This slightly sweet homemade gluten free panettone (aka Christmas bread) is a delicious sweet bread to serve over the holidays. Filled with raisins, cranberries, and lots of orange zest, it is a celebratory dessert for the Christmas holiday.
This gluten free panettone recipe has a new sort of record for my blog...the most tries a recipe has needed to get it right. I have made and tweaked this recipe 6 times. The first few tries were like bricks and I ended up tossing them. I finally perfected this just in time for the holidays!
Panettone bread originated from the 1500s in Milan, Italy. It was originally a very expensive bread to make and only wealthy families could afford to enjoy it. Over the years, this bread has become more and more available.
It is something I have wanted to create gluten free for years...ever since seeing the pretty box of panettone for sale at our local Costco store.
What makes this panettone great?
The main reason I love this new gluten free panettone recipe is because it is so light and fluffy. You can taste the orange zest and how it combines with the cranberries and raisins. This delicious flavor permeates through the whole loaf!
It takes a little bit of time to make this gluten free Christmas bread, but it is so worth it! While you are here on the blog, check out all of my delicious Gluten Free Bread Recipes!
- Gluten free flour blend - I tested this recipe with King Arthur Measure for Measure Gluten Free Flour. I am sure it will work with more flour blends, I just haven't had time to test other brands.
- Xanthan gum - If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain Xanthan Gum or Guar Gum, you will need to add this.
- Yeast - I used regular yeast, not a quick yeast. I suspect this recipe will also work with a sourdough starter made from more mild gluten free flours.
- Milk - I used non-dairy milk but you can also use regular milk.
- Butter - you can use vegan butter if you are dairy-free.
Recipe step by step directions:
Step 1: Proof the yeast in warm water. Make sure your water is no warmer than 105º F.
Step 2: Add your wet ingredients to a bowl and mix well.
Step 3: Add your dry ingredients to a bowl and whisk to blend.
Step 4: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix. Your gluten free panettone dough is going to be a lot runnier than non-gluten free versions.
NOTE: I have tested a lot of different dough consistencies and the more firm batters only produce a hard loaf. If you want your panettone light and fluffy, you need a wetter batter.
Step 5: This is a good picture to show you how wet my batter was. Leave it in the bowl and let it rise overnight. Our nights are cool so I covered the bowl with plastic wrap and left a tiny corner uncovered for venting.
If you rise your panettone dough in the refrigerator overnight, remove it in the morning when you wake so it will warm back to room temperature.
Step 6: Put the batter into a panettone mold. You can use any size, these are the panettone molds I used. In my testing, I found this dough worked better in smaller molds instead of one giant mold.
Allow the dough to rise in the mold for one hour.
Step 7: Brush the top of your panettone with egg yolk.
Step 8: Bake at 350º F for up to 60 minutes. The bake time will vary widely depending on the panettone mold size you choose.
My yeast went absolutely crazy with this baking. You definitely want a pan under the panettone molds just in case you have this happen to you.
To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is done baking. If you see batter or crumbs, the panettone needs to bake longer.
Step 9: Remove from the oven and allow to cool thoroughly on a cooling rack. Optional dust with powdered sugar.
Expert tips and recipe FAQ:
Your yeast may not rise well for a few reasons including the water was too hot, it is proofing very slowly because the water is too cold, or you didn't give it something to eat like honey or sugar.
You can easily make this recipe dairy-free by using vegan butter.
This bread will keep up to 4 days in an air-tight container, or up to 4 months in the freezer.
Panettone is a Christmas bread and it is enjoyed throughout the winter holiday season.
The sky is the limit. You can add all sorts of dried fruits and nuts. Some even like to add chocolate chips!
If you prefer a store-bought gluten free panettone bread, there is only one that I know of and it is being sold at Trader Joe's.
I made it today. It’s absolutely wonderful. I’ve been gluten free so long, I don’t usually miss things but I’ve always missed panettone. Texture and flavor are perfect. I might have to invent some new holidays so we can have it."Gail G.
More Christmas Recipes to Try:
- Gluten Free Chocolate Peppermint Cake
- Gluten Free Butter Cookies
- Easy Gluten Free Gingerbread Bundt Cake
- Eggnog Panna Cotta
Gluten Free Panettone
- 3 cups gluten free flour blend * see note
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 ¼ teaspoons yeast 1 packet
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cups milk or non-dairy milk
- 3 eggs size large
- 8 tablespoons butter melted
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup water warm
- 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
- ⅔ cup raisins
- ½ cup dried cranberries * see note
- In a small bowl, add the raisins and cranberries. Add boiling water to cover the dried fruit and let sit so the dried fruit absorbs the hot water and they soften for about 15 minutes.
- In a bowl, add the warm water (no hotter than 105º), yeast, and 2 teaspoons of the sugar. Allow the yeast to proof for 5-10 minutes. You want the yeast to get very bubbly.
- Grab a large bowl, add your dry ingredients and whisk to blend.
- In a medium-sized bowl, add your wet ingredients including the orange zest. Whisk to blend.
- Pour the yeast mixture into the wet ingredients and mix.
- Now, pour all of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Add the raisins and cranberries. Mix well.
- Cover the bowl and allow to rise overnight, or for at least 4 hours. Note the batter is going to be a lot wetter than a normal panettone dough. I have tested multiple doughs and the more firm the dough, the more brick-like the bread turns out so please make sure your batter consistency matches the photo in the blog post above.
- Set your molds into a pan. When you are ready to bake the panettone, fill your molds about ⅔ with the batter. Allow rising 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350º F.
- Place the pan with the panettone into the oven. Bake for 45 minutes.
- To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the panettone. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is done baking. If you see batter or crumbs, it needs to bake longer.
- When it is finished baking, remove and put the loaves on a cooling rack. When the loaves are cool, dust with powdered sugar. Peel the paper mold off each loaf and serve.
- I have tested this recipe with King Arthur Measure for Measure. That doesn't mean other brands won't work, I just haven't tested them yet.
- If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain Xanthan Gum or Guar Gum, please add 1 teaspoon.
- To make this recipe dairy-free, substitute the butter for vegan butter, and use non-dairy milk. I used oat milk in making mine. Other dairy-free kinds of milk will work but I do not recommend canned coconut milk.
- You can use any dried fruits in this recipe, just make sure to let them soften in boiling water. You can also add nuts, chocolate chips, or other mix-ins.
- Really pay attention to the rise times so that this homemade gluten free panettone bread can get nice and fluffy!
- This gluten free bread will keep up to 4 days in an air-tight container, or up to 4 months in the freezer.
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