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.
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.
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.
Cranberry Walnut Quick Bread
Cranberry walnut quick bread is full of the sweet holiday flavors you love, and is easy to make. Looks impressive and tastes great.
Yield 1 9x5 loaf
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup 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
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 large bowl, mix the egg, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. About 2 minutes. Set aside.
In a medium bowl mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir to combine and set aside.
In a 4-cup liquid measuring cup or medium bowl, mix the buttermilk, orange juice, and oil.
Using a hand mixer, alternate adding the flour and buttermilk mixture to the eggs and cream cheese 1/3 at a time, beginning and ending with the dry mixture. Set aside.
Toss the cranberries with 1/2 tablespoon flour. (This prevents them from sinking in the batter.)
Fold the berries in to the batter and pour into your prepared loaf pan.
In a bowl (you can use the one your flour was in) cut the butter into the brown sugar using your fingers two forks or a pasty blender until it's the size of small peas. Stir in the 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.
Store in plastic wrap for up to 4 days on the counter or chill in the fridge.
Here’s another of our favorite quick bread recipes:
And for even more delicious quick bread recipes, try these:
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!