This cranberry banana nut bread is festive, flavorful and combines ripe bananas with the sweet and tangy taste of fresh cranberries plus an added crunch of chopped nuts! It’s moist with a tender crumb and a favorite to bake during the holidays!
With its delicious aroma and sweet taste, this cranberry banana bread is one my favorite things to bake during the holiday season. Yes, there are more uses for fresh cranberries than just making cranberry jam to be used in this Christmas crostata!
There are plenty of ways to use dried cranberries like in cranberry scones, cranberry cake and my favorite cranberry shortbread cookies but for this quick bread recipe, I wanted to use seasonal fresh cranberries.
This cranberry banana bread has the best mild banana flavor with bursts of fresh cranberries throughout it! It’s moist and fluffy, bakes up golden and has added texture from nuts. It’s perfect for the Christmas season!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Perfect balance: The sweetness of the bananas pairs perfectly with the tartness of the cranberries then with the added crunch from the nuts, it’s the perfect combination of textures and flavors!
- Versatile: Enjoy it with a cup of coffee for breakfast or as a snack with tea!
- Holiday gifting: This easy cranberry banana bread recipe is perfect for gifting to friends, family or even teachers!
Cranberry Banana Bread Ingredients
- Baking staples: All-purpose flour, baking powder and salt.
- Sugar: For the best cranberry banana nut bread, you need both granulated sugar and brown sugar.
- Butter: Softened unsalted butter is best. If using unsalted butter, increase the amount of added salt.
- Ripe bananas: Two medium-sized bananas with brown spots will add the best sweet taste.
- Eggs: Two large eggs that have been brought to room temperature.
- Vanilla extract: Adds rich flavor. You can add some almond extract, too, if you would like.
- Milk: I used 2% milk, but any milk will work.
- Cranberries: I used fresh cranberries.
- Walnuts: Chopped walnuts are my favorite for this cranberry banana nut bread recipe.
- Vanilla glaze: Powdered sugar, milk or cream and vanilla extract.
How to Make Cranberry Banana Nut Bread
To start, soak cranberries in boiling water, drain, then pat dry with a paper towel. In a large mixing bowl whisk dry ingredients together including flour, baking powder, salt, nuts and drained cranberries then set aside.
In a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, cream wet ingredients including sugars and butter. Add the eggs, beat to combine then add the milk and vanilla.
Using a wooden spoon or spatula stir in the mashed banana until just combined. Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached.
Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool completely. Drizzle the banana cranberry bread with the glaze if desired.
Substitutions and Variations
- Dried cranberries: If fresh cranberries are too tart for your taste, use dried cranberries instead.
- Nuts: Instead of walnuts, use pecans or hazelnuts. You can also omit the nuts if you avoid nuts or have an allergy.
- Chocolate chips: White chocolate chips or dark chocolate chips would add a rich chocolate flavor to the cranberry and banana bread.
- Orange zest: Adding a bit of orange zest adds a delicious citrus flavor.
- Glaze: Instead of a vanilla glaze, try the lemon glaze from these blueberry baked donuts.
- Prevent sticking: To help prevent your banana bread with cranberries from sticking to the pan, grease the pan with butter or cooking spray and then lightly coat it with flour. You can also line the pan with parchment paper.
- Ripe bananas: The more ripe your bananas are the sweeter the bread will be. You can reduce the added sugar if needed.
- Chop cranberries: If you would like cranberry pieces in the bread instead of whole cranberries, pulse cranberries in the food processor for a few times.
- Toasted nuts: Toasting your nuts first before adding them to the cranberry banana nut bread will add another layer of flavor.
- Cool before enjoying: Warm out of the oven the juicy cranberries will be super tart but will mellow as the bread cools.
While this recipe for banana nut cranberry bread was developed with fresh cranberries in mind you can use frozen cranberries or dried cranberries. You can use ¾ cup fresh cranberries, ¾ cup frozen cranberries or 6 Tablespoons dried cranberries.
To test for doneness in this cranberry walnut banana bread, insert a toothpick into the center of the loaf. If it comes out clean with a few moist crumbs it is done.
While I have not tested this, most quick breads can be made with a gluten free 1:1 flour blend.
How long does it keep at room temperature?
This cranberry banana bread should stay fresh for 3-4 days when stored in a sealed container at room temperature away from direct sunlight.
Can I freeze this cranberry banana bread recipe?
Yes! This loaf freezes well but it is better to do so without the glaze. Cool completely then wrap in plastic wrap then foil and store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to two months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then unwrap, add the glaze and enjoy.
More Quick Bread Recipes
This Cranberry Banana Nut Bread is the perfect take on a classic banana bread, perfect for the holiday season! I hope you enjoy it as much we do. Enjoy!
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 pinch salt (if you use unsalted butter then add ¼ teaspoon of salt)
- ½ cup chopped walnuts (or hazelnuts or pecans)
- ¾ cup dried cranberries
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar (lightly packed)
- ½ cup butter (softened)
- 2 large eggs (room temperature)
- ¼ cup milk (I use 2% milk)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 medium-large bananas (mashed)
- 1-2 cups powdered sugar
- 2-4 tablespoons milk or cream
- ½-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Prevent your screen from going dark
Pre-heat oven to 350F/180C. Grease and flour or spray a 9 inch / 23cm loaf pan.
Soak the cranberries in boiling water for 15 minutes, drain well and paper towel dry.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, nuts and drained cranberries. Set aside.
In the mixing bowl cream the sugars and butter for 2 minutes. Add the eggs and beat, add the milk and vanilla beat to combine. Using a wooden spoon or spatula stir in the mashed bananas just until combined. Add the flour mixture and stir just to combine, 14-15 stirs (no more). The batter will be lumpy.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean or a few crumbs attached. Let cool in the pan 10-15 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Drizzle with the glaze if desired before serving. Enjoy!
In a medium bowl whisk together the powdered sugar (sift it first if you find it lumpy) vanilla and milk, start with 1-2 tablespoons and add if needed to arrive at desired thickness. Drizzle or spread over cooled loaf.
This loaf freezes well but it is better to do so without the glaze. Cool completely then wrap in plastic wrap then foil and store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to two months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then unwrap, add the glaze and enjoy.
Calories: 258kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 39mg | Sodium: 62mg | Potassium: 165mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 231IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg