A classic cranberry walnut bread, that can be made with fresh cranberries or frozen cranberries. This cranberry quick bread is perfect for the holiday season and is especially delicious with a bit of butter.
Why I love this cranberry walnut bread
- You can make this cranberry bread with fresh cranberries or frozen cranberries, so it can be enjoyed any time of year. It’s a great use for the last few fresh cranberries from the holiday season!
- This cranberry walnut loaf is flavoured with vanilla, but if you are a fan of orange, there is an easy orange variation detailed below and in the Recipe card.
- You can make this cranberry quick bread without a mixer, simply with a bowl and a whisk.
Ingredients and substitutions
Cranberries – you can use fresh cranberries or frozen cranberries. For frozen cranberries, use from frozen and allow a few minutes more baking time with the frozen cranberries.
Walnuts – this is a cranberry walnut loaf, but if you only have pecans on hand, they will work fine here as well.
Vanilla – you can use regular vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste.
Milk – you can use regular milk (at least 2% recommended for best results) or you could use buttermilk here, as well, if you’d like the tangier flavour.
You’ll also need – All purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, eggs and white sugar.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
- Mix together the eggs and sugar until frothy.
- Add the milk and melted butter and mix in.
- Add the vanilla and mix together.
- Mix in the dry ingredients just until combined.
- Add the cranberries (fresh or frozen) and walnuts and
- Fold in just until evenly distributed.
- Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. If desired, spray both sides of a bench scraper with cooking spray (or brush with melted butter) and insert it into the centre of the loaf about an inch. This will create a nice even crack in the top.
Any quick bread made with both baking soda and baking powder is going to crack on the the top as it bakes. The neat little trick illustrated above using a bench scraper tells the loaf exactly where to crack, so it bakes up with a pretty even crack on top.
You can spray the bench scraper with cooking spray or brush it with melted butter. Be sure to spray both sides. (If you don’t have a bench scraper, you can use an icing spatula or even the flat edge of a large knife.)
Add some orange flavour to this loaf by replacing the 1 1/2 cup of milk with 1/2 cup orange juice and 3/4 cup milk and add 2-3 Tablespoons of orange zest with the cranberries.
Making ahead, storing and freezing
This loaf keeps well for several days, well wrapped and stored at room temperature. In fact, I think it is better after it sits for a bit, so don’t hesitate to make ahead. You can refrigerate after 24 hours to extend the shelf life.
This cranberry walnut bread will also freeze well. Wrap well and freeze up to 3 months.
Get the Recipe: Cranberry Walnut Bread
- 3 cups (375 g) all purpose flour, spooned and levelled
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated white sugar
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) butter, melted
- 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) milk, or buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla, or vanilla bean paste
- 1 1/4 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
- 3/4 cup walnuts, or pecans, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350F (160C) not fan assisted. Grease a 4×10-inch or 9×5-inch loaf pan and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl with an electric beater (or whisk) or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar together until well blended and a little frothy. Stir in the melted butter, milk and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and mix just until moistened. Fold in the cranberries and walnuts.
- Spread the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
- Tip! Loaves that are made with both baking soda and baking powder will often crack on the top. You can control the crack and create nice neat crack by spraying the edge of a bench scraper and inserting it about 1 inch into the batter in the centre of the loaf. (See step-by-step photos above this recipe card to see this illustrated.)
- Bake loaf in preheated oven for 50-65 minutes, or until the cake test clean when tested with a cake tested. Loaf will be quite golden and cracked on top. *Baking time will vary by oven. A loaf made with frozen cranberries will take longer. Mine with frozen cranberries took just over 60 minutes.
- Let loaf cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire cooling rack to cool. When cooled, wrap with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature. *Tip! This loaf is actually better if made ahead and allowed to stand before slicing, so don't hesitate to make ahead. You can also freeze this loaf up to 3 months.
More Cranberry Recipes to Love!
Hi! I’m Jennifer, a home cook schooled by trial and error and almost 40 years of getting dinner on the table! I love to share my favourite recipes, both old and new, together with lots of tips and tricks to hopefully help make your home cooking enjoyable, stress free, rewarding and of course, delicious!