Home » holidaze » Panettone (Italian Christmas Bread!) 👑 gluten free & keto

Panettone (Italian Christmas Bread!) 👑 gluten free & keto

Very much akin to the traditional Italian Christmas bread, this gluten free and keto panettone is buttery, pillowy and with beautiful orange notes throughout!

Sliced gluten free & keto panettone with coffee
Gluten Free & Keto Panettone (Italian Christmas Bread!)

Gluten Free & Keto Panettone

Gluten Free & Keto Panettone

If you’ve ever had panettone, then you need no convincing as to the extraordinary nature of this Italian sweet yeast bread. And if you have yet to try it, think of it a little bit like a brioche, hot cross buns, or Mexican Rosca de Reyes.

Honestly guys, I’m very proud of this one. Took a little bit of work, but it’s fairly marvelous how much it does resemble real panettone. Albeit more dense because well, no starches and gluten!

And you might be surprised, but making this keto panettone incredibly simple really (there’s no kneading, double resting time, etc). But, like with any yeasted bread, it does require you take care of a few details to ensure the best possible outcome so be sure to read (or skim!) through the post.

Mini Gluten Free & Keto Panettone (Italian Christmas Bread!)
Gluten Free & Keto Panettone (Italian Christmas Bread!)

The Deets

Compared to other yeast bread recipes on the site (sandwich bread, cinnamon rolls), this one falls the least post bake. Though do note that keto flours are notoriously heavy and moist) and certain missing proteins (think gluten), so they will be denser than normal panettone. I’ve tried these in both Mexico City (super high altitude) and LA (sea level) and they work just as well.

But one of the reasons why they work so great is because they’re baked in mini panettone molds. Tbh I wouldn’t bother with full-sized one as the dough is so enriched that it barely rises.

And if no molds are on hand don’t sweat it! You can simply cut up some squares of parchment paper and push them down onto a muffin tray, getting them roughly 2 1/2″ tall. Feeling fancy? Tie them up with a ribbon to serve!

You just must ensure your rolls do almost double in size while proofing, and it can take anywhere from 2-3 hours. And this dough requires a little extra warmth. For instance, I place my tray on top of my oven as I heat it up (so my tray gets slightly warm and they rise beautifully). But you must ensure you don’t overheat them or you’ll kill the yeast. Think a warm and humid day at the beach, that’s the ideal temperature.

Before rise

Keto panettone dough before rising
Gluten Free & Keto Panettone (Italian Christmas Bread!)

After rise

Keto panettone dough after rising
Gluten Free & Keto Panettone (Italian Christmas Bread!)

The Tips ‘N Tricks

The yeast in this low carb and keto panettone ensures a wonderful texture and taste. But it does require you to take care of a few details:

Weigh your ingredients. This will forever be a staple recommendation for any sort of gluten free baking here at gnom-gnom. As aside from leading to less dirty dishes, it will ensure consistent results time and time again. Remember that gluten free (and particularly keto) baking is notoriously finicky, and measuring by cups is anything but accurate. And if you don’t own a baking scale, measure with cups by dropping the ingredients onto them rather than scooping them out (which often leads to overpacking).

Ingredients at room temperature. Self explanatory really, but incredibly important (particularly for the eggs). If you add cold eggs to the mix your bread simply won’t rise much (if at all).

Proof the yeast. This involves mixing dry active yeast with water that’s just warm to touch (between 105-110°F to be precise) and inulin or an actual sugar (think maple syrup or honey) for 7 minutes until foamy. And before you scream sugar (!!) remember that the yeast will feed on such sugar to emit carbon dioxide, so it doesn’t affect the carb count. And yes, this is a scientific fact.

Avoid abrupt temperature changes and air drafts. Like with any yeast bread, you need to cuddle your dough. Make sure it’s able to rest undisturbed in a warm space.

Baking at high altitude? Yup, so am I (Paola here!!). No changes need to be done here!

Freshly baked mini keto panettone
Gluten Free & Keto Panettone (Italian Christmas Bread!)

The Ingredients & Possible Subs

This panettone does have quite a few ingredients, but you’ll find that most are staple paleo and keto pantry ingredients. In the list below you’ll find details on several ingredients and possible subs. But if possible, please do try and make this recipe without any subs.

