin and seeds instead of nuts! Mmmm....nothing better than a soft warm walnut nestled in melt in your mouth muffins...

  25. I do use an oven thermometer and dry nested measuring cups. Batter was VERY stiff! So, I'll go w/ my instinct next time and add moisture, and reduce baking time to 18-20 min. My 5 1/2 yr old daughter is enjoying them now warmed and with loads of butter - at least they can be saved:-)I wanted to let you know - your Sticky Notes on an Anniversary post inspired my heart to have a much-needed conversation w/ my husband - life is too short to not be seen and completely loved in all my gritty greasy cranky glory. And to love him back in the same way. Thank you for your passion and willingness to share beautiful poignant moments of your life.

  26. Thank you so much for your kind words. I am touched that my Sticky Notes post prompted conversation. xox

    Weather and seasons and temperatures affect batter- so if the batter is very stiff, you need more moisture. Add rice milk a tablespoon at a time- but not too much. This batter is thick-ish but not stiff. And perhaps your oven runs hotter than mine- as always- keep an eye on muffins (etc) when they bake. xox Karina

  27. i made banana muffins but they are pretty dense and your muffins look so good! anyone have any ideas how to make my muffins more "fluffy"?

  28. Since needing to go gluten-free recently, I discovered your site and return to it weekly with joyful curiosity. Your love of life shines through every thoughtful word and image on your blog. You are a gift; and I so appreciate you. Thanks for sharing so graciously and beautifully. May you and yours be blessed with health and good things all the year long.

  29. Can anyone tell me why I have to bake my quick breads, muffins, etc. so much longer when I substitute a GF flour blend in a recipe? This has happened twice with pumpkin breads in particular. Is it something to do with the wetness of the pumpkin and the consistency of the GF flours??

  30. Just visited your site today i have nothing than to say please make it ready i am cumin soon to house to eat it yuummy....!!

  31. These look delicious!!! I bet the streusel topping is excellent with the coconut oil too.


  32. Rhonda16:05

    Hi Karina, Your Canadian fans are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend - your post was well timed!

  33. What a beautiful post. Thank you.

  34. I appreciate your creativity so much -- your eye, your thoughtfulness and sheer talent. Wonderous, woman! Here's to embracing the very best years ahead. Cleansing breath! And then a bite of muffin.

  35. Becca21:46

    Seems like I have missed something that your other loyal readers have picked up on: 102 days... what are you celebrating?

    I come for the recipes, but I leave with your words lingering in my mind for days. Thank you for filling my belly and soul, Karina!

  36. We just celebrated our thanksgiving up here in the north, Canada. I made a g-f apple crisp. Cinnamon is such a wonderful fall spice.

  37. You capture all the little things that are beautiful about our world through your words. You're writing seems as effortless as breathing,

    "What is important is spinning a new magic, a silvery soft magic that you can almost inhale just before dark, when the sky deepens into that particular November blue and tastes like snow." - Perfect.

    You're blog is as warm, comforting and nourishing as the recipes you share.
    You make me want to be a better blogger ;-)

    Thank you for adding such cozy happiness to the world.


  38. This is such a beautiful post; I love it and cannot wait to make this recipe! You are such an inspiration to so many of us. Keep up the amazing work! xo

  39. HI Karina,

    I have baked several things from your website. They are all so delicious. However, the one thing keeping them from tasting completely normal is there is something that is crunchy in both the batter and the cooked product. After feeling all of the flours I can only conclude it is the almond meal. Am I correct? If so, do I need to a switch to a finer almond flour or a higher quality one. They are so close to being perfect!


  40. Thank you for your wonderful comments.

    As for the grainy feel- almond meal can be grainy, or soft, depending upon the brand. You might try "blanched" almond flour.

    If you don't like the feel of almond flour, you could also try experimenting with other high protein, whole grain gluten-free flours.

  41. These are AMAZING. Our 2 year old has Celiac disease and I've stayed away from GF baking for the most part because my first attempts were terrible. I had some extra pumpkin to use up tonight and just whipped these up. SO GOOD - my husband even likes them. Thank you for sharing. :)


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Wishing you a delicious and beautiful day!

Karina - Gluten-Free Goddess xox