Cedric Makiadi's goal put the hosts in front in the 36th minute, but they had taken the lead in their last two league games and lost them both 2-1, to Werder Bremen and Eintracht Frankfurt.
And Saturday's result was never safe until two goals in stoppage time allowed Freiburg coach Christian Streich to breathe easy.
Daniel Caligiuri made it two from the penalty spot before Marca Terrazzino wrapped up the win with the final kick of the game.
Nuremberg attacked Freiburg first, with Takashi Kiyotake sending a low shot wide of the post, but the home side were sparked into action by that near miss.
A header from Erik Jendrisek was deflected on to a post before claims for a penalty were waved away by the referee after a free-kick was blocked by the arm of a Nuremberg defender.
Streich's side finally got the goal they were searching for in the 36th minute when Jonathan Schmid's long, sweeping cross was met by Jendrisek at the near post, and he squared for Makiadi, who had a simple header from a yard out.
Nuremberg had more about them in the second half and Sebastian Polter almost levelled, but Mensur Mujdza made a fine headed clearance off the line after Oliver Baumann had been beaten.
The Bavarians continued to test Freiburg's traditionally shaky resolve, but they did not succumb this time around.
Timothy Chandler's foul on Caligiuri in the penalty area allowed the Freiburg midfielder to settle his side's nerves in stoppage time, and he picked his spot in the top right-hand corner.
And almost straight from the restart they added a third with Makiadi lifting the ball over the top for Terrazzino, who unleashed an unstoppable volley which clipped the underside of the crossbar on its way in.
Nuremberg goalkeeper Raphael Schafer stormed straight down the tunnel as the referee brought the game to an immediate end.