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This classic Persimmon Bread recipe yields a moist, warmly spiced loaf that’s easy to stir together with just one bowl in about 15 minutes! Enjoy a slice for breakfast, snack, dessert, or as a side dish with supper. Subtle notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves make this old-fashioned quick bread a perfect companion for coffee, tea, mulled cider, and hot cocoa.

Overhead shot of a tray of james beard persimmon bread

James Beard Persimmon Bread

Adapted from James Beard’s persimmon bread recipe in his classic bread baking book, Beard on Bread, this version is truly the best! I’ve added some warm spices, swapped out the bourbon for apple cider, and cut down the quantities to create one perfect loaf. The end result is a moist and tender quick bread that’s full of sweet fruit, crunchy nuts, and cozy fall flavor. Best of all, it’s incredibly easy to stir together in a single bowl!

Side shot of persimmon bread on a table with a cup of tea

Persimmons

The persimmon is an edible fruit that ripens in the United States in the late fall through the winter. They’re typically in season from October through January or February. In general, there are two types of persimmon fruit: astringent and non-astringent.

The heart-shaped Hachiya persimmon is the most common variety of astringent persimmon. Astringent persimmons contain very high levels of soluble tannins, which make them inedible if they’re eaten before completely soft and ripe.

For this recipe, I always use the non-astringent persimmon called a fuyu persimmon. This variety is squat like a tomato, and turns a deep orange color when fully soft and ripe. You can eat these persimmons while they’re still firm, but you’ll need to let them get very soft and ripe before you puree them for persimmon bread.

Side shot of a tray of fresh persimmons with flowers in the background

Taste

Very ripe persimmons at their peak will taste sweet, mild, and rich. The flavor is honey-like, the texture is similar to an apricot, and the skin is slightly tougher than an apple’s. When you blend the persimmon flesh into a puree, it has the texture of a very smooth applesauce — slightly thinner than pumpkin puree.

Overhead shot of a tray of fresh persimmons

What does persimmon bread taste like?

When you use persimmon puree in a quick bread, which is like using mashed banana in banana bread, the end result is a moist loaf that tastes quite similar to pumpkin bread. The persimmons add a very mild, sweet, honey flavor, which is further seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. I love to add raisins or dried cranberries and either chopped walnuts or chopped pecans for more flavor, texture, and sweetness.

Small white bowl of persimmon puree

Ingredients

This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a loaf of moist persimmon bread. 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.
  • Granulated sugar: for just the right amount of sweetness. You can reduce the sugar to ¾ cup or even ½ cup if you prefer a less-sweet loaf.
  • Salt: to balance the sweetness.
  • Baking soda: the leavening agent that helps the bread rise and brown.
  • Nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves: warm spices that give the bread its cozy fall flavor.
  • Butter: fat adds moisture and flavor to the bread.
  • Large eggs: for structure.
  • Apple cider: just a touch of liquid thins the batter. You can substitute with apple juice, bourbon, or cognac.
  • Persimmon puree: from about 2 medium, very ripe, peeled persimmons.
  • Vanilla extract: for warmth.
  • Nuts: an optional ingredient that adds toasty flavor and great crunch. I prefer either chopped walnuts or chopped pecans.
  • Raisins or dried cranberries: for plump sweetness and extra flavor. These are optional, so leave them out if you don’t have any.
Pouring apple cider into a white bowl

How to Make Persimmon Puree

You need 1 cup of persimmon puree, which requires about 2-3 very ripe, soft persimmons. I prefer fuyu persimmons, but other varieties will also work — as long as they’re very soft and sweet! To make the puree, just peel the fruit, cut off the green tops, and purée the persimmon pulp in a food processor or blender.

Adding nuts and raisins to a large white bowl

How to Make Persimmon Bread

This classic persimmon bread recipe just gets better as it sits! Go ahead and bake a loaf in advance — the flavors will come together and the bread will become even more moist as it rests. You’ll wake up to a delicious morning treat!

  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the persimmon puree and the rest of the wet ingredients to the dry mixture.
  3. Fold in the nuts and raisins.
  4. Pour batter into a prepared loaf pan. I use an 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch loaf pan, but a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan will also work.
  5. Bake in a 350°F oven for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Side shot of a tray of sliced james beard persimmon bread

How to Serve Spiced Persimmon Bread

We love this bread on its own for an easy make-ahead breakfast or snack, spread with butter, or with a touch of apple butter, Christmas jam, or spiced apple pear jam. For dessert, try topping a warm piece of the bread with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream!

