Cranberry Bread

This is my great-grandmother’s cranberry bread recipe. She was quite the cook, indeed.

I’d had these Meyer lemons sitting in my fruit bowl for a couple of weeks, a gift from a friend’s yard. In years past, I’d have already turned them into limoncello or salted and preserved lemons, but this year — specifically the last month — has been grossly over-stuffed. It’s been the turducken of months and I have had no time to get my kitchen jollies. And I apologize for using turducken and jollies in the same sentence. The idea of a turducken is stomach-turning and the word jollies makes me think of old perverts working as mall Santas. Sooo . . . sorry ’bout that.

I hope this awesome cranberry bread recipe makes up for it! I think this might be my fave quick bread, sweet bread, breakfast bread, and fruit bread all rolled into one. I was skeptical when I saw it used water instead of something else, like milk? Juice? Diet Coke? I don’t know what I thought it should be instead, but I was wrong anyway so it doesn’t really matter. This bread is dope.

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Cranberry Bread Recipe


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  • Author: Hilah Johnson
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x


  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons soft butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Meyer lemon zest
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts


  1. Set oven to 350ΒΊ F. Grease a loaf pan.
  2. Cream egg and butter together. Beat in sugar and mix for a minute on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  3. Mix in juice and water. (Remember to zest the lemon first and set aside.)
  4. Whisk flour with dry ingredients and add to the wet mixture gradually, mixing on low speed until incorporated. Make sure there’s no flour stuck to the sides or egg tuck underneath. Mixture will be very thick. If necessary to fully combine, add an extra tablespoon of water.
  5. Stir in the zest, cranberries, and nuts.
  6. Spread into loaf pan and bake 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


Meyer lemons are a thin-skinned variety with an exceptionally floral flavor. Orange zest and juice can be substituted for lemon. One medium-large Meyer lemon or orange should provide sufficient zest and juice for this recipe.
Cooked loaf can be wrapped tightly and frozen for up to 2 weeks. Thaw gradually in fridge, still wrapped.

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  1. Deila on December 9, 2012 at 12:14 am

    I just made this cranberry bread and it is now a favorite — the blend of tart cranberries and lemon with whole wheat. I was concerned about the whole wheat being too earthy, but I love it. Can I eat too much? I doubled the recipe because things disappear around here. I had to bake it longer, (maybe my pans were smaller.) Love your blog (I found it because I was sponsoring BlogHer TV ads and I had to choose which ones to Tweet and Facebook — I liked yours — spunky)

    • Hilah on December 9, 2012 at 1:21 pm

      Thank you, Deila! πŸ™‚ I’m happy you enjoyed it. I love sweets that aren’t too sweet. I like your name, too, I’ve never heard that before.

  2. Jessica on March 27, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Would this recipe work with white flour and dried cranberries?

    • Hilah on March 27, 2013 at 10:50 pm

      Yes, it will be a little different but still good I think!

  3. Marta on October 10, 2016 at 11:29 pm

    I just made this (after having it on my recipes to try list for ages) and the only thing I regret is not making it sooner! It’s so nice to have a bright tasting fall baking recipe. Thanks for sharing this Hilah πŸ™‚

    • Hilah on October 11, 2016 at 10:31 am

      So glad to hear, Marta! This is one of my favorite holiday bread recipes, too πŸ™‚

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