Cranberry Banana Bread

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Take a regular banana bread recipe to the next level this holiday season with this cranberry banana bread. Every bite of this moist yet fluffy and flavorful bread includes bursts of cranberry and walnuts.

Close-up of a slice of cranberry banana bread.

I love making quick bread recipes to give away. They make the perfect little gift and are always appreciated, especially at Christmas time. A few years back, I decided to try tossing some dried cranberries into our super moist banana bread recipe and this was born. My mother instantly fell in love and it has been a regular holiday recipe ever since.

The combination is sublime and perfect for the holidays! Those little party treat bags I always talk about are the perfect size for packaging this and I used the inexpensive bows I told you about in my homemade caramel corn recipe for a quick and easy packaging option.

I really like mini loaves of bread and seldom make full-sized ones. In this recipe, you can make two full-sized loaves or eight minis! That means eight lucky folks can get this delicious bread from you as a special holiday treat.

Fortunately, this cranberry banana bread recipe really couldn’t be easier to make. First, assemble the ingredients: sugar, milk, self-rising flour, vanilla, eggs, butter, dried cranberries, ripe bananas, and nuts (optional). Then all we’re going to do is slowly mix the ingredients together. It will take less than 10 minutes and your loaves will be ready for the oven.

I tell ya, if you love banana bread, you’re going to want to give this cranberry walnut banana bread recipe a go this fall. The tart burst of flavor from the cranberries combined with the crunchy nuts and the moist yet fluffy banana bread is a taste sensation! I just know you’ll love it! 

Labeled ingredients for cranberry banana bread.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Granulated sugar
  • Milk
  • Self-rising flour
  • Vanilla extract
  • Eggs
  • Margarine or unsalted butter
  • Dried cranberries
  • Ripe bananas
  • Chopped walnuts, pistachios, or pecans (optional)

How to Make Cranberry Banana Bread

Grease loaf pans.

Grease and flour your loaf pans. 

Place bananas in mixing bowl.

Now, what I like to do for my banana bread is beat my bananas using my hand or electric mixer first until they’re liquefied.

Mash bananas until liquefied.

Like so.

This will only take a minute or two but it truly makes a huge difference in the flavor, with banana flavor infused in every single morsel.

Mix together sugar and bananas in same mixing bowl.

Now add your sugar and mix that up a bit with the mashed banana.

Add butter and beat again.

Next, mix in your butter.

Add vanilla to mixing bowl.

Then add the vanilla…

Add milk to mixing bowl.


Add eggs to mixing bowl.


Add flour to mixing bowl.

And flour. Now beat those ingredients together until combined.

Fold in cranberries and pecans.

Then fold in the cranberries and walnuts.

Cranberry Tips!

I roughly chop up my cranberries on a large plate beforehand but you don’t have to. I just like having more pieces to disperse in my bread.

To keep these from sinking in your bread, I suggest sprinkling a tablespoon or so of flour over them and tossing them lightly with your hands. I didn’t do that for this bread and it turned out fine, but I normally do.

Pour banana bread batter into prepared loaf pans.

Pour into prepared loaf pans and add a few leftover pieces of cranberry and walnuts to the top if you like.

This recipe makes two large loaves or eight small loaves.

Fill them about halfway full and bake at 350 for 30 minutes for small loaves or 1 hour for full-sized loaves.

Baked cranberry nut bread.

Let the loaves cool in the pan for 10 minutes or so before cooling completely on a wire rack.

Slices of cranberry banana bread.


When I was making this bread, Brady was being positively tortured by its delicious smell. I told him as soon as it was done he could have some. So I baked the loaves, turned them out onto the counter, walked away, and a few minutes later, here comes Brady holding an entire loaf, just munching away! He ate the whole loaf, though! At least he likes his Mama’s cooking.

Slices of cranberry banana bread.

Just one more photo to show off how good this cranberry banana bread looks. Enjoy!


  • Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • This banana bread also freezes really well. Double-wrap individual slices and store them in the freezer for up to 5 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.

