The history of banana bread goes back to the 1930s, during the Great Depression in the United States. During this time, it was necessary to utilize all foods and not let anything go to waste. Overripe bananas became a key ingredient in sweet, easy-to-make bread.
The original recipes have evolved over time, with different fruits, nuts, and spices being added to create more subtle flavors. This recipe for banana bread with cranberries and walnuts is one such variation.
This recipe is something between a classic banana bread and a tart cranberry bread, with the addition of walnuts to enhance the texture and flavor. It’s the perfect balance between sweet and tart flavors, and the moist, soft crumb will have you reaching for a second slice.
Our version has a few distinctive features.
First, along with butter, we add olive oil. The olive oil adds a subtle richness, creating a moist and soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Second, we use fresh cranberries, which imparts a unique tartness that perfectly offsets the sweetness of the bananas and sugar. But if fresh cranberries aren’t available, you can easily substitute frozen cranberries. At the very least, use dried cranberries, putting them in half their weight.
Finally, adding ground cinnamon gives the bread a touch of warming spice that is perfect for cozy days.
From a culinary standpoint, cranberry-banana bread can be classified as an American home-style bread known for its simplicity and convenience. It’s easy to make, and the difficulties you may encounter are minimal – perhaps the hardest part is waiting patiently for it to cool before cutting it into slices!
As far as serving goes, this bread is versatile. It’s perfect for breakfast, spread with a little butter or served alongside a cup of coffee or tea. It’s also a great afternoon snack or a sweet note at the end of a meal. Its rich flavor is self-sufficient, but if you don’t mind experimenting – try reheating it and serving it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
⏱ Cooking time — 65 minutes overall. Includes 15 minutes of preparation and cooking + 50 minutes unattended.
For 2 breads, 22 x 11.5 x 5 cm size each:
- 120 g (½ cup) unsalted butter
- 200 g (1 cup) granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 500 g (about 3 medium)bananas (overripe is fine, but just ripe is fine too)
- 50 g
- 50 g (about ½ cup) walnuts
- 150 g (about 1 cup) fresh cranberries (frozen will work too)
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 30 ml (2 tbsp.) olive oil
- 250 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
🥣 Directions👉 Jump to Short Version of Recipe
Preparation of bananas and nuts
Take 500 g (about 3 medium bananas). Use a knife to peel the skin off the bananas. Then cut each banana into cubes of about 1 cm on each side.
Take 50 g (about ½ cup) of walnuts. With a knife, chop them into small pieces, about the same size.
Preparation of the sugar and butter base for the dough
Place 120 g (½ cup) of unsalted butter in a bowl. It should be soft and at room temperature. If it hasn’t had time to warm up and become so, you can melt it slightly on a water bath or in the microwave. Just don’t overdo it – you don’t want to get liquid butter, just a soft consistency.
Now add 200 g (1 cup) of granulated sugar to the softened butter. Using a whisk, mix the butter with the sugar.
Break 2 eggs and add them to the sugar and butter mixture. Whisk everything together until the eggs are completely blended.
Pour 30 ml (2 tbsp.) olive oil into the mixture and add ½ tsp. ground cinnamon. Stir all the ingredients together so that the olive oil and cinnamon combine well with the rest.
Now add the previously diced bananas and 150 g (about 1 cup) of fresh cranberries to the mixture.
If you don’t have fresh cranberries, frozen cranberries will do. Stir everything together, making sure the bananas and cranberries are evenly distributed.
Now it’s time to add the dry ingredients.
Take 250 g (2 cups) of all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. of baking powder and ½ tsp. of salt. Also add chopped walnuts. Pour all these ingredients into the mixture.
Mix again until the dry ingredients are completely blended and the dough is smooth.
Preparing the mold and baking the bread
Prepare the bread mold. Grease it with butter and then sprinkle with flour, turning the mold over so that the flour coats the greased surface. Wipe out the excess flour.
Mix the dough again, making sure there are no dry parts of flour left in it, and place it in the prepared bread mold.
This amount of dough will be enough to fill two molds measuring 22 x 11.5 x 4.5 cm .
