An easy breakfast, dessert, or snack option
‘Tis the season for baking. Cue that sugar high.
Or not. Our version of Cranberry Walnut Bread is sweet, but not overmuch. So you can eat it without fear of bouncing off the walls.
Of course, you may want that bounce, especially during the holiday season. In which case, have seconds. But don’t forget your crash helmet.
Recipe: Cranberry Walnut Bread
This is a quick bread (one that uses baking powder instead of yeast as leavening). It’s easy to put together and can be baked immediately.
Mrs. Kitchen Riffs is the baker in our household. For this post, she used a classic recipe for Cranberry Walnut Bread, adding extra cranberries and walnuts. But not more sugar – so this recipe is only moderately sweet. Meaning you get more of the good stuff, less of the bad stuff.
It takes 20 minutes or so to mix the batter for this recipe. Baking time adds about an hour and a quarter. Then you need to let the Cranberry Walnut Bread cool down before slicing.
This recipe yields a standard 9 x 5-inch loaf. Leftovers keep for a few days if wrapped in plastic or stored in an airtight container. They can also be frozen for up to two months.
- 12 ounces cranberries (fresh or frozen)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons double-acting baking powder (see Notes)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (see Notes)
- 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- zest and juice of 2 large oranges
- ~2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan, then line it with parchment paper.
- If using fresh cranberries, wash and drain them (we generally do this in a colander or a large strainer placed over the kitchen sink). Allow the cranberries to drain while you continue with the recipe.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl, using a hand mixer), cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg. Mix in the orange juice and zest. Add the cranberries, then the chopped walnuts. Mix well to combine. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix to combine.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the middle of the bread comes out mostly clean.
- Remove the Cranberry Walnut Bread from the oven and cool it on a wire rack. Cut into slices of ¾-inch or so for serving.
- No need to chop the cranberries before adding them to the batter. They will soften (and usually pop open) while baking.
- Walnuts are traditional in this recipe. But pecans would probably work well too.
- This recipe is not overly sweet — and the cranberries add plenty of tartness. If you prefer a sweeter taste profile, just increase the sugar.
- Don’t overbake this bread. It should remain fairly moist.
- Most baking powders you’re likely to buy these days are “double-acting.” They’re called double-acting because you get an initial reaction when you mix the powder with wet ingredients (creating bubbles that help the batter rise). And then a second reaction when the batter hits the heat of the oven.
- Baking powder consists of baking soda plus an acidic ingredient (which reacts with the baking soda to produce leavening), plus a neutral substance (often corn starch) to provide bulk. We suggest shaking baking powder before using it to make sure all the ingredients are well mixed.
- BTW, baking powder becomes weaker over time (so note the expiration date). We usually replace ours once a year to make sure the baking powder we’re using is at full strength.
- We use kosher salt in cooking and baking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If you’re using table salt, start with about half the amount we suggest. But always salt to your taste, not ours.
To Be or Nut to Be
“Holiday baking season has been fruitful so far,” I said. “Love the cranberries. And walnuts.”
“Sort of thought the fruit-cakey vibe would appeal to you,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs.
“Is that a subtle comment on my mental state?” I said.
“Not so subtle, actually,” said Mrs K R. “But it does capture the flavor of your puns.”
“I always hope they wal-nut disappoint,” I said.
“Your hopes are dashed again,” said Mrs K R.
I cranberry catch a break around here. Maybe I should cashew all later.
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I love fuss free and delicious quick bread recipes like this plus the combo of walnuts and cranberry is unbeatable in this time of the year. Absolutely irresistible!
Hi Angie, we certainly couldn't resist this! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi R, it's good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This sounds really tasty and the no chopping the berries is a bonus. As soon as I finish decorating and clean the house, it's baking season and I intend to do a ton of it. Might as well bake since I am not going anywhere.
Hi Anne, we're not going anywhere either, alas. So home baking is one of our comfort activities. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This is definitely a seasonal classic. We have often had it for Thanksgiving dinner, but it only works when there are many many people eating, so you can have a small piece along with 7 or a million other dishes. Too much for a pod of two! But maybe I’ll make a loaf for later on this month.
be safe... mae at maefood.blogspot.com
Hi Mae, this freezes reasonably well, so you can save some for later. That's what we do! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Cranberry and orange are a match made in heaven and I love walnuts so this bread is calling my name.
Ooooh! This looks delicious! My family loves these quick breads. They don't last long. Love the addition of cranberries and walnuts.
