This recipe for date nut bread might just change your mind about dates if you are on the fence; it’s not only easy to make but incredibly rich, spicy and tasty as well!
For more tasty and interesting bread recipes, why not make some Oatmeal Bread? Or some homemade Beer Bread instead?
Table of Contents
Date Nut Bread
Dates have a bit of an odd reputation – considered either a delicacy wrapped in bacon in fancy restaurants or as food only fit for older people, with little room in between sometimes!
However dates and nuts in desserts are one of those combinations that has a really great place in anyone’s diet. Sweet, soft, and rich in nutrients, they work beautifully in this date nut bread recipe.
Date Nut Bread Ingredients
Make sure you look at the recipe card at the very bottom for the exact amounts, as there are a few fiddly ingredients here.
• Chopped pitted dates
• Boiling water
• Baking soda
• All-purpose flour
• Ground cloves
• Vanilla extract
• Chopped walnuts or pecans
How To Make Date Nut Bread
• Place the dates in a medium bowl and combine the boiling water and baking soda together
•Pour the mixture over the dates and soak for 15 minutes, stirring to combine
• Grease a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside
• In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and salt
• In a different bowl beat the butter and sugar together until crumbly and incorporated
• Beat in the vanilla and the egg
• Add the flour mixture and date mixture, stirring in the nuts at the end
• Pour into the prepared tin and bake at 350 Fahrenheit for 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
• Cool for 10 minutes before serving
• Store wrapped at room temperature for up to 3 days
Why Combine Baking Soda with the Dates?
A common step in recipes involving whole or chopped dates is to first soak the dates in a baking soda and water solution.
The simple answer is twofold: firstly, dates can be quite tough if they haven’t been softened properly, and that toughness doesn’t work well with baking. The baking soda helps to soften the skin of the dates when mixed with boiling water, making for a tastier date.
The other reason is to do with acidity – dates are surprisingly acidic, and the baking soda can help remove that tart acidity and make it more palatable. The baking soda also works to help nullify tannins in the dates that could affect the taste; it’s pretty much the same thing as people in the Southern USA adding baking soda to their sweet tea.
This is also where the lift in the recipe comes from. Instead of needing to use baking powder or yeast in the bread itself, the combination of baking soda and the acidity in the dates will create all of the lift the bread needs to be airy, light, and delicious.
Types of Nuts to Use
This recipe recommends you to use either chopped-up walnuts or pecans and is a pretty common combination with dates.
However, walnuts and pecans are very different nuts when it comes to the flavor profile, so which is best?
The key thing to think about is texture versus taste. Walnuts definitely have the best texture, as they are super crisp and hard yet shatter easily, making for a really satisfying bite.
Pecans, however, have a bit of a less great texture yet have a way nicer flavor. If you can imagine the taste of a fresh pecan pie versus the taste of walnuts in a salad, that is sort of the difference you can expect.
The trick is to think about which of the two nuts you would prefer to bite into when eating a slice of date nut bread and just go with that one.
Or, go really crazy and do something entirely different, like using hazelnuts instead.
Looking for more delicious quick bread recipes? Try these out:
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Date Nut Bread
- Prep Time
- 15 minutes
- Cook Time
- 1 hour 5 minutes
- Karlynn Johnston
- 2 1/2 cups chopped pitted dates
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons butter softened
- 1-1/4 cups sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
- Place the dates in a medium sized bowl. Combine the boiling water and baking soda in a large measuring cup then pour over the dates. Let soak for 15 minutes, then stir to combine.
- Preheat your oven to 350 °F. Grease a standard 9×5 loaf pan and set aside.
- In another bowl whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and salt, then set aside.
- In another large bowl, mix the butter and sugar together until crumbly. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
- Add the flour mixture and mix alternately with the date mixture. Stir in the nuts.
- Pour into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 65-75 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to wire rack to cool completely.
- Store covered at room temperature for up to 3 days. This is even better the second day after you make it!
- YES it’s only 2 tablespoons of butter, thanks to the dates you barely need any oil or butter in this recipe!
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.
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Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!
I was concerned because it made a very wet batter, however, the loaf turned out fine and tastes great. In the northeastern US, we used to find a round date nut loaf in the supermarkets called Neumans, but haven’t been able to find it recently. This recipe comes very close to the flavor and texture. The next time I’ll try substituting brown sugar for the white, and omit the cloves which are too overwhelming.
Made this as written. Disappointingly, the spices completely overpowered the flavor of the dates. However, it did bake up quite beautifully, and with a wonderfully dense but moist, lovely texture. Next time, I will omit the spices so that the dates can be the star of the show. Thank you for this recipe. ❤️
Can you use an all spice instead of individual spices and how much would you use?
Am I suppose to also put the water that the dates were soaked in into the batter? The batter didn’t come out as a “batter”, but more a solid dough. I am not sure I did this correctly. Looks like such a great recipe, and I will retry after you can answer my question. Thank you.
This was delicious and so easy to make. I’ve tried several countless recipes for date nut bread over the years , and hands down , this one produced the best, most moist and delicious one yet!
Thanks for a terrific recipe!
Sadly I lost my mother’s Date Nut bread recipe and I was looking for one to try. This was good but it was spicier from the cloves. Next time I make it I’ll leave those out or not use as many. I remember my mom also putting in a shot of cognac but I didn’t have any!
maryellen basham says
Is it supposed to be so thin? I put the date mixture in to include the water, its very soupy.
Similar to my mom’s. I use wine sometimes. Serve with whipped orange butter.
Your site demands an email so I used a great one to sign up! So annoying. Usually I just immediately leave when this type of site or screen blocker appears. And then the ads that fill my phone screen! Boo! Hiss! And your annoying video filling the scree. Rotten tomatoes! Most of us know how to assemble basic breads. Make the vid optional for the brainless. Another annoying feature of your blog and others.
Great lesson on how to chase viewers away!!
What a miserable human you would have to be to leave a comment like this!
What a nerfherder says
You could have just moved along. If you don’t like the website BUH BYE. Nobody said you had to stay. If you want recipes and content without a couple ads then go BUY a cookbook. You could even buy the TWO cookbooks that Karlynn has out. No ads in there if that’s your biggest concern. I’m sorry you are such a miserable human. I wonder what kind of annoying email address you made up just to protest about her website. Grow up, move along. You should put up your own website and recipes. See how long you last doing it for free.
My grandmother made a recipe similar to this. We would spread Philadelphia cream cheese on the cake slice as an added treat.
yes! my grandmother did the same with the cream cheese; so did my mother. i hadnt thought of this in years. made me smile when i read your comment!
My mom too
Date nut bread is one of my faves, but, the recipe we cannot find anymore had a date nut bread that was almost black in color, not sure of what was added, perhaps chocolate and coffee? It was the best, do you have any ideas?
Yes, my grandfather used to make it, lost his recipe in a fire, and I remember that he used coffee and molasses. It was a very old recipe that had a date glaze/topping on it. Hopefully I can recreate it.
I’ve seen recipes with a cup of coffee… I’m not sure if that would be enough to make it that dark. Maybe some molasses??