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Cranberry Walnut Quick Bread looks fancy but takes very little effort to make something rich, warm and perfect for your next holiday gathering or just a special treat at home.

cranberry walnut quick bread

Do you have any idea how tart cranberries really are? Those suckers are borderline inedible straight up. But thankfully, I don’t know a soul who eats them fresh by the handful. You need to put them in stuff–like sugar, eggs, cream cheese, and walnuts.

What could be wrong in that combination?

And in this cranberry walnut quick bread, their appearance is all kinds of wonderful.

Made easy with a simple mix and bake approach, there’s no fussing with yeast, no rising to manage. Just the most moist bread you’ve made in awhile–and it’s a nice trade off from the regular old banana nut.

cranberry walnut quick bread

How to make the best cranberry walnut quick bread

  • Use fresh cranberries. You can find them in a bag in your produce department and they are usually only available between mid November and late December each year. If you can find frozen ones that are unsweetened you can use those here as well. I wouldn’t use dried–the flavor just isn’t the same.
  • Alternate the wet and dry ingredients as the recipe instructs, and mix only until you don’t see any pockets of raw flour. If you beat it to death it will be tough.
  • Use real, full fat cream cheese if you can take it. I tested this a few ways and of course full fat won out for flavor and texture. If you’re used to another swap, try it but remember your final result will be different.
  • Don’t skip the buttermilk. It reacts with the leavening agents in the bread and helps with the rise.
  • Line your loaf pan with parchment paper and leave some hanging out on both sides so you can get it out easier. It’s okay if the short ends of the pan don’t have parchment. Just spray them really well even if it’s nonstick.

Looking for more holiday breads? Try my ultra moist banana bread or this super easy zucchini bread.


Cranberry Walnut Bread Recipe

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Cranberry Walnut Bread is a sweet quick bread made with fresh cranberries and a hint of orange. It's perfect for snacking or gift-giving.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 10 slices


  • 1 egg
  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries washed, stems removed and any bad ones discarded
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 chopped walnuts
  • Optional: powdered sugar for dusting
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  • Preheat the oven to 400℉.
  • Line a 9x5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper long enough to cover both long sides and the bottom and leave some tails hanging over for easier removal. Spray the short ends well with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix the egg, cream cheese, vegetable oil, sugar and vanilla until smooth; about 2 minutes. Stir in the buttermilk and orange juice until well combined.
  • Using a hand mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the buttermilk mixture, ⅓ at a time, mixing just until the flour mixture is no longer visible.
  • Fold the berries in to the batter and pour into your prepared loaf pan.
  • Make the topping: In another bowl (you can use the one your flour was in) cut the butter into the brown sugar using your fingers, 2 forks or a pasty blender until it's the size of small peas. Stir in the chopped walnuts.
  • Sprinkle the butter mixture over the top of the bread and bake uncovered 45-50 minutes until set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. You can cover your bread with foil if it's getting too dark halfway through.
  • Allow to cool 10 minutes in the pan then run a knife along all the edges and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.


  • Use fresh cranberries. You can find them in a bag in your produce department and they are usually only available between mid November and late December each year. You can use frozen, but make sure to thaw and drain off any liquid.
  • If you prefer, skip the topping and stir the walnuts (in larger pieces) directly into the batter.
  • Store wrapped in plastic wrap and at room temperature for up to 4 days, or freeze for up to 6 months.


Calories: 323kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 5gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 289mgPotassium: 100mgFiber: 1gSugar: 28gVitamin A: 292IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 80mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer Kristin Maxwell of "Yellow Bliss Road" is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. For accurate calorie counts and other nutritional values, we recommend running the ingredients through your preferred online nutritional calculator. Calories and other nutritional values can vary depending on which brands were used.

Here’s another of our favorite quick bread recipes:

Cinnamon Pineapple Bread

A loaf of Cinnamon Pineapple Bread

And for even more delicious quick bread recipes, try these:

A loaf of Cranberry Walnut Bread





Rachel is a farmer and home cook from Kentucky teaching busy folks just like you how to make dinner fresh and fast even when the day is busy. Come have a seat at my table!

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  1. Lisa Warren says:

    This recipe is easy to follow. Basic ingredients, loaded with flavor!

    1. Kristin says:

      Thank you Lisa for sharing your experience.

  2. Lisa Warren says:

    This bread is very easy to make and the flavor is awesome…

    1. Kristin says:

      thank you so much Lisa for taking the time to leave some positive feedback.

  3. Natalie says:

    This bread looks so good! I love the combo of cranberries and walnuts – so delicious ♥