Mom’s Cranberry Nut Bread

Mary Anne here. Every year, Cranberry, Pumpkin, and Date Nut breads all grace our holiday table, regardless of who hosts the family feast. And all three of these traditional breads work double-time: first, as a sweet side to the savory turkey and trimmings on Thanksgiving night, and then the next morning, re-heated alongside eggs and bacon as an indulgent breakfast treat.

My mom in particular prefers this Cranberry Nut Bread over all others, primarily because it’s super moist and the berries offer up a surprising “pop-tart” explosion when you bite into one. My personal fave is Date Nut, and my kids clamor for Pumpkin Bread. At the end of the day, despite our personal preferences, we gobble up every last crumb of each and every loaf.

Like most sweet breads, the Cranberry Nut variety freezes beautifully: simply wrap it in a layer of Saran followed by tin-foil. It’s a breeze to prepare, requiring about a half-hour of hands-on time and, since it’s yeast-free, it’s also fairly goof-proof. As any holiday host knows, that’s no small favor when it comes to prepping for this extravagant meal. If you’ve got a favorite holiday bread, we’re all ears!

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Mom’s Cranberry Nut Bread
Makes 1 Loaf: About 12 Thick Slices

2 cups all-purpose flour – stock
1 cup sugar – stock
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder – stock
½ teaspoon baking soda – stock
1 teaspoon salt – stock
1 stick sweet butter, sliced and cut into bits – stock
¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice – $1.25
Zest of 2 oranges (about 1 generous Tablespoon) – included above
1 large egg, well beaten – stock
½ cup chopped walnuts – stock
1 ½ cups fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped – $2.49
Grand Total Assuming Well-Stocked Pantry: $3.74
Total Per Slice: $0.31

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray and lightly flour a 9 x 5 x 3” bread loaf pan. Tap out the excess flour.

2. In the bowl of a food processor armed with the metal blade, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and soda, and the butter bits. Pulse for several seconds until it resembles coarse meal. Note: Alternatively, if you don’t have a food processor, combine the ingredients in a large bowl and cut the butter in, using a pastry blender.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the orange juice and zest with the egg. Pour all at once into the dry ingredients, until combined. Note: This is not a smooth batter, by any means. Don’t over-mix it, as it will produce a dry loaf. I use a wooden spoon and stir until all of the dry mixture is “dampened”.

4. Carefully fold in the cranberries and walnuts. Transfer to the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

5. Transfer to a wire rack and allow the bread to cool for about 10 minutes. Invert onto a second wire rack, and then invert again so it is top-side up. Serve warm or allow to cool completely before wrapping with a coat of plastic followed by a layer of foil.


    • feastonthecheap says

      Thank you for your kind words! How i struggle with the photography — Mariel is so much better at getting the right light and composition. You made my day. And wishing you a wonderful holiday, as well! Best, Mary Anne and Mariel

  1. says

    What a heavenly bread! Mom’s are just the best!
    Not that they are holiday breads but I will be posting a few of my absolute favourites over the next couple of weeks –
    Poppy Seed Loaf,
    Cheese and Onion Bread,
    Carrot Cake,
    Date Loaf
    The latter 2 probably being my bestest 😉 and most recently I posted my Mom’s Banana Loaf –
    :-) Mandy

    • feastonthecheap says

      They all sound like slices of heaven, but I will definitely be trying your Cheese and Onion Loaf. 2 of my fave ingredients in anything!!

  2. janemaynard says

    hi ladies! just wanted to let you know we featured this post on the homepage today – love that there are cranberries in the bread and it looks delicious! Thanks! Jane

    • feastonthecheap says

      Thank you, Jayne! We are absolutely delighted and honored that you featured our post on the home page. We are avid followers and enjoy reading all of the entries on the site. Hope you have a wonderful holiday! Best, M & M

  3. says

    Wow, this is such a good looking bread: the mellow yellow colour and the pop of cranberries look so great together. I’m envious of the three breads you get to nom on for the holidays–all at once.

    • feastonthecheap says

      It does taste as good as it looks and it is super easy to prepare! Always a winner, in our humble opinions! Best, M&M

  4. Alice Olson says

    I’m thinking this is a re-post, as I have this recipe and love, love, love it. Hadn’t actually thought of it for our Thanksgiving table (I’ve made Christmas gifts of it in past years), but appreciate the reminder and will get right on it.

    Happy Turkey Day, you two. I’m grateful for you.


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