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

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overhead view of cranberry walnut bread sliced on a cutting board

Cranberry Walnut Bread

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

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!


  • ⅓ 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 - SEE NOTE 1
  • ½ cup (58 g) toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped


  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350°F. Spray the inside of a 9x5-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. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Using a silicone spatula, gently fold in the cranberries and walnuts.
  5. 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.
  6. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.


  1. 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.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 138Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 247mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 4g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the values shown are just an estimate.

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  1. 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. 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.

  2. 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. 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.

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

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

  5. Hi, could I substitute the eggs with flax ? Would I need to adjust any other ingredients ? Thanks.

    1. I’ve never used a flax egg so I’m unsure how it will work with this bread.

  6. Can I make this without sour cream I have all ingredients except sourcream

    1. Karen Calka says:

      apple sauce may also work

    2. Buttermilk would be tasty too.

    3. @Annette, you can use an equal amount of buttermilk, which you can make by adding 1 tbs lemon or white vinegar to 1 cup milk. Yiels 1 cup buttermilk.

  7. Angela S. says:

    Can you use self-rising flour in place of the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt? If so, how much should I use? Thanks.

    1. I don’t really have experience with self-rising flour but I imagine you’d use the same amount called for in the recipe and omit the leavening agents.

      1. Angela S. says:

        Thank you!

  8. I just made this, and followed the recipe closely. It is tasty, but a bit dry, and I don’t taste the orange zest. I’m comparing this to a different recipe that a friend recently made, and hers was more dense and moist, and I could taste the orange more. Any suggestions as to what I could do differently next time to made it more robust in texture and flavor? Thanks.

    1. The recipe you’re comparing it to was probably an orange cranberry bread where the orange is meant to be a prominent flavor. This is a cranberry walnut bread and just a little orange zest is added to complement the cranberry flavor. As far as texture goes, make sure you are not using too much flour by referring to my “How to Measure Flour” article. Too much flour can cause baked goods to be dense and dry. Overbaking can also dry out the bread. Use an oven thermometer to double-check that your oven is calibrated correctly and start checking the bread at around 55 minutes by inserting a wooden skewer or toothpick into the center. As soon as it comes out clean, the bread needs to be removed from the oven.

  9. Mmm delicious! I used dried cranberries which worked just fine. I also replaced orange zest for lemons, that’s all I had, and the flavors were lovely. I’m going to have to hide it from myself.

    1. It’s great to hear it worked out with dried cranberries and lemon zest!

  10. I love how this cranberry walnut bread has a hint of lemon! It’s exceptional!!