When I was in Fourth Grade, I made Boston Brown Bread for a 4-H competition, using a real butter mold and a pressure cooker. At the time I was sure this was a recipe from the pioneering days, but it was really yummy! 

Imagine my surprise when I searched for the recipe a few weeks ago, and found out it was from a 1953 Presto! cookbook.  Not as prehistoric as I thought, and you don’t really need a butter mold; any sort of container will do.  The original recipe called for a Pressure cooker, but I wanted to adapt it to cook in an Instant Pot.

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, well Bless Your Heart. Go buy one. Seriously, it will change your life.  I can tell you from experience that this bread will not bake well; it needs the moisture from the pressure cooker or its as dry as a bone. So you need an instant pot. 

Classic Brown Bread

Boston Brown Bread is a hearty, heavy bread that is very filling. You can add a variety of fruits and nuts to change it up! My favorite is dates & pecans, but raisins & walnuts is awesome, so is chopped apples & raisins! It’s great for breakfast, or an energy snack, or even served as a complement to a savory main dish.  My favorite way to eat it is slathered with real butter and a glass of cold milk to wash it down.

This recipe made two loaves of Boston Brown Bread, using a seven inch bowl with a flat bottom.  so if you want a single loaf, decrease the ingredients by half.  However, this bread freezes really well, so a full batch may be a time-saver. If you want the classic look, use two tall tin cans instead of a bowl.

Also, a little shout out to Dude & Dot, who gave new life to the awesome vintage enamelware colander in the pic!

Boston Brown Bread in an Instant Pot

Boston Brown Bread in an Instant Pot

A hearty Boston Brown Bread made with sprouted wheat, dried fruits and nuts. This recipe from a 1953 Presto Pressure Cooker cookbook has been adapted to cook in an Instant Pot.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Breads
Cuisine American
Servings 2 Loaves


  • Instant Pot


  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1.5 Tbsp Butter Softened
  • 1 Large Egg Beaten
  • 1/2 Cup Black Molasses
  • 2 Cups Sprouted Whole Wheat Flour Or Graham Flour
  • 1 Cup Whole Wheat Baking Flour
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Nuts Pecan Walnut, Almonds, etc
  • 1/2 Cup Dried Fruits Dates Raisins, Cranberries, etc


  • Combine sugar,butter,egg and molasses in a bowl. Sift in flours, baking soda & baking powder. As you add dry ingredients,alternate with milk. Add nuts and dried fruit. Mix well. Turn in a buttered bowl or mold that will sit loosely in the Instant pot. Cover loosely with foil. Add 2 cups of water to the Instant pot & set bowl on rack in Instant Pot. Cook on high pressure for 45 minutes, then let pressure dissipate naturally. Store in airtight container.
Keyword Bread, Instant Pot, Quick Bread

This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. Mary Rysdale

    It appears that you have a recipe for one batch that makes two loaves, each to be cooked separately. Can you clarify? What volume are your pans with the flat bottoms and does the loaf crown the pan? Can you use a trivet to stack two pans?

    1. Cori

      Hi, Mary.
      You are correct, this made two loaves. I used a one quart bowl, and the loaf will crown the pan, so I don’t think you can stack them. However, if you wanted to cook them both at once, you can use the tall 28 oz cans that you buy vegetables in at the grocer (like Bush Beans). If you buy brown bread at the grocery store, it comes in this size can. Hope that helps!

  2. Christie

    I don’t see milk on the ingredient list. How much should I add?

    1. Cori

      Hi, Christie. Don’t know how I left that out! It is one cup of milk. I will correct the recipe, thanks!

      1. Lorraine

        Hi Cori,

        I do not see your recipe on your web page but my sister did find the Presto recipe you mentioned. How long would you cook the brown bread in your instant pot using two 28 oz cans?

        1. Cori

          Hi, Lorraine! I have added the recipe back to the post; it got lost when I moved to a new hosting service. But to answer your question, cook the brown bread on high pressure for 40 minutes. Allow to depressurize naturally, then do a toothpick test. If the toothpick comes out clean, you’re done. If not, cook for an additional five minutes on high pressure. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Mary

    Can’t wait to make this! Only ever ate the canned variety…I wondered if you cover it as I was thinking that it might get soggy if not ???

    1. Cori

      Hi, Mary. I cover with tinfoil. I need to add that to the instructions!!

  4. Robin

    If I make it as one big loaf in a large can, do I add to the cooking time? And how much? I know some IP recipes say not to add to cooking time when doubling, but I’m not really sure what determines that. And the pressure is set on HIGH right? (which is the default I think). Thanks! My husband has been begging for me to make this and I’m glad I found your IP recipe- I’m excited to try it!

    PS. Can I use 3 cups of regular whole wheat flour? I don’t have the fancy kind and don’t want to spend the money for one recipe.

    1. Cori

      I am not sure if one big loaf would cook all the wsy through. All whole wheat would probably work, but the texture will be a bit finer. Its the molasses that gives this bread the distonct flavor. And yes, its high pressure

  5. Anna Matz

    My mother in law made this in a small size coffee can in her pressure cooker. Any reason why I shouldn’t do exactly that?

    1. Cori

      Not at all! I like using my Insta because it sits on my counter.

  6. Quen Bredeweg

    This is fantastic! Cooking time perfect in Instant Pot. Add a little sour cream and this is over the moon!

    1. Cori

      So glad you enjoyed it! Will try the sour cream!

  7. Arlene Meyer

    Can I use 1/2 c corneal and 1/2c rye flour plus 1 cup of wheat flour instead of all wheat flour ??

    1. Cori

      Hey, Arlene!
      You can try it, although I wonder if the rye would add a little too much tang? You might think about trying buckwheat, too. I think it would work pretty well. Let me know how it comes out!


  8. Demi

    Can I add oatmeal with it instead of the 1 cup of baking flour

    1. Cori

      Hey, Demi. I don’t know if it would work or not. Give it a shot and let me know! If you use oatmeal, I’d run it through a processor first so it’s more flour-like in texture.

  9. Demi

    And no need of yeast to rise the bread?

    1. Cori

      This is a quick bread that uses baking soda and baking powder as leavening agents, so no need for yeast!

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