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Slices of Christmas Bread on a plate, ready for serving, with some mulled wine on the background.
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5 from 1 vote

Julekake Recipe (Norwegian Christmas Bread)

A staple in Norway's Christmas celebration, Julekake (Norwegian Christmas Bread), is a deliciously soft bread that you can easily make at home. Even without a stand mixer -- give this Christmas bread a try!
Prep Time35 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Resting Time2 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 15 mins
Course: Bread
Cuisine: Norwegian
Servings: 18
Calories: 217kcal
Author: Neriz


For the Christmas bread dough:

  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp cup butter, unsalted & melted
  • 1 cup milk, lukewarm
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp active dry yeast, heaping
  • 2 & 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cardamom seeds, freshly ground
  • 1/2 cup raisins, heaping

For the egg wash:

  • 1 small egg
  • 1 tbsp milk


Preparing the julekake:

  • Combine yeast with a lukewarm cup of milk.  Mix and set aside until foamy.
  • Using the stand mixer bowl, combine and mix flour, sugar, salt, and cardamom.
  • Add the yeast mixture and melted butter.
  • Mix until you get a smooth dough. (Manual kneading of the dough for julekake is also ok if you don't have a stand mixer).

Proofing the julekake dough:

  • Form the dough into a ball and place it into a large, oiled bowl.
  • Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside until double in size.  It usually takes about 90 minutes for me.
  • Deflate your julekake dough by punching in the middle and use your hands to flatten it on the counter-top.
  • Add the raisins and knead a bit to incorporate evenly.  
  • Form it into a ball again; place it on top of a baking tray, lined with a baking paper.
  • Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel and set aside for about 30-45 minutes, or until it has slightly increased in size.

Baking your Norwegian Christmas bread:

  • When the julekake dough is almost ready, preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
  • Combine egg with a tablespoon of milk for your egg wash.
  • Remove the kitchen towel covering your julekake and brush the top and sides (evenly) with egg wash.
  • Place the tray in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top of the julekake has turned into a darker color.
  • Set aside to cool a bit.
  • Slice your freshly baked julekake, then serve.



  • Cook's Tip #1:  You can use a bit of liquor in julekake by soaking the raisins in your favorite liquor for 10-15 minutes and then drain them before adding to the dough.
  • Cook's Tip #2:  If you can, buy cardamom seeds and ground them yourself instead of purchasing the powdered one.  The difference in aroma and flavor of the resulting julekake is noticeable.
  • Cook's Tip #3: It's a very manageable dough, so manual kneading is an excellent alternative for preparing this Norwegian Christmas bread, if you don't have a stand mixer. 
  • Cook's Tip #4: Feel free to split the dough into two small loaves of julekake, if that's how you want to serve it.
  • Variation #1:  You can use all-purpose flour if that's what you have.  But the result is better with bread flour.
  • Variations #2: You can also add sultanas and other candied fruits to julekake if you prefer. 


Calories: 217kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 188mg | Potassium: 86mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 429IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg