When To Add Fruit To Bread Machine

When to Add Fruit To Bread Machine and Other Delicious Treats

Maybe you’ve come across a new recipe that involves adding dried fruit, nuts, or other mix-ins, or perhaps you’d like to spice up an older recipe with the addition of seeds and cheese. Either way, it’s important to know when to add these additional items to your bread maker.

Bread Maker With Fruit And Nut Dispenser

We can’t talk about putting fruit, cheese or raisins in a bread machine without talking about the greatest invention added to any bread maker; the fruit and nut dispenser. If you love adding seeds and nuts to your bread, you’ll love this feature. The dispenser adds all these delicious ingredients automatically during the kneading cycle without you having to lift a finger. Great, right? But here’s the catch, not all bread machines have one. Bummer.

breville custom is a bread maker worth it

The machines that don’t have a fruit and nut dispenser will usually beep when it’s time to add ingredients. The great thing about having a fruit and nut dispenser is that you can walk away and come back when the bread is done baking. Without a dispenser, you need to stick around for the beep. If you don’t have a bread machine with a fruit and nut dispenser, check your manual as that will tell you when your machine will alert you.

Depending on what you want to add to your bread, you might need to add the ingredients before you’ve even started your mixer, so keep reading to find out when to add fruit to your bread machine.

When To Add Fruit To Bread Machine

If adding fresh fruit to a bread machine recipe, you’ll most often add it along with all your ingredients at the beginning of the recipe. Pumpkin-flavored breads will likely have you puree the fruit or use canned pumpkin, which you’ll add in along with your wet ingredients. If using bananas, you’ll mash the fruit and follow the same process.

Fresh apples can also be added to a bread machine but can vary with each recipe. Some recipes like this caramel apple and pecan bread call for adding chopped apples 5 to 10 minutes before the last kneading cycle ends or at the fruit/nut signal. However, applesauce will often be added at the start with wet ingredients. Be sure to follow a good recipe for the best turnout.

When To Add Raisins To Bread Machine (And Other Dried Fruits)

For the majority of mix-ins, you’ll want to add them at the end of your kneading cycle. Dried fruit is no exception – you should add it in after the dough has been developed and kneaded to keep your add-ins intact. If your bread machine has one, add your raisins or dried fruit in the fruit and nut dispenser. The dispenser will automatically release them when the time comes. If you don’t have a dispenser, just listen out for the signal.

raisins in bread machine bread

Some find that adding dried fruit to recipes can pull moisture from the bread dough leading to a less moist loaf. You can combat this by soaking the fruit in juice or water to rehydrate these dried goodies then drain before adding the fruit at the end of the cycle. 

When To Add Nuts To Bread Machine 

Nuts are another item that you’ll want to add at the end of the kneading cycle. Nuts can be added both raw or toasted for enhanced flavor. If adding raw nuts, toss them in at the end of mixing. You can also toast nuts in the oven or stovetop by heating them for 5 to 10 minutes on low heat – these can then be pressed into the dough at the end of the kneading cycle. Again, if you have a fruit and nut dispenser, just let it do it’s thing.

When To Add Cheese To Bread Machine

Unlike nuts and fruit, cheese is generally added at the beginning of a bread machine recipe along with the other ingredients, although some recipes like this onion garlic cheese bread call for adding it in later as you would with dried fruits and nuts. Be sure to follow what your particular recipe recommends.

When adding cheese to a bread machine, the cheese will often be added after liquids but before the flour – although you’ll want to check your particular machine to confirm this. If incorporating cheese, be sure to take a peek at your dough ball as cheese can add too much moisture to dough.

If your dough looks batter-like or too sticky, you can add some flour (a tablespoon at a time is a good way to start) until you see the normal consistency you’d expect for any regular bread machine bread.

add cheese to bread in bread machine

If you’re substituting cheeses or experimenting with a recipe, be sure to keep the type of cheese you wish to use in mind when altering your recipe. Hard cheeses like parmesan, asiago, romano, and extra sharp cheddar are saltier than other semi-soft and soft cheeses. If adding or switching these in a recipe consider reducing the added salt in the recipe. 

Also, be sure to grate firmer cheeses before adding them. While you may be able to get away with cubing softer cheeses, harder cheeses have a higher melting point and may not melt if the pieces are too large.

You may also wish to try topping your bread machine bread with cheese. To do so, scatter shredded cheese over the top of your loaf about 15 to 20 minutes before the baking cycle finishes. Do note, this method can’t be done if you have a smaller, vertical bread machine. You’ll want to do it on a machine with a horizontal bread pan so there is more surface area. Instead, you’ll want to stick to mixing cheeses into your dough.

Delicious Things To Add In Bread

Looking to substitute raisins for another fruit in a bread machine recipe? Swap nuts? Trade out cheddar cheese for something more exotic in that savory cheese bread recipe? We’ve got plenty of ideas for switching out ingredients to upgrade your bread machine loaves.

