Pat Nixons Date Nut Bread

Pat Nixons Date Nut Bread

Hi Guys, I had such rave reviews from the folks last week on my Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread that I decided not to rest on my laurels but to forge ahead & make Pat Nixons Date Nut Bread. I don’t think I’ve made or had Date Nut Bread for years, maybe decades, but I came across a fun, retro recipe credited to Pat Nixon and couldn’t resist! making it.

Pat Nixons Date Nut Bread

Pat Nixon’s Date Nut Bread

Everyone loved Pat Nixons Date Nut Bread: my Dad and Stepmom, and much to my surprise so did I. I remember when I was a kid, I’d always avoid Date Nut Bread on the platters of various quick bread that showed up at each family gathering. It was straight for the Banana Bread or Pumpkin Bread for me. I guess I have more grown-up tastes now that I’m in my late 50’s, lol!

About Pat Nixons Date Nut Bread:

When I looked at the recipe, I thought, “Now, should I trust the wife of a man known the world over as “Tricky Dick?” I wasn’t completely sure, but I felt much better after realizing it was almost item by item the same recipe my Grandmother used. I guess it was extensively passed around. Ya gotta love those tried and true recipes. Sold.

This recipe was originally published in the Washington Post, Hints from Heloise, in 1961, and reprinted in 2010. It seems like there was an error in the amount of butter, so I was glad I had Grandma’s recipe to compare it with. I did include the changes in my recipe, below. I mean everything’s better with butter, right? Mo’ butter, mo’ better.

The recipe didn’t specify what kind of nuts to use in the bread. Typically, you’ll see walnuts, pecans or Brazilian nuts, or a mixture of them. Use whatever you’d like. Keep in mind that very hard nuts will not be quite as easy to chew as the nuts that are a bit softer. Almonds would be an example of one of the harder nuts. Peanuts, which aren’t really a nut, aren’t really complimentary to the dates.

Did you know that most quick bread is even better if tightly wrapped and refrigerated overnight? The texture improves and overall it just seems moister. It is a little bit counter-intuitive, but give it a try with any quick bread and see if you don’t agree. It was the case with Pat Nixons Date Nut bread. I mean we loved it the first day, and loved it even better the second. It was lucky there were two loaves or we might not have ever realized this; the first was pretty much demolished in hours.

My final conclusion after more than a few tastes? Tricky Dick might not have ever had my full confidence, but Pat is a different story! This bread is wonderful with absolutely nothing on it, even better schmeared with butter but for a real treat, try cream cheese or cream cheese with a little fruit in it. Apricot cream cheese is a beautiful thing with Pat Nixon’s Date Nut Bread.

Pat Nixons Date Nut Bread

Pat Nixon’s Date Nut Bread

Save time on Pat Nixons Date Nut Bread:

Like most of these old-fashioned recipes, Pat Nixons Date Nut Bread makes two loaves. I suppose the ordeal of baking was a lot more strenuous, and families were usually larger, so a baker would want to maximize their time. I love it because if I’m taking a loaf of Date Nut Bread somewhere, I have one to bring and one to keep, or if it’s for home, one for now and one to freeze for later. And quick bread freezes very well. Wrap them first in plastic, then tightly in foil. Unthaw overnight in the refrigerator. Thawing them slowly allows in the fridge for the moisture to distribute back throughout the loaf.

If you’d rather cut the recipe in half, don’t sweat the slight discrepancies in the measurements. Date Nut Bread is not so particular that you can’t just guesstimate the sugar and flour measurements.


Save Money on Pat Nixons Date Nut Bread:

I nearly forgot my shopping tips for Pat Nixons Date Nut Bread! Any dried fruits or nuts are at their low during the time period around the Christmas holidays. Stock up then! Since my store stopped doubling coupons, I don’t use them as much but I do tend to start to gather them or print online and use them around Thanksgiving and Christmas, or a few weeks before Easter. Both of those holidays are really the best times of the year to buy most baking goods and related items and that makes it a little more worthwhile to watch deals and coupons. The producers put out scads of coupons and the stores have great sales.

Both nuts and dried fruits are at their lowest prices during the fall/winter season. Keep the nuts in the freezer where they’ll stay fresh for ages. If the dried fruit is in flimsy packaging, put them in a heavy-duty freezer Ziploc. Aldi and Costco both have very good prices on nuts, too, all year round. Dried fruit seems to be pretty hit and miss at Aldi, but I do see it at Costco from time to time; it always seems to vary in availability there. And if you don’t have either of those options, take a peek around your store and see if the bulk items are a little less pricey.

Pat Nixons Date Nut Bread

Pat Nixon’s Date Nut Bread


Pat Nixon’s Date Nut Bread

An old-fashioned date nut bread, moist and flavorful.

  • Author: pat nixon
  • Yield: 2 loaves 1x
  • Category: Breakfast or Brunch
  • Cuisine: American


  • 1 pound packaged dates
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 stick of  butter
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


Cut dates into small pieces and place in a bowl. Add baking soda to boiling water and pour over dates in bowl. Set aside and let mixture stand. You will be using BOTH the dates and the SOAKING WATER in the recipe. (DO NOT DISCARD WATER)

With a mixer, cream butter and sugar together. Add the egg. Strain the soaking water from the date mixture INTO the creamed butter, sugar, and egg mixture. (See note) Add flour and beat well. Add nuts, dates, and vanilla.

Pour mixture into 2 greased 8 x 4″ loaf pans. Bake for one hour in a 350 F oven.

Note on straining: If you have a strainer, just place it over the bowl after you’ve creamed the butter, sugar and egg mixture and let the liquid flow in while reserving the dates for the next step. If not, just hold the dates back with a spoon as you pour the soaking liquid in.


Makes 2 loaves and freezes beautifully


  • Serving Size: 2 slices
  • Calories: 235
  • Sugar: 40g
  • Sodium: 16mg
  • Fat: 7g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 45g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Cholesterol: 17mg

Keywords: Bread, Breakfast or Brunch Dish, Dates, Dried Fruit, Fruit, Nuts and Seeds, Pat Nixon, Quick Bread, walnuts

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I’ll be linking Pat Nixons Date Nut Bread to Angie’s Fiesta Friday  – this is Number 132! Many of my fave bloggers hang out there every weekend and this week’s co-hosts are Sandhya @ Indfused and Nancy @ Feasting With Friends! It’s always a fun line up of bloggers and linkers.

The weekend wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t link up to Saucy Saturdays! Four bloggers, 4x the fun! I was surprised to see they gave me a HUGE shout-out this week! Thanks, guys!

If you like Pat Nixons Date Nut Bread, you might also like:

Unless you've tasted a really good date nut bread you might not "get it". Here's the best, Pat Nixon's recipe published in Hints for Heloise in 1961. It makes 2 loaves, 1 to eat & 1 to share or freeze. #PatNixonsDateNutBread #DateBread #DateNutBread

74 thoughts on “Pat Nixons Date Nut Bread

  1. My sister and I always love it when our mom made date nut bread each Christmas! She’s gone now, and we never got the recipe, but I plan to give yours a try. Mom always baked the bread in round, tin coffee cans. I know it’s just nostalgia, but it seemed to taste better that way. Those 1 pound cans are very difficult to find, so I might have to use bread pans. I hope it tastes every bit as good! 😋

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Julie. What a fun project for you and your sister to work together on. I hope this meets expectations! If your mom was anything like mine, she would be proud anyway!!

      I think you might be able to find christmas tins that are taller and narrower and about the shape of coffee cans. I would imagine you would have to figure out some way to line them unless you can find out if they are food safe or not. Maybe spray the inside with parchment paper and then put a round of parchment paper in the bottom and a rectangle of parchment paper pressed to the sides, Then everything sprayed again.

