Cranberry Nut Bread

Cranberry Nut Bread

My mom would make this cranberry nut bread every year for our annual Christmas party.   Flavored with seasonal favorites cranberry and orange, it was always a hit.  We still love to make this bread around the holidays and often give it as a gift.

For a festive presentation, wrap a loaf tightly in plastic wrap, then tie fabric around it with a ribbon.  (Using a cloth napkin works great for the fabric.  We pick up napkins we like when we see them at a discount to have handy.)  A small sprig of holiday greenery can be tucked into the ribbon.

cranberry nut bread wrapped in cloth and tied with a ribbon

For a more substantial gift, we’ll put together a breakfast basket.  Line a pretty basket or other container with a square of fabric, add a loaf of the bread, a jar of homemade orange marmalade, and a bag of nice coffee or hot chocolate.  If you haven’t ever made homemade marmalade or jam before, we have some guidance for you.

cranberry nut bread in a breakfast basket

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Once you prepare the fruit and nuts this bread comes together in a snap, which is always handy during the busy holiday season.  To make things as easy as possible, I use a Microplane to zest the orange and a food chopper for the cranberries.

orange zest and juice
chopped cranberries and walnuts

While the recipe makes 1 loaf of bread, it is easily doubled.  A single recipe can also be divided into smaller loaf pans – just decrease the baking time a little.

Cranberry Nut Bread


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • boiling water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup walnuts, coarsely ground


  • Preheat oven to 350◦.  Thoroughly grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
  • Mix flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar in a large bowl.
  • Grate zest from orange and place in liquid measuring cup.  Juice orange and place juice in same measuring cup.  Add vegetable shortening to measuring cup, then add enough boiling water to make a total of ¾ cup in the measuring cup.  Stir until shortening is melted.  Let cool at least 15 minutes.
  • Add orange mixture and egg to flour mixture, stirring just until mixed.  Gently stir in cranberries and nuts.
  • Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes.
  • Let cool 5 minutes, loosen edges, then carefully remove from pan and place on rack to fully cool.