Cranberry Lemon Bread

10 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Cranberry Lemon Bread is a sweet, tart, buttery quick bread with fresh cranberries and lots of lemon flavor. It’s so good it’ll brighten your day!

We love quick bread recipes for adding to our brunch spread or as an easy dessert. Banana Nut Bread, Blueberry Lemon Bread and this Cranberry Lemon Bread are all fantastic choices. If you’re wanting to try some new recipes for the new year, check out all of our Baked Goods Recipes.

You’ll love the tartness from this original Cranberry Bread, and this version adds fresh lemon juice and zest for a burst of flavor. They’re both tart flavors, but they just go together perfectly. This sweet bread makes a delicious breakfast or after dinner dessert. In fact, you’ll probably be reaching for a slice at all times of the day. It’s just that good!

About our Lemon Cranberry Bread Recipe

This delicious and easy Lemon Cranberry Bread comes together in just a few minutes and only takes an hour to bake. Since it’s a quick bread recipe, there’s no proofing or kneading any dough. Instead it is mixed together like a cake batter. The easy batter gets loaded with lemon flavor and fresh cranberries for a yummy loaf of bread that’s light enough for breakfast and sweet enough for dessert.

One of the best things about this bread is that it lasts for a long time so it’s perfect for gifting or making ahead of time and freezing. It can be frozen for about 6 months, just let it cool completely before wrapping up tightly and popping in the freezer. When you are ready to eat it, let it thaw overnight in the fridge and enjoy.

Cranberry Lemon Bread ingredients in prep bowls

Lemon Cranberry Bread Ingredients

  • Butter: This bread starts out with ⅓ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature, that is creamed with sugar. Softening the butter lets it whip up easier to get lots of air for soft, fluffy bread.
  • Sugar: There is 1 cup of sugar so the bread is sweet but it is balanced out with the tartness from the berries and fresh lemon so it isn’t overly sweet.
  • Lemon: With 4 tablespoons lemon juice and 2 tablespoon of lemon zest, there is loads of fresh, bold lemon flavor in this delicious loaf cake!
  • Eggs: Bring 2 large eggs to room temperature so that they incorporate into the other ingredients easier. The eggs add moisture to the bread and help bind everything together for a good structure.
  • Flour: You just need 1 ½ cups all purpose flour for this smaller loaf cake. All-purpose flour is just fine for this rich and moist cake, no need for a specialty flour.
  • Baking Powder: To help make the cake fluffy and melt in your mouth tender, you need to add 1 teaspoon baking powder. The air from the butter mixture gives some lift, but the baking powder makes sure it stays light.
  • Milk: For extra moisture, you add ¾ cups whole milk to the batter. The whole milk adds a delicious richness to the cake too.
  • Cranberries: A small bag, about 12 ounces, of fresh cranberries adds the perfect amount of berries without overwhelming the cake. You can also use frozen berries, just thaw and pat them dry so they don’t add too much moisture.

Kitchen Tools & Equipment

  • Loaf Pan: The batter fits nicely in a regular size loaf pan which will get you 8-10 good sized slices, depending how thick you cut them. You can also bake it in other sized pans, there are baking adjustments in the Alternative Cooking Techniques section.
  • Parchment Paper: Lining your loaf pan with parchment is a great hack to get your bread out of the pan easily. Leave paper about an inch over the sides so you have something to grab onto to just lift the loaf right out of the pan.

How to Make Lemon Cranberry Bread

Time needed: 1 hour and 15 minutes.

  1. Prep Work

    Preheat the oven. Grease a loaf pan with butter and lightly dust with flour. You can also line it with parchment paper, with the edges sticking up over the sides.

  2. Mix the Wet Ingredients

    Cream the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy, in a stand mixer, for about 2-3 minutes. With the mixer is on medium speed, add in the vanilla, lemon juice, lemon zest and eggs until well mixed.Cranberry Lemon Bread wet ingredients in mixing bowl

  3. Add the Dry Ingredients

    Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Turn the mixer on low speed, and begin adding the flour in increments, alternating with the milk until just combined.Cranberry Lemon Bread dry ingredients in mixing bowl

  4. Fold in the Cranberries

    Turn off the mixer and gently fold the cranberries into the batter. Pour into the prepared pan and carefully even out the top with a spatula.Cranberry Lemon Bread fresh cranberries added to batter in bowl

  5. Bake the Bread

    Bake the cake uncovered for 60 minutes in the center of the oven until a toothpick comes out clean with moist crumbs. Cool the pan on a rack for 10 minutes before removing and finish cooling on the rack.Cranberry Lemon Bread Collage of baking steps

Nutritional Facts

This Lemon Cranberry Bread is full of rich flavor and delicious sweetness but it’s actually pretty light in calories and fat. You can enjoy it guilt free for breakfast or a snack any time of day!