      If I only knew how many uses I would want coffee cans for, I would have collected some. I did manage to grab some nice glass jugs before they switched mosr juices and vinegar over to plastic. And think I used to tease my grandmother for saving Margorine tubs. Now I’m the hoarder l o l… I’d love to hear how it turns out and how you manage to pull it off. 🙂 Mollie

      • Thanks for responding, Mollie! Since seeing your post, I’ve been trying to remember how mom prepped the coffee cans and I vaguely remember her oiling them. I’ll check with my sister next time we talk, but I’m pretty sure that’s what she did. My sister lives in TX and I live in Iowa. We’ve both been bemoaning the fact that we never got mom’s recipe and wishing we had it. I’ll bet this is it, or at least, reasonably close. Anyway, she comes up here twice each year, and I’m hoping to surprise her with a batch!

        Thank you for mentioning the Christmas tins … I don’t know why I never thought if them! I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for them!!! Whether I find some or not, I can’t wait to make this recipe! 🙂

      • Wouldn’t you know … the day after you suggested trying to find Christmas tins, I went to an estate sale and found my tins! I added the date bread batter to the greased tins, baked for the 1 hour (which might have been a little on the longish side for my oven). They’re definitely a little brown, but after cutting off the bottom of the loaf (which didn’t taste burnt to me), I know they’ll be just fine. I can’t wait to surprise my sister when she visits next month! Incidentally, in my search for coffee can bread baking, I kept running into the term “Hobo Bread”. 🙂 Thank you for your recipes, FrugalHausfrau!

        • FrugalHausfrau

          Julie, thank you and thank you for commenting and following up! 😊 I would have always wondered otherwise. How lucky was that, finding those tins!

          I’m sure your sister will be thrilled When she comes.

          By the way, I had forgotten about hobo bread and I remembered that they used to do the same thing with boston brown bread. I

  2. May I ask, please, when calling for a pound of dates, is it calling for dates with pits, that I pit and chop or pitted dates? Removing the pits from a pound of dates yields less than a pound of product. If I am using pitted dates, am I to use a pound? I want to have the right amount to enjoy all the glorious date flavor but not so much that the dates weigh down the loaf. Comparing to other date bread recipes, I see a lot of variance between the blogging bakers. Thanks for the clarification.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Aunt Jay, the original recipe did not state but I always use dates that are already pitted and I use a pound. I hope that helps and I hope you love it as much as we do!!


  3. Jackie Lang

    What does the soda water do to the Dates? I didn’t have quite a pound so I hope it will taste good. I had to find out what the converstion was to a cup and a pound. I’m going to add a little cinnamon to and maybe nutmeg.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hey Jackie I think his bread is very forgiving. What the soda does to the dates is helps them get nice and soft so they Basically dissolve into the bread.

      I think quite a few few people like this with a cinnamon and nutmeg. How it turns out great for you! Mollie

  4. Nancy S

    I made last night. After I let the loaves cool, I wrapped well in saran wrap and put
    both loaves in the refrigerator. After work I tried a slice with cream cheese and a cup of coffee. Oh so good! I just had to have one more slice! I will definitely make again. I followed the recipe and didn’t make any changes. Your directions were very clear.
    Thank you!! 😋

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Nancy I’m so glad you’re Enjoying it!! It’s still one of my favorites in spite of being a little bit on the old fashioned side I would consider that classic!

  5. Jane Defoe

    Followed recipe except used 2 eggs. Added cinnamon. Baked one hour. Very dry. Dates were fresh bought but kind of hard after baking. Yes I soaked them in boiling water 15 minutes. Slathered butter on top but still very disappointing.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Jane, I’m not sure how altering ingredients that form the structure of the bread might affect the recipe. I’ve tossed an extra egg in a cake mix before, but this is such a different type of recipe. The batter is very thick and an egg would alter that somewhat.

      Since this is a heritage recipe, published in the 1970s but I’m sure it’s been around a lot longer, I didn’t make too many changes. All ovens vary in the way they heat and circulate air, so keep in mind that with almost any standard quick bread or muffins, etc., the rule of thumb for doneness is to watch for browning, of course, but in addition, the edges should just be starting to pull away from the pan when it’s done. Another test is the toothpick test: when inserted into the top center of the bread should come out with just a few moist crumbs attached. If you’re more technical, a thermometer in the center of the bread should register 190 degrees F.

