Cranberry Bread

Cranberry Bread made with a buttery cake and fresh cranberries, this is an easy festive quick bread dessert recipe perfect for Christmas and Thanksgiving!

We love quick fruit breads like our Classic Banana Bread Recipe which is made in just one bowl! If you’re looking for more easy cake recipes be sure to check out Cake Recipes Index.

Stack of cranberry bread slices on wooden table

 Cranberry Bread

Cranberry Bread doesn’t have to just be served during the Christmas and Thanksgiving season, with frozen cranberries we make this sweet bread any time of year! Cranberry Bread is a traditional American quick bread recipe like banana bread or Pumpkin Chocolate Bread.

Pantry Friendly Recipe

To keep this recipe simple and traditional with cranberry flavors we keep milk in the recipe like in our Blueberry Lemon Bread Recipe. You could use orange juice as is traditionally used in many cranberry bread recipes but many people don’t keep orange juice on hand as they do milk. The first time you make this recipe we suggest making it the way it is written in the recipe card, it is the truly the best cranberry bread ever.

Most people make this recipe during the holiday season, so if you’re looking to make your Cranberry loaf a bit more festive you can top it with white chocolate chips, drizzle white chocolate on top or make a glaze with white chocolate. We like using white chocolate in holiday desserts like our White Trash Christmas Snack Mix – A festive mix of candies and pretzels named that way because it’s a bunch of snack items tossed together and “white” from the white chocolate. The recipe originally came from a famous department store which made it as a holiday snack treat they sold.

MORE DELICIOUS QUICK BREADS:

Next time you want to make it, if you’d like to add orange to this recipe use the recipe variation below:

Orange Cranberry Bread Recipe

  • Use orange juice in place of the milk.
  • Use the zest of one orange when adding in the vanilla extract.

TOPPINGS AND MIX-INS:

  • Almonds: Top with sliced almonds or finely chopped almonds
  • Glaze: Mix powdered sugar with just a tablespoon of water until barely able to mix then dip the bread upside down into it.
  • Orange Glaze: Make the glaze as directed above except instead of using water use orange juice in its place for a punch of extra orange flavor along with orange zest from one orange.
  • White Chocolate Chips: White Chocolate Chips is a great muted addition to the flavors of the cranberry (like in Starbucks Bliss Bars).
  • Candied Orange Peel: If you want even more orange flavor, add chopped candied orange peel to the top of the bread with a glaze.
  • Cream Cheese: Use the cream cheese filling recipe in my Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread Recipe.

 

Loaf of Cranberry Bread

Cranberry Bread Muffins:

Bake in muffin liners for 18-20 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Remove from the muffin pan and cool on a wire rack.

Why did my Cranberry Bread drop after baking?

  • Make sure you’re measuring your dry ingredients exactly, especially the all purpose flour. If you’re using a measuring scoop, try using a butter knife to level the all purpose flour before mixing it in.
  • Be careful not to over-mix the dough, stop when the flour mixture is just mixed in.
  • Make sure your baking powder is fresh and not expired.
  • Use an oven-safe thermometer to make sure your oven is baking true to temperature.
  • It may not have been fully baked, if the middle is still raw it will sink as it cools.

More Recipes for the Holiday Season:

Cranberry Bread Tips:

  • Check your fresh cranberries for any that are not ripe and for those that are overripe and mushy.
  • For a deeper, more caramelized flavor you can add half brown sugar and half white sugar.
  • You can bake this in one large 8×4 inch loaf pan or 2 mini loaf pans.
  • If using mini loaf pans reduce your cook time to 30-35 minutes.

HOW TO STORE THIS BREAD:

  • Serve: You can keep at room temperature for 2-3 days, covered in plastic wrap in a cool, dry place.
  • Store: Store in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 1 week in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature to serve.
  • Freeze: Wrap individual slices or full loaf tightly first in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months and thaw at room temperature to eat.

Top down photo of cranberry bread

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Cranberry Bread

Cranberry Bread made with a buttery cake and fresh cranberries, this is an easy festive quick bread dessert recipe perfect for Christmas and Thanksgiving!
Yield 12 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 1 cup  sugar
  • 1 teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups  flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon  salt
  • 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries (frozen okay too)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter and flour an 8x4 inch loaf pan.
  • In a stand mixer cream your butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes then add in the vanilla and eggs until fully combined
  • In a separate bowl sift together the flour and baking powder before adding it into the stand mixer on low speed, alternating with the milk until just combined.
  • Stir the cranberries in by hand until just combined and pour into the pan and bake for 60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Nutrition

Calories: 284kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 101mg | Potassium: 102mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 235IU | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 1.6mg
Keyword: Cranberry Bread

Cranberry Bread collage

Original Photos from April 2019

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About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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Comments

    1. Yes, but you won’t need to use as much. You might only need about 9 ounces of dried cranberries. Good luck!

  1. Didn’t work for me either. Followed exactly and middle was super soggy and not baked white outer edges burned. Did the trick with the flower coating the cranberries but most still floated to top like many others. Bummed. Such a waste. ?

  2. Hello,
    One suggestion for the recipe is to revise the dry ingredient step to include adding the salt. Even though it was on the ingredient list, I came very close to omitting it since it’s not mentioned in the prep steps. I ended up adding to the wet mixture.
    The bread came out great though! Yum

  3. I followed the recipe to a “T” and it came out horrible. Way too many cranberries. By looking at the pics you posted, it can’t be possible that you used an entire bag! My bread looks NOTHING like the pictures, and the cranberries all went to the top, making it impossible to even cut. They are all at the top, and overflowing out of the pan. I just don’t understand how it could come out so badly. I used the right size pan and everything. Very disappointed. Won’t be making again.