Dried Fruit

There are plenty of options for adding fruit to bread machine recipes. Here are some popular ones:

  • Dried cherries
  • Dried cranberries
  • Raisins 
  • Dried apricots
  • Dried figs

Bonus Tip: Does your breadmaker have a fruit and nut dispenser? If so, sticky fruits like dried berries and raisins might not always make it into the bread machine. To combat this, toss dried fruit in a little flour before adding to your dispenser to keep add-ins from sticking.

blueberry bread in bread machine


Cheese is a delightful addition to bread machine recipes, be it blended into the dough or baked on top. Consider some of these options in your next cheese-laden loaf.

  • Cheddar cheese
  • Parmesan
  • Asiago
  • Romano
  • Swiss
  • Mozzarella
  • Bleu cheese
  • Monterey jack
  • Pepper jack
  • Cream cheese

Bonus Tip: Trying to grate a soft cheese like mozzarella, but finding it too soft to get a good shred? Pop the soft cheese into the freezer for 15 or 20 minutes to firm it up, then grate.


Nuts should be added toward the end of the kneading cycle. They can be chopped or added whole depending on preference.

Feeling nutty? Some popular nuts to add to bread machine recipes include:

  • Pistachios
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Macadamia nuts

Bonus Tip: Walnuts can absorb moisture from dough. Be wary when substituting this nut for others in recipes. 

Oats and Seeds

With most other add-ins, you’ll want to wait until the end of the kneading cycle – seeds and oats however are an exception. Adding seeds at the beginning of kneading allows the flavor of the seeds to spread throughout the dough more effectively. Why? The seeds will become crushed during this process, releasing oils from the seeds into the dough.

bread with seeds in bread maker

Some also recommend soaking seeds in cold water for 12 hours before mixing them into the dough to soften them. This water and seed mixture can then be added together to make the dough at the start of the recipe.

What are some popular oats and seeds to add to bread machine recipes?

  • Rolled oats
  • Poppy seeds
  • Caraway seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Chia seeds

Bonus Tip: Looking for a new recipe that includes oats and seeds? Try this sunflower oatmeal bread from Taste of Home.

Herbs and Spices

fresh tomato in bread machine bread

Like oats and seeds, herbs and spices are typically added at the beginning of the recipe with the rest of your ingredients, but if you find a recipe that recommends otherwise it’s best to follow it. Always be sure to add ingredients in the order your particular bread machine recommends.


  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Sage


  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Cardamom
  • Coriander

Bonus Tip: Fresh herbs impart more flavor than dried – try to add fresh herbs as suggested in this fresh herb bread recipe by Betty Crocker.

Other Ideas

Still looking for more interesting items to add to those classic loaves? Some additional options include:

  • Garlic
  • Olives
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Onions 
  • Chocolate!

Garlic is usually roasted and caramelized before being added in at the second folding stage. For olives, you’ll want to drain, pit, and pat dry before adding them. If you’re looking to reduce salt you may wish to rinse them in water to wash them of their briny solution too. 

You can dice olives as well for more even distribution. Add olives 5 to 10 minutes before the last kneading cycle ends or when your machine gives you the add-ins signal.

Sun-dried tomatoes are yet another option for adding to bread machine loaves. Drain them, rinse, and chop, adding in when your recipe calls for them. Some call for adding these inclusions before the final kneading cycles as in this sun-dried tomato olive loaf, others call for it at the beginning of the recipe such as outlined in this sun-dried tomato focaccia bread.

Both fried onions and dehydrated onions can be added to bread machine recipes as well. Be sure to follow instructions as recommended by your particular recipe to determine when to add.

And finally, my favorite add on; chocolate! If chocolate bread sounds a bit weird to you, try making a sweet enriched dough and add chocolate chips or chopped chocolate *chefs kiss*. Just bare in mind if you put chocolate in the fruit and nut dispenser it might melt. So, I would suggest you add it manually before the bake cycle.

Bonus Tip: If using dehydrated onions, you may wish to rehydrate with water as you would dried fruit before adding them to your dough towards the end of the kneading cycle. 

chocolate bread in bread machine

Elevate Your Bread!

Nothing beats the smell of freshly baked bread with a nub of butter. But sometimes it’s nice to elevate your bread with delicious fruits and nuts or even cheese. Not only do these ingredients add so much flavor, but they add nutrition you wouldn’t otherwise get from just a plain loaf of bread. Whether your bread machine comes with a fruit and nut dispenser, add-in alert setting, or none of these, you’re now readily equipped with the knowledge of when to add inclusions to all your favorite bread machine recipes. 

Dried fruits and nuts are often added before the last kneading cycle ends. Oats, seeds, cheese, herbs, spices, and most fresh fruits (when pureed or mashed) will be added at the start of the recipe along with other ingredients. In addition, you’ve wrangled all the tips and tricks for substituting or altering bread machine recipes. Time to start experimenting!

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