Recipe Notes

  • If your bananas are a bit brown, that’s a good thing! The darker the peel, the sweeter the banana, and the better the banana bread. Another thing you can do if your bananas are getting brown is to go ahead and mash them up with a fork (after you peel them!) and place them in a zipper bag and put them in the freezer. Make a note on the bag with a permanent marker as to how many bananas are in there and the next time you want to make banana bread, simply put the bag on your counter and let it thaw then toss them right in there! Works out perfectly!
  • If you like, you can top your banana cranberry bread with a simple vanilla glaze. Mix together 2 cups of powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk, and 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract and pour it over the cooled loaves. You may need more or less cream/milk until it reaches your preferred consistency.
  • You can also use fresh cranberries or frozen cranberries in your cranberry bread. If you do, you’ll probably need 1.5 to 2 cups. Coarsely chop them by hand or in a food processor. Frozen cranberries don’t have to be thawed beforehand. It’s worth noting though that dried cranberries are sweeter than fresh or frozen.
  • For a little burst of citrus flavor, fold in 2 teaspoons of orange zest or lemon zest.
  • If you like, substitute the nuts for white chocolate chips instead.

Check out these other quick bread recipes:

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread With Caramel Glaze

Hawaiian Banana Nut Bread

Sweet Potato Bread With Cinnamon Swirl

Cinnamon Apple Bread

Cream Cheese Banana Bread

Strawberry Bread With Pecans

Two stacked slices of cranberry banana bread.

Cranberry Banana Bread

Take regular banana bread to the next level this holiday season with this cranberry banana bread. Every bite of this moist yet fluffy and flavorful bread includes bursts of cranberry and walnuts.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: banana, bread, cranberry


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 6-ounce package dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped nuts, optional
  • 3 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 stick unsalted butter or margarine
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • Place peeled bananas in a mixing bowl with sugar. Mix until bananas are liquefied.
    2 cups sugar, 3 bananas
  • Add margarine and mix until creamed together with the banana mixture.
    1 stick unsalted butter or margarine
  • Add all other ingredients and blend well.
    1 cup milk, 1 6-ounce package dried cranberries, 1 cup chopped nuts, optional, 3 cups self-rising flour, 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pour into two greased and floured loaf pans and bake for one hour at 350.
  • If using mini loaf pans, this will make eight and they will need to cook for about 30 minutes.
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!


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  1. This looks so good, I was looking for a nice quick bread recipe to make and bring in to school before the holiday next week – guess I’ve found it. I put dried cranberries in everything, they are my new “addiction”!

  2. Love the idea of cranberries in banana bread! All-Bran cereal was giving a pkg. of craisins in each box and I was wondering what I was gonna use them in. Now I know! Just need to get me one of those cute mini loaf pans like you showed and I’m good to go! BTW…LOVE all your ‘tangents’ and stories! Tell ’em to us whenever you want. I’m not one to skip them and head straight to the recipe. I’d miss half the FUN!!

  3. I happened upon your website via a friend the other day and my mouth was instantly watering. As I was preparing to bake some quick breads for our local farmers market this weekend, I thought I’d see if you had something different to try. I made this amazingly delicious bread and it will forever be in my file! YUM!!! I did add chopped walnuts to it as well and every bite was filled with a crunch or the sweet/tart taste of the cranberry….my hubby deemed it “the BEST!” 😉


  4. Hey Christie,
    I cruised through the older posts yesterday looking for a way to get rid of the 9 bananas that were sitting on my counter for the past week. I found this recipe and made it right away. I had to write to let you know that this is probably the best banana bread I have ever eaten. In fact, it was so good my family was calling it banana cake. I made one mistake with the recipe, I only made one batch. So after my banana mash defrosts today and I head to the store to buy more cranberries, I will be making more. Thanks so much for this recipe.

  5. OH MY GOSH!

    This is simply the best Banana Bread I have ever had in my life!

    I used fresh cranberries – it made it super yummy! The “pop” of the tart berries really added to the flavor! I also used half and half instead of milk…I think it was a bit richer 🙂

    I made it for Thanksgiving morning – it was a HIT…and am making it for gifts for Christmas.

    Can you help me?

    I use actual bananas at Thanksgiving. Now, I have bananas that I have already peeled and put into a ziploc and frozen.

    Any idea how many cups 3 bananas is?

    Thanks so much for a fabulous recipe!

  6. I just put this in the oven and my house smells sooo good!! I can’t wait to try it. I added a zucchini and hope it turns out OK (trying to hide green veggies from my 2 year old and he loves banana bread!) Thanks for the recipe!

  7. I also like the idea of chopping the cranberries, but I found if I flour them first they don’t seem to stick to the knife as much and your going to flour them anyway before you toss them into the batter so it’s not any extra steps.
    Thank you for the great receipe’s!

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