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Date Nut Bread

Date Nut Bread is an easy and moist quick bread brimming with dates and walnuts. Perfect for breakfast, dessert or afternoon tea.

While this is called a bread, it contains no yeast and is very quick and simple to prepare.

Date bread on wooden board with three slices cut.
Date Bread

This post was first published on 8 February 2015

This is an old fashioned Date Nut Bread recipe which I have been using for a very long time. It was taught to me by my stepmother who joined our Italian family when I was thirteen. Scribbled into an old notebook, the pages are now stained from spills and constant use.

The baking tradition in Australia is strong and popular with recipes like Anzac Biscuits, Chocolate Cherry Slice and Scones. This recipe is no different.

With the leftover walnuts, be sure to make these melt-in-your-mouth Norwegian Cookies.

For complete ingredient quantities and full instructions, please scroll to the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page.


ingredients on wooden board - baking powder, brown and white sugar, dates, flour, butter, walnuts, baking soda, egg and cinnamon
Ingredients for Date Bread

This Date Nut Bread uses very basic, homely ingredients. Most of these ingredients you will already have.

  • dates
  • brown sugar
  • white sugar
  • baking soda
  • butter
  • flour
  • baking powder
  • mixed spice
  • walnuts

Ingredient substitutions

It is easy to substitute some ingredient in this Date Nut Bread recipe depending on your tastes or what you have in the pantry.

  • use raisins instead of dates
  • swap dark brown sugar instead of regular
  • use all brown sugar or all white sugar
  • substitute light flavoured oil instead of butter
  • try cinnamon instead of mixed spice
  • pecans make a good substitute for walnuts


A 4 image collage of the steps to make the recipe
Instructions for making date bread

Such an easy cake to make, this recipe is a sweet quick bread that can be made in minutes.

  1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, mixed spice and salt.
  2. Combine chopped dates, sugars, butter and baking soda with boiling water and allow to cool.
  3. Mix all ingredients together.
  4. Spread into prepared loaf pan and bake.

Date Nut Bread in a can

Originally this recipe was baked in a can (or nut roll tin) which is a cylindrical baking pan that is sealed at both ends resulting in the cake sort of steaming and baking at the same time.

About baking in a can

These type of cake pans are hard to get a hold of but you may find them in second hand stores. Because they are made from tin, these cake pans rust easily. Be sure to place them back into the still warm oven to completely dry after washing.

BUT, you can improvise and use a soup or vegetable can. Read below for the instructions.

How to bake cakes in a can

  • Use soup cans or vegetable cans
  • Open the can cleanly – with no jagged edges
  • Remove the paper from the outside of your empty cans
  • Clean them well
  • Grease and flour the inside of the cans
  • Adding a small circle of non stick baking paper to the bottom of the can helps when removing the cake after baking
  • Fill with cake batter and bake upright until done
  • Baking time will depend on the size of the can.

If you have Australian nut roll pans:

  • Butter two nut roll pans thoroughly including both lids
  • Seal one end of each pan and place on a baking tray
  • Fill each with half of the mixture (it will rise)
  • Seal with the top lid
  • Keep tins upright and on the baking tray (makes it easier to transfer to the oven and remove)
  • Bake as per recipe

Tips for Success and FAQs

The finished bread on a wooden board with slices cut off and served on a white plate

Be sure to allow the date and boiling water mixture to completely cool before proceeding with the recipe. Add the flour and stir only until just combined. Don’t over mix. This will toughen the bread.

How to store

Once cooled store in an airtight container at cool room temperature for 2 or 3 days.

Can this be frozen?

This bread freezes very well. Simply wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then pop into a sturdy freezer bag. Defrost without unwrapping at room temperature.
A good idea, is to slice prior to freezing. It’s easy to remove one slice instead of defrosting the whole loaf. Defrost at room temperature or zap in the microwave oven for 50-60 seconds on defrost.

More recipes you will love

Simple Carrot Cake with cream cheese frosting
Gluten free Flourless Orange and Almond Cake from Becomingness
Chocolate Loaf Cake with whipped ganache from A Baking Journey
Lemon Drizzle Cake from Recipe Library
Belgian Lemon Tea Cake from It’s Not Complicated

Made this recipe?
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date bread on wooden board with slices cut

Date Nut Bread Recipe

Date Nut Bread is an easy and moist quick bread with dates and walnuts. Perfect for breakfast, dessert or afternoon tea. This recipe can also be baked in an old fashion cylindrical baking pan called can (or nut roll cake can).
5 from 12 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Cooling date mixture: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings:12 thick slices
Author: Marcellina


  • cup chopped dried dates
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda or bi-carb soda
  • tablespoons (30g) butter
  • 1 cup boiling water from the kettle
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups plain flour sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts


  • Butter and line 23cm/9in x 13cm/5in loaf pan (the butter just helps the paper stick). Preheat oven to 170ºC/340ºF.
  • Whisk together flour, baking powder, mixed spice and salt.
  • In a bowl place dates, sugars, baking soda and butter.
  • Pour over boiling water, mix and let stand until cool
  • Once cool whisk in egg then stir in flour mixture and walnuts.
  • Mix until it is just combined.
  • Spread batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the surface.
  •  Bake in preheated oven for 55 minutes.


If making Date Nut Bread in a can

Butter two cans (or nut roll pans) well ensuring both lids are coated. Seal one end of each can and place on a baking tray. Fill each with half of the mixture ( it will rise). Seal with the top lid. Keep cans upright and on the baking tray (makes it easier to transfer to the oven and remove). Bake as per recipe
Tried this recipe? Give it a star rating and leave a comment below!

Nutritional Estimate Per Serving

Calories: 247kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 119mg | Potassium: 255mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 82IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Would love to make this but I have a child who is allergic to all Treenuts. Can I simply omit? Other than a nut is there something else you would suggest?

  2. 5 stars
    My mother used to bake this all the time, but she used a mix. Thank you for this. I will enjoy it!

  3. 5 stars
    Easy and yet the best recipe ever!! The taste is wonderful!! Tastes like my Italian grandmother used to make and I lost her recipe so this was a gold mine find for me!! Thank you for sharing and bringing back beautiful memories through wonderful tastes!!

    1. Lori, I’m so thrilled that my humble recipe was able to bring back those treasured memories. Food and special recipes are connected and completely entwined in our life. I love hearing the joy in your words. Take care xx

  4. 5 stars
    What an absolutely gorgeous quick bread! Love the combination of walnuts and dates, it would definitely make a great snack to enjoy with my afternoon tea!

  5. I love the combo of dates and walnuts! This is one beautiful and delicious quick bread.

  6. 5 stars
    This looks so good! Perfect to enjoy with my morning coffee 🙂 And great to have on hand – it is good it freezes!

    1. Thanks Alex! I like to have something in the freezer for times when I want a little sweet snack and this is what I keep for that very thing.

  7. Thank you for this great recipe. So easy to make and tastes just how I remember nut loaf.
    cheers Helen