Cranberry Walnut Bread

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You’ll love how easy this cranberry walnut bread is! It’s a simple quick bread with orange zest, fresh cranberries, and chopped walnuts.

angled view of cranberry walnut bread sliced on a marble cutting board

The weather is trying to cool down and the leaves are beginning to change colors. All I can think about is cranberry desserts!!

A few of my favorite are cranberry orange upside-down cake, cranberry white chocolate oatmeal cookies, and cranberry orange scones.

This cranberry walnut bread is so great for this time of year! It has a hint of orange and is dotted with tart cranberries and crunchy walnuts.

It’s tender and very moist.

Like most quick bread, this recipe is made by mixing the dry ingredients separate from the wet ingredients then combining the two.

The cranberries and walnuts are folded in last and the batter gets baked in a 9×5 loaf pan.

I’m obsessed with this bread! Just look at that gorgeous golden color.

overhead view of a loaf of cranberry walnut bread

What cranberries to use for cranberry walnut bread?

Fresh, frozen, or dried cranberries all work great for this recipe!

Fresh cranberries should be roughly chopped before adding them to the batter.

Frozen cranberries need to be thawed first so they don’t leak excess liquid into the bread.

Dried cranberries work great as well and can be added to the batter as is.

How to make cranberry walnut bread?

Step 1: Make the batter

I love quick bread recipes because they are super easy!

Simply mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix all the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl then pour it into the dry ingredients.

Use a silicone spatula to fold everything together until no visible streaks of flour remain.

cranberry walnut bread batter in a glass bowl

Step 2: Add the cranberries and walnuts

Gently fold in the cranberries and walnuts.

Be extra gentle if you’re using frozen and thawed cranberries. They’ll be quite soft and squishy which could result in turning the batter red.

Or if you want streaks of red in the batter, you can be a little heavier on the hand. That would be lovely if you’re baking the bread for the holidays!

And if you are not a fan of walnuts, you can leave them out or use a different nut instead.

bread batter with cranberries and walnuts

Step 3: Bake the bread

Transfer the batter to a loaf pan that has been lightly greased.

I also like to line the bottom with parchment paper or drape a strip across the width of the pan and up the sides.

This makes it extra easy to remove also. I’ve had times where the cranberries stuck to the bottom and I couldn’t get the bread out.

So take the extra step and line the pan with parchment paper after you’ve greased it.

The bread needs to bake for a good 55-65 minutes. The time will vary slightly depending on your oven.

Start checking for doneness at around 50 minutes by inserting a toothpick into the center. The bread is done when the toothpick comes out clean.

If you notice the top of the bread turning too brown before it has finished baking, you can loosely tent a piece of foil over it to prevent over-browning.

overhead view of unbaked cranberry walnut bread
overhead view of cranberry walnut bread in a loaf pan

Allow the bread to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before you try to remove it. Then set it on a wire rack to cool completely.

Slice and serve the bread right away or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

I think the bread tastes best after it has sat for a day or two. It’s almost like the flavors have time to meld together.

overhead view of cranberry walnut bread sliced on a cutting board

Tips for making this cranberry walnut bread recipe

  • If you plan to use fresh cranberries, pulse them in a food processor just long enough to roughly chop them.
  • Be sure to thaw frozen cranberries before adding them to the batter.

More bread recipes you’ll love

  1. Easy Banana Bread
  2. Best Ever Banana Bread
  3. Pumpkin Bread

Cranberry Walnut Bread

4.56 from 130 votes
overhead view of cranberry walnut bread sliced on a cutting board
You’ll love how easy this cranberry walnut bread is! It’s a simple quick bread with orange zest, cranberries, and chopped walnuts. You can use fresh, frozen, or dried cranberries!
Jen Sobjack
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Serving Size 10


  • cup (75 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest, from about 1 large orange
  • 2 cups (260 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (230 g) sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups (150 g) fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup (58 g) toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped


  • Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350°F. Spray the inside of a 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place a wide strip of parchment paper along the width of the bottom of the loaf pan, and up the long sides. Set aside. 
  • In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in the orange zest.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture followed by the sour cream then the remaining flour mixture, beating just until incorporated.
  • Using a silicone spatula, gently fold in the cranberries and walnuts.
  • Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly with a silicone spatula. Bake for about 55-65 minutes, until the golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.


  • Frozen and thawed cranberries can be used if you don’t have access to fresh cranberries. Dried cranberries can also be used.
Make ahead tip
  1. The bread will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  2. Baked and cooled bread can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 307kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 63mg | Sodium: 189mg | Potassium: 149mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 393IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 2mg

The nutrition information provided is for convenience and as a courtesy only. It is not guaranteed to be accurate because nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator and input the exact ingredients and brands you used in the recipe.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American


  1. Danielle Levy says:

    5 stars
    Every year I make and everyone goes crazy for it

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I made this for the 2nd time, this time why did it rise very high through the middle? not flat like it did the first time. What did I do wrong?
    Other than that it came out ok! Not as moist as I remembered. 😕

    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      It’s hard for me to say what went wrong when I wasn’t there with you to see you make it. I don’t know what you did differently than the first time. I can say to make sure your baking powder and baking soda are fresh. And to use the weight measurements when measuring the ingredients.

  3. Hi,

    I don’t have unsalted butter on hand. Should I just use what I have and not add the baking soda and the salt?


    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      You can use salted butter and omit the salt from the recipe. But keep in mind that salted butter can make the bread taste too salty. Never omit leavening agents such as baking soda and baking powder or the bread will not rise.

  4. Lorayne B says:

    Should I use an equal amount (1 1/2 cups) dried cranberries for the fresh? Also, should I re-hydrate the dried cranberries a bit…maybe in orange juice?
    Thank you!

    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      Yes, equal amounts of dried cranberries will work fine and there’s no need to rehydrate them.

  5. 5 stars
    This bread is great. Consider splitting some cranberries in half and decorating the top of the bread. Use some walnuts, too, for decoration. This way, the bread looks great and people can easily tell what kind of bread it is.

  6. Jen: Where in the recipe does it mention the amount of orange extract? Didn’t have it prepared as it was not in the printed recipe — then much to my surprise, the directions mention: “Beat in the orange extract.”

    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      There is no orange extract in the recipe. That should say orange zest.

      1. It does say orange zest. I just made the recipe and am waiting for it to come out of the oven. Smells delicious.

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