Almost every holiday of my entire life was spent in this room.

Every Thanksgiving and Christmas and birthday and anniversary and random you-got-all-As-on-your report card dinners.

There would be giggles and laughter and conversation as my family and a few random guests invited at the last minute all gathered in the dining room together to celebrate the occasion. The table would be set with my grandmother’s china and cloth napkins and my mother would bring in all the dishes and put them on the sideboard. And there—tucked amongst the broccoli and sweet potato casserole and green beans and stuffing would be my favorite food of all.

My mother’s cranberry bread.


Manna from heaven.

She’d make half a dozen loaves at a time and we’d eat some that day and freeze the rest for later.

This year I’m carrying on the tradition.

So today, on DAY SIX of “12 Days of Getting Ready for Christmas” I’m joining my amazing friend Leslie from My 100-Year-Old-Home with simple recipe ideas you can make ahead and stock your freezer.

I’m sharing my mother’s cranberry bread.

And adding my own spin to it.

Just a little twist to make the crust crunchier.

KariAnne’s Mother’s World Famous Cranberry Bread Recipe


  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon orange peel grated
  • 1 egg well-beaten
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar (for crust)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″x 5″ loaf pan and coat with sugar (you’ll use sugar here instead of the traditional “flouring” it).
  2. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Stir in orange juice, butter, orange peel and egg. Mix until well blended.
  4. Stir in cranberries and nuts.
  5. Spread evenly in loaf pan.
  6. Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool on rack for 15 minutes.
  8. Remove from pan and cool completely.

It is delicious.

The sugar in the loaf pan makes the edges crispy with a little crunch. The inside of the bread has this amazing flavor with the orange and the cranberry.

It tastes like a celebration.

Freezing tip:

My mother’s best tip for freezing bread? She wrapped it in plastic wrap and then wrapped it in foil before putting it in the freezer. When it thawed out you could still taste the crunch.

If you are looking for another make-ahead idea to freeze, my mother-in-law’s snickerdoodle recipe is one of the best.

(total aside: I think I get extra credit for working my mother AND my mother-in-law into a post.)

I shared this recently, but it’s worth a repeat.

KariAnne’s Mother-in-Law’s World Famous Snickerdoodle Recipe


  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsps Cream of Tartar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon


  1. Cream sugar and butter.
  2. Add eggs, vanilla, and dry ingredients (except the 3 Tbsps of sugar and the 1 tsp of cinnamon).
  3. Mix the 3 Tbsps of sugar with the 1 tsp of cinnamon in a separate bowl.
  4. Roll into 1 inch balls and cover with sugar/cinnamon mixture.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Freezing tip:

Place cooled cookies in an air-tight container or freezer bag. Make SURE they are cooled before you freeze them so they don’t stick together.

PS And now be sure and stop by my friend Leslie’s to see her favorite make-ahead and freeze Christmas recipes.

“12 Days of Getting Ready for Christmas”

Here’s a recap of everything we’ve shared over the last 5 days:


DAY 1: 9 simple ideas to repurpose last year’s decor

DAY 2: Tons of easy recipe ideas and what to stock your pantry with for the holidays

DAY 3: My go-to sources for inexpensive craft supplies online

DAY 4: 30-minute handmade gift idea

DAY 5: My favorite faux winter stems


DAY 1: Nine Ways to Repurpose Last Years Christmas Decor

DAY 2: Creative Ideas to Stock Your Pantry for the Holidays

DAY 3: Favorite Places to Find Inexpensive Holiday Craft Supplies

DAY 4: Handmade creative gift ideas

DAY 5: The best places to find faux greenery

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


    1. Image for Maryann Nolan Maryann Nolan

      Hi KariAnne, so in place of oil, you only use 2 tablespoons of butter in the cranberry bread recipe?? thanks so much!

  1. Image for Brenda Brenda

    I have great memories of my mom's cranberry nut bread. She always put extra cranberries in her bread. Amazing! My mother in law gave me her apple cake recipe. It's mostly apples with just enough batter to hold it together. After the cake is baked you make up a topping of butter and brown sugar together. Cooked until thickened. Pour over the cake ( with holes in the top ). Bake a few more minutes . Then you have a very generous 9x13 crunchy topped cake. Can you hear that....the angels are singing!