Hi Pam, love that cranberry and orange combo! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Laura, quick breads are terrific, aren't they? So easy. So good. :-) Thanks for the comment.
One of my holiday favorites! Your loaf looks terrific! I'm still pulling slices of mine out of the freezer having them for dessert. When that loaf is gone, I will have to try your beautiful walnut version!
Hi Liz, it's such a great dish, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.
You had me at cranberries and walnuts. I was already imagining a not-too-sweet bread that would be perfect for breakfast, an afternoon snack or even "hey, here I am in the kitchen—and there's that delicious bread!" Nice recipe, John. Thanks!
This is a delicious way to start the day, all I need is a cup of coffee and this!
Hi Terry, we eat this a lot at those "hey, here I am in the kitchen" moments. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Pat and Dahn, definitely a nice breakfast! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Your loaf looks great, perfect with my tea in the afternoon.
Hi Gerlinde, this would be wonderful with tea! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Sounds delicious! I like the idea of using the whole cranberries. Quick breads for the win!
Hi Lydia, quick breads definitely are the win! :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love this cranberry walnut bread very much, it is a perfect accompaniment with a large latte and also so Christmas
Compatible. Thanks for adding to my Christmas repertoire.
Hi Merryn, it's really good stuff -- wonderful flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.
*smile* Yes, well ! Not so easy this side of the Pond ! My large supermarket chain offers cranberry juice, cranberries supposedly mixed into dry cereal, sweet cranberry jam and cranberry capsules as a medication !!! I knew there would be none fresh - seems there are none frozen either !!!
Lovely quick recipe but just as well I am not much of a baker . . . !
Hi Eha, you're a long way from a cranberry source, that's for sure! You'll just have to dream about making this recipe, I guess. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hmm, I already have some homemade cranberry sauce on hand- looks like all I have to do now is add the flour, baking powder, and a few other ingredients and voilà- there it is!
Hi Fran, sounds like a plan! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Cashew all later! That just made me laugh out loud! But the bread makes me drool all over. Perfect for the season!
Hi Abbe, :-) This really is drool-worthy! Thanks for the comment.
Whenever I see a great looking loaf of cranberry bread like this, I can't help but know the holiday is upon us. To heck with all other breads, the cranberry is the best. Great looking recipes John!
Hi MJ, cranberry bread is pretty wonderful, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.
love your puns, love your cake! and your photos. this sounds wonderful! i like food that is a bit less sweet. the mix of cranberry and walnuts is superb! cheers S
Adding this to my baking list! Looks amazing!
I love this wonderful cranberry color, so pretty!
John, you tell Mrs. KR that I have my crash helmet on and I'm ready to dive in. Sounds like a great slice of life. Cashew you later.
Oh I have to try this!, I am always wondering what to make with the fresh cranberries that appear during this time of the year.
I bet this bread would be awesome toasted, with butter, of course! I love the addition of walnuts, great flavour and texture.
Hi Sherry, less sweet is good t means less all around. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Ashley, it IS amazing! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Natalia, cranberries really do have gorgeous color. Gorgeous flavor, too! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Ron, great slice of life indeed. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Nammi, we always wonder, too, so decided to make this. :-) Thanks for the comment.
HI Eva, haven't tried toasting this -- sounds like a good idea. :-) Thanks for the comment.
A beautiful loaf, and one of my favorite quick breads. I appreciate your mention of shaking the baking powder each time; I give it a good stir.
Hi Jean, stirring works too, and may be quicker than shaking. :-) Thanks for the comment.
this is so beautiful. I love that your wife added more cranberries, but not more sugar. So I know i'd love this quick bread!
Hi Mimi, the more cranberries the better, we say. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This bread looks so delicious.
What a great quick bread, John! It looks delicious! It would work for me, esp toasted for breakfast with a swipe of butter. Yum! Thanks for the recipe.
Hi Priya, it is. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Pam, we've never toasted this -- gotta give that a try. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Cranberry walnut bread looks scrumptious! I have tried making bread only with banana and walnuts, your recipe is tempting me, I cannot wait to try it, thanks for the recipe and happy holidays to you!
Hi Aarthi, banana and walnut bread is awesome, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I found a cranberry walnut bread at the grocery store that cost less than making my own ~ they left out the orange!
I wouldn't buy it again because it was so bland. The orange brings out the favor of the cranberries in addition to adding its own brightness to the recipe.
I love that this recipe has lots of the goodies without being too sweet.
