Hobo Bread has been around for years.  It is an old fashioned recipe that dates back as far as the pioneers.  There are hundreds of different versions of hobo bread around.  A lot of recipes for this bread call for soaking the raisins overnight with the soda and making this bread in coffee cans.  I don’t have time for all that!  This is my recipe that works great for me and my family loves it.  Slather this bread with some butter while it’s warm, serve with coffee, tea or milk for a delicious treat anytime.  You can add spices, nuts, fruits or whatever you like to this bread.  Very few recipes for hobo bread contain eggs and I don’t put them in this one.  The bread holds together fine without the eggs.  You can reheat it and this bread keeps well in a cool spot or refrigerated.  I have not tried doubling the recipe but feel you could if you wanted to make an extra loaf for a friend.  You might also like our recipe for pumpkin banana muffins.

Hobo bread dates back to the pioneers.

1 cup raisins

1 cup boiling water

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 cup broken pecans or walnuts

Bring water to a boil, remove from heat, add raisins and let sit for one hour.  Do not pour off extra water.  Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda in a large bowl.  Pour in soaked raisins with extra water, vanilla extract and butter.  Mix with a spoon.  Fold in nuts.  Spray a 9 x 5 loaf pan with cooking spray.  Spread dough in pan.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until center tests done. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing.  You could add a powdered sugar glaze to this bread if desired.  Makes 1 loaf.  Enjoy!

Hobo Bread

The Southern Lady Cooks
This is an old fashioned recipe that goes back to the pioneers! Easy to make and absolutely delicious. Great reviews!
4.92 from 34 votes
Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Course bread
Cuisine American, southern
Servings 1 loaf


  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 cup broken pecans or walnuts


  • Bring water to a boil, remove from heat, add raisins and let sit for one hour Do not pour off extra water. Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda in a large bowl. Pour in soaked raisins with extra water, vanilla extract and butter. Mix with a spoon
  • Fold in nuts. Spray a 9 x 5 loaf pan with cooking spray. Spread dough in pan. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until center tests done. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing. You could add a powdered sugar glaze to this bread if desired. Makes 1 loaf
Keyword hobo bread, old fashioned bread recipe
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Recipe Rating


  1. I’ve made this a few times now and changed slightly just for something different and to test other additions. I added 1 egg and the bread is nice and heavy. I also added some molasses about 2 Tablespoons for that extra flavor. Really good. I made this in an 8″ loaf pan for a higher fuller loaf and baked it for 55 minutes. All options/additions/changes worked great as did the original recipe. Next time I’ll add some rum or rum extract.
    Nice recipe. Very versatile. Thank You for sharing. It’s delicious and makes a wonderful breakfast bread.4 stars

  2. I had leftover walnuts and pecans and raisins. I saw this recipe by accident. I made it with walnuts and tried it and it was ok. Next day I put some butter on it and it’s addictive!! So good. I just made a 2nd loaf and added a couple Tablespoons of brown sugar and a hand full of pecans in with the walnuts. It’s baking and I can’t wait to try it!! 5 stars

  3. I have made this recipe numerous times. I’ve taken it as a hostess gift, shared it with neighbors, and even added it to my brunch menu. I follow the recipe exactly but add the zest of one orange for some extra flavor.5 stars

  4. I would love to make this for my daughter on her next visit, but she has to have everything gluten free. Can I use King Arthur Measure to Measure for this bread?

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      We do not bake gluten-free so we can’t advise. Thanks!

  5. Carolyn Higdon says:

    I made the HOBO bread, it’s easy & delicious! I’m keeping this recipe! Thank you for sharing!5 stars

  6. Susan Wallace says:

    I don’t like nuts much. I have glazed cherries left over from Christmas baking. Could I use them along with the raisins ?

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      You can use whatever want. 🙂

  7. Why can’t I get your recipes to pin. I would like to save some of them they look so good. Thank you

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      I have no clue why you cant pin them, there is a pin icon at the beginning of the recipe and again at the bottom. If you can’t see the icon you have a blocker on your device not allowing it to show.

  8. I love all of your recipes. They remind me of my mother’s recipes. Everything was homemade. Thank you so much.5 stars

  9. For someone with dairy and egg sensitivities, this recipe is right up my alley. I did a a bit of chopped apple, 1 tsp cinnamon and a pinch of cardamom. Baked in a 8×4 loaf pan. Oh yummy!! The tops was crusty, like my husband likes and it wasn’t overly sweet. Perfect with a cup of tea for a snack on a cold, wintry day. I’ll definitely make this again and try other add-ins. Thank you for the recipe!5 stars

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      So glad you enjoyed it!!

  10. Hi I’m Dee, I’m not a baker, but I follow recipes real well, and don’t over stir anything. Lol.. well woke up early this am, and decided to make your Hobo Bread! Made 2 loafs. Right now as I’m emailing I have my piece of bread with coffee, and it is Yummy!! I put real butter on it! Splurging today! Lol…. my neighbor Tracy is coming over, told her about your bread, think I’ll just give her the other loaf. thank u for the recipe! Wow no eggs ha? Have a great day, I’m still eating5 stars

    1. Lupe Guillen says:

      Oh my. I love this recipe. So easily made. And no eggs or milk. I made a double batch. I put them in muffin pans. When outta oven waited 5 mins to cool to touch then I dipped muffin in butter then in cinnamon and sugar , cardamom. Everyone loved them. Would this recipe be ok if I added carrot pieces with banana ???5 stars

  11. Vickie Manthei says:

    Chopped dates in place of raisins……yummy5 stars

  12. Elizabeth Mignon says:

    I made 6 LG. muffins n they are great !

    I add full cup of pecans.
    2tbs molasses.
    I substitute Crasins for raisins

    Delish5 stars

  13. My husband and I really enjoyed this recipe! I made it today using golden raisins and they were perfect. We liked it because it isn’t overly sweet and it’s great comfort food. It was easy Thanks for sharing!to make, as well…another plus!5 stars

  14. My husband and grandson are so picky. I was surprised that they ate this. My grandson ate most of it. So good that I am about to make more.5 stars

  15. Joanne Sweatt says:

    Oh my goodness!!! What a tasty bread. However, I followed the instructions and had all fresh ingredients and made six of them and everyone of them sunk in the middle. They were not very pretty with the sunken middle but they sure tasted good!!! Any idea on why is may have done this?

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      Over mixing the batter can result in a bread sinking and opening the oven numerous times can do the same. Also not making the bread immediately once assembling.

  16. Can you use self rising flour?

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      YEs, just google how you substitute it.

  17. Do you have a suggestion for replacing the butter in this recipe? I want to be able to share with my nephew who cannot have dairy. Applesauce maybe?

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      I think that would work.

  18. I haven’t made it yet but really want to. My question is, if I don’t put raisins in it(not a fan), how much total water do I use? I’m guessing some of the original one cup is soaked up in the raisins. Thank you for your help.

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      I really don’t know I have only made it the way it is written.

  19. Linda Buffington says:

    I never heard of Hobo bread but was intrigued as I make wacky cake (or depression cake) for my grandson who is allergic to dairy, eggs, nuts. I was really surprised at how high it rose (used a loaf pan). I had one cup of fruitcake mix left, so I used that instead of raisins and cut the sugar to 1/2 cup because the fruit mix had some syrup and I didn’t want it overly sweet. Really tasty. Will bake again with other fruit (dates, figs, cherries) and maybe add some spices. And I can use vegan butter for an allergy free version. Thanks for the recipe!

  20. Do you think I can use chopped dates instead of raisins?

  21. Made this for my mother! She loves it! I add coconut shavings on top for some added flavor and it’s delicious5 stars

  22. We make a similar cake but call it Soldiers Cake. Was made for all the wars, holds up well. Make it as a 13×9 cake pan. We do add spices, cinnamon, cloves, allspice. Yum!4 stars

  23. I love this bread and have been making for years in a one pound coffee can. I have been wondering if I could add chopped apple.5 stars

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      Yes, I would think you definitely could.

  24. It’s my husbands and my favorite! I add cinnamon and used a mix of raisins and cranberries or golden raisins too, and omit the nuts, made some tonight and added a sprinkle of nutmeg with the cinnamon.5 stars

  25. I made this with gf flour 1 to 1 King Arthor. It was delicious. Sometimes conversion don’t work so well but this great.4 stars

    1. This is great news. I was curious if it would work with a GF 1:1. I’ll try it later this week.

  26. I just made this bread and counted the minutes until I could cut it!
    This is the craziest recipe I have run across in over 60 years of cooking and baking!
    It is awesome!!! I too added some cinnamon, Apple pie spice and cardamom. The color is what surprised me most!
    I could eat the whole loaf right now, I better not.
    What a wonderful bread to have around for breakfast!
    Thanks for sharing the recipe!
    Week 9 of Covid 19. And this bread made me happy and gave me something to do.5 stars

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      This is just wonderful! I am so glad you loved this bread. We love this one too!

  27. Oh my goodness! this Hobo bread is devine! I love golden raisins because they are sweeter and always plump and good! I almost did not make this because I thought how could it be good without eggs and milk? Well–3 loaves later ~~this is gold star good! the first loaf I made exactly like recipe. The next 2 loaves I added 1 tsp cinnamon, pinch of apple pie spice & a sprinkle of cardamom and 1 TB molasses. It is so good it does not even need frosting or glaze! Just butter smeared on it! Thanks for sharing this recipe!5 stars

  28. Donnawharton says:

    I was surprised it didn’t have any eggs
    Turned out great5 stars

  29. Pat Williams. says:

    Do yok u use a cup of boiling water for the rest aisins AND another cup? Or just the cup you soaked the raisins in?

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      Only one cup of water, Pat, the one you soak the raisins in.

  30. Southern lady by chance would you know the carbs in the hobo bread. Was wondering since I need to count the hectic things. A 1/4 inch slice. Much appreciated.

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      Sorry, Jodi, I don’t.

  31. I love this recipe, I made it on Friday and it was such a success I’m making it again today. I added a teaspoon of mixed spice but apart from that I followed the recipe exactly. Thank you!5 stars

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      Oh goodness, that sounds like a great addition! So glad you enjoy the bread.

  32. This caught my eye omg it’s delicious, flavorful, easy to make. I’ve read other tweaks so very interested n trying other additives. It’s good, definite keeper.5 stars

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      Thank you so much Jodi for the wonderful comment. We are happy you are enjoying the bread. Have a great week ahead.

  33. Kris Bizzarri says:

    Has anyone tried this recipe in muffin pans? I’m thinking it will be easier to know portion size, and freeze extras.

  34. I make this again and again! My only tweak is to add 1Tablespoon of molasses. This recipe is so good, a friend keeps telling me I should sell the bread and I keep reminding her that it’s not my recipe!
    Thank you, it’s a keeper!!5 stars

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      So glad you love it! We do too!

  35. Our family as an almost identical recipe but it is called Soldiers Cake because it packed well to be sent to soldiers overseas. We put nutmeg and other flavorings and bake in a 13x9x2 pan.

  36. I tried this recipe today …i made it with half raisins and half cranberries, I also added a tsp of cinnamon and 1/2 tsp of nutmeg….turned out great5 stars

  37. Hey, Just finished trying to bake a second loaf after first failed. I followed the directions exactly as printed. The bread sunk in the middle, was bitter to taste, and was not done in the middle but beginning to burn on edges. Baked for 60 minutes. I have a thermometer in oven and know the temperature was correct. I do not live in a high altitude area. What did I do wrong? So wanted to be successful after all these wonderful reviews. Maybe I’m just not meant to be a baker!

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      Hi Jane, If you have made it twice with no success, I am almost afraid to advise you. I used a glass pan. I don’t know if that would make a difference. I looked on the internet and found this site with some tips you might read. I would probably not try again but find another recipe. lol. but if you want you can read these tips I found on the internet and see if they help you. So sorry, the recipe is not working for you. Click here for the info. http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2009/aug/05/fine-cooking-offers-tips-to-avoid-sunken-quick/

      1. Thank you for taking the time to reply to my text. Thanks for the tip site. I’m saving it to favorites for future reference. I did use a metal pan so maybe I’ll try a glass one. Thank you again.

