How to Make the Best Cranberry Bread

Photo: Jennifer Davick
These tips make for the perfect bread for every occasion—quick and delicious. 

The holiday season is here, and with it, copious excuses to make quick and delicious breads. On the hunt for a hostess gift? Try a pretty-wrapped loaf of cranberry nut bread. Have a bake sale coming up? Consider a cranberry pumpkin bread that’s sure to win over a crowd. Here at SL, we’re big fans of cranberry bread, so we’ve rounded up some tips for making your best version.

First, no matter if you’re making cranberry walnut bread, zucchini bread, or any other quick bread, it’s important to remember not to stir too much. It may be stress-relieving (in which case, maybe bake some of this bread), but it will result in a tough, not tender, product.

Next, for a bit of crunch, we like to sugar our loaf pans after we butter them. If you like, top your cranberry orange bread with turbinado sugar and some extra orange zest. Make long strips of zest for an impressive but simple garnish.

Don’t rely on the timer: check your cranberry bread with a toothpick or skewer a few minutes before the bake time is up. If it comes out clean, go ahead and remove.

It may be tempting to cut a slice of that festive bread and eat it warm, just out of the oven. We’re not saying you shouldn’t do this: people are only so strong. But many quick breads taste better after a day or so of rest. Wrap your loaves in plastic wrap and allow them to sit. Run a slice through the toaster, top with some butter, and relax with a cup of coffee.

WATCH: What To Do wth Leftover Cranberries

Finally, if you’re using fresh cranberries instead of dried, make sure to adjust the sugar. Fresh cranberries are wonderful, and you’ve probably got some hanging around for holidays, but the dried variety come pre-sweetened, so be aware, and adjust the sweetness to your liking.

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