  4. Planning to bake the cranberry bread this week but want to incorporate white chocolate into the recipe. Do you know if it will interfere with the end result if I fold some into the batter? Thinking maybe 1/2 cup…not more than that because I want it to be “cranberry” bread not white chocolate.

  5. Hi. I want to bake mini loaves. What would the adjusted baking time be? Also I want to bake 6 to 8 loaves at a time.

    1. You’ll need to reduce the bake time by 1/4 for mini loaves. I’d say your bake time will be around 40 minutes. Good luck!

  6. Hi. Can someone help. Made this cranberry bread. Came great except all the cranberries stayed on top. What did I do wrong??

  7. I have been making cranberry bread since my boys who are now 19 and 21 were little. It is my personal favorite holiday treat smothered in cream cheese. I hesitantly tried this recipe since it was so different than the one I have used for years. OH MY WORD! The butter makes ALL the difference! It was delicious! I used orange juice instead of milk and added pecans on the top and it was to die for good! I will say however that all the cranberries DID tend to stay in one place like was noted in other comments. Not sure why. I have never had that happen before, but I will definitely make this again!

    1. Cranberries rising to the top is a common problem when adding fruit to a cake-like recipe. Just dust the cranberries or whatever fruit you’re using with flour. That will stop them from settling to the bottom or rising to the top.

  8. OMG! HANDS DOWN the best bread…EVER. I did tweak because I love orange. I added zest from a full orange, and I added 1/2 c orange juice and 1/4 c almond milk. I only had whole wheat white flour, and it turned out GREAT. I don’t even care that a slice is 9 points on WW! I will save all my points for a slice. THANK YOU for an amazing recipe.

    1. Kristin, I also like the cranberry/orange combination and want to add the orange juice and almond milk as you suggest. I just want to ask if those are in addition to the 3/4 cup whole milk the recipe calls for, or if they are in place of that whole milk. Thank you so much!

  9. I made two loaves of this cranberry bread today and it received rave reviews. I did add the zest of one orange to the mix. It had such a great mix of sweetness and tartness. Tomorrow I’ll make French toast with a slice for a decadent breakfast.

  10. All the cranberries (dry when they went in) went to the top. This created a gooey thick top layer about a half inch deep with no cranberries in the majority of the lower layer. Yucky and very unattractive. I followed your directions and measurements exactly. Any idea on why mine cranberry bread was a failure?

    1. I’ve made this recipe so many times and have never had that issue. You can always cut the cranberries in half next time and see if that helps. Sorry you had issues with it.

    2. I make the recipe as noted, Loved it!

      Floating Berries – there is a fix!
      The way to keep fruit (like cranberries, cherries etc. that float or migrate to the top) stay in the batter is as follows: dampen them, them dust them or roll them in flour or sugar (or a mix). When batter is ready, gently mix in fruit.

  11. Delicious! We had leftover cranberries after stringing them for the tree. I didn’t quite have 12 ounces, so I subbed in some apple. I made these in muffin tins and the house smells wonderful. The batter is just right for sweetness to offset the tartness cranberries.

  12. Thank you very much for the recipe. This bread is delicious. The only “problem” I had is that all the cranberries went on top of the bread during the baking!! I am not sure why. Do you have any advice for next time? Thanks.

    1. Your cranberries rose to the top during baking? I haven’t had it happen to me, but tossing the cranberries in some flour and gently folding into the batter instead of stirring should solve the problem. I will retest to see if I can recreate your floating cranberries. I’m glad the bread was still delicious! Happy Holidays!

      1. Thank you for this yummy recipe! I wanted to try baking with fresh cranberries this year and this was perfect. My berries also rose to the top :-/
        I thought for sure I would have the opposite problem so I was careful when stirring them in. But the bread is awesome! I did 1/2 brown sugar and used gluten free flour. I also added some orange zest because I was craving orange and cranberry. I will definitely use this recipe again. Thanks and Happy Holidays

        1. That’s so odd! I’ve made this bread about a dozen times this season and haven’t had that issue. You can cut the cranberries in half next time and that will definitely resolve that issue.

  13. I followed the recipe. It seem like an awful lot to put in an 8 x 4 loaf pan it’s been cooking an hour it’s still not cooked not sure what I should do.

    1. A toothpick is not coming out clean after an hour? I would very gently tent it and keep cooking. I haven’t had that happy for me with this recipe and we just made it this week for holiday gifts. Let me know how this turns out for you.

    1. Yes, though because it has less fat content, make sure you mix carefully as not to over mix otherwise the bread will come out tough.

  14. made this for a friend . she loved it but said it could be just a hair sweeter. she had frozen the loaf and i think she ate the whole thing before it fully defrosted!

  15. Haven’t eaten it yet, as I’m just now baking it but for me, I only used 8oz cranberries and it was so much that I had to use two baking pans. Anyone else experience this recipe making more than it calls for? I followed the recipe correctly…

  16. I am making this bread for the first time, do you cut cranberries in half or add whole. I am using fresh cranberries.

  17. The flavor was incredible! However, the loaf itself was soggy, as if the moisture from the frozen cranberries over saturated the dough. Tried putting it back in the oven for just a bit more, but still super soggy…..any suggestions as to where I went wrong?

    1. There could have been too much liquid released from the frozen cranberries. It definitely sounds like an imbalance of dry to wet ingredients. Next time I would pat the frozen berries down to remove any frost and extra moisture.

      1. i had the same problem, baked it twice and it was still gooey. it was a brain issue. I put in 12 oz of milk instead of 6. Duh. it went down the disposal, second try is in the oven.

  18. Sabrina,
    If using frozen cranberries do I need to let me defrost first or can I just pour them in frozen? sorry if this was already mentioned and I just missed it.

  19. Such a delicious recipe! I love the tart flavor of the cranberries with the contrast of the sweet bread.