    1. Image for Gina Gina

      Didn't see oil in recipe, did you mean butter? Can't wait to try this recipe. Definitely will make. Thank you

  2. Image for Sherri Sherri

    I sure wish this recipe was printable. I don't like to cook while having to look at my computer at the recipe. It does look delicious though!

  3. Image for Deb in Oklahoma Deb in Oklahoma

    Yes, yes, yes. I love cranberries, and cranberry bread is the ultimate sweet bread treat. Your mom's recipe is darn near identical to one I've used for over 20 years, and was a shared recipe from a gal at church who probably used it for decades before I ever knew about it. (Church lady recipes are always good.) I may need to make some bread this weekend! Thanks for sharing...well really, thanks for the reminder that we're in cranberry bread season again, Karianne!

  4. Image for Dahlia Dahlia

    Mmm....this is wonderful...I love cranberries!! I'm going to try this but swap with Gluten-free flour. and Stevia, Thanks for sharing! :)

  5. Image for Barbara Barbara

    Sounds and looks delicious! Love cranberries. I make my Mom's Poppy Seed cake which is equally yummy for breakfast with a cup of coffee:) My daughter wanted to make it in high school in Cooking class, but it calls for 1/4 cup of sherry so we decided she better not!!

  6. Image for Cindy McTigue Cindy McTigue

    Oh this sounds delicious and I love traditions like your momma. My mom made extras of every Italian dessert during the holidays. She baked for weeks to freeze and share throughout our family. Thanks for sharing this great recipe! Cindy

  7. Image for Martha Thompson Martha Thompson

    Want to make it but the recipe shows no oil but oil is listed in the mixing instructions. Could you let us know the amount. Thanks can’t wait to make it.

  8. Image for Linda Linda

    If the bread is as good as your mother-in-law's Snickerdoodle recipe (yes...I made them. YUM!) I'm definitely making it! Sounds delicious, and I love items at the holidays I can pull from the freezer at the last moment for entertaining. Happy Weekend!

  9. Image for Suzyque Suzyque

    I printed the recipe and just read it and it calls for no oil, although there is oil mentioned in the directions. So, how much oil does it call for? Sounds great, otherwise.

  10. Image for Lynn Mosher Lynn Mosher

    Ooo...cranberry orange! One of my favorite flavors. Tell your mom THANKS! And thank you for sharing the recipe! 😁❤

  11. Image for Michele M. Michele M.

    You know that as much baking as I have done since a young girl I have never once made cranberry bread? I am soooooo going to make this. I think my hubs would love it, too. He doesn't usually eat sweets but that is one I am fairly certain he'd really like. Thank you so much for sharing a beloved family recipe with us, KA.. Those - without a doubt= are the very best of the best tried=and-true recipes of all time. And YUM it sure looks good! Thanks again! Hugs! Have a fabulous weekend.

  12. Image for Darla Aytes Darla Aytes

    I have used this same recipe for past several years using fresh cranberries. We love it and it comes in right up there with my recipe for Pumpkin Bread. Bake Happy!

  13. Image for david david

    I've been in the mood to bake something (though I haven't had the time) and this sounds terrific! Thank you (and thanks to your mom). David

  14. Image for Claire Claire

    The Cranberry Bread sounds delicious -- bet it smells yummy. while baking! Do you think this recipe would work without the nuts if someone is allergic to nuts? Would omitting nuts require any recipe adjustments? Thanks so much and I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!!

  15. Image for KariAnne KariAnne

    Oops! I'm so sorry about that! My mother uses butter instead of oil! I just fixed it in the recipe! happy day!KariAnne

  16. Image for PJ PJ

    Yum, cranberry bread is so good. I’ll have to try this recipe. I made the snickerdoodles after you posted that recipe also. I had them out in the garage freezer and they lasted me a couple weeks even though I had intended on sharing. Oops. Thanks for sharing these.

  17. Image for Charlotte Smaldone Charlotte Smaldone

    I made your Mom's Cranberry Bread last week and it was a hit. I am not a fan of cranberries, but for some reason this bread hit the spot. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe. My neighbors also enjoyed it, too!

  18. Image for Joy Joy

    I doubled the recipe when I made this Cranberry Bread today. I used 1/2 whole wheat flour & 1/2 all-purpose flour. The house smelled like Christmas while the loaves were baking! It is delicious, warm from the oven with a glass of cold milk! I definitely plan to add this recipe to my Christmas baking every year! It is a 5+ star recipe! Thank you for sharing!

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