This traditional German Christmas bread has a few steps, but it's so delicious and such a holiday delight that it's worth it!

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Two loaves of stollen on a cutting board with a few slices cut.

What is Stollen?

Stollen is a yeast bread studded with rum-soaked dried fruit and nuts, seasoned with spices and coated with powdered sugar. My mother and brother will tell you that stollen also must have marzipan in the middle, but I’ll tell you that it’s optional. Either way – with or without marzipan – stollen is a German treat that is usually served around Christmastime.

a bowl of dried fruit next to a bottle of dark rum.

Soaking Fruit for Stollen

For this stollen recipe, I use golden and regular raisins, dried cranberries and candied orange peel. You can make your own candied orange peel or buy it at a specialty grocery store. I found mine online. You could also add whatever fruit you like, but I really do like orange in the bread. Soak all this fruit in dark rum and soak it like you mean it – at the VERY least for 1 hour, but preferably overnight or even longer. 

Looking down into a bowl of dough with a finger impression in it and a red and white kitchen towel.

Stollen Dough

The dough for stollen is a sweet bread dough with butter and eggs incorporated, along with Christmas spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, along with cardamom. This recipe starts with a “poolish” – a starter dough that is allowed to fermet for a couple of hours before incorporating all the other ingredients. This enhances the flavor of the dough and is well worth it. You’re not rushing when you make stollen.

9 images showing how to incorporate fruit into stollen dough and how to shape it into a round.

Adding Fruit to Stollen

Adding the fruit to the stollen dough can be a little tricky. You want the fruit incorporated into the dough, not resting on the top surface where it will burn in the oven. To do this most easily, flatten the dough into a large circle. Add half the fruit and press it in with your fingers. Fold the circle up in half and add the remaining fruit. Then roll the dough up into a log. Cut the log in half and shape each half into a dough round.

9 images showing how to shape a loaf of stollen, including before and after backing photos.

Shaping Stollen

When it comes to shaping stollen, the goal is for the loaves of stollen to be oval in shape, which it is said represents baby Jesus swaddled in clothes. There is another story that comes from the translation of “stollen” in German, meaning post or stud. So, perhaps the shape is supposed to represent a post?  I think baby Jesus is a nicer image, so I’m going with it. Either way, roll your dough into a circle. If you’re adding marzipan to your stollen, roll it into a log and place that log of marzipan in almost the center of the circle of the dough. Fold one half of the dough down over the marzipan and roll the dough over it a little to seal it in. Then fold the other half over the top, shape the loaves into ovals and place them on a large parchment-lined baking sheet. 

two images: one showing a hand brushing butter on loaves of stollen and the second showing hands dusting stollen with powdered sugar.

Dusting Stollen

Dusting, or really coating, the stollen with powdered sugar is an important step. Let the loaves cool and then brush with melted butter before really coating the outside of the loaves with powdered sugar. You can do this several times until the sugar really does look like a coating of snow. 

Two loaves of stollen on a cutting board with a few slices cut.

Storing Stollen

Not only can you store stollen, you SHOULD store stollen. It’s flavor improves over a week or two, wrapped tightly in plastic and then in aluminum foil. Time wrapped tightly gives the rum-soaked fruit time to disperse its flavor throughout the loaf. I have a hard time putting stollen away for later, but if you plan it right, it’s the right thing to do. If you can’t wait that long… don’t. Just know that you can store the stollen at room temperature (or even freeze it) for a few weeks.

Stollen on a small white plate with a loaf in the background and an espresso coffee.

How to Serve Stollen

Stollen is often served at breakfast in Germany, but I like to move it to mid-morning or even after lunch with a cup of coffee. Slice and serve.

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  • Prep Time: 20 m
  • Cook Time: 45 m
  • Rising Time: 3 h 30 m
  • Total Time: 4 h 35 m
  • Servings:


  • ¾ cup raisins
  • ¾ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup candied orange peel chopped
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup dark rum
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast 1 pkg
  • 1 cup milk 100 – 110˚F
  • 4 to 4½ cups all-purpose flour divided
  • teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into small cubes
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 7 ounces marzipan optional
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter melted
  • ½ cup powdered sugar


  1. Place the raisins, golden raisins, craisins and orange peels in a bowl. Add the rum and stir everything together. Let it soak for at least 1 hour to overnight (or even a few days).
  2. Combine the yeast and milk in a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer) and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Add 2 cups of the flour and mix well. Let this mixture ferment for 2 hours or so, until it has doubled in bulk.
  3. Combine the remaining flour with the salt and spices and add this mixture to the large bowl. Add the butter, sugar and eggs, and use the dough hook of your mixer to combine all the ingredients together. Knead the dough until it is smooth and pliable – about 5 to 6 minutes. Let the dough rest and rise in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours, until it has doubled in bulk.
  4. Drain the dried fruit well and combine it with the nuts and lemon zest. Punch the dough down and roll it into a large circle. Scatter half of the fruit and nut mixture on the dough and press it into the dough with your fingers. Then fold the bottom half of the cough circle up over the fruit to form a half circle. Scatter the remaining fruit and nut mixture on top and press it into the dough. Roll the dough up around the fruit into a log. Divide the dough in half and gently knead each half, shaping it into a round, trying not to let the fruit or nuts burst out of the surface. Let the two rounds rest for about 30 minutes, covered with a clean kitchen towel.
  5. Now you are ready to shape the Stollen. Flip one of the dough rounds over on a lightly floured surface and roll it into a circle, about 8 to 9 inches in diameter. If using marzipan, roll the marzipan into a log and place it in the center of the circle. Fold the bottom third of the dough up over the marzipan log, or just past the center line of the circle if you are not adding marzipan. Lightly roll the dough over the marzipan to seal it into the dough. Fold the top third of dough down as you would fold a letter to fit into an envelope. Use your hands to shape the ends of the dough into an oval, cupping your hands around the sides. Repeat with the second round of dough and transfer both stollen loaves to a parchment paper-lined sheet pan. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let the stollen rise one last time for about 30 to 60 minutes.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 350˚F.
  7. Transfer the stollen to the oven and bake for 30 to 45 minutes (if you’ve filled the stollen with marzipan, it will take longer to bake), or until the breads are golden brown and sound hollow when you tap the bottom.
  8. Let the bread cool. Once cool, brush the outside of the stollen with melted butter and coat generously with powdered sugar.
  9. To store, wrap the stollen tightly with plastic wrap and store in a cool place. Stollen with “ripen” at room temperature in two weeks, allowing the flavors from the rum-soaked fruit to penetrate into the loaf. Freeze the stollen by wrapping in plastic first, then aluminum foil. Dust with powdered sugar again before serving.
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