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Yes, you can make Amish Friendship Bread without starter! This easy cinnamon quick bread is moist and tender (thanks to pudding in the mix), simple to stir together, and perfect for sharing with loved ones. Each loaf is laced with notes of cinnamon and sugar for a sweet breakfast, snack or dessert that pairs perfectly with a warm cup of coffee. It’s make-ahead and freezer-friendly, too!

Amish Friendship Bread without starter on a cutting board with a creamer and eggs in the background

No Starter Amish Friendship Bread

Amish Friendship Bread without starter is a total game-changer! After all, we have loved classic Amish Friendship Bread for years, but it can be tedious to start, maintain, and continually share a batch of starter. Instead, this “Amish Friendship Bread hack,” which a reader recently shared with me, cuts out the waiting period and allows you to bake two loaves of quick bread whenever the craving strikes. It’s moist, rich in flavor, and warmly spiced. Thanks to a cinnamon-sugar topping, the bread has a sweet crust on the top and a fluffy, tender inside. You’re seriously going to love it!

What is the story behind Amish Friendship Bread?

A traditional Amish Friendship Bread recipe begins with a sourdough starter (made with flour, yeast, sugar, and milk). You’re supposed to share the starter with 3 friends every time you prepare a batch of the bread. Those friends then make their own bread, and share the starter with 3 more friends. You get the idea — it’s basically like the bread version of an old-school chain letter! The recipe (and starter) is passed along like a chain from one friend to the next.

Amish Friendship Bread is prepared with a good amount of sugar and oil, has a mild cinnamon flavor, and a texture that’s moist and rich — like a cross between a pound cake and a coffee cake. This bread doesn’t resemble a traditional loaf of sourdough bread in any way!

Side shot of a loaf of starter free Amish friendship bread on a cutting board

History

There is no evidence that Amish Friendship Bread actually originated with the Amish. According to Elizabeth Coblentz, a member of the Old Order Amish and the author of the syndicated column “The Amish Cook,” true Amish Friendship Bread is “just sourdough bread that is passed around to the sick and needy.” This cake-like quick bread recipe that I’m showing you today is perfect for sharing with friends in need, but it’s not actually affiliated with Amish culture.

No one knows exactly where the original friendship bread recipe came from. This modern version rose to popularity in the United States in the 1980s, and is similar to a German cake called Herman Friendship Cake. Regardless of its unclear history, one thing is certain: this delicious Amish cinnamon bread is here to stay!

Do you have to wait 10 days for Amish Friendship Bread?

No, you don’t — and that’s why this recipe is so great! Instead of feeding a starter over the course of a couple of weeks, you can prepare two loaves of Amish Friendship Bread without starter whenever you like. We replace the starter with the acidic tang of buttermilk, and while each loaf of the starter-free bread is slightly smaller than a classic loaf of Amish Friendship Bread, it has almost exactly the same flavor and texture. It’s like magic!

Square image of slices of Amish Friendship Bread without starter on a blue and white plate

Ingredients

This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need to bake two loaves of Amish Friendship Bread without starter. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • All-purpose flour: the base of the bread.
  • Vanilla instant pudding mix: you’ll need a large 5.1-ounce box (6 servings) for this recipe, so make sure that you pick up the correct size when shopping. Do not prepare the pudding according to the package instructions — you only need the dry mix.
  • Baking powder and baking soda: leavening agents that help the bread rise.
  • Salt: to enhance the other flavors in the recipe and balance the sweetness.
  • Eggs: for structure.
  • Vegetable oil: for a moist loaf of bread. You can substitute with other neutral-flavored oil such as canola or avocado oil, if desired.
  • Granulated sugar: to sweeten the bread and to make the cinnamon-sugar topping.
  • Buttermilk: a tangy, acidic ingredient that flavors the bread, tenderizes the crumb, and activates the baking soda to help the loaf rise.
  • Cinnamon: for warm flavor in the bread and in the topping.
  • Vanilla extract: even more flavor!

Can I make the bread without pudding mix?

No, I do not recommend omitting the instant pudding mix. The gelatin component in the instant pudding mix makes the Amish cinnamon friendship bread super moist. It’s the secret ingredient to make your bread more fluffy, too! You’ll also get some sweetness and vanilla flavor from the pudding mix, so don’t skip this key ingredient.

