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Easy Old-Fashioned Date Nut Bread

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This old-fashioned date nut bread is the perfect sweet and nutty treat for any brunch occasion! The recipe is easy to follow, and the results are always delicious.

old-fashioned date nut bread

My mother served this delicious, moist date nut loaf often.

It was a signature staple when company came, along with a cup of tea,

Filled with walnuts (or pecans) and dates, and served sliced with butter, it can be a substitute for either a sandwich or a piece of cake.


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easy date nut bread ingredients

Here is your shopping list:

  • baking supplies: 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • sweetener: ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • oils: ¼ cup shortening
  • flavoring: 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • eggs: 1 large egg
  • dried fruits and nuts: 10 to 12 dates, ¾ cup chopped walnuts


  • To make the recipe gluten-free, substitute measure-for-measure gluten-free flour for the all-purpose flour.
  • Use vegetable oil instead of shortening if you prefer.
  • Pecans can be used instead of the walnuts.

How to make date nut bread

A loaf of old-fashioned date walnut bread sliced

This recipe makes enough for 1 loaf of date nut bread.

Prep work

Pre-heat the oven to 325℉.

Chop enough dates to fill 1 cup.

Now we need to soften them. To do this:

  • Put the dates in a small bowl.
  • Stir in 1 teaspoon of baking soda.
  • Boil some water.
  • Add 3/4 cup boiling water to the dates and stir.
  • Let the dates sit until the water has cooled.

Melt 1/4 cup shortening in the microwave or on low heat on the stove. Remove it from the heat to let it cool. (If you are using vegetable oil, this step isn’t necessary.)

Grease a loaf pan with shortening or butter. Or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Mix wet ingredients

In a mixing bowl, beat an egg with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Gradually add in 3/4 cup light brown sugar and beat until the sugar is dissolved.

Now add 1 scant teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla and the cooled date mixture. Mix until combined.

Mix dry ingredients

Walnuts and flour mixture in bowls

In a small bowl, sift together 1½ cups flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder.

You can skip the sifting and just mix the flour and baking powder together. But the date nut bread will be a little heavier.

In another small bowl, mix about 1 Tablespoon of the flour mixture with ¾ cup of chopped walnuts.

Combine the wet and dry mixtures

The bread batter mixed in a bowl

Add the floured walnuts, the flour mixture and the melted shortening to the date mixture.

Stir with a spoon just until the dry ingredients are wet.

Not mixing too long will retain the leavening activity of the baking power, which will result in a lighter texture after the bread is baked.

The bread batter in a loaf pan

Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan.


Bake on the middle rack in the oven at 325℉ for 1 to 1¼ hours.

A toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf should come out clean when it is done.

The baked old-fashioned date nut bread in a loaf pan

Place the cooked loaf onto a cooling rack and let it cool completely in the pan.

Enjoy a buttered slice with a cup of hot tea.

Slices of date walnut bread served with butter on a plate

How to store

This date nut loaf freezes well. I store mine in a zip-lock freezer bag, in the freezer for up to a month. Thaw before serving.

Or you can keep it in an air-tight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.

Other recipes you might like

sliced date nut bread

Easy Old-Fashioned Date Nut Bread

This old-fashioned date nut bread is the perfect recipe for any breakfast or brunch. It's easy to make and tastes delicious.
4.67 from 9 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Course Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine American
Servings 12 slices
Calories 236 kcal


  • 2 small bowls
  • electric mixer with bowl
  • sifter
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ loaf pan
  • wire cooling rack


  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup shortening melted and cooled


  • Pre-heat the oven to 325°F.
  • Mix the dates and baking soda in a small bowl.
  • Pour boiling water over and stir well. Set aside to cool
  • With an electric mixer in a mixing bowl, beat egg until light and fluffy.
  • Gradually mix in the sugar.
  • Add the salt and vanilla and mix well.
  • Stir in the cooled date mixture.
  • Sift together the flour and baking powder.
  • Mix about 1 Tablespoon of the flour mixture with the chopped walnuts in a small bowl.
  • Add the floured nuts, the flour mixture, and the melted (but not hot) shortening to the date mixture.
  • Stir with a spoon just until blended.
  • Pour the batter into a well greased loaf pan.
  • Bake the oven at 325°F for 1 to 1¼ hours. The loaf is done when a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
  • Cool on a wire rack in the loaf pan.


  • To make the loaf gluten free, substitute measure-for-measure gluten-free flour for the all-purpose flour.
  • Use vegetable oil instead of shortening if desired.
  • The date nut loaf can be stored in an airtight container or ziploc bag for up to 3 days at room temperature. Or up to a month in the freezer.


Serving: 1 sliceCalories: 236 kcalCarbohydrates: 36 gProtein: 4 gFat: 10 gSaturated Fat: 2 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5 gMonounsaturated Fat: 3 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 16 mgSodium: 332 mgPotassium: 154 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 21 gVitamin A: 25 IUVitamin C: 1 mgCalcium: 48 mgIron: 1 mg

Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.

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This post was originally published on December 23, 2021 but was updated with new content on February 20, 2023.

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