Easy Boston Brown Bread Recipe

A classic worth making at home. Yvonne Ruperti

Moist and sweet with molasses, this steamed quick bread is easier than you think.

Notes: The brand of molasses that I used was not labeled "blackstrap" but it so dark and contributed such a deep flavor that I'm assuming that it was. So, I'm going to say that blackstrap will work as well as regular molasses. A 14-ounce can of tomatoes is the perfect size. Use a pot that is at least 2 inches taller than the cans. I did not set the cans on a rack inside the pot. These breads are even better the next day. Serve plain or toasted with cream cheese.

Recipe Facts



Active: 5 mins
Total: 40 mins
Makes: 3 loaves

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  • 2/3 cup regular or blackstrap molasses (see note)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup rye flour (or whole wheat)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • Cream cheese to serve on the side


  1. Grease three 14-ounce cans (see note) and place a round piece of parchment paper in the bottom of each can. Whisk all ingredients in a large bowl until smooth.

  2. Divide batter between the cans. Place a piece of foil over the top of each can and secure with a string. Set cans in a pot (see note) and fill with hot water to halfway up sides of cans.

  3. Set lid on pot and bring to simmer over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer until breads are set and gently pulling away from sides of can, about 35 minutes. A skewer inserted into the center should come out with moist crumbs.

  4. Remove cans from pot, set on cooling rack, and remove foil. Let bread cool in can. Run knife along inside of can to loosen, then remove bread by turning can upside down and knocking it onto work surface. Serve with cream cheese (see note).

Special equipment

3 14-ounce cans, foil, string

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