Christmas Bread: Gifts for the Holidays

From rum-laced banana bread to mini cranberry panettone and fruit-filled stollen, festive yeast breads make perfect holiday gifts.

  • Cranberry-Orange Bread with Grand Marnier Glaze
    Leigh Beisch

    Cranberry-Orange Bread

    Forget French pastry. This sweet holiday tea bread, topped with a Grand Marnier glaze and laced with cranberries, orange zest, and butter, is major league amazing. Even better, it's make-ahead friendly and freezes perfectly. Bake two large loaves or six small ones.
  • Christmas Stollen
    Photo: Jonny Valiant; Styling: Deborah Williams

    Christmas Stollen

    Stollen is a traditional German Christmas yeast bread that's filled with dried fruit and topped with a sugary glaze and candied cherries. It's usually shaped into a folded oval and is a welcomed gift during the holidays.
  • Mini Cranberry Panettones
    Randy Mayor

    Mini Cranberry Panettones

    This version of the sweet Italian yeast bread called panettone is made in muffin tins to streamline the baking process. Tuck these little cranberry-studded gems into holiday decorated plastic bags or colorful Chinese take-out cartons and give to neighbors, teachers, or friends.
  • Freezer Cinnamon-Fruit Rolls
    Photography: Randy Mayor; Styling: Melanie J. Clarke

    Freezer Cinnamon Rolls

    Gooey cinnamon rolls are tricked out with an extra special filling of toasted pecans, cinnamon, and dried fruit. But their best feature: the rolls go from freezer to oven in just 30 minutes. Perfect for make-ahead holiday breakfasts or gift giving.
  • Julekage (Danish Christmas Fruit Loaf)
    Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner


    Typically baked with candied citrus rind and either spiced apples or dried fruit (our choice), this rich Scandinavian sweet bread is then crowned with a sweet, snowy-white glaze.
  • Sugar-Frosted Cardamom Braid
    Randy Mayor

    Sugar-Frosted Cardamom Braid

    Like yeast breads in Scandinavia, this beautiful braided loaf is scented with spicy-sweet cardamom, an aromatic spice used in baked goods and curries. A little lemon zest adds more lush flavor, and then the sweet, easy-to-make bread is frosted with sugar.
  • Mini Pumpkin Spice Loaves
    Oxmoor House

    Mini Pumpkin Spice Loaves

    Perfect for gift giving, these mini loaves have just the right balance of holiday spices like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Top the loaves with cream cheese icing before giving or wrap un-iced loaves individually and present with a small jar of icing.
  • Southern Soda Bread
    Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Rose Nguyen

    Southern Soda Bread

    This hearty bread is simple and quick to make, so prepare extra and share with friends. Present each loaf by wrapping in plastic wrap and then in a festive kitchen towel. Tie with colorful ribbon or raffia then round out the gift by adding a jar of sweet preserves.
  • Pecan-Topped Pumpkin Bread
    Beau Gustafson; Katie Stoddard

    Pecan-Topped Pumpkin Bread

    So, don't expect any leftovers with this easy holiday tea bread made with canned pumpkin. Wrap it first in plastic, then orange tissue, and tie with a chocolate colored ribbon.
  • Potato-Sour Cream Biscuits

    Potato-Sour Cream Biscuits

    Line a pretty basket with decorative linens then pile high with these tender and flaky biscuits. Gather the linen at the top and tie with a festive bow before presenting to neighbors or friends.
  • Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze
    Photography: Randy Mayor; Styling: Jan Gautro; Food Styling: Kellie Gerber Kelley and Kathryn Conrad

    Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze

    Take a walk on the tropical side for the holidays with this oh, so good banana bread. Laced with dark rum and coconut, it's crowned with a tart lime glaze. Gift wrap with a funky holiday kitchen towel and tie with red string licorice.
  • Mini Fruit and Sunflower Loaves

    Mini Fruit and Sunflower Loaves

    Sneak these cute little fruit and sunflower seed loaves onto co-workers' desks for a holiday surprise. With a scoop of cornmeal and a splash of maple syrup, they're a sweet-savory combination that's bound to win over even picky eaters.
  • Golden Pumpkin-Walnut Loaf
    Becky Luigart-Stayner

    Golden Pumpkin-Walnut Loaf

    Sugar and spice and everything nice come together in this simple but unusual pumpkin-walnut tea loaf. Spices include cardamom, ginger, and mace instead of the usual cinnamon, so make it for friends and family that like a taste of adventure with their holiday flavor.
  • Pumpkin-Cranberry Muffins
    Beau Gustafson; Katie Stoddard

    Pumpkin-Cranberry Muffins

    Always a hit at holiday brunch, these moist pumpkin muffins are studded with dried cranberries for a sweet and tangy flavor. For gift giving, line a holiday craft box with parchment. Add a bundle of plastic-wrapped muffins, top with the lid, and tie shut with raffia.
  • Panettone (Italian Christmas Bread)
    Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

    Panettone (Italian Christmas Bread)

    This sweet cylinder-shaped bread is similar to a fruitcake and traditionally served during the holidays in italy.
  • Chocolate-Filled Buns
    Beau Gustafson; Katie Stoddard

    Chocolate-Filled Buns

    If eating chocolate-filled croissants is one of your favorite holiday memories, you'll want to try this healthier recipe featuring a soft whole wheat bun and a reduced-fat chocolate filling.
  • Cinnamon-Date-Pecan Rolls with Maple Glaze

    Cinnamon-Date-Pecan Rolls with Maple Glaze

    These extra-special cinnamon rolls are enhanced with both dates and pecans and make a perfect offering for a holiday breakfast or brunch.
  • Fig-Walnut Sticky Buns
    Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Cindy Barr, Jan Gautro, Leigh Ann Ross

    Fig-Walnut Sticky Buns

    Make warm sticky buns a part of your family holiday tradition if they aren't already. Dried figs and chopped walnuts give these extra flavor and crunch.
  • Cinnamon Crisp-Topped Cream Cheese-Banana-Nut Bread

    Cinnamon Crisp-Topped Cream Cheese-Banana-Nut Bread

    The sugary, cinnamon-scented streusel topping turns plain banana bread into a holiday treat that's perfect for breakfast or brunch. Or wrap up a loaf and a give it as a gift.
  • Praline Pull-Apart Bread
    Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Caroline Murphey

    Praline Pull-Apart Bread

    Start with frozen bread roll dough to create this impressive sweet holiday breakfast treat.
  • Pumpkin-Cinnamon Streusel Buns
    Randy Mayor; Mary Catherine Muir

    Pumpkin-Cinnamon Streusel Buns

    Cinnamon rolls take on a whole new holiday flavor with the addition of pureed pumpkin and nutmeg.
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