Overhead shot of two slices of persimmon bread on a green wooden table

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 persimmon 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.

Freezer Instructions

Cool the loaf completely, wrap tightly, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw on the counter at room temperature overnight.

Side shot of a platter of Persimmon Bread

Recipe Variations

  • Reduce the sugar for a less-sweet loaf. The persimmon puree is very sweet on its own, plus you get a little bit of sweetness from the cider. You can cut the sugar to ¾ cup or even ½ cup if you prefer.
  • Add a teaspoon (or more) of orange zest to the batter for a fresh citrus flavor.
  • Use chopped walnuts or chopped pecans. You can also omit the nuts.
  • Substitute sweetened dried cranberries for the raisins, or omit the extra fruit entirely.
  • For a more subtle touch of nuts and raisins, use just ½ cup of each.
  • Persimmon Bread with Bourbon: James Beard’s persimmon bread recipe calls for bourbon or cognac instead of apple cider. Feel free to use the alcohol for a more grown-up bread!
  • Play around with the spices. Increase the amount of cinnamon, add some ginger, or try a bit of allspice. Beard recommends mace, and I bet cardamom or allspice would also be good.
  • Double all of the ingredients to bake two loaves of bread.
Side shot of easy persimmon bread sliced and served on a plate

Tips for the Best Persimmon Bread Recipe

  • 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.
  • The total baking time will vary depending on the type of pan that you use (and on your individual oven). I prefer light-colored pans (or gold pans), which cook the bread more evenly. Dark metal pans tend to cause the outside to burn before the inside cooks through. You’ll know that the bread is done when a toothpick inserted deep into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
  • Be careful not to over-mix the batter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients just until they’re combined. Too much mixing and the bread will come out tough, dense, or dry. The key to keeping a quick bread moist is NOT over-mixing.
  • I like to shield the top of the bread loosely with foil after the first 45 minutes of baking. This prevents the top from becoming too dark, while the rest of the loaf can cook through.
Overhead shot of the best persimmon bread recipe served on a brown and white platter

More Quick Bread Recipes to Try

Overhead shot of a tray of james beard persimmon bread

Persimmon Bread

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 1 loaf (about 12 slices)
Calories 348 kcal
This classic Persimmon Bread recipe yields a moist, warmly spiced loaf that's easy to stir together with just one bowl in about 15 minutes!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (can reduce to ¾ cup or ½ cup for a less-sweet taste)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup apple cider (or sub with apple juice, bourbon, or cognac)
  • 1 cup persimmon puree (the pulp of about 2 medium, very ripe persimmons, peeled and processed in a blender or food processor until smooth)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
  • 1 cup raisins or dried cranberries, optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch (or 9 x 5-inch) loaf pan; set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves.
  • Make a well in the center and add the melted butter, eggs, apple cider, persimmon puree, and vanilla extract. Stir just until combined – do not overmix. Fold in the nuts and raisins, if using.
  • Transfer batter to the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Tent loosely with foil towards the end of the baking time if the bread starts to get too dark on top before it’s done.

Notes

  • How to Make Persimmon Puree: You need 1 cup of persimmon puree, which requires about 2-3 very ripe, soft persimmons. I prefer fuyu persimmons, but other varieties will also work — as long as they’re very soft and sweet! To make the puree, just peel the fruit, cut off the green tops, and puree in a food processor or blender.
  • 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.
  • The total baking time will vary depending on the type of pan that you use (and on your individual oven). I prefer light-colored pans (or gold pans), which cook the bread more evenly. Dark metal pans tend to cause the outside to burn before the inside cooks through. You’ll know that the bread is done when a toothpick inserted deep into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
  • Be careful not to over-mix the batter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients just until they’re combined. Too much mixing and the bread will come out tough, dense, or dry. The key to keeping a quick bread moist is NOT over-mixing.
  • I like to shield the top of the bread loosely with foil after the first 45 minutes of baking. This prevents the top from becoming too dark, while the rest of the loaf can cook through,
  • Recipe adapted from the book, Beard on Bread.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 348kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 5gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 319mgPotassium: 268mgFiber: 2gSugar: 18gVitamin A: 278IUVitamin C: 19mgCalcium: 32mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: james beard persimmon bread, persimmon bread, persimmon bread recipe
Course: bread, Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine: American
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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