Cranberry Swirl Loaf Recipe
Cranberry Swirl Loaf Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Cranberry Swirl Loaf Recipe

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My mother's made this bread for years, but she uses date filling. I loved her bread so much that I made my own with cranberries for a slightly tart filling with the sweet streusel topping. Each slice reveals an enticing ruby swirl. —Darlene Brenden, Salem, Oregon
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + rising Bake: 40 min. + cooling
MAKES:16 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + rising Bake: 40 min. + cooling
MAKES: 16 servings


  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) quick-rise yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 cup chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter, divided

Nutritional Facts

1 slice (calculated without icing): 210 calories, 9g fat (4g saturated fat), 17mg cholesterol, 140mg sodium, 30g carbohydrate (10g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.


  1. In a large bowl, mix sugar, yeast, salt and 1 cup flour. In a small saucepan, heat water, milk and butter to 120°-130°. Add to dry ingredients; beat on medium speed 2 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine cranberries, brown sugar and water. Cook over medium heat until cranberries are soft, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in butter, lemon juice and, if desired, walnuts. Cool.
  4. Punch down dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; roll into a 20x10-in. rectangle. Spread filling to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seam to seal. Transfer to a greased 9x5-in. loaf pan, arranging in a slight zigzag fashion to fit.
  5. For topping, in a small bowl, combine flour and sugar; cut in 1 tablespoon butter until crumbly. Melt remaining butter; brush over dough. Sprinkle with crumb mixture. Cover with a towel; let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 40 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°.
  6. Bake 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Carefully remove from pan to a wire rack to cool. Yield: 1 loaf (16 slices).
Confectioners' Sugar Icing (optional): Mix 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar and 1 tablespoon milk. Drizzle over cooled bread. Cranberry-Caramel Icing (optional): Combine 1-1/2 cups cranberry juice and a cinnamon stick in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup. Reduce heat; remove cinnamon stick. Whisk in 1 cup Kraft caramel bits, 1/2 cup at a time, until melted. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream; cool. Drizzle over cooled bread.
Originally published as Cranberry Swirl Loaf in Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook Annual 2005, p149

Reviews for Cranberry Swirl Loaf

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dvierzen User ID: 7402990 258118
Reviewed Dec. 14, 2016

"This is a fantastic bread and not too difficult to make. To save time, I used a breadmaker to mix the dough. I made 3 mini loaves with it and will use them for Christmas gifts."

annrms User ID: 2649709 238831
Reviewed Dec. 6, 2015

"I cheated and used the 'Hearty Six-Grain Mix from King Arthur Flour' and leftover roasted cranberry sauce to which I added chopped walnuts. I kept it savory by choice so skipped the glaze and topping. Inspirationally delicious! Will enjoy it with stew! Will make this again."

Kpcyn User ID: 7723582 238627
Reviewed Dec. 2, 2015

"I made this to take to work the other day. The loaf of bread was very heavy and I was worried it wasn't going to be good but when my coworker cut into it to try it, she absolutely loved it so I had to have a piece right away and she was right. It was so delicious. I really loved the crumb coating and glaze and it went so well with the tartness of the cranberries and the texture of the bread was very good too. I also loved it with the walnuts. The whole loaf was gone by the end of the day. I will definitely make this again. Thank you for sharing!"

jpopik User ID: 100338 148847
Reviewed Mar. 14, 2014

"I was just browsing through some old magazines tonight and came across this one. This recipe is fantastic. The bread is so tender and the filling is a little tangy, perfect with the crumb topping."

kzdrowak820 User ID: 6956031 143105
Reviewed Mar. 8, 2014

"This loaf is amazing. I devoted a whole blog post to it so you guys can see the steps in pictures"

creativedolan User ID: 4465854 148846
Reviewed Jan. 19, 2014

"Made this cake for the first time tonight, it's AMAZING!!! Takes a long time to make, but well worth the time. I'm planning on making this bread as Christmas gifts next year. Definitely a keeper!"

barbarastitz User ID: 1420731 59428
Reviewed Jan. 5, 2014

"I haven't made this yet, because I'm not sure which way I should zigzag the dough in the pan. can someone please help me. I have the cranberries ready to go!! It sounds like a 5 star."

hwi2001 User ID: 5963138 55539
Reviewed Nov. 3, 2013

"I'm new to yeast baking and although there are a lot of steps, I was able to easily follow this recipe and the results were excellent! I plan to serve this yummy coffeecake for the holidays as the red filling from the cranberries makes it very festive looking and it tastes delicious. I sliced and froze in ziploc bags. To serve I thawed at room temperature and reheated at very low setting on microwave for 10 seconds or so and it has that just baked flavor."

NevadaRose User ID: 4283670 59558
Reviewed Feb. 3, 2013

"This had anice flavor, and soft bread. Think next time I will leave out the nuts - they detract from this - at least in my opinion"

cjcrawford317 User ID: 4812291 85767
Reviewed Dec. 22, 2012

"I made this for the first time when it was first featured in Taste of Home at Christmas time several years ago and it has become a Christmas tradition in my kitchen to make multiple loaves and give them as gifts (one year, I prepared 8 in one day!) It's not the simplest bread to make, but the delicious taste is well worth the effort! This year, I am going to make it the standard way, as well as trying it in "cinnamon roll" form. I'm anxious to see how it turns out."

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