German Christmas stollen is a traditional yeast bread that’s filled with dried fruit and marzipan, then coated in butter and icing sugar.  You’ll love every bite of this moist, delicious bread this Christmas season!

Prep Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
slices of German stollen on a cutting board
Christmas, Holiday Bread, Sweet Bread

German Christmas Stollen Recipe

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This recipe was originally published on August 24, 2017.

Stollen is a classic German Christmas bread well-loved by many people throughout the world.  There’s good reason why it’s so popular!  It’s chock full of dried fruit, mixed peel, and marzipan.  Let’s jump in and learn how to make a perfect loaf of stollen!

loaf of German stollen cut open

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What is stollen?

Stollen is a sweet yeast bread enriched with dried fruit and nuts and traditionally filled with marzipan.  The crust is coated in butter and sugar to preserve its freshness.  The loaf is served in slices, and is enjoyed at Christmastime.

What does stollen taste like?

Stollen tastes similar to a light fruitcake, since it contains lots of dried fruit, nuts, and marzipan, like fruitcake.  However, it definitely tastes like bread.  Since this is a European dessert, it’s not as sweet as American desserts.

side view of a loaf of German stollen

Is stollen the same as fruitcake?

No.  Despite the fact that they contain many of the same ingredients, stollen and fruitcake are actually very different.  Stollen is a sweet yeast bread, while fruitcake is a dense cake.  Also, the marzipan is inside of stollen, while it’s on the outside of a fruitcake.

Why is stollen called stollen?

Stollen is a word referring to a guidepost or stone marking the boundaries of a city.  This bread may have gotten its name because it resembled these stones.

How to Pronounce Stollen

Stollen is pronounced differently, depending upon the country.  The traditional German way to say it is SHTALL-in.  In the US, it’s pronounced STOLE-in, and in the UK it’s STALL-in.  Listen to the US and UK pronunciations.

slices of German stollen with the loaf

When is stollen traditionally eaten in Germany?

Stollen is served around Christmas in Germany.  It has been served at Christmas since the 1300s.

Does stollen have marzipan?

Traditional stollen does contain marzipan.  Don’t use almond paste, as it is not the same as marzipan.  Make your own marzipan with just a few simple ingredients; it’s cheaper than buying it ready made.

What do you eat stollen with?

Stollen is traditionally enjoyed at breakfast, often with a cup of coffee.  It can be toasted or served warm as well.  Feel free to spread some butter or jam on top if you like.

person holding a slice of German stollen

How long can you keep homemade stollen?

Stollen can keep for up to 2 weeks at room temperature, as long as it is well wrapped in plastic wrap.  Do not refrigerate it, as it will make the bread go stale.  For longer storage, follow the freezing instructions below.

Can you freeze stollen?

Yes, stollen freezes very well.  For ease, pre-slice the stollen, then seal it inside of a zip-top plastic freezer bag.  Freeze for up to 1 month, then defrost at room temperature or in the microwave.  Alternatively, you can toast the stollen.

How to Make German Christmas Stollen

Gather the ingredients for the stollen.  You’ll need bread flour, yeast, salt, sugar, egg, butter, milk, vanilla, lemon zest, and orange juice.  You’ll also need raisins, currants, mixed peel, sliced almonds, and marzipan.

ingredients for German stollen

Mix together the dried fruit and nuts with the orange juice until well mixed.  Set it aside until later.

bowl of dried fruit and almonds with a spoon

Pour the flour into a bowl and mix in the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl.  You don’t want the salt to touch the yeast, as it can kill the yeast.

flour, salt, and yeast in a glass bowl

Mix in the sugar, then add the warm milk, egg, orange zest, and vanilla.

adding milk and egg to flour mixture

Mix until the dough is smooth and slightly sticky, making sure that all the flour is picked up from the bowl.

sticky stollen dough in a glass bowl

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it prove for 40 minutes.  It should noticeably increase in size.

proved bowl of stollen dough

Melt the butter and gradually add it to the dough, mixing well between each addition.  The dough should be smooth when all the butter is added.

kneaded stollen dough on a cutting board

Cover the dough with plastic wrap, then let it prove until at least doubled in size, about 1 hour.

proved stollen dough in a glass bowl

Knead the fruit mixture into the dough using a stand mixer.

mixing the dried fruit into stollen dough with a mixer

Cover the dough again and let it prove for 30 minutes.

bowl of proved stollen dough

Punch down the dough and roll it out into a rectangle about 12 inches long and 8 inches wide.  Place the bread dough on a cookie sheet.

rolled out stollen dough on a cutting board

Roll out the marzipan to a small rectangle.

marzipan on a cutting board with a rolling pin

Place the marzipan on the dough and fold the dough in half to cover the marzipan.

loaf of stollen on a cookie sheet before proving

Cover the stollen with plastic wrap and let it prove until the dough is springy to the touch, about 30 minutes.

proved loaf of stollen on a cookie sheet

Bake the stollen at 400 F for 15 minutes, then bake at 375 F for 40 minutes.  Cover the bread with foil if it’s getting too dark.

baked stollen on the cookie sheet

Generously brush the bread with melted butter.

brushing the stollen with melted butter

Liberally dust the stollen with powdered sugar to coat.  This coating helps keep the bread moist and fresh.

dusting the stollen with icing sugar

Let the stollen cool completely, then slice and serve.

loaf of German stollen on a wire cooling rack

Pro Tips

  • Use a kitchen scale to quickly and accurately measure the ingredients.  It will also save you from dirtying more dishes.
  • Always use bread flour for stollen.  All-purpose flour lacks the protein content needed to create the right texture.
  • Want smaller stollen loaves?  Divide the dough and marzipan into two or three equal pieces.
  • Use a thermometer to see if the stollen is cooked.  It should have an internal temperature of 190 F.
  • Brush the stollen with real butter, then dust generously with powdered sugar.  This is an important step, as it keeps the stollen fresh for longer.
  • Let the stollen cool completely before slicing and serving.  It needs time to finish cooking through.
  • Freeze leftover stollen.  Never refrigerate it, as that will make it go stale and dry.

Our Go-To Kitchen Tools

Check out these other delicious Christmas breads.

loaf of panettone on a bamboo cutting board sliced kanellangd on a wire rack sliced vánočka on a plate with a cup of hot cocoa

  • Panettone: this Italian Christmas bread is full of dried fruit and has a lovely texture.
  • Kanellängd: this Swedish cinnamon bread is sure to be a hit on Christmas morning.
  • Vánočka: this Czech Christmas bread is beautifully braided and tastes great with hot cocoa.

The pleasure of a 5-star review for this stollen recipe would be greatly appreciated.

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slices of German stollen on a cutting board

German Christmas Stollen Recipe


  • Author: Emma
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours 40 minutes
  • Yield: 1 large loaf 1x

Description

German Christmas stollen is a traditional yeast bread that’s filled with dried fruit and marzipan, then coated in butter and icing sugar.  You’ll love every bite of this moist, delicious bread this Christmas season!


Scale

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • 2/3 cup raisins (100g)
  • 1/2 cup dried currants (85g)
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds (50g)
  • 2/3 cup mixed peel, finely diced (75g)
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice (45 ml)
  • 5 cups bread flour (600g)
  • 4 teaspoons fast-action yeast (12g)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (5g)
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar (50g)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk (375 ml)
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, melted (150g)
  • 12 ounces marzipan (350g)

For the Decoration

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (55g)
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar (30g)

Instructions

Making the Dough (45 min + 2 hrs 10 min proving)

  1. Soak the fruit. Stir together the raisins, dried currants, chopped peel, sliced almonds, and orange juice until well mixed.  Leave to soak while you make the bread dough.
  2. Mix dry ingredients. Pour the flour into a large bowl, adding the yeast and salt on opposite sides of the bowl.  Stir in each one with your finger.  Mix in the sugar.
  3. Add wet ingredients. Dump in the warmed milk, orange zest, vanilla, and egg, and bring the mix together with your hand.  The dough may be dry at this stage, but don’t add any additional liquid to it.
  4. Prove #1. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it prove at room temperature for 40 minutes.
  5. Melt the butter.  Put the butter in a saucepan set over low heat until melted.
  6. Knead in the butter.  Gradually add the melted butter to the dough, squeezing and crushing the dough with your hand to incorporate.  Once all of the butter is added, knead until all the butter is evenly distributed.
  7. Prove #2. Cover the dough with plastic wrap again and let it prove for 1 hour.
  8. Add the fruit. Place the dough in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add the soaked fruit mixture and mix on medium-low speed until evenly mixed.  If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can do this step by hand.
  9. Prove #3. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes covered with plastic wrap.

Shaping the Stollen (10 min + 30 min proving)

  1. Punch it down. Turn out the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface.  Punch it down all over to knock out any large air pockets.
  2. Roll out the dough.  Roll out the dough into an oval about 12 inches long and 8 inches wide.  Place the bread dough on an 11×17-inch cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Roll out the marzipan. On a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar, roll out the marzipan to an oval slightly smaller than the bread dough.  Lay it on top of the bread.
  4. Fold.  Fold over the long side of the oval so the dough is folded in half lengthwise.  The marzipan should be covered by the dough.
  5. Prove #4. Cover the stollen with a piece of plastic wrap and let it prove until the dough springs back when gently pressed, about 30 minutes.

Baking the Stollen (1 hr)

  1. Preheat. Towards the end of the final prove, preheat your oven to 400 F.
  2. Bake.  Cook the stollen in the middle of the oven for about 15 minutes at 400 F.  Without opening the oven door, lower the temperature to 375 F and bake the loaf until it’s golden brown and has an internal temperature of about 190 F, about 40 minutes.  Once the bread is nicely browned, cover it with aluminum foil.
  3. Cool. Let the stollen cool for 10 minutes on the tray, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool.

Decorating the Stollen (10 min)

  1. Decorate. While the loaf is still hot, brush on a generous coating of melted butter and sift a thick coating of icing sugar on top.  This coating looks pretty and seals the loaf, preventing it from drying out too quickly.
  2. Serve. Let the loaf cool completely, then slice and serve with soft butter.

Notes

  • Make this recipe perfectly the first time.  Check out the step-by-step photos and pro tips before the recipe card.
  • The pleasure of a 5-star review for this German stollen recipe would be greatly appreciated.
  • 👩🏻‍🍳 Want to see our latest recipes?  Subscribe to our email newsletter to get our latest recipes, fun food facts, food puns, and behind the scenes news about our blog.
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: German

Keywords: easy stollen recipe, moist stollen recipe

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6 thoughts on “German Christmas Stollen Recipe

  1. I like the marzipan and the orange peel. The currants and raisins taste good together. The bread is flaky. I could definitely have a second piece!

  2. Stollen is filled with raisins and currants. The marzipan adds a burst of almond flavor, and the lemon zest and peel adds a hint of citrus. This is so good that it might be stolen!

    1. Thank you! I’m glad that you enjoyed reading the post. 🙂
      By the way, I really liked your informative post about stollen! German food is delicious.
      Have a blessed day,
      Emma

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