This traditional Norwegian Christmas bread (julebrød or julekake) is a beautiful loaf studded with dried fruits and flavored with the subtle warmth of cardamom. Learn how to make this traditional, festive bread at home.

Norwegian Christmas bread (julebrod). Click through for this traditional Norwegian recipe!

According to my parents, both of my grandmothers used to make julebrød around Christmas. My grandmothers passed away in 1974 and 2005, so needless to say it had been awhile since my parents tasted it.

My parents were absolutely delighted to dig into a warm loaf of julebrød. They both said that the bread tasted just like their mothers used to make.

I considered that a huge compliment!

Norwegian Christmas bread: Learn how to make this traditional, festive bread recipe.

What Is Norwegian Christmas Bread?

Norwegian Christmas bread (sometimes called julebrød (Christmas bread) or julekake (Christmas cake)) is an old traditional Norwegian recipe that is popular served around the holidays. It’s similar to stollen (a Christmas bread recipe) that is popular in Germany.

It’s a yeasted white loaf subtly spiced with cardamom, and studded with small pieces of dried fruit such as apricots, raisins, currants, papaya, and pineapple (from a bag of mixed tropical fruit) or sugared citrus peel. The addition of almond icing and sliced almonds makes it more dessert-like, although this is not traditional.

My family has been making this bread for generations.

Julebrod: Norwegian Christmas bread. A traditional Norwegian Christmas recipe.

The Perfect Finishing Touch: Almond Icing

Almond icing is not traditional. But I think it adds the perfect finishing touch to this Christmas bread.

Traditional Norwegian baked goods are delicious in their simplicity. They’re not overly spiced or flavorful. While this Christmas bread is delicious on its own, I think the almond icing adds a nice sweet touch, making it worthy of taking a place on your Christmas dessert platter.

Feel free to omit. This bread is equally good served warm from the oven, spread with butter.

Norwegian Christmas bread (julebrod) with an almond glaze. Click through for recipe!

Recipe Tips: How To A Great Loaf Of Norwegian Christmas Bread

If you’ve made bread before, this recipe should be no problem. Here are a few tips to help perfect your loaf:

  • Use bread flour: While all-purpose flour will work, bread flour will make for a lighter, fluffier loaf of bread.
  • Use warm, not hot water: You’ll need to proof the yeast in water that is between 105F and 110F. I use a food thermometer to make sure I’m in that temperature range.
  • Serve fresh: Like most homemade yeast breads, this is best served fresh – or even warm from the oven.
  • Gluten-free version: I made a mini loaf of Christmas bread using gluten-free 1:1 flour. It turned out great – a bit more rustic than the regular loaf, but still tasty.

Julebrod (Norwegian Christmas bread) with an almond glaze. Click through for recipe!

More Traditional Norwegian Recipes

I absolutely love sharing these recipes and learning about other families’ traditions surrounding these old Norwegian recipes:

Norwegian Christmas bread (julebrod). Click through for this traditional Norwegian recipe!

Norwegian Christmas Bread

Yield: 2 small loaves
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes

Look for a bag of dried fruit containing a variety of fruits. I used a bag of tropical dried fruit and used the raisins, currants, pineapple, papaya, and apricots. I omitted the dried banana chips that were included in the mix.


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped dried fruit (raisins, currants, pineapple, papaya, apricots)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 3 tablespoons warm water (between 105F and 110F)
  • 1 package rapid rise yeast
  • 3+ cups bread flour
  • 1/3 cup chopped almonds

For topping

  • 2 cups powered sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, for topping


  1. Place milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and turn on heat to medium. Bring milk just to a boil to scald, and remove from heat. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. Mix melted butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Add milk, cardamom, and dried fruit.
  3. Dissolve yeast in a bowl containing the warm water (between 105F and 110F). Add to milk mixture. Slowly add flour, mixing until the dough comes together and is just past the point of being sticky.
  4. Knead the dough on a clean, floured countertop, until dough is smooth. Toward the end of the kneading process, evenly disperse almond into the dough and knead some more to evenly incorporate.
  5. Brush dough with a small amount of olive oil, place in a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set in a warm place. Allow to rise until doubled in size (usually between 1 and 2 hours).
  6. Take dough and punch down. Form into 2 small round loaves. Place each loaf on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with a bit more olive oil, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise again for about an hour.
  7. Remove plastic wrap from bread dough. Place pan in a preheated 350F oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until bread is golden brown. Allow to cool before adding glaze.
  8. Make glaze: Mix powdered sugar, heavy cream, and almond extract in a large mixing bowl. Add more heavy cream if the glaze is too thick - or add more powdered sugar if the glaze is too runny. Top each loaf with a good amount of the glaze and top with slivered almonds. Cut into slices and serve.

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