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Cranberry Pumpkin Bread is Super Easy & Bursting With Fall Flavors

by | Sep 29, 2021 | Recipes

This Cranberry Pumpkin Bread is a super easy twist on my family’s recipe for a classic banana bread. It swaps pumpkin puree for banana, brings a tart twist with dried cranberries, and injects the cozy flavors of Fall with a dash of pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. Each loaf has a slightly sweet crispy exterior and a moist, delicate crumb inside that delights!

overhead close up of sliced pumpkin bread

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When the weather starts cooling, I always seem to get more inspired to be in the kitchen and bake something. When I’m baking, I inevitably start thinking about my childhood. Memories start flooding in of all of the times my Grandma would toil away in the kitchen making some sweet treat for our family. And suddenly, I can smell that first chimney smoke of the season even when there’s no fireplace around.

I’m much more of a savory person than a sweets person. So these endeavors tend to leave me with a ton of leftover sweet treats. But each year, I can’t help myself from whipping up batches of quick breads, cookies, and fruit crisps. When it comes to pumpkin flavored stuff, I tend to leave it to the professionals and indulge in their creations. This year, I wanted to try my hand with the famous Fall gourd…and that’s where this Cranberry Pumpkin Bread comes into play.

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INGREDIENTS    SWAPS    TIPS & TRICKS    HOW-TO    RECIPE

Cranberry Pumpkin Bread

Having never played around with pumpkin before, I didn’t have a recipe of my own. So I decided to look into the family archives. While there was no recipe for pumpkin bread, there was one for banana bread that looked like it might have been the one my Grandma always made when I was a kid.

Grandma’s banana bread was damn delicious, so I figured this would be a good baseline to start with in my little pumpkin experiment. I kept most ingredient amounts the same as the family recipe. But I wanted to make this quick bread my own, so I decided to throw in some curve balls.

closeup of ingredients in pumpkin bread

First, I swapped out the banana for pumpkin puree. Pumpkin puree is definitely much thicker than mashed bananas. However, I had a feeling that a straight 1:1 swap would still work pretty well. Next, I added some pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. Cinnamon is already in pumpkin pie spice, but I added extra because I wanted it to be a more noticeable flavor than it is in the pumpkin pie spice.

Then, I added in some vanilla extract for its sweet, familiar aroma and taste that always enhances baked goods. And, lastly, I decided to toss in some dried cranberries. I thought their slightly sweet, slightly tart taste would play well with the pumpkin puree. Especially since they’re both common cooler weather flavors.

close up of cranberries being added to bread batter

Gonna try out this recipe?

Leave a star rating or review in the comments to let me know what you think!

Ingredients For Cranberry Pumpkin Bread

overhead shot of labeled ingredients to make pumpkin bread
  • All Purpose Flour – I like to use Gold Medal or King Arthur brand flour because they’re always reasonably priced and give good results in baked goodies like this quick bread.
  • Baking Soda
  • Baking Powder
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Pumpkin Puree – I used Libby’s canned pumpkin puree because that’s what my Grandma used whenever she used pumpkin in a recipe.
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Dried Cranberries – I prefer to use Ocean Spray brand dried cranberries because they seem to be the most moist on the market. I know, I know, it’s a dried cranberry though–but Ocean Spray’s stay nice and chewy longer instead of immediately turning into shoe leather like other brands.
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt

Pin this recipe to make later!

graphic for recipe pin for pinterest

Ingredient Swaps & Variations

  • Alternate Fillings – Top rankings are chocolate chips and nuts like walnuts or pecans.
  • Don’t Like Cranberries?? – No sweat! Try a different dried fruit like apples, pears, or oranges to stick with a familiar Fall flavor combo while 86’ing the cranberries.
  • Did You Say Toppings?? – While this recipe doesn’t include one, you could easily make this Cranberry Pumpkin Bread decadent with a glaze or frosting on top….or a crumble!

Recipe Tips & Tricks

What to Remember – The batter for this quick bread is thiiiiick. But don’t worry, all will work out well. Simply use a spatula or a large spoon to help the Cranberry Pumpkin Bread batter into the corners of your lightly greased loaf pan.

What to Avoid – Keep an eye on the loaf about 3/4 of the way through the cook time. Also, be sure to use a toothpick to check whether the inside of the loaf is cooked through or not. With pumpkin puree in the batter, the loaf will already have a deep golden orange-ish hue. This makes it a little tricky to tell when the crust of your loaf is a light golden brown. If you keep cooking the loaf longer in order to get the top to be a familiar golden brown color, you’ll end up overcooking it and the sides and bottom will be slightly burned.

Ways to Use Cranberry Pumpkin Bread Leftovers – As decadent french toast! Sure, this Cranberry Pumpkin Bread is definitely more dense than french toast classics like challah, brioche, and plain ol’ white bread. But that shouldn’t stop you from quickly dipping slices of it in an eggy custard and frying it in melted butter until golden brown and crispy! Better yet, mix up some cinnamon sugar and add in a dash or two of pumpkin pie spice to sprinkle on top of your Cranberry Pumpkin Bread french toast just before serving.

sliced pumpkin bread served on plate

Recipe Notes

Storage – In order to keep that top crust as crispy as long as possible, it’s best to wait for the entire loaf to cool completely. Then, store the loaf wrapped in aluminum foil. The loaf should remain moist for about 3 days. It will likely be noticeably drier on day 4, but it will continue to be tasty for up to 7 days after baking.

Reheating – If you want to serve your Cranberry Pumpkin Bread warm after you’ve baked and cooled the loaf, there are two ways to reheat the bread. The quick way is obviously the microwave. Give each slice a quick 15-30 second zap. The other option is the stove top. Add your slices to a cold pan and heat the slices up as the pan comes up to temp; make sure you flip the slices every minute or so in order to avoid burning them.

Servings & Nutrition – One serving of this Cranberry Pumpkin Bread is a 1-inch thick slice. This recipe makes 8 servings. Each serving has approximately 294 calories, 49 g of carbohydrates, 5 g of protein, 9 g of fat, and 25 g of sugar. For the full recipe and additional nutritional information, please see the recipe card below.

How to Make Cranberry Pumpkin Bread

Step 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon. Set dry mixture aside.

combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl

Step 2. In a mixing bowl, add the sugar and butter. Using a fork or an electric beater, cream the butter and sugar together until they form a thick, but pliable, paste.

add butter and sugar to mixing bowl and cream together
cream butter and sugar into a thick paste

Step 3. Add the eggs and the vanilla to the butter and cream mixture. Beat well with fork or electric beater to fully incorporate the eggs and vanilla, ensuring there are no lumps.

add in vanilla and eggs

Step 4. Add the pumpkin puree to the wet mixture and beat in to fully incorporate.

add pumpkin puree

Step 5. Working in thirds, add some of your flour mixture into the wet pumpkin mixture. Gently mix the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture. Repeat twice with the remaining two thirds of the flour mixture.

add dry mixture into the wet mixture

Step 6. When the flour mixture is almost fully incorporated into the batter, add the dried cranberries to the bowl. Use a large spoon or spatula to gently fold the cranberries into the batter.

gently fold dried cranberries into the pumpkin bread batter

Step 7. Lightly grease a large loaf pan with cooking spray or a dab of neutral flavored cooking oil. Then pour the batter into the loaf pan and use the spatula to help guide the batter into the corners of the loaf pan, if needed.

pour pumpkin bread batter into a lightly greased pan

Step 8. Transfer the loaf pan to the oven on the middle rack of the oven. Bake the bread for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until the top of the loaf is a light golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

bake until top of loaf is lightly golden brown

If you make this recipe, tag me in your photos on Instagram—I love seeing what you guys decided to make!

Frequently Asked Questions

What other fillings would go well in this Cranberry Pumpkin Bread?

Many folks seem to like pumpkin bread with chocolate chips, and I think they would pair nicely with the pumpkin and cranberry flavors, so I’d definitely recommend them. If you’re a nut person, I also think that chopped up walnuts or pecans would make a nice addition to this tasty pumpkin quick bread.

Could I add a glaze or icing to this Cranberry Pumpkin Bread or would that be too sweet?

I think you could totally add a topping like a light glaze or icing on this pumpkin bread. I don’t think it would make it too sweet because there isn’t a ton of sugar in this recipe to begin with and there is nearly a full teaspoon of salt that counteracts a lot of the sweetness. So if you want the loaf a little sweeter, a drizzle of something on top would be both beautiful and a tasty touch to make this loaf your own.

My toothpick came out clean, so my loaf is fully baked, but the top of my loaf is still really pale. How can I fix it so it looks prettier without burning the loaf?

If this happened to you, remove the loaf from the oven and let it cool for 15-20 minutes. Keep your oven on and move your middle rack to a higher position in the oven. Once the loaf has had a chance to cool a little, pop it back into the oven for another 5 minutes. This should give you a little bit more browning on the top of the loaf without burning the bottom or sides of your quick bread.

Other Recipes You May Enjoy

overhead close up of sliced pumpkin bread

Cranberry Pumpkin Bread

Yield: 8 slices
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Cozy fall flavors with a tart twist in a deliciously moist quick bread that has a tender crumb.

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease loaf pan and set aside.

2. Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices) in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

3. In a second large mixing bowl, add the sugar and butter. Cream the sugar and butter together until they form a thick paste.

4. Add the eggs and vanilla into the butter mixture and beat well until no lumps remain.

5. Add the pumpkin puree into the wet mixture and stir well until mixture is uniformly smooth.

6. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, working in thirds and gently stirring the dry mixture in.

7. Once the dry mixture is almost fully incorporated, add the dried cranberries to the bowl and gently fold them into the batter.

8. Pour batter into the greased loaf pan and use spoon or spatula to help spread the batter into an even layer.

9. Bake loaf for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until the top is a light golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

10. Let loaf cool at least 30 minutes before slicing to serve.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1/8 of loaf
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 294Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 454mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 2gSugar: 25gProtein: 5g

This nutrition data is provided and calculated by Nutritionix. Please keep in mind that your specific nutritional values may vary based on the brand of ingredients you use to make this recipe.

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Hey there! I’m Krystal, the sassy-mouthed, self-taught, home cook behind the content here at Sweet, Savory & Sassy. I have a deep love for sharing food with people and showing folks just how easy it really is to make dishes that will bring a little extra joy to those you love. There’s nothing like making something special for friends and family and seeing their face light up in delight during that first bite!
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