Bake the banana bread in a preheated oven at 180 °C (350 °F) for 45-50 minutes.
The bread should turn golden and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
Refrigeration and serving
After removing the bread from the oven, carefully transfer it to a wire rack to cool. This will allow air to circulate and cool the bread evenly.
Before baking the second batch, cool the mold, then repeat the steps of buttering and sprinkling with flour, place the remaining dough and place back in the oven.
When the banana bread has cooled, transfer it to a cutting board and cut into portioned pieces.
Can I replace walnuts with another type of nut?
Absolutely! Pecans, almonds, or even cashews can be a great substitute for walnuts. Adjust according to your taste and preference.
I don’t have fresh cranberries; can I use dried ones?
Yes, you can use dried cranberries, but they might be sweeter than fresh ones. If you’re concerned about sweetness, you may want to reduce the sugar in the recipe slightly.
Can this bread be made gluten-free?
Certainly! Substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free baking mix. Make sure to check if any other ingredient needs adjusting for a gluten-free diet.
Can I freeze the Cranberry Banana Bread?
Yes, the bread freezes well. Make sure to cool it completely, wrap it securely in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How long should I let the bread cool before slicing?
It’s best to let the bread cool for at least 30 minutes to an hour. This helps the bread set, making it easier to slice.
My bread is too moist in the middle. What did I do wrong?
It’s possible the bread needed more baking time. Oven temperatures can vary, so it’s essential to do a toothpick test. If the toothpick comes out with wet batter, it needs more time.
Can I replace the sugar with a sugar substitute like stevia?
Yes, you can replace sugar with stevia or other sugar substitutes. However, make sure to check the conversion rate on the packaging as different substitutes vary in sweetness.
How should I store the Cranberry Banana Bread?
Store the bread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer shelf life, consider refrigerating or freezing.
Can I add other mix-ins to the bread, like chocolate chips or coconut?
Absolutely! Feel free to get creative with mix-ins. If you decide to add chocolate chips, coconut, or other ingredients, just be cautious not to overfill the batter.
I don’t have a loaf pan. Can I use another type of pan?
Yes, you can use a muffin tin for individual servings or a square baking dish. Adjust the baking time accordingly, as smaller portions or different pan sizes might require less time in the oven.
How ripe should the bananas be for this recipe?
Overripe bananas, which are soft and have brown spots, are ideal as they give the bread a richer banana flavor and natural sweetness.
Can I omit the cranberries if I just want a Banana Walnut Bread?
Yes, you can leave out the cranberries. The rest of the recipe remains the same.
How can I make the bread’s crust softer?
After baking, wrap the bread in a clean kitchen towel while it cools. This will trap some of the steam and soften the crust.
How can I ensure my bread rises well?
Make sure your baking powder and/or baking soda are not expired, as they are responsible for the bread’s rise. Also, avoid overmixing the batter, which can make the bread dense.
How do I know when the bread is done baking?
The bread is done when it has a golden-brown crust, has pulled away slightly from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick or knife inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached.
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Cranberry Banana Bread with Walnuts
- 120 g unsalted butter
- 200 g granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 500 g bananas (overripe is fine, but just ripe is fine too)
- 50 g walnuts
- 150 g fresh cranberries (frozen will work too)
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 30 ml olive oil
- 250 g all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- Peel the bananas and cut into cubes about 1 cm on each side. Chop the walnuts into small pieces.
- Mix the soft butter with the sugar. Add the eggs to the sugar and butter mixture, beat everything together until the eggs are blended.
- Pour the olive oil into the mixture, add the cinnamon. Mix everything together well. Now add the diced banana and cranberries. Next add the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt and chopped walnuts. Stir until the dry ingredients are mixed in and the dough is smooth.
- Grease a mold with oil, sprinkle with flour. Stir the dough and place it in the mold. Bake the banana bread in a preheated oven at 180 °C (350 °F) for 45-50 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick.
- Cool the bread on a wire rack. If necessary, bake a second batch. Slice the cooled bread into portions.