I don't know why it's taken me years to make it over here from Blue Kitchen. Lots of great looking recipes!
Hi Dani, welcome! :-) Homemade isn't always better than commercial, but when you make it yourself you have the fun of doing it, and can adjust recipes to your own taste. As we've done here! We certainly like sweet stuff, but not too sweet. Hence this recipe. Besides, you need orange in this bread! Thanks for the comment, and happy holidays!
Quick breads are the best! And this one is so festive and perfectly flavored for the holiday season. :-) ~Valentina
Hiya John, Still laughing at your dry humor as we are writing this comment. Can only imagine lining the kids up every morning to put on their crash helmets ready for the sugar crash... LOL . Actually as you already know we only like our baked goods only delicately sweet so this bread sounds right down our alley. Take Care
Hi Valentina, gotta be festive at this time of the year! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Bobbi, this bread definitely has your name on it! Don't think you'll have to buckle your crash helmet. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This bread looks terrific! I've dried cranberries in my kitchen, I wonder if they would taste much different if I soak them in water or water plus alcohol. Anyway I need to try :)
Hi FT, I bet that would work -- definitely worth a try. :-) Thanks for the comment.
The cranberries and walnuts sound like a wonderful combination and the bread looks so colorful and pretty!
Hi Judee, it's really good stuff -- outstanding flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I've got a bag of cranberries in the fridge, and I've been mulling over what to do with them! Thank you.
I like to have a little bite of something sweet but I don't care for overly sweet desserts. This sounds like a perfect slice to enjoy with a cup of morning tea.
Hi Jeff, you're welcome. :-) And thanks for the comment.
Hi Karen, this would probably suit your taste -- and a slice of this is great with tea. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love cranberry bread. And I always add a heap of both cranberries and walnuts. Great stomachs think alike. ;)
Hi Carolyn, lol @ great stomachs. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I saw this recipe this morning before going shopping, and was able to find both walnuts and cranberries. Can’t wait to try it!
Hi David, bet you'll like it! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Haha.. I'd really love to hear your conversations in real time - it seems to me like you two must have the funniest and wittiest exchanges. The bread looks delicious too and I love the cranberry and walnut combo (and the fact that it's not overly sweet - right up my valley)! Merry nearly Christmas, David!
Hi Katerina, we write those conversations, of course, but in spirit they're pretty close to how we actually talk to each other. :-) Thanks for the comment, and Merry Christmas!
This bread looks absolutely delicious! Perfect option for a tea party-or any time! Love that cranberry walnut combo
Hi Rahul, cranberries and walnuts are a terrific combo! And SO nice in this bread. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Fresh cranberry bread always reminds me of the holidays. My MiL made some really delicious loaves during Thanksgiving. I want to try her recipe soon AND try this one as well. Happy Holidays!
Using fresh cranberries really send this bread over-the-top. YUM!
Hi Debra, reminds us of the holidays, too. :-) Thanks for the comment, and Happy Holidays!
Hi Heidi, fresh cranberry season is so short, we have to make the most of it. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love the sound of this, tasty, simple, moderately sweet - Just my kind. Fab recipe John.
Hi Balvinder, it's really good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Well, "adding extra" is what the holidays are all about. I hope yours are as delicious as this cranberry bread. GREG
Hi Greg, we hope our holidays are extra good! :-) Thanks for the comment.
A great post! I love your blog. Your content is very interesting < 3
Hi Milentry, thanks! :-)
Sweet or not I can easily devour those!
Hi Raymund, these go down SO easily! :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love fresh cranberries and I also love a good holiday quick bread! Looks perfect and delicious!
Hi Amy, this is really good stuff. :) Thanks for the comment.
Woohoo! That looks delicious! I love how Mrs. KR used the fresh cranberries and not dried variety. Great recipe, thanks...
Hi Pat, the fresh cranberries add a LOT! :-) Thanks for the comment.
I know I will! It’s on the schedule for Saturday morning…
Mmmm, cranberry and walnuts is such a delicious combination of flavors! I love it.
Hi NEJ, it's good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Such a festive and delicious bread! Love the flavors!
Hi Kelly, the flavor are wonderful! Such good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This looks amazing and so festive.. would take it any time of the year actually. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Amira, this would be nice to have any time of the year! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Just the kind of bread my husband and I enjoy. We absolutely love citrus in our bakes!
Hi Taruna, citrus is good in baked goods, isn't it? Thanks for the comment.
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