      I hope this helps and I’m sorry you were disappointed! You might want to give it a go with one egg and watch for those clues for doneness. It really is a fabulous recipe! If you still have some of that dry bread around, it would be fab slightly warmed, with a scoop of ice-cream and maybe a little caramel drizzle.


  6. Terence Cho

    For this recipe, is it plain white sugar or brown sugar? I’ve looked online for this recipe and I see variations with white and brown.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Terence, sorry to reply so late! It is white sugar in the original published recipe. Hope that helps!


    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Mary, I have never doubled it so I can’t say for sure. My guess is that because this is a rather dense, heavy loaf that it is not as particular as some recipes that might be light and airy, but I have to say proceed at your own risk! 🙂

      Sorry I couldn’t have been of more help!


  7. Julia0

    I love this recipie. If I don’t have enough date on put an equal amount of dark raisins…don’t have walnuts…use any nuts…cut the sugar back to a half cup…add spices…I use cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little cloves. Doesn’t matter what I do it always comes out wonderfully.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Those are fabulous ideas!! I always have raisins!! And you cannot go wrong with those fall spices!! Yum!! Thanks for stopping by!


  8. I made this today. I cut the recipe in half but still used one egg. It was very good. The only thing I will do next time is cut the baking time by 5 to 8 minutes. It was a little burnt around the edges. Thanks for the recipe!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Mickey, so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for the info about the baking time, too. Ovens do vary! 🙂 Mollie

    • Moira Cutmore

      Hi. I read here where Pat Nixon was referred to as he. I believe she is President Nixon wife.
      Just a by and by. Off to.make your recipe now! Looking forward to a good old fashioned date loaf.

      • FrugalHausfrau

        Hi Moira, thanks for catching my gender bending, lol!! I will fix it up asap! By the way, Moira is one of my favorite names. Hope you love the date nut bread as much as we do!


  9. Jane

    Date bread takes me back to my childhood – memories of mom always having some on hand for Sunday afternoon company. She usually had banana bread and pumpkin bread on hand too for variety but the date loaf was always my favorite! Made this recipe this afternoon and the house smells amazing! One for nibbling on now and one for the freezer to take to the cottage next week lol.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Jane, it makes me nostalgic, too, even though date was never my fave as a child. Now I love it! Thanks for stopping by and commenting and have a wonderful time next week!

      I have a really good pumpkin bread on here, too!! If I do say so, lol!


    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Elle, I used a combo of pecan and walnut. Mostly pecan because I almost always have them on hand. Hope that helps.


  10. Michelle

    Hello! If I halved this recipe, could I bake in a bundt pan? This looks so delish and I can’t wait to make today!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Michelle, sorry to reply so late’ your comment went into my spam. I wonder if you tried it already? I think that would work, probably will need a shorter bake time. The loaves aren’t real large so they wouldn’t fill up the bundt.


  11. Deb Austin

    Are you using all-purpose or self-rising flour? All the other recipes I had for date nut bread call for all-purpose flour but they have baking powder and salt. The only other bread type recipe without baking powder and salt is with the self-rising flour.

  12. Emily

    Oh no! My dates have absorbed all of the water/baking soda solution. Is that ok? I used fresh dates. Pitted and chopped them myself. I mixed the baking soda with freshly boiled water and poured over. Stirred and let sit to cool. Will this work out or do I need to add more water? Should I have not let it cool?

  13. Penelopy Christoforou

    A delicious moist bread! Just a small point, can you please tell me the weight of a stick of butter in grams. Packaging varies in various countries
    and wasn’t quite sure about the amount of butter!

  14. Jill

    Just made this an used praline walnuts that I had from Costco. Cut back on the sugar and AMAZING!! Thanks for the great recipe!!!!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Gina, yes 1 egg; it’s not a typo, but no wor ries -it is a beautiful, moist loaf and as you can see, holds together. 🙂

  15. Ellen

    After making this, I realized the error. I strained the water off the dates! Maybe word this differently. Strain the dates from water, set dates aside. Add date water to the mixture. This important step is missing from your recipe!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Thank you so much. I’ll check the wording…we don’t want that happening to anyone else. Ok, I just checked. It does say “Strain water from the date mixture into the cream, sugar and egg mixture.” I’m not sure how to make that clearer. I’ll think on it.


      • FrugalHausfrau

        Hi again, Ellen, I added a note to the recipe that says, “You will be using both the dates and the soaking water in the recipe.” just so no one else will have to suffer the fate of being deprived of this excellent bread!!

  16. Cathy Riddle

    Made this tonight. Super easy and it turned out beautiful. Crust is chewy and the inside moist and tender. The only thing I added was some salt. Flavor is perfect. Thank you.

  17. Dates are not something I think to use very often. We had a bunch of them a few Christmases ago and didn’t quite know what to do with them. Of course as soon as they were gone I found a ton of recipes I would have like to have tried. Oh well, maybe next time! I love making vintage recipes, especially ones with a story. This looks like a great one!

    • Isn’t that way it usually goes with things! I made this and now I’m thinking about Sticky Toffee Pudding, but waiting for cooler weather…

      I love pulling out some of the old recipes now and then. 🙂

  18. There was a time (decades ago) that I turned my nose up at dates, and the date bread my mom made. Thankfully, I came to my senses. 😉 I absolutely adore dates now! This recipe may be an oldie but a goodie, yet it’s totally new to me. Saving the recipe for sure… I can almost taste the delicious flavors. 

    Thanks for sharing your fabulous recipe with this week’s party at Fiesta Party!

    • Nancy, I felt the same way. I remember when I was little – whenever the relatives got together, whether it was a birthday or a funeral, there were always a whole bunch of different sweet breads. I’d always avoid the date nut. Now I wish I hadn’t waited so long to make this!

    • I’ve been wanting to try that recipe and keep forgetting! Glad to know they’re good! When I was little I remember watching her in all the old black & white movies and I wanted to be just like her when I grew up…I must have forgotten somewhere along the line…

      • For some reason a newspaper (NY Times?) chose to replace the melted chocolate in the recipe with cocoa powder. NOT the intent of the recipe. I have a copy that I cut out of our local newspaper 20 plus years ago which I typed out.

        Katharine Hepburn’s Brownies – makes 16 squares

        2 oz/60 gm dark, unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
        1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
        2 eggs
        1 cup sugar
        1/4 cup flour
        1 cup chopped or broken-up walnuts or pecans
        1 teaspoon vanilla
        Pinch of salt

        Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F.

        Grease an 8 x 8-inch-square pan, preferably lined with parchment paper to make removal easier when thoroughly cooled.

        Melt together butter and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, then take the saucepan off the heat and transfer the butter-chocolate mixture to a large bowl. Let cool a bit so you don’t cook the eggs.

        Whisk in the sugar, then the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla. Stir in the nuts.

        Combine the flour and salt in a separate bowl and then fold into the cocoa-butter mixture, until just combined and you no longer see white floury areas.

        Pour into pan and rap the base against the table to get rid of any bubbles in the batter.

        Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs. Do not overbake; the brownies should be gooey.

        Let cool completely in the pan, then remove and cut into bars.

        NOTE: The thin shiny crust just shattered when I tried to cut it. Someone suggested using a plastic knife in case you want to try it before I do.

        • Oh, thanks so much! I have heard about this plastic knife thing once before – and it explains I guess why my stepmom has this really fancy looking plastic knife with plastic flowers all over the handle. I was initially flummoxed by it! I guess it was a serving knife for parties.

  19. Hi Mollie, Sounds delicious plus your photos are so appealing! We always ate cream cheese on our date nut bread. I always felt sorry for Pat Nixon. In her photos I thought she usually looked sad or downcast, rarely smiling. Thanks for the recipe! Blessings, Janet

    • I wanted to get a picture with some cream cheese because I remembered that, too! But it got all eaten up. I only got the one slice I was holding in the picture and the teensiest smidge the next day. I was bummed lol!

      I always thought Pat Nixon was a class act – and what a difficult time she went through, especially in that time period.

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