An Easier Take on German Stollen That Knows How Busy You Are Right Now

Lighter in effort, heavy on boozy fruit.

December 14, 2018
Photo by Ty Mecham

Classic German stollen is intensely rich and sweet, drenched in butter and confectioners’ sugar to last for weeks. Each heavenly slice will stick to your ribs, and it is labor-intensive to say the least.

Thankfully, there is a much easier and lighter version for the rest of us, long prized by German homemakers. Called Quarkstollen, it is just as dense and aromatic, but is moistened and elevated with the country’s legendary fresh cheese, quark. Most important, it can be prepared even during the busy holiday season.

My own take gives tradition a spin: I use less butter and lots of good-quality dried fruit for sweetness. Part-skim ricotta makes a nice replacement for quark here. And my stollen is made with 100 percent whole-grain spelt flour, traditional in parts of Germany. I’m especially fond of its mild natural sweetness with none of the bitter notes that you might find in whole wheat. I am also partial to spelt, an ancient wheat, because people seem better able to digest it than whole wheat, so I can take it to holiday parties without worry.

My stollen is as easy as can be. It makes two smallish loaves, one to gift and one to enjoy. The only note: Please give your dried fruit ample time to soak in rum or apple juice overnight. Trust me on that. And let your dough rest—take a break yourself—one hour (or up to 24 hours in the fridge). This gives you loads of flexibility in the midst of holiday franticness.

Last but not least, don’t fret over the unusual shape, thought to symbolize baby Jesus in a blanket. Just fold one edge of the dough over the other part-way and press in gently to adhere. If you’d like, place a slim 7-inch store-bought marzipan log with 1-inch diameter into the center in step 7 beforehand.

Do not omit the single butter and sugar layer on top—it brings the aromas together for what we call in Germany Stollenglück, translated as "happiness by stollen." Guten appetit, and happy holidays!

Have you ever tried stollen? Let us know below!

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  • Becky
  • jutogaropr
  • nancy essig
    nancy essig
  • Judyinbostin
  • MariaSpeck
Maria Speck is the author of Simply Ancient Grains and Ancient Grains for Modern Meals (both by Ten Speed Press). Her work has received multiple awards, including a Julia Child and an M.F.K. Fisher cookbook award. Raised in Germany and Greece, Maria is a veteran journalist and food writer with a lifelong passion for whole grains.


Becky December 21, 2018
I make my grandmother's stollen every year... it is a version that does not use milk or marzipan, and the raisins are not soaked in anything. It has it's first proofing after mixing, then proofs overnight in the refrigerator, then proofs once more after being rolled, shaped and put on baking pan. I bake between 6-8 batches (2 loaves in each batch) and share with family and friends - everyone loves it! Because I ship a lot of it, I do not put the butter and sugar on top. We love to eat it sliced, toasted in oven or toaster oven, with butter of course!
MariaSpeck December 22, 2018
Hi Becky — I love that you share the bounty of your grandmother’s recipe to this day!! It sounds wonderful. Happy Holidays to you! And if you ever try my recipe, do let me know. ✨✨
jutogaropr December 15, 2018
soo nice this food.
nancy E. December 14, 2018
Das ist nicht Stollen
amir December 15, 2018
Doch bin ich
MariaSpeck December 15, 2018
Es gibt so viele Rezepte für Stollen wie es Menschen gibt, die diese Köstlichkeit backen. Ich habe über die Jahre Dutzende Rezepte studiert und das ist meine Version. Enjoy!
MariaSpeck December 18, 2018
Hallo @nancy E — ich habe weiter unten geantwortet. Lass Dich überraschen - mein Stollen ist superlecker.
Judyinbostin December 14, 2018
Made stollen several times. Now we buy Trader Joe’s.
Last yea I discovered a stollen cookie recipe that was fantastic. It was a little complicated but delicious and made a huge batch that kept well. Made the candied
Orange and lemon rinds which were fantastic but somewhat tedious to make. Maybe next year.
MariaSpeck December 18, 2018
All things stollen involve a little labor of love @Judyinboston. Still, some recipes come together more easily, and this is what I have tried here — because I‘m lazy at heart but love good food. Let me know if you try it some day. 🙌🏻