      2. I have my favorite recipe in storage somewhere. It called for making 3 loaves and baked in 1# coffee can. As long as I used the coffee cans it always turned out but I had the same issues in a loaf pan. I am going to double this and try it in my bundt.

      3. I would like some apple chunks or apple sauce in this bread. Do you think I can just add it or maybe sub for the raisin water. I just don’t want it to be too wet.

  38. Could use oj or some other fruit juice to sub for part water? Or more flavor?

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      I have not tried using juice in this bread, but it may work fine.

  39. Hi, I tried this for Thanksgiving. It was yummy. I was nervous because the batter was to thick. My mom and aunt remembered having this kind of bread with their Grandmother made it. I am off to try your Cinnamon Bread next. Thank you…5 stars

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      Hello Darla, so glad you enjoyed the Hobo Bread. We love this too! I hope you enjoy the Cinnamon Bread!

  40. My dough is too thick, definitely not enough liquid to even mix all of the dry ingredients. Is there supposed to be more water added?

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      The recipe works fine for me as written. If you think you need more water, you can try adding it,

  41. Alexandra says:

    Could I use whole wheat flour?

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      I think you could probably do half and half, but not sure it would work with all whole wheat flour.

  42. Do you boil the water with the raisins in it the entire hour? I wasn’t sure if I was just supposed to boil water, take it off the stove and then let raisins soak. Forgive me if it’s a silly question ‍♀️

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      You bring the water to a boil, remove water from stove and add raisins and let them soak for one hour. Don’t ever hesitate to ask us Crystal if you are unsure. Hope you enjoy the recipe and have a great week ahead.

  43. This recipe has no eggs?

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      That’s true, Vicki. It says above the recipe that I don’t use eggs in the recipe. Feel free to always ask if you are not sure, though.

  44. Can you make it in a cast iron skillet?

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      I have not tried it in a skillet but see no reason why you couldn’t, Lorraine.

  45. This is a lot like my mother’s Poor Man’s Cake. I would also add cinnamon and nutmeg The cake has no nuts, but they can be added. Mom ripped her cake with colored jimmies or sprinkles before baking You could do that with this, too. I plan to. And it’s Hobo for the same reason it’s Poor Man. No expensive ingredients like lard, eggs or milk. From the Depression.

  46. This is terrible . Your bread was soooooo amazing that I cannot control myself from eating it, I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s that good. Thanks for sharing.5 stars

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      HA! I’m so glad you are enjoying this recipe! Have a wonderful week Lisa.

  47. Is this batter supposed to be thick

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      Yes, Denise, the batter is kind of thick.

  48. mary sargent says:

    I made this bread, out of this world delicious, my family loved it, asking for more, I put cinnamon, nutmeg and a touch of allspice, soooo good!!!5 stars

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      So glad you and your family enjoyed this recipe. Thank you so much for letting me know! Have a wonderful week.

  49. Do I add the entire cup of water that the raisins were soaked in?

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      Yes, add the raisins along with whatever water is left from the soaking.

  50. Mary Harp says:

    Do you think you could use dried cranberries instead of raisins? We’re not much for raisins around here. Thanks. Enjoy your recipes!

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      Absolutely Mary! Enjoy.

  51. Nadine B Osborne says:

    I made the Hobo Bread this afternoon. It’s so good!
    When I make a new recipe, I like to make it just as it’s written, but I wanted to make two loaves so I’d have one for a church dinner, I doubled the recipe. I didn’t have quite enough raisins so I used a few chopped dates.
    Thank you for this recipe, I know I’ll make it often.5 stars

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe Nadine. Thank you for taking the time to let me know! Have a wonderful weekend.

  52. kaytee roman says:

    why is it called a HOBO bread

    1. The Southern Lady says:

      Maybe, because the original recipe was baked in a tin can, Kaytee.