Easy Old Fashioned Nut Bread

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An easy recipe for Old Fashioned Nut Bread that used basic ingredients from your pantry. Very quick to prepare and delicious!

slices of old fashioned nut bread

Every once in a while I share a recipe that came about as a special request from my dad. The last time I made pumpkin bread, he asked me if I ever put nuts in it. I said no, but I could…then he launched into how my grandmother, his mother, used to make the best nut bread.  I asked for more details, but instead got handed my mom’s recipe box ,where I found this recipe. The title said “Mrs. Vanzandt’s Nut Cake.” No idea who Mrs. Vanzandt is, but her nut cake is delicious! I decided to turn her cake into Old Fashioned Nut Bread. This was a really easy recipe to prepare. No strange ingredients and the most complicated thing to do was separate the eggs!

old fashioned nut bread in loaf pans

Sweet Milk in Nut Bread

The original recipe called for sweet milk. Since I wasn’t sure what that meant, I turned to Google. I found out that back in the day, regular whole milk was referred to as sweet milk, in order to distinguish it from buttermilk. Who knew? In the end I used 2% milk because that’s what I had. You could use whole milk, or even half-and-half, for a richer bread. For the nuts, I used walnuts. This nut bread would be equally good with pecans.

old fashioned nut bread recipe

old fashioned nut bread in loaf pans

Old Fashioned Nut Bread

An easy recipe for Old Fashioned Nut Bread that used basic ingredients from your pantry. Very quick to prepare and delicious!
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Servings: 4 small loaves
Author: Ann Drake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
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  • 1/2 cup shortening (Crisco)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup chopped nuts


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large mixing bowl cream together shortening and sugar.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture a little at a time, alternating with the milk.
  • Add vanilla and egg whites. Combine well. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl.
  • Fold in nuts.
  • Pour into prepared bread pans and bake for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in center of loaf comes out clean.
  • Cool slightly in pans and then remove to cooling rack.


I use Baker's Joy to prepare my baking pans.
This recipe yielded 4 small loaves. Pan size: 6 x 3.5 x 2 inches.
Like this recipe?Follow me at @onsuttonplace

old fashioned nut bread on cutting board

Like my mom’s old fashioned soft sugar cookies, this bread takes me back to a simpler time…and any recipe that calls for sweet milk is a winner in my book!

Click {HERE} for more quick bread recipes, and some helpful tips. 

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  1. pineygrrl says:

    Basic but very good recipe, which is what I was looking for. I put it all in a large loaf pan, 9×5″. Had to bake for 65 minutes all told. Delicious!

  2. My Mom always made Nut Bread for the holidays. Sounds similar to your recipe but looks different. Mom’s is a dense, dry bread perfect for dunking into your cocoa or just slathering w/butter. I’m going to try your recipe – it’s moister I’m sure because ours only has one egg. Those eggs white puff up anything! Thank you for sharing.

  3. When I was a little girl, my grandma used to make a nut bread with black walnuts. They are hard to find today and expensive, but they have a special taste.

  4. Oh Ann, I love how your recipe triggered so many fond memories for all these wonderful ladies!
    I have a few treasured recipe cards from my MIL in her own hand that I consider heirlooms. My sister has my Mom’s cookbook with rotations in the margin and a few handwritten recipes. Your nut bread sounds tasty and I can’t wait to try it. I’m going to substitute coconut oil for the shortening and see how that goes. I only wish my Dad was around to share it with.

  5. My mother who is 101 still eats cornbread and sweet milk. She and Daddy never called it sweet milk except when it was to be eaten with cornbread.

  6. Jane @ Cottage at the Crossroads says:

    Ann, I love your recipes and I could have told you about sweet milk! My mother actually drinks buttermilk to this day but I only use it when a recipe calls for it. I love that this can be made in loaf pans so that I can share it before I eat it ALL!

  7. Can’t wait to try your Old Fashioned Nut Bread – it sounds yummy! I really enjoyed your Apple Walnut Bread from last year and I have already made two this month. Love your recipes and your blog. Keep up the good work.

