Cranberry Cream Cheese Bread

Cranberry Cream Cheese Bread features lots of cranberries and nuts in a simple quick bread with a ribbon of cream cheese running through the center.

Cranberry Cream Cheese Bread

Cranberries are so briefly available every year that I tend to go a little cranberry crazy in my baking. An excess of fresh cranberries led me to bake this Cranberry Cream Cheese Bread.

This wonderful quick bread is filled with cranberries and pecans, and it gets even better with a swirl of cream cheese running through the middle. The flavor combination is just fantastic. I’m fairly certain that this cranberry bread recipe has taken a lofty spot in my favorite quick breads ever.

Cranberry Cream Cheese Bread

This bread mixes in the usual quick bread way using the muffin method. That means that the wet ingredients are combined and added to the dry ingredients (plus the sugar). That makes it quick and easy to mix. The only extra step is making the cream cheese layer, but it is 100% worth those few extra minutes.

The cranberries in this bread get chopped before getting stirred into the batter. I usually bake with whole cranberries, but I think the smaller pieces work really well in this bread to spread out that cranberry flavor as much as possible.

Cranberry Cream Cheese Bread

I didn’t alter the original recipe very much, although I did opt to use orange juice instead of the suggested apple juice. Either will work, but I do love cranberries and oranges together. However, I sometimes find that the orange flavor can come a little too strong for my liking. Of course, we all have different taste preferences, so feel free to increase the orange juice by 1/4 cup if you like. It will make the batter a little wetter and not quite as thick, but it should give you a similar result.

I must say that this Cranberry Cream Cheese Bread is now one of my fall and winter go-to recipes. It’s so great just for snacking, but it’s also a terrific homemade gift for the holiday season. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we do!

Find more quick bread recipes in the Recipe Index.

More Cranberry Recipes

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Cranberry Cream Cheese Bread

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Cranberries, pecans, and cream cheese combine to make this incredible Cranberry Cream Cheese Bread.

Ingredients:

For the cream cheese mixture:

  • 6 ounces (170g) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg

For the bread:

  • 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (or 3/4 cup if you want more orange flavor)
  • 1/4 cup (57g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 & 1/2 cups (150g) cranberries, roughly chopped*
  • 1/2 cup (60g) chopped pecans (or other nut)
  • sanding sugar, optional

Directions:

To make the cream cheese mixture:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9″x 5″ loaf pan. (I recommend a baking spray with flour, like Baker’s Joy.)
  2. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese and egg until thoroughly blended. Set aside.

To make the bread:

  1. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center.
  2. Add the orange juice, butter, and egg to the well in the flour mixture. Mix just until combined.
  3. Stir in the cranberries and pecans.
  4. Transfer half of the bread batter to the prepared pan, and spread evenly. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the batter. Top with the remaining batter. If you like, sprinkle a few pinches of sanding sugar over the top of the batter.
  5. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the bread has browned and the top springs back when lightly touched in the center.
  6. Cool the bread in the pan for 15 minutes. Then transfer the bread to a wire rack to cool completely. Wrap well and store in the refrigerator. (You can reheat slices in the microwave when serving.)

Notes:

*If using frozen cranberries, do not thaw. It may be easier to chop frozen cranberries in a food processor.

This bread will rise and completely fill the pan. Be sure your pan is the correct size so you can avoid a mess. If you’re at all worried about the batter spilling out of the pan, just place the pan on a lined rimmed baking sheet to catch any potential spills.

Recipe adapted from Pillsbury.