Boston Brown Bread

Bread in a can? That's right! Along with Boston baked beans, one of New England's greatest manufacturing feats has been this hearty brown bread, steamed right in the can. Serve this easy homemade version with cream cheese or salted butter. Toast if desired.

Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
40 mins
Additional Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 10 mins
2 small loaves


  • 2 (15-ounce) cans

  • cooking spray

  • cup all-purpose flour

  • cup rye flour

  • cup fine yellow cornmeal

  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda

  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • cup molasses

  • 1 egg

  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

  • ½ cup dried currants (Optional)

  • kitchen twine


  1. Clean two 15-ounce cans thoroughly and remove any labels. Spray the insides with cooking spray. Put a kettle on to boil.

  2. Whisk all-purpose flour, rye, cornmeal, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Mix buttermilk, molasses, egg, and brown sugar together in a separate bowl. Combine molasses mixture with the flour mixture and stir in currants.

  3. Divide the batter between the prepared cans. Cover the tops with foil lightly sprayed with cooking spray; secure with twine.

  4. Place the cans on a rack inside of a large stockpot and pour the boiling water into the pot until it comes halfway up the cans. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Place a lid on top of the pot and reduce heat to low. Continue simmering until a skewer inserted into the bread comes out with minimal moist crumbs, 35 to 40 minutes.

  5. Remove the cans from the pot using tongs, remove the foil tops, and cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Turn cans upside down and gently shake to loosen the bread. Return to wire rack to cool completely.

Cook's Note:

Substitute currants for the raisins, if desired.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

207 Calories
2g Fat
45g Carbs
5g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 207
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 2g 2%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 33mg 11%
Sodium 422mg 18%
Total Carbohydrate 45g 16%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 25g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 1mg 5%
Calcium 128mg 10%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 485mg 10%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.