Classic Stollen

updated Dec 15, 2023
Stollen Recipe

This fruit bread recipe makes 3 large loaves.


Makes3 large loaves

Prep1 hour

Cook45 minutes to 50 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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a loaf of of Stollen (a rich German fruit and nut christmas bread) with a slice cut off and powdered sugar on the side
Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Styling: Kristina Vanni

It was only a few years back when my mom first decided to bake stollen for Christmas morning. Traditionally, she baked her signature coffee cake after stockings, but with a house filled with more holiday guests than usual, she decided to expand the morning menu.

I can still remember her kneading the dough on the 23rd, and when I later walked past the countertop, I encountered the most supple, glistening dome of dough I had ever seen. I didn’t know what to expect, as the dried and candied fruit seemed reminiscent of a fruit cake. But after my first warm bite, it was clear: This incredible bread is nowhere near a fruit cake or angel food cake. It’s nothing short of powdered sugar-coated heaven.

Since then, my family has become obsessed with trying all different types of stollen: with a marzipan rope and without; folded by hand or baked in a stollen bread pan. We’ve done deep dives on the internet and dream of someday attending the annual Stollen Festival in Dresden, Germany. Needless to say, this bread immediately became a holiday tradition in our house. Every holiday season I look forward to watching my mom knead that gorgeous bread dough, and smelling that sweet aroma filling the kitchen. I hope this stollen recipe can find its way into a new holiday tradition for your family as well. 

What Is Stollen?

Stollen is rich and delicious yeasted bread filled with nuts, dried fruit, a hearty amount of butter, and topped with a blanket of powdered sugar. It’s a traditional German bread that’s made during the Christmas season.

Ingredients for Stollen Filling

  • Dried fruit: I use a combination of dried currants and golden raisins here. When shopping for currants at the grocery store, they’re likely Zante currants, which are actually tiny sweet grapes. Golden raisins are more plump than regular raisins, but you can use regular raisins if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Candied peel: Use equal parts candied citron and candied orange peel. If you find yourself with too many oranges during the winter, you can make your own candied orange peels for a fun weekend project.
  • Rum: The dried fruit and candied peel are soaked in rum, which you can do overnight to prepare in advance.
  • Blanched almonds: These are almonds with their skins removed. If you can’t find whole blanched almonds in your grocery store, you can use slivered almonds instead.
  • Vanilla bean: Scrape the seeds and save the vanilla bean pod to make vanilla-scented sugar.

Is Stollen the Same as Fruitcake?

While stollen is made with candied fruit and nuts, it is a yeast bread, not a fruit cake. In fact, if you are someone who doesn’t like fruit cake, don’t shy away from a slice of stollen. After the first bite you will be convinced this Christmas treat is a category all its own!

How Long Will Stollen Keep?

Stollen that has been wrapped in plastic wrap will keep at room temperature for up to one week, and slices can be revived quickly in the microwave. When wrapped airtight, it can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw completely and dust with additional powdered sugar before serving.

Stollen Recipe

This fruit bread recipe makes 3 large loaves.

Prep time 1 hour

Cook time 45 minutes to 50 minutes

Makes 3 large loaves

Serves 36

Nutritional Info


For the dough:

  • 5 1/2 sticks

    (1 pound, 6 ounces) unsalted butter, divided

  • 8 cups

    all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

  • 1 cup

    granulated sugar, divided

  • 1

    large lemon

  • 2 cups

    whole milk, divided

  • 3 (1/4-ounce) packets

    active dry yeast (2 tablespoons plus 3/4 teaspoon)

  • 4

    large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • Neutral oil or cooking spray

  • 1/2 cup

    powdered sugar

For the filling:

  • 1 cup

    dried currants

  • 1/2 cup

    golden raisins

  • 1/2 cup

    finely diced candied citron

  • 1/2 cup

    finely diced candied orange peel

  • 1/2 cup

    rum, any kind

  • 5 ounces

    blanched almonds

  • 1

    vanilla bean

  • 2 tablespoons

    all-purpose flour


  1. Place 4 sticks (1 pound) of the unsalted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and let sit at room temperature until softened, about 1 hour.

Soak the fruit for the filling:

  1. Place 1 cup dried currants, 1/2 cup golden raisins, 1/2 cup finely diced candied citron, 1/2 cup finely diced candied orange peel, and 1/2 cup rum in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature until ready to mix into the dough or up to overnight.

Make the dough:

  1. Place 8 cups all-purpose flour in a large bowl. Measure 1 cup of sugar into a dry measuring cup. Finely grate the zest of 1 large lemon (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)

  2. Place 2 cups whole milk in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until lukewarm (about 90°F), about 1 minute.

  3. Add 1/3 cup of the lukewarm milk, 3 packets active dry yeast, 2 tablespoons of the flour from the bowl, and 2 tablespoons of the sugar from the measuring cup to a medium bowl. Stir to combine and set aside until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.

  4. Add the remaining granulated sugar to the bowl of butter. Beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in 4 large eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, until combined. Add the lemon zest and 1 teaspoon kosher salt and beat to combine.

  5. With the mixer on low speed, carefully alternate between beating in the yeast mixture, remaining lukewarm milk, and remaining flour. The bowl will be very full so start the mixer on low after adding more liquid. Mix until combined and a sticky dough forms.

  6. Transfer the dough onto a generously floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 5 to 10 minutes. If the dough is sticking to the board and your hands, gradually add up to 1 cup more flour to the board and your hands as needed. Let the dough rest while preparing the filling.

Finish the filling:

  1. Drain the rum-soaked fruit through a fine-mesh strainer, shaking to remove as much liquid as possible. Transfer to a large bowl. Coarsely chop 5 ounces blanched almonds (1 cup) and add to the bowl with the dried fruit. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and gently scrape out the seeds into the bowl; stir to combine. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour and toss to coat.

Finish the dough:

  1. Gradually add and knead the fruit mixture into the dough a handful at a time, 5 to 10 minutes. The dough will become elastic with a nice sheen.

  2. Lightly coat a large bowl with neutral oil or cooking spray. Place the dough inside and flip. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Form the loaves:

  1. When ready to form the loaves, lightly coat 2 large baking sheets (at least 18x13-inches) with neutral oil or cooking spray. Melt the remaining 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter in a small saucepan. (Alternatively, melt butter in the microwave.) Divide the dough into 3 equal portions.

  2. Roll out each portion into a 16x8-inch oval. Generously brush with about half of the melted butter. Gently press lengthwise down the center with a rolling pin. Fold the dough in half, bringing one long edge to within 1/2 inch of the opposite edge. Press the fold lightly.

  3. Transfer the stollen onto the baking sheets, placing 2 of the loaves on 1 baking sheet. Let rise until puffed and risen a bit, about 45 minutes. It will not double in size. Meanwhile, arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 350°F.

  4. When ready to bake, brush the stollen with half the remaining melted butter. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 45 minutes. Transfer the loaves to wire racks. While still warm from the oven, brush with the remaining melted butter (remelt if needed) and dust with powdered sugar. Let cool completely. Just before serving, dust again with powdered sugar to generously coat.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Stollen can be stored at room temperature wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and revive with an additional dusting of powdered sugar just before serving.