Almond flour. You truly need a super finely ground almond flour here, as if you use meal your bread will turn out dense and oily. Super fine almond flour brands include Anthony’s WellBees and Bob’s.

Now if paleo, or in keto maintenance, you can lighten up the bread by substituting part of the almond flour (1/4-1/2 cup) with arrowroot flour.

Flaxseed meal.  You’ll want to use golden flaxseed meal (we use Bob’s), and regrind the flakes in your (very dry!) bullet or blender until finely powdered. Great way to avoid slimy bread.

Psyllium husk powder. Same as with your flaxseed meal, you’ll always want to regrind your psyllium husk. We always favor NOW brand as it doesn’t turn bread purple. You can substitute it with more flax, but your bread may lose some elasticity and rise.

Whey protein isolate. This one is an absolute must, as it will ensure your panettone doesn’t collapse post-bake. Keep in mind that this ingredient varies tremendously from brand to brand, and we’ve only tried (and are super happy!) with Isopure’s Zero Carb Unflavored.

Freshly baked gluten free & keto panettone
Gluten Free & Keto Panettone (Italian Christmas Bread!)

The Dried Fruit

A bit tricky because well, store-bought dried fruit ain’t the most keto of foods… though still doable. What I did was simply to boil some cranberries with sweetener (allulose and xylitol work great here). And then, once softened (though not mushy), popped them in the dehydrator (or your oven at roughly 150-170F) to dry out slowly.

And you can follow the same methodology with orange peel too!

Alternatively, I also studded a handful of the mini panettone with chocolate chunks and it was simply divine paired with the orange hues.

The Sweetener

These sticky buns work best with erythritol (Lakanto or Swerve) and allulose.

(Important note!) I recently made the connection (while at the dentist!) that xylitol inhibits yeast and bacteria growth (which is why it’s the sweetener of choice for dental products). So don’t use xylitol!

Sliced keto panettone over Christmas plates
Gluten Free & Keto Panettone (Italian Christmas Bread!)

The Methodology

Gluten Free & Keto Panettone (Italian Christmas Bread!)

Gluten Free & Keto Panettone (Italian Christmas Bread!)

Course: Bread, Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: European
Keyword: gluten free, grain free, keto
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Resting Time: 2 hours
Servings: 7 mini panettone
Calories: 312 kcal

Very much akin to the traditional Italian Christmas bread, this gluten free and keto panettone is buttery, pillowy and with beautiful orange notes throughout!

Oh, and if baking with cups rather than grams is your thing, just click on US Cups for an instant conversion. Though for best results we (highly!!) suggest you weight your ingredients here. 

Print

Ingredients

For the gluten free & keto rolls

Optional ad-ins

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chunks or dried fruit (keto-style!) see post for notes

Special equipment

Instructions

  1. See recipe video of the cinnamon rolls for guidance on the methodology (similar yeast doughs, different ratios). And check out the post for deets, tips and possible subs! Note: if using a stand mixer, feel free to use the paddle attachment for easiest mixing. 

For the gluten free & keto panettone

  1. Add yeast and a dash of ginger to a large bowl, set aside. Mix inulin (or maple syrup), water and sour cream in a small bowl. Heat up over a water bath to 105-110°F. And if you don't have a thermometer it should only feel lightly warm to touch. 

  2. Pour lightly warm sour cream mixture over yeast, cover bowl with a kitchen towel and allow to rest for 7 minutes. The mixture should be bubbly, if it isn't start again (too cold water won't activate the yeast and too hot will kill it). 

  3. Mix your flours while the yeast is proofing. Add almond flour, flaxseed meal, whey protein powder, sweetener, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt to a medium bowl and whisk until thoroughly mixed. Set aside. 

  4. Once your yeast is proofed, add in the eggs, vinegar and orange zest. Mix with an electric mixer for a a minute or so until fully mixed. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the softened butter. Keep on mixing until you can no longer see any streaks of butter. The dough will become very sticky, so you want to work quickly to get it mixed properly. Use a wet spatula to gather the dough into a ball. 

