Cranberry Nut Bread

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Sweet, orange-scented and chock-full of cranberries and walnuts, this cranberry nut bread is perfect for the holidays.

Cranberry Nut Bread

Sweet, orange-scented, and chock-full of cranberries and walnuts, this cranberry nut bread is practically tailor-made for the holidays. It’s a classic quick bread, which means it’s easy to throw together. The hardest part is chopping up the fresh cranberries because they like to roll all over the place. Don’t be tempted to substitute dried cranberries; the fresh cranberries burst as they bake, adding moisture and a pleasant tart note.

What you’ll need to make Cranberry nut bread

How to Make Cranberry Nut Bread

How to make Cranberry Nut bread

Begin by combining the buttermilk, orange zest, orange juice, melted butter and egg in a small bowl.
How to Make Cranberry Nut Bread

Since the recipe calls for only 2/3 cup of buttermilk, you might not want to buy a whole carton. It’s easy to make your own by combining regular milk with a bit of lemon juice or vinegar (see recipe below for exact quantities). Whisk well to combine and set aside.

How to Make Cranberry Nut BreadNext, combine the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

Whisk well.

How to Make Cranberry Nut BreadAdd the wet ingredients to the dry.

How to Make Cranberry Nut Bread

Stir gently with a rubber spatula until just combined.

How to Make Cranberry Nut Bread

Add the halved cranberries and nuts.

How to Make Cranberry Nut Bread

Mix again to incorporate.

How to Make Cranberry Nut BreadScrape the batter into a greased loaf pan.

How to Make Cranberry Nut Bread

Bake for about one hour, then cool in the pan on a rack for ten minutes.

How to Make Cranberry Nut Bread

Turn the loaf out onto the rack to cool completely.

How to Make Cranberry Nut Bread

Slice, serve and enjoy!

Cranberry Nut Bread

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Cranberry Nut Bread

Sweet, orange-scented and chock-full of cranberries and walnuts, this cranberry nut bread is perfect for the holidays.

Servings: One 9 x 5-inch loaf (about 12 slices)
Total Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes


  • ⅔ cup buttermilk (see note)
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest, from 1 orange
  • ⅓ cup orange juice, from 1 orange
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, halved (see note)
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F and set an oven rack to the middle position. Spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together buttermilk, orange zest and juice, melted butter and egg. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda. Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients with rubber spatula until just moistened. Gently stir in cranberries and nuts. Do not overmix.
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350° F. Continue to bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean, about 45 minutes longer. Cool the loaf in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto the rack and cool at least 30 minutes before serving.
  5. Note: If you’d like to make your own buttermilk, check out the easy method here.
  6. Note: Cranberries are a bit tricky to chop because they roll all over the place. I cut them in half one at a time -- seems tedious, I know, but there aren't that many so it doesn't take long. If you're using frozen cranberries, be sure to slice them while they're still frozen.
  7. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The bread can be frozen for up to 3 months. After it is completely cooled, wrap it securely in aluminum foil, freezer wrap or place in a freezer bag. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (12 servings)
  • Serving size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 227
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Saturated fat: 4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 38 g
  • Sugar: 20 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 3 g
  • Sodium: 224 mg
  • Cholesterol: 31 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  • Definitely a keeper!! The only change I made was that I didn’t include the cinnamon, thus allowing the cranberry and orange to shine. It was delicious!!!

    • — Diana D. on April 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • I love pecans but for the holiday season do you think I could substitute pistachio nuts for a holiday colour? Would the flavour be fine?

    • — Linda on January 31, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure, Linda, pistachios will work (just make sure to use unsalted). 🙂

      • — Jenn on January 31, 2022
      • Reply
  • Can you make muffins from this recipe? If so, what would you recommend for the cook time and temperature?

    • — Philip Cottell on January 26, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Philip, Yes, you can turn this into muffins. I’d keep the oven temp the same and start checking them for doneness at 20 to 25 minutes. Please LMK how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on January 27, 2022
      • Reply
      • Hi Jenn. I tried the recipe to make muffins and it worked well. I baked at 375 degrees and they were done in 25 minutes. The yield was 12 muffins. Very good. I liked the idea of halving the cranberries so they burst in the batter. Created a delicious combination of tart and sweet. I think one of the greatest strengths you have is the creation of complex flavors in so many of your recipes.

        They also freeze well. To reheat, I wrapped each individual muffin loosely in a paper towel and microwaved for 45 seconds. This technique also works for your pumpkin muffins.