Nutrition Facts
Cranberry Lemon Bread
Amount Per Serving
Calories 260 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Trans Fat 0.3g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 56mg19%
Sodium 161mg7%
Potassium 99mg3%
Carbohydrates 44g15%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 26g29%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 301IU6%
Vitamin C 9mg11%
Calcium 61mg6%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Baking Lemon Cranberry Bread Tips & Tricks

  • How to prevent a dense cake
    • Do not over-mix the batter. The longer you mix, the tougher your bread will be. Stop mixing once everything is combined.
    • Make sure sift the flour and baking powder before adding them to the mixer. It will make the flour mixture much lighter and easier to mix into the wet ingredients, resulting in a lighter bread.
  • How to zest and juice a lemon
    • When picking your lemons at the store, look for ones that are firm and feel heavy for their size. You’ll want to zest the lemon before juicing. Use a fine grater for zesting the lemon which releases the most flavor. If you’re squeezing the lemon by hand, to get the most juice roll the lemon on the counter first and then microwave it for 30 seconds.

What to Pair With Lemon Cranberry Bread

Drinks: If you love hitting up the coffee shop for lemon loaf, a cup of Cold Brew or hot coffee is just what you should enjoy with your Lemon Cranberry Bread!

Brunch: Serve this Cranberry Lemon Bread alongside your favorite holiday breakfast treats such as Breakfast Casserole, Pork Sausage, and Stuffed French Toast for an impressive brunch spread.

How to Store Lemon Cranberry Bread

Store: This bread will keep at room temperature, covered, for about a week. You can extend the freshness of the bread by storing it in an airtight container or storage bag in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Freeze: Make sure to wrap the bread in a sealed container or freezer-safe storage bag. The bread will keep for up to 6 months in the freezer.

Ideas to Serve Lemon Cranberry Bread

Glaze: Make a lemony glaze by whisking powdered sugar and lemon juice until the sugar dissolves. Drizzle it over the top once the loaf has cooled.

Gifting: Bake the Lemon Cranberry Bread in mini bread pans to make them the perfect size for gifting. It’s an easy recipe to double or triple for holiday baking. Wrap the loaves in festive plastic wrap before packing in a holiday gift box to keep the bread fresh.

Alternative Ways to Bake Lemon Cranberry Bread

Lemon Cranberry Muffins

Bake the Cranberry Lemon Bread batter in muffin liners at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes. Remove the muffins from the muffin tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Mini Lemon Cranberry Bread Loaves

For smaller snack loaves, the perfect size for gifting, bake them in 2 half sized loaf pans. Bake the mini loaves for 30-35 minutes.

Lemon Cranberry Bundt Cake

If you want to make this full size cake, you can double the recipe and bake in a bundt pan. Bake the batter in a well greased bundt pan at 325 degrees for 65-75 minutes.

FAQ for Lemon Cranberry Bread

Can I use frozen cranberries?

No need to wait until you can get your hands on fresh cranberries to make this recipe either, you can also use frozen cranberries, just be aware that the color will run through the bread significantly more. If you do use frozen berries, rinse and dry them to prevent excess running of the color. Also, be gentle when stirring them into the batter.

How long does Lemon Cranberry Bread last?

If stored properly, this Lemon Cranberry Bread should last about a week at room temperature. It can also be refrigerated for about 2 weeks or frozen for 6 months.

Cranberry Lemon Bread sliced on board

Cranberry Lemon Bread

Cranberry Lemon Bread is a sweet, tart, buttery cake base with fresh cranberries and lemon juice added. It’s so good it’ll brighten your day!
Yield 10 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1/3  cup  unsalted butter  , softened
  • 1 cup  sugar
  • 1 teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon lemon zest , grated
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon  salt
  • 3/4  cups  whole milk
  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries , or frozen


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter and flour an 8×4 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, lemon juice, lemon zest and eggs until fully combined
  • In a separate bowl sift together the flour, salt 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.


Calories: 260kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 161mg | Potassium: 99mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 301IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 1mg

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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 cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, 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.

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