  5. Spoon the dough onto the mini panettone molds, filling them up roughly 2/3rds. Place on a baking tray, cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm draft-free space for 2-3 hours until the dough has almost doubled in size (it should reach the top of the mold). How long it takes depends on your altitude, temperature and humidity, but just keep in mind that because this is an enriched dough it'll take its time to rise (just be patient!). And note that if you don't see it rising, it likely needs a little more warmth (say the top of your oven!). 

  6. Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C while the dough is proofing. Lightly brush with egg wash, being careful to avoid the edges so they're able to rise when baked. Bake for 10 minutes at 400°F/200°C, reduce temperature to 375°F/190°C and bake for further 10 minutes and reduce temperature to 350°F/180°C and bake for 5-7 minutes. Panettone should be a (very!) deep brown when done, but feel free to tent with foil to prevent over browning (around minute 10-12). 

  7. Allow to cool on the tray for 20 minutes and transfer to a rack to cool completely. Keep in mind that they continue to cook while cooling, so you really don't want to cut before! Keep stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-5 days. Serve at room temperature or lightly warm. 

Recipe Notes

*You can feed the yeast with either inulin or an actual sugar (thanks for the inulin tip guys!). And do remember that the yeast will feed on such sugar to emit carbon dioxide, so it doesn’t affect the carb count. And yes, this is a scientific fact.

**If paleo (or in keto maintenance), feel free to sub 1/4-1/2 cup of almond flour with arrowroot flour for a lighter crumb. 

***If no panettone molds are on hand don't sweat it! You can simply cut up some squares of parchment paper and push them down onto a muffin tray, getting them roughly 2 1/2" tall. Feeling fancy? Tie them up with a ribbon to serve!

(Important note!) I recently made the connection (while at the dentist!) that xylitol inhibits yeast and bacteria growth (which is why it's the sweetener of choice for dental products). So don't use xylitol!

Please note that nutrition facts were estimated per mini panettone (4g net carbs!). 

Nutrition Facts
Gluten Free & Keto Panettone (Italian Christmas Bread!)
Amount Per Serving (1 mini panettone)
Calories 312 Calories from Fat 234
% Daily Value*
Fat 26g40%
Saturated Fat 6g30%
Cholesterol 91mg30%
Sodium 427mg18%
Potassium 139mg4%
Carbohydrates 11g4%
Fiber 7g28%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 10g20%
Vitamin A 355IU7%
Vitamin C 1.2mg1%
Calcium 110mg11%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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35 comments

  1. Cat says:

    I am in shock! These rose beautifully in just 30 minutes! I heated my bottom oven for about a minute before I started proofing the yeast, and mixing the “flours”, etc., turned it off and left the light on, hoping that would provide a warm enough environment for the panettone to rise. Boy did it ever! For the first time EVER I made a gluten free yeast bread that rose the way it was supposed to and had almost no post bake collapse! I even forgot to add the baking powder, but evidently that didn’t have an adverse effect. And they are delish! I am super stoked now and will be attempting the sandwich bread again tomorrow. 🙏🏻🤞🏻 I am hopelessly optimistic I can finally nail that one!

  2. Cat says:

    These look amazing. My panettone molds should be here tomorrow so I’ll be giving these a go as soon as they hit my doorstep. My track record with gluten free yeast breads isn’t good so…. 🙏🏻🤞🏻 Have you thought about trying to make a gluten free version of challah? 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻😇

  3. Peter Andolfatto says:

    Hi Paola, Im super keen to try this! Will coconut cream + vinegar work as a possible sub for sour cream in this recipe? Or perhaps some form of non-dairy yogurt?

  4. Dorothy Voreis says:

    I know this is off topic, however, I am finding that erythritol when used in my baking ie. a chocolate cheesecake, it leaves an unpleasant aftertaste. I have used swerve in some cupcakes that do not leave the yucky after taste. Is it me or my imagination? I now regret having purchased two bags of the erythritol as the end results just aren’t palatable to me. I Swerve supposed to be better than erythritol in that regard? I only have Swerve brown sugar.

  5. Cheryl P says:

    These look awesome, Paola! 🙂 I’ve been reading where home cooks often make the full size bread using big clean coffee cans. Which makes me wonder, what do you think of soup can size cans for the smaller, individual versions?

    • Paola says:

      Ooooh I think that would be a wonderful idea Cheryl! Just keep in mind its a super sticky dough, so may want to line them 😉 Happy holidays!

  6. @Ketocancerqueen says:

    Hi Paola, Can I use vanilla flavoured whey isolate or would that be a disaster? I’ve steadily been acquiring all the ingredients but want to make sure I do this right! Thanks, Jo

    • Paola says:

      You know I’ve never tried? I don’t think it would be the end of the world, but I think it would depend a lot on the taste and sweetness of the particular brand xo!

    • Paola says:

      I think it depends on the loaf? For instance, I tried to make it in a tall panettone mold and it was quite a bit denser than the mini ones (Keto flours are super heavy and lack structure)

  7. Leslie says:

    Hello Paola, Thank you for your recipes. This one looks great. My question is about Vital Wheat Gluten. I do not have a problem with ingesting gluten but I am on a low carb program and have read that it is basically a protein and is used in low/no gluten flours. Can that be used in this recipe to help with the rise and elasticity of the bread? I have never used it but have read about it. I am thinking of replacing the flaxseed with it because of the phytoestrogens in the flaxseed. I just may experiment with it but thought I would ask you first since your recipes usually work out well when I make them. Thank you for taking the time to answer.

    • Paola says:

      Oh man vital wheat gluten is the one ingredient I can’t test around with as I have Celiacs. If you search through the comment sin the sandwich bread I know some peeps have experimented with it before xo!

      • Leslie says:

        Paola I am sorry to hear about your Celiacs i did not know that the Vital Gluten would affect you the same way as if you used reg flour. Shows how little I know about the product. Plus, I didn’t realize that just being around it set the celiacs off. Reminds me of a friend of mine that is allergic to seafood she can’t even be in the same room with it. Please accept my apologies. I will do a little research and see what I can find. Thank you so much for at least answering my question,

        • Paola says:

          Oh no worries Leslie! It’s actually a frequently asked question on the site (and I do know that it would help a bunch of you with keto baking if you’re not sensitive to gluten). Why I can’t bake with wheat (particularly in my own kitchen), is because cross contamination is a big issue with celiacs (happens a bunch at restaurants unfortunately!). Anyways! Happy holidays!

    • Paola says:

      I think it depends on the loaf? I think with a flat challah one you should be fine. For instance, I tried to make it in a tall panettone mold and it was quite a bit denser than the mini ones (Keto flours are super heavy and lack structure)

  8. Angela Suraci says:

    Hi Paola,
    Truly love your inspired recipes and have both of your cookbooks – fantastic!
    Just a question about sweetners – I have food sensitivity to erythritol and xylitol (if it ends in “tol” I have a negative reaction) so have just been substituting sucralose primarily because I can bake with it. I haven’t tried allulose and hesitate to try it as these sweetners aren’t cheap and I’ve already had to off-load quite a few. Do you know if allulose is similar to sucralose and if it has a relatively neutral keto effect? Thank you!

  9. Melissa says:

    Ohhhh snap! I’m full blooded Italian and this just blew my mind. I usually cheat and have some panettone during Christmas. I LOVE it!!! I’m going to have to try this out! I do have a question…traditionally you use fiori di sicilia extract in panettone and pandoro and gives that distinct flavor. If I were to add it in do you think it would affect the outcome (small amount like a teaspoon or two) ? Keto baking is so fickle sometimes. 🙁

    Thank you again for coming up with this recipe. Makes me so happy! 😀

    • Paola says:

      Yes and no… the results will be denser and more whole-wheat like (some peeps even find it slimy). So in my opinion it’s not worth it?

  10. Nancy says:

    How on earth do you come up with these recipes?! I would honestly love to see how. I’ve made your cinnamon rolls with yeast countless times and the family marvels every single time about how in goes almond flour, flaxseed etc and out comes a junk-food tasting dish. Thank you for all that you do, my little girl has Celiacs like you and she has been doing so much better on a grain free diet.

    • Paola says:

      Nancy it’s my absolute pleasure and SO wonderful to hear going grain free has helped your little one (I agree COMPLETELY!). Honestly not sure sometimes even how things come up? I think it goes something like this though

      deep cravings for yummy carbs + baking knowledge + experimentation + more experimentation = gnom-gnom 😂

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