        • — Philip Cottell on January 31, 2022
        • Reply
  • We had some fresh cranberries left from the holidays. Cranberry bread did not sound like my favorite but tried it to use up the fresh berries.
    Wow! That is all I can say. This is going on the regular holiday rotation. We might even stock up on fresh berries & freeze them to enjoy this bread later in the year. Followed the recipe exactly. I’ve come to trust your recipes after scones, cakes, breads, entrees, etc. always stellar. Thank you 🙂

    • — Cassandra on January 23, 2022
    • Reply
  • Two weeks ago, a friend brought me three slices of her Cranberry Nut Bread, a recipe which she derived from the 1980’s. She admitted: “it’s a bit dry and burned, but suggested adding a bit of butter, prior to eating it.” It seemed nutritious enough, that I was prompted to locate a more current version of that recipe, when I bumped into “Once Upon a Chef.” I was simply elated and tried it immediately! It was fit for a King, but it was nonetheless consumed by two peasants–my husband and I. However, I must confess the following: I discovered how to make buttermilk; I deviated from the baking temperature to 350d all together; used a Pyrex Loafer; used Whole Wheat Flour; used packaged Cranberry (crushed at home), fresh unavailable.

    • — Nellie M. Melville-Manson on January 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • Wonderful recipe! Perfect for breakfast, afternoon tea or even dessert.
    Every other recipe I have tried was too dry. I think the buttermilk adds so much moisture. The first bread was so delicious, I made 2 more the next day to share! Yum!

    • — Kelly W on January 7, 2022
    • Reply
  • I’ve probably made this ten times in the last month. The only change I make is to use the last 2T of sugar (instead of flour) when I grease the pan. Adds a sweet little crunch on the outside edges.

    • — Betsy on January 3, 2022
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  • I LOVE this bread!!! I have used another recipe for years which is fine, but this one blows it away and will be my go-to going forward. I didn’t have buttermilk on hand so I made it with the milk and lemon juice as suggested. Not a fan of any kind of citrus zest so left that out but used the freshly squeezed orange juice. Slicing the cranberries in half sounded like too much commitment for me; I just used the cuisinart. I made mini loaves and gave them away as Christmas gifts (the recipients loved them!) and we also enjoyed some on Christmas morning!

    • — Caroline Nelson on December 26, 2021
    • Reply
  • Another delicious recipe! I make this for Thanksgiving and Christmas every year. Thank you!

    • — Donna on December 17, 2021
    • Reply
  • Another excellent recipe – Thank you!!!

    • — ANNE on December 15, 2021
    • Reply
  • My husband claims that this is the best thing I have ever baked!

    • — Ducky on December 10, 2021
    • Reply
  • This recipe is fantastic. I made it once just as written. The family loved it. The second time, I reduced the sugar to 1 cup, replaced some of the white flour with whole wheat and reduced the butter to four tablespoons and added two tablespoons of ground flax seed. Still delicious!

    • — Julie Clare on December 4, 2021
    • Reply
  • This recipe is perfection….. tart cranberries, walnuts, subtle hints of orange and cinnamon. Absolutely delicious! Can this recipe be doubled or even tripled without any adverse effects? I want to bake several for neighbors as Christmas gifts. Thank you for another winning recipe.

    • — Judy on November 30, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Judy, So glad you enjoyed it and you can definitely double it! Sometimes something gets lost in translation when doing more than doubling a recipe, so you could try tripling it, but keep that in mind. 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 1, 2021
      • Reply
  • Your recipes are regulars in our household–easy to follow with easy to find ingredients. I recently made this bread with an eye toward reducing the fat and sugar. Instead of the melted butter, I increased the buttermilk (fat free) to one cup and used 1 T of vegetable oil. I also reduced the sugar to 2/3 cup. The bread was moist and tender with a great cranberry taste.

    • — Betsy on November 23, 2021
    • Reply
  • Can white whole wheat flour be substituted for all the AP flour? Can some or all the sugar be substituted with maple syrup?

    • — Tracy on November 17, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Tracy, I don’t recommend using maple syrup for the sugar. Regarding the flour, I’d suggest starting by using half whole wheat and half all-purpose to make sure you like the texture. If you do like it, the next time you make this, you can up the ratio of whole wheat to white a bit more. Also, you may want to consider white whole wheat as it’s lighter and milder tasting than regular whole wheat flour (yet just as nutritious). I’d love to hear how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on November 18, 2021
      • Reply

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