Close up square shot of sliced starter free Amish Friendship Bread

How to Make Amish Friendship Bread without Starter

It’s amazing to me that this No Starter Amish Friendship Bread tastes almost identical to the bread that’s made with a starter. The main difference is in the size of the loaf: I have found that the starter-free recipe yields smaller loaves of bread (a compromise I’m willing to accept given the ease of this recipe). We’re using buttermilk instead of starter, but otherwise the ingredients are essentially the same…and the process is so darn quick!

  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients.
  2. Whisk together the wet ingredients.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between two loaf pans.
  5. Sprinkle the top of each loaf with a cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  6. Bake at 325°F for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean.
  7. Cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then turn the bread onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Slice and serve!
Square side shot of a loaf of sliced no starter Amish Friendship Bread

Storage

Allow the bread to cool completely on a wire rack before serving or packaging. Wrap the loaf in plastic wrap or foil to prevent it from drying out. The bread will stay fresh at room temperature on the counter for 1-2 days, and it will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

How to Freeze

Allow the bread to cool completely, and then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in a Ziploc freezer bag or wrap again with foil. The bread will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw the bread on the countertop, then slice and serve!

Amish Friendship Bread Variations

  • Add chocolate chips, white chocolate chips or butterscotch chips to the batter.
  • Fold in dried fruit like raisins, dried cranberries or dried cherries.
  • Mix in chopped nuts like pecans, almonds, walnuts or pistachios.
  • Instead of the cinnamon-sugar topping, finish the bread with a vanilla glaze like this once it’s cool.
  • If you’d like to add some wholegrains to the bread, you can use 1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour and 1 cup of all-purpose flour.
  • Amish Friendship Bread Muffins: divide the batter between standard-size paper-lined muffin cups. Bake the muffins in a 350° F oven for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in a muffin comes out clean.
Close up shot of a loaf of Amish Cinnamon Friendship Bread on a wooden cutting board

Tips for the Best No Starter Amish Friendship Bread Recipe

  • Make sure to use a large (6-serving) 5.1 ounce box of vanilla instant pudding mix. The smaller 4-serving box will not be enough for this recipe.
  • Do not prepare the pudding according to the package instructions. You only need the dry mix here.
  • To prevent quick breads or Bundt cakes from sticking to the pan, I like to use a baking spray (that includes flour). It also helps to run a knife around the outside of the bread while it’s still warm and cooling in the pan.
  • I prefer a light colored loaf pan (rather than a dark pan), because the darker pans tend to brown or burn the outside of quick breads before the inside cooks through.
  • Be careful not to over-mix your batter. Gently fold, just to combine. Too much mixing will yield a tough, dry loaf.
Overhead image of a loaf of sliced Amish Friendship Bread without starter on a wooden cutting board

More Quick Bread Recipes to Try

Amish Friendship Bread without starter on a cutting board with a creamer and eggs in the background

Amish Friendship Bread without Starter

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 2 loaves (about 10 slices per loaf)
Calories 224 kcal
Yes, you can make Amish Friendship Bread without starter! This easy cinnamon quick bread is moist and tender (thanks to pudding in the mix)!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 (5.1 ounce) large (6-serving) box vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the Topping: ¼ cup granulated sugar + 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease two 8½ x 4½-inch loaf pans; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, dry pudding mix, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, sugar, buttermilk and vanilla extract.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients; mix just until combined (do not over-mix).
  • Divide the mixture evenly between the two prepared loaf pans.
  • In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon topping. Sprinkle over the two loaves.
  • Bake at 325°F for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean.
  • Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely before slicing and serving.

Notes

  • Make sure to use a large (6-serving) 5.1 ounce box of vanilla instant pudding mix. The smaller 4-serving box will not be enough for this recipe.
  • Do not prepare the pudding according to the package instructions. You only need the dry mix here.
  • To prevent quick breads or Bundt cakes from sticking to the pan, I prefer to use a baking spray (that includes flour). It also helps to run a knife around the outside of the bread while it’s still warm and cooling in the pan.
  • I prefer a light colored loaf pan (rather than a dark pan), because the darker pans tend to brown or burn the outside of quick breads before the inside cooks through.
  • Be careful not to over-mix your batter. Gently fold, just to combine. Too much mixing will yield a tough, dry loaf.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 224kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 3gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 154mgPotassium: 72mgFiber: 1gSugar: 16gVitamin A: 56IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 35mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: amish friendship bread, amish friendship bread no starter, amish friendship bread without starter
Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Snack
Cuisine: American, Amish
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Girl… This bread is so good! I made it for a party and my friends and I were sad when the last piece was eaten. Thank you! I love it: