Chock-a-block full of fresh cranberries and walnuts, this scrumptious and colorful Cranberry Nut Bread is the perfect companion to a cup of coffee or tea.

Every year at Christmas, our good friend Jeanne Saunders gives us a loaf of her amazing Cranberry Nut Bread. I look forward to it every year! I finally broke down and asked her for the recipe, which it turns out came from her mother. It’s my kind of recipe – easy to prepare with readily available ingredients, able to be made ahead, beautiful to look at, and absolutely delicious.

A mixture of melted shortening, butter, orange juice and zest and eggs is stirred into a basic mixture of flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. After spooning into loaf pans and baked, you will have these delectable dense, super-flavorful loaves!

Cranberry Nut Bread sliced on a plate

I think this Cranberry Nut Bread is perfect with a cup of coffee for breakfast, or a cup of tea in the afternoon. I plan on serving it during the Thanksgiving holiday to our house guests!

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Two slices of Cranberry Nut Bread with butter

Cranberry Nut Bread

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4 from 4 reviews

Chock-a-block full of fresh cranberries and walnuts, this scrumptious and colorful Cranberry Nut Bread is the perfect companion to a cup of coffee or tea.

  • Yield: Makes 2 9-by-5-inch loaves 1x


  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons shortening, melted
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • juice and zest from 2 navel oranges
  • boiling water
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped cranberries, picked over before chopping (an 8-ounce bag)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 9-by-5 inch (or 3 5 1/2-by-3 inch) loaf pans.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a 2-cup measuring cup, whisk together shortening, butter, orange juice and orange zest. Stir in enough boiling water to equal 1 1/2 cups total liquid. Let cool for a few minutes.
  4. Slowly whisk beaten eggs into liquid mixture. Stir liquids into dry ingredients just until combined; do not overmix. Fold in cranberries and walnuts. (Batter will be thick.)
  5. Spoon batter evenly into prepared pans; smooth top. Bake for 40 minutes or until a tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  6. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert out of pan and place on a rack to cool completely. Store, well wrapped, in the refrigerator.


High altitude: no adjustments are required.

Make ahead: loaves can be well wrapped and frozen for up to 2 months.

  • Author: (By Lee Clayton Roper)
  • Category: Bread, breakfast and brunch, easy recipes, easy entertaining

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  1. Made this as a test run for my annual Christmas brunch. It was easy to make with great texture – and insanely delicious! Definitely going to serve at my brunch. Thank you!

  2. Love this bread, especially the addition of the orange flavor! I’ve never seen that in cranberry bread before.

  3. I live at 5300’ feet. Recipe said no need for adjustments at high altitude. It was a total disaster! I carefully, carefully followed instructions. Bread fell In the middle about 1.5” and tasted like baking powder. It was inedible and threw it away. Stay away….

    Says This was a duplicate comment and it wasn’t!

    1. Oh no, Susan I’m so sorry! My friend Jeanne, who gave me the recipe, lives in Denver (at 5300 feet), and I did as well until a month ago. Since we’ve both made this bread at high altitude several times, I don’t think that’s the issue. You put it in 2 pans, correct? If so, then all I can think of is that it needed to bake longer. Again, I’m sorry my recipe didn’t work for you.

    2. Me again. Well, this is embarrassing. I asked Jeanne (provider of the original recipe) to double check the ingredients, to make sure there wasn’t a typo. And, there is – I have corrected it now. It should be 3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon) baking powder, not 3 tablespoons. My apologies for not catching this before. And, many thanks for bringing it to my attention, so I could correct it.

    1. I don’t own a bread machine, so I don’t really know for sure. If you can make other quick breads in it, then I would say this recipe would work also. Sorry!

    1. I’ve never made it with dried cranberries. You could give it a try! I would use unsweetened, as the amount of sugar in the recipe assumes using fresh, which are very tart. If you do make it with dried, report back on how it turns out!

      1. I’ve made this recipe twice and it’s turned out great both times (good thing I found it *after* you corrected the baking powder error, lol!). I don’t keep oranges around, but 2/3c OJ works great. At Thanksgiving I made it with fresh cranberries — two loaves, froze the second one for a month and it was just as good at Christmas. Made muffins last night with dried, Ocean Spray brand that I re-hydrated beforehand. Poured boiling water over them and let them soak for several hours, then rinsed them. They are much less sweet when you do this. What I should have done is let them dry more as they did add a little moisture into the batter, but I don’t think that affected the outcome too much. Will definitely do this again because I have a huge bag to use up!

        1. Thanks so much for the feedback Martha. I’ll have to try your trick of using dried cranberries – sounds delicious!

Two slices of Cranberry Nut Bread with butter

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About the author

Hi, I'm Lee.

I am inspired by my mother, Sally’s, love of cooking and entertaining to gather friends and family together over great meals and conversation. In fact, I held my first dinner party at the age of 16. Throughout the years, I’ve provided recipes, menu advice and cooking tips to friends seeking uncomplicated and delicious ideas for home entertaining.

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