8 Traditional Christmas Breads From Around the World

Epiphany pastry roll

 ASIFE / Getty Images

Christmas is a fabulous time to show off your baking skills and make gift breads for friends and family. There are many delicious traditional Christmas breads that you can bake, gift, and enjoy together.

Of these nine Christmas breads, many are fruit breads and most are yeasted, but there are a few sweet, non-fruit recipes and one quick bread. Most can be made a week or two ahead of the holidays and some of the fruit bread recipes actually recommend a few weeks to rest and allow the flavors to soften.

All of these recipes are relatively easy to make and they are certainly fun to bake. Try something new and unique, bake bread from your heritage, or test a variation on a favorite family recipe.

  • 01 of 08

    Slovak Bobalki

    Slovak Sweet Bobalki in bowl

    Barbara Rolek

     

    Slovak Bobalki is a traditional Christmas Eve and Lent bread that features baked balls of dough that make a lovely addition to the dinner table. Bobalki can be served as either a sweet or savory bread. For a sweet bread, they are smothered in honey and ground poppy seeds. As a savory side, they're topped with sauerkraut and onion. Both are tasty.

  • 02 of 08

    Cinnamon Tea Rings

    Closeup of cinnamon tea ring

     S.K. Holte Photography/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Cinnamon tea rings are a common gift bread made during the Christmas season. Try these if you want to avoid fruit bread. Add cranberries, raisins, or nuts if you like, but the tea rings are just as delicious with icing alone.

    This recipe makes six beautiful tea rings, so you will have plenty of sweet bread to serve after Christmas dinner and to gift to friends and relatives.

  • 03 of 08

    Duivekater: Sour Cream White Bread

    Loaf of Bread
    James McQuillan / Getty Images

    A traditional Dutch bread that is shared alongside holiday meals, this is a sweet white bread with a hint of lemon. It looks as stunning as it tastes.

    Duivekater is shaped in a spectacular way. Begin with a rolled oval, cut pieces off it, then reattach them to create four '"arms." After a few slashes with the knife, it's ready to bake and it deserves to be served with the best butter you can find.

  • 04 of 08

    German Christmas Stollen

    German Christmas Stollen

    The Spruce

    Stollen is a traditional German Christmas bread that is perfect for the holidays. These delicious fruit cake-like breads make great gifts and can be prepared a few weeks in advance. In fact, they get better with a little age. Traditional sweet stollens have a variety of flavors. Icing is standard and this recipe includes candied fruits and almonds. The powdered sugar dusting is optional but highly recommended.

    If you want to make stollen but have limited time, try making a very easy stollen ​bread recipe. It will take less time and the recipe yields three loaves. Keep one and give two as gifts.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Julekake: A Norwegian Christmas Bread

    Julekake Norwegian Christmas bread

    The Spruce Eats / Viktoriya Stoeva

    Norway has its own take on a Christmas fruitcake and Julekake has long been a favorite tradition in many families. The Julekake is flavored with cardamom and candied fruits. It's easily formed into two loaves of bread. This bread is best when served fresh from the oven. If you have to bake it ahead, it makes a fine fruity toast as well.

  • 06 of 08

    Three Kings Bread

    Spanish typical Epiphany cake Roscon de Reyes on a wooden background
    PAVEL IARUNICHEV / Getty Images

    Three Kings Bread (or Rosca de Reyes) is a traditional Mexican fruit bread that is baked in a wreath shape. The wreath is adorned with dried fruit and the bread is often braided. The most unique part is that a baby Jesus figurine is baked right inside the dough. Some specialty stores may carry this bread, but it is so much tastier if you bake your own.

  • 07 of 08

    Russian Christmas Bread

    Russian Krendel

    Olga / Flickr

    Another fruit bread, traditional Russian Christmas bread goes by the name of krendel (or krendl). It's formed in the shape of a large pretzel and hides its delicious dried fruits inside. This impressive bread can be glazed, left plain, or topped with powdered sugar.

  • 08 of 08

    Mini Cranberry Fruit Bread

    Mini Cranberry Fruit Bread
    Alice Day / EyeEm / Getty Images

    These miniature loaves of cranberry bread are perfect for casual gifting. This quick bread recipe does not require yeast, so there is no waiting for it to rise and very little mixing. An easy recipe, this bread calls for fresh cranberries which are in season this time of year.