on Oct 27, 2018, Updated Nov 27, 2020
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Our Cranberry bread features fresh cranberries, toasted pecans, and cream cheese. Today we are showing you how to make this holiday favorite in under 2 hours.
No wonder this homemade sweet bread is one of our most popular cranberry recipes!
What is this?
This is a sweet and savory quick bread that is tailor-made for the holiday season. With no kneading and an easy recipe, it’s the perfect way to boost your bread-making confidence!
What we love about it
- It is very easy to make and a perfect recipe to bake with your kids.
- You can make this cranberry bread into min-loaves which make great edible holiday gifts.
- Use this recipe to make cranberry bread muffins!
- Turn this into a Dutch oven bread.
Ingredients and notes
It’s hard to imagine anything that could taste better during the combination of ingredients found in this cranberry bread.
Cranberries – The unsung hero of baking! Use fresh ones if possible but frozen works too. I suggest that you do not thaw them if using the frozen ones. You can even use dried cranberries for this recipe.
Our home state of Wisconsin is the cranberry capital of the world – learn more about cranberries here!
Cream Cheese – This lends a creamy sweetness to the recipe, making it almost like a half-cake, half-bread recipe. It’s heavenly! To save some calories, go with reduced-fat cream cheese if you prefer.
Toasted Pecans – Toasting the nuts before adding them to the recipe will bring out the natural sweetness of the pecans. You can also substitute the pecans for almonds slivers, walnuts, or even a combination of mixed nuts.
You’ll be amazed at the enhanced flavor that results from this process. Just 7 minutes at 350℉ will do the trick! (Give them a toss in a little olive oil before toasting.)
If you don’t care for them or have a nut allergy, leave them out! Instead, consider using chopped dried dates or other dried fruit.
Additions and substitutions
- If you don’t have cranberries, you can substitute virtually any other berry, fresh or frozen to add to this quick bread.
- Add the zest of a fresh orange to this cranberry bread. This adds a nice pop of extra flavor.
- Mixed nuts taste great in this recipe. I use them all the time!
- Use a kitchen scale. Measuring cups and spoons can vary widely in how much they hold. Weight is a universal measurement. Using a kitchen scale takes the worry out of too much or too little of your ingredients.
- It’s also very handy when dividing portions of dough to make sure you have equal amounts. (We love making mini-loaves of this cranberry bread, for edible gifts!)
- Buy an oven thermometer. Variations in ovens mean that your kitchen oven is probably not accurate. This cheap kitchen tool is indispensable and can save you a lot of time and heartache! I use one of these in one of our older ovens and it is a lifesaver!
Add a little orange zest for an extra pop of flavor to this recipe!
Common recipe questions
This cranberry bread freezes well. Allow it to come to room temperature. Wrap and seal in kitchen wrap and freeze up to 3 months. Let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Yes, but do not thaw them. You can also use dried cranberries but reduce the amount to one cup. I suggest rolling them in some flour before adding to the batter.
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- 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature.
- 1 package cream cheese, (8 oz) softened to room temperature.
- 1.5 cups sugar
- 1.5 teaspoons real vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups fresh cranberries, (may use frozen)
- 1/2 cup toasted pecan halves, (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 ℉
- Using a stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar, cream cheese and vanilla extract. One at a time, add the eggs, while mixing slowly.
- In a separate bowl add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder & salt.) Gradually mix dry ingredients into mixing bowl of wet ingredients. Gently fold in pecans and cranberries.
- Fill 3 greased mini loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees for 75-90 minutes. Bread is finished when toothpick comes out clean after being inserted into center of bread.
- This Cranberry Bread takes a while to bake. We made ours using our convection oven.
- A full-size loaf pan takes about 2 hours to bake all the way through, yielding a huge loaf of bread.
- We prefer using the mini loaf pans which take less time to bake and make for great gift ideas for friends and colleagues, or your local homeless shelter.
- Grease a 12-count muffin and prepare the batter as directed. Use a spoon to fill each space 2/3 full.
- Bake at 350° F for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean after being inserted in the center of a muffin.
- Cool the muffins on a rack for 10 minutes, in the pan, before removing. This recipe will yield 24 muffins.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.