Old Fashioned Date Nut Bread

5 from 2 votes

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Date and Nut Loaf recipes tend to get a bad reputation but this loaf is as lovely as your other favorite sweet breads.

The dates used in this loaf melt into a sweet nothingness unlike a raisin that stays chewy. This bread is moist and very similar to a traditional sweet bread (think banana bread, minus the banana flavor) and deserves some attention!

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Date and Nut Bread

This is an old fashioned recipe from my family cookbook from my great grandma Ruby Graham. I know that a lot of you have sweet Grandmas who swear by a similar date loaf recipe but this one is the best I have ever tasted. 

Date and nut bread is delicious served warm with butter or cream cheese smeared on top accompanied with a cup of tea or coffee. It would also make a great afternoon snack or perfect to serve when you have company. The texture of this date and nut loaf is even better when it’s had a day to sit.

I usually make a double batch when I make this recipe because we devour one quickly and then I can freeze the other loaf and have a yummy loaf to look forward to. This recipe calls for pecans but walnuts would also be a delicious option.

Today I’m working with my favorite Bob’s Red Mill to bring you this recipe from a woman that’s important in my life. March is Women’s History Month and I wanted to highlight someone from my own life and share one of her recipes.

Here’s a photo of me, my great-grandma Ruby Graham, and my older sister at my grandparents house in Indiana in about 1987 or so. This recipe is hers from our Shoaf Family Cookbook.

I’m so grateful that my mom and her sister-in-laws made a family cookbook sometimes in the 80’s and collected up lots of family recipes. My sister and I redid the book in the early 2000’s so that all of the cousins could have copies of the book that our moms used for years. I still use it all the time. Family and old church cookbooks are such treasure troves!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are dates healthy?

Dates offer a variety of health benefits including: being high in fiber, contain antioxidants, can improve heart health and keep your digestive system moving. 

Do I need yeast to make a date and nut loaf?

This bread is considered to be a “quick bread” so you don’t need any yeast to make it. It is very simple and quick to whip up. You’ll use

How long does date and nut bread stay fresh for?

This bread will stay good when stored properly for 4-5 days at room temperature. It also freezes well and will keep in the freezer for up to 4 months when stored in an airtight container. 

What kind of dates do I use for this loaf?

For this particular date and nut loaf I suggest using pitted, dried cooking dates. You can find these in most grocery stores in the baking aisle or with the dried fruit. 

You all know my love of Bob’s Red Mill. It’s such a great company and their products are ones I use in my kitchen daily. This recipe features their Organic All-Purpose Flour which also happens to be the base of my famous sourdough bread.

A few new Bob’s products that I’m loving right now are their organic creamy wheat hot cereal (my kids LOVE it, nice break from oatmeal), their wild and brown rice mix (I’m throwing it in all the soups), and their organic 7 grain pancake and waffle mix (my kids can make breakfast on their own using the mix, I love that. The ingredient list is awesome too).

More easy quick bread recipes:

If you’ve tried this date nut bread recipe or any other recipe on Bless this Mess, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some pictures of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories AND add your photo to your comment so that other can see your creation.

close up top view of the traditional loaf of nut bread sliced and showing all the hues of brown in the center facing up and we see the crunchy cinnamon crust
5 from 2 votes

Old Fashioned Date Nut Bread

This old fashioned date and nut bread recipe is a family favorite from my great-grandma. It’s a simple quick bread recipe made with dates, flour, sugar, and nuts!
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 9 (makes 1 loaf)


  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Organic All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
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  • Prepare a 9×5 inch bread pan by greasing it well with butter or shortening. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a medium mixing bowl add the dates and cover with the boiling water. Add the butter on top and let everything rest for 10 minutes.
  • After the 10 minutes has passes, add the sugar to the bowl and stir well to combine.
  • Add the egg and vanilla to the bowl and stir to combine.
  • Add the Bob’s Red Mill Organic All-Purpose Flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir just until the mixture comes together.
  • Add the pecans and stir lightly to combine.
  • Add the batter to the prepared baking pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
  • Bake the bread for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 
  • Allow the bread to cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove the bread from the pan and allow it to cool on a wire rack.
  • You can eat this bread warm, but I prefer to let the bread rest a few hours or overnight before eating. The texture gets better with some resting time. I’ll normally make the bread the night before and let it rest. Then the next day I’ll slice it, butter it, and warm the slices up in the oven or microwave just until the butter melts before serving. 
  • Store leftovers covered well.


  • You can use walnuts in this recipe if you prefer. The recipe didn’t indicate the types of nuts, so use what you like or have on hand.
  • This recipe can be doubled without any issues and it freezes very well.
  • I used whole dried dates and then I removed the pit and chopped them up. I bet that you could use the already chopped up dates in the baking section (like the kind you use in fruit cake), just as well. 
  • This recipe comes from my great-grandma Ruby Graham and is on page 25 in the Shoaf Family Cookbook.


Serving: 1 of 9 servings, Calories: 316kcal, Carbohydrates: 57g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 22mg, Sodium: 316mg, Potassium: 183mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 33g, Vitamin A: 73IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 47mg, Iron: 2mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

Throw away your previous opinions that Date and Nut Loafs are only being made by your Grandmothers and make this beautifully flavored, rich loaf. I know you are going to love it.

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5 from 2 votes

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Recipe Rating


  1. Maureen says:

    5 stars
    This bread is excellent! Very easy recipe and the taste is a big hit with the whole family. It didn’t last long! I used prepackaged date pieces/rice pieces that were no sweetened and that worked just fine.

  2. ingrid says:

    5 stars
    Instead of chopping the dates I find that it’s easier to snip them with kitchen scissors. I do like the recipe!

  3. Rick says:

    I made this date loaf without the nuts or vanilla, came out perfect, thanks very much for the recipe