  8. Elizabeth Phillips says:

    Thank you for the Old Fashioned Nut Bread recipe! Looks delicious!

  9. Oh Ann, you are a youngster! Back in my younger days there were two kinds of milk . . . Sweet milk and buttermilk. One could not just ask for “milk” … One had to specify. Your recipe looks like a “keeper.”

  10. Thanks for this recipe. I had lost mine…and my mother and sister have both died and their recipe boxes went…where??? I so appreciate this recipe. Thank your dad for me!

  11. Jennifer McCracken says:

    I love all your quick bread recipes! I can’t wait to try this one!

  12. Looks scrumptious! I bet the inside of your home always smells so darn good with all that baking you do:D I think you should capture all those great smells and put them in a jar with your adorable logo for candles!!! I know…I know…where ya gonna find the time…but hey, a girl can dream:D

    “Ann’s Old Fashion Nut Bread” :D

  13. Teddee Grace says:

    What kind of shortening did you use? Butter, Crisco?

    1. Hi Teddee!
      I used regular Crisco. I buy the 1 cup bars and used half of one.

  14. Charlotte says:

    Can’t wait to make your Nut Bread. I’m sure it will be delicious. I have made several of your recipes before and they are always wonderful. Thanks!!!

  15. I love that you have your mom’s recipe box! How special! What would we ever do without google?? I think it’s funny that lots of my grandma’s recipes called for oleo! Can’t wait to try this bread! Yum! Thanks for sharing!

  16. Ann, when I read “sweet milk” on the first ingredient photo, I immediately thought of my mother, aunts and grandmother’s recipes. I also wondered if the younger cooks of today knew it meant whole milk. :) The recipe sounds wonderful and your breads look delish! You have so many talents ~


  17. Thanks Ann for sharing. My grandmother made an amazing nut bread…sadly we do not have the recipe. She catered and often made finger sandwiches for the prominent ladies of the Twin Cities. Never drove a day in her life…often transporting by street car until her brothers retired and drove her. She would be well be over 120 now but I miss her creativity. She would often bake in cylinder cans …some times Campbell soup ones to get a fun shape and size. Her cream cheese and other fillings were so nummy. Great memories…sure do miss her.

    Thanks for the great recipes and allowing me to pause and reflect on her memory.

  18. Lynda Young says:

    Love your ice box recipes!!! So delicious
    & easy to make!! I am planning on making the
    Pumpkin Icebox recipe and was wondering what
    You would suggest for the can of pumpkin (purée ???)……what kind of pumpkin should I use???
    What a great dessert for a Halloween get together!!????

    1. Hi Lynda!
      Just use a can of regular Libby’s pumpkin puree. NOT the pumpkin pie mix. It’s usually in the baking aisle with the other cans of pie filling.

  19. Betty Hill says:

    Your blog offers so many good things. Home keeping is about more than decorating or transforming a space. It is about nourishing our children and family with food, love, and making the home a special place for our family. I want you to know how lucky your parents are to have you looking after them. I have been the sole care giver for ny mom for ten years. Some weeks are very challenging but we do the vest we can. God bless you Ann. Love your recipes.

  20. Debrashoppeno5 says:

    Oh my the bread looks delicious. I don’t bake like I used to but I will definitely need to try this recipe.

  21. This looks delicious! Thank you for the recipe….

  22. Looks delicious! My father would have loved this, too. He also liked to add raisins. I use a similar recipe, but I always use a bundt pan. I like the loaf pan version. Makes it easier to share.

    My grandmother said sweet milk. It always made me smile. Thanks for the memory.

  23. Ann, my mother made a very similar bread, as well as one that used crushed graham crackers as part of the base, chopped nuts, and finished with a pineapple glaze. I haven’t eaten it in years, but have her recipes and will search through them this afternoon. Thanks for passing this recipe along!

    1. Cynthia,
      Oh I hope you share that recipe here. Sounds nummy.