Cranberry Pecan Bread

in Bread, Cakes & Cupcakes, Christmas, Cranberries, Thanksgiving

Cranberry Pecan Bread

Cranberries are my favorite fall fruit. Hands down, no contest. I think it’s because I can only find them fresh for a few months out of the year. I mean, sure, an apple is fine – especially if you’ve got a gooey bowl of caramel nearby for dipping – but I can get that any day. Cranberries, they’re special.

They can be simmered with some shallots, butter, and a handful of other ingredients for a fantastic sauce to adorn a pork tenderloin. They can be simmered with some orange juice and fresh ginger to make a not-from-a-can Thanksgiving Day side. Or my favorite, they can be baked into a ridiculously moist muffin, cake, or bread so that the juicy red berries burst in the oven and soak into the surrounding batter.

Whew, perhaps we should get a room!

Cranberry Pecan Bread

I’ve been baking my friend Kelly’s recipe for Cranberry bread for a few weeks now. I included a loaf for each of my shower hostesses in their goodie baskets. My sister asked for the recipe. My mom heard the bread was good – she had to take my dad’s word for it, though. He found the goodie basket and made quick work of the cranberry bread.

It’s great straight out of the oven, an hour past bedtime. It’s great cold for breakfast. It’s also great – no, it’s awesome – warmed and topped with a scoop of Blue Bell’s Homemade Vanilla.

Cranberry Pecan Bread

A moist, festive holiday bread studded with tart fresh cranberries, pecans, and orange zest.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp shortening
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 3/4 cups pecans, chopped and toasted
  • 1/4 cup coarse sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 (or 10) x 5 loaf pan (or 4 mini loaf pans).
  2. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in the bowl of your stand mixer. Turn on medium and add shortening until combined.
  3. Add orange juice, orange zest, and egg. Mix until well-blended.
  4. Stir in cranberries and nuts.
  5. Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Spread coarse sugar evenly over the top.
  6. Bake for 50-55 minutes for 1 large loaf, ~40-45 minutes for small loaves, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  7. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes.
  8. Remove the bread from the pan and let cool completely. Wrap the cooled loaf tightly with plastic wrap or foil to keep it moist.


Yields: 1 loaf or 4 mini loaves

Estimated time: 1 hour 15 minutes

14 comments… add one
  • I agree about cranberries…delicious! This bread looks great too. I love the sweet with the tart…yum!

  • how funny–i just proclaimed my undying love for the apple. both are so versatile and delicious, but i have to admit–the cranberry is prettier. 🙂

  • This looks great – and I love any baked good that’s as good hot out of the oven as leftover the next day. Yum!

  • cranberries are my favorite fruit too, actually just bought a ridiculous amount of them at the grocery store and have been baking bread as well with them lately.

  • I have not done any cooking with cranberries. But since I got into the whole food blog scene, I find myself wanting to try working with things I have never worked with before. Cranberries are on my list. I love quick breads! And you are right about the ice cream!

  • Lisa B.

    Last month I tried this recipe as is and it’s delicious! I’m going to make it again today with mini-loaf pans as suggested. Any idea how long the mini pans should bake?

  • Hi Lisa – the mini pans still have to bake a pretty long time. Check it 15 minutes before the single loaf time.

  • Lisa B.

    You’re spot-on! I baked two minis at a time, and it was 35 minutes for the two. This bread was a huuuge hit. Thanks!

  • Kristen

    I used apple juice and lemon zest and it was so good! Love this recipe!

  • Reema

    This looks delish !!!
    I want to try and make this for brunch…
    Is there any replacement for shortening? Do you think using an equal amount of butter would be fine?

  • Hallie

    Do you think this would work if I sub in lemon juice for the orange? I had a fabulous lemon cranberry bread awhile back and I can’t find a good recipe!

    • Sure! I’d probably use no more than 4 Tbsp of lemon juice, though, since OJ is more mild and less acidic. You can make up the rest of the liquid with milk.

  • Jenn Johnson

    One of my friends makes a killer pumpkin cranberry bread. Even though I’ve moved out of town she still will send me loaves in the mail around Thanksgiving time! YUMMY! She even sent me one this year as part of my wedding gift – waiting for the groom to arrive from overseas to taste it with me is rough though – I keep eyeing it in my freezer and being tempted to finish it off by myself (January is oh so far away)!

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