How to Make Christmas Stollen – A German Christmas Tradition

Stollen has been a part of my German family Christmas for as long as I can remember. While my  Canadian friends had fruit cake, we had stollen.


Stollen is a yeast bread, it is not a cake. In fact, because of it’s similarity to bread and the lack of sweetness typical of Christmas baking, stollen was my least favorite Christmas treat. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I actually began to truly appreciate and crave the unique flavor of stollen with a nice cup of coffee.

stollen close up (800x600) - watermarked

Once I started to enjoy stollen, my annual cravings were fulfilled through the generous baking hands of my mom and my elderly German neighbour. After supplying loaves of stollen for several years, my neighbour decided it was time to pass on the tradition and for several years, I would go to her house to bake stollen. She taught me to be patient while waiting for the dough to rise, to soak the raisins in spiced rum for optimum flavor and to prevent burnt raisins by picking out certain ones – the kind of tips and tricks you pick up only under the tutelage of someone with years of experience.

And now, with mom living thousands of miles away and my neighbour no longer with us, I bake Christmas stollen with them in mind.

christmas stollen (800x590) - watermarked

Recipe for Christmas Stollen

German stollen
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Stollen with Marzipan

Prep : 3 hrs
Cook : 25 mins
Total Time: 3 hrs 25 mins
Servings: 2 loaves


  • 1/4 cup spiced rum
  • 1/2 cup golden sultana raisins
  • 1/2 cup dark raisins
  • 3 1/2 - 4 cups all-purpose flour divided
  • 3 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup milk warm
  • 2/3 cup butter melted
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup candied citrus peel
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 8 oz marzipan
  • Topping
  • 4 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1 cup icing sugar


  • Combine raisins and rum in a small bowl; set aside to soak overnight.
  • In large bowl, mix 3 1/2 cups flour, instant yeast, sugar and salt.
  • Heat milk to 110°F (lukewarm). Mix in melted butter and egg.
  • Make a well in the flour mixture and stir in liquid ingredients. Stir until ingredients are combined then use your hands to knead into a smooth, springy dough.
  • Knead dough thoroughly for about 8 minutes adding more flour only as needed to prevent stickiness. (The goal is to prevent stickiness, not to incorporate all the flour.)
  • Knead in raisins, citrus peel, orange zest and sliced almonds. Add additional flour as needed to prevent stickiness. Knead until all fruits and nuts have been incorporated into a smooth dough. It will seem like all these ingredients won't fit - but they will, keep kneading.
  • Form dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl turning a few times to coat all sides. Cover with a clean, damp towel and place in a warm, draft-free area to rise for 1 hour to 2 hours. Dough will be more springy but don't expect it to grow too much.
  • Punch down dough and divide into two pieces.
  • On a lightly floured work surface use a rolling pin to form each piece into an 8 x 10 inch oval about 1/2 to 1 inch thick.
  • Split marzipan into 2 pieces. Shape each piece into a log about 9 inches long (or 1 inch less than the length of your rolled out dough). Flatten the marzipan logs with a rolling pin.
  • Fold the dough in half lengthwise, remove any raisins, citrus peel or almonds that are on top of the outside surface of the dough. Unfold dough, fold up the other side and remove any uncovered fruits and nuts from that side as well. (An important step to avoid burnt nuts and raisins). Unfold dough and place removed raisins, citrus peel and nuts on top of the dough.
  • Place marzipan strips into the center of each piece of dough.
  • Fold the dough lengthwise to cover the marzipan and leaving a 1/2 inch strip of dough exposed to give your stollen the traditional hump. Gently press the top edge of the dough into the bottom edge and form your stollen to the desired shape.
  • Transfer stollen to baking sheet, loosely cover and let rest in a warm place for 45 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Bake stollen until golden brown all over about 25 to 30 minutes. For extra confidence that your stollen is baked through use a digital thermometer. Bread is done at 190 to 195°F (88-90°C)You can use a digital thermometer to test done
  • Topping
  • Brush stollen immediately with melted butter. Sprinkle with a coating of icing sugar. Repeat for extra thick topping.


Stollen improves with age. For best results wrap tightly and allow to sit for 2 weeks - if you can wait that long!
To freeze stollen, do not add topping. Wrap tightly in wax paper or aluminum foil before putting in freezer bag. Top with melted butter and icing sugar after it has thawed completely.
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Step By Step Guide to Stollen

Soak the raisins – very important step! A nice dark, spiced rum imparts extra flavor.

soaking the raisins l (600x800) - watermarked

This is a yeast dough so you have to knead it to develop the gluten. I knead it thoroughly before adding the fruits and nuts and then once again to incorporate all the little tasty bits.

stollen dough w (800x600) - watermarked

Incorporating all the fruits and nuts takes a lot of kneading, toss in a bit of flour as needed. You’ll likely curse me at this stage, believing that you’ll never get them all incorporated into the dough. Just keep kneading and adding a little flour if things get sticky from the soaked raisins, trust me, at some point they’ll all magically work their way into the dough.

kneading in the fruit and nuts (800x600) - watermarked

Let the dough proof for 1 to 2 hours. With all those fruits and nuts, don’t expect it to double in size.

resting stollen

Roll out the dough and the marzipan.

rolled out stollen and marzipan

Avoid burnt raisins, remove any on the outside surface that aren’t covered in dough.

pick out raisins from stollen

Lay out marzipan just off center of dough.

adding marzipan to stollen

Fold and shape stollen.

shaping stollen

Put on baking sheet and bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes until they’re nicely browned.

stollen out of oven

Brush with butter.

brushing stollen with butter

Dust with icing sugar.

sprinkle stollen with icing sugar

If making one to freeze, do not add icing sugar.

christmas stollen (800x590) - watermarked

Ideally one would allow the flavors to develop and the stollen to mature for two weeks wrapped in wax paper or aluminum foil in an airtight bag. My family has little patience and we enjoy the stollen right away.

sliced stollen

I think I’ll go enjoy a piece right now! Merry Christmas!

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  1. Hi Getty! I tried your Stollen recipe but cheated and used my bread maker on the dough setting for the mixing and kneading process. It worked very well and the end product was delicious. I did make a substitution and used currants instead of dark raisins and I am not a fan of candied citrus peel so used dried cranberries. I was pleased at the results and was glad I tried it. Thanks for being the inspiration to give it a try!!

    1. Hi Rosemarie,
      So glad you were inspired to make your own version of stollen. Kneading is one of my favorite ways to de-stress so I never think to use the bread machine. Great idea though, thanks for sharing!
      Wishing you and your family all the best.


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