Back to Cranberry Swirl Loaf

Print Options


Card Sizes

Cranberry Swirl Loaf Recipe

Cranberry Swirl Loaf Recipe

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 YIELD: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


  • 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).

Recipe Note

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.

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.

Reviews for Cranberry Swirl Loaf

Sort By :

Average Rating
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."

robynswreaths User ID: 853311 70935
Reviewed Oct. 1, 2012

"Very Good!! Tastes like a danish, my kids and co-workers loved it :)"

jamijam User ID: 6558040 136381
Reviewed Mar. 4, 2012

"easy excellence"

eydie_ann User ID: 5712849 55536
Reviewed Dec. 24, 2011

"My family and I LOVED this recipe. I was telling my friend about it on the phone and she was making it before we ever got off the phone- now it one of her family favorites also. My mother used to make something similar with cinnamon, but lost the recipe- I was so happy to have found this one."

ddurkee User ID: 3117820 148845
Reviewed Jul. 18, 2011

"The bread seemed too much for a 9 x 5 x 3 pan. It was not done after 45 minutes. The next time I will split it up into two smaller loafs or one big loaf and one small. loaf. I used canned cranberries instead of fresh and that worked out great."

eds000 User ID: 3593865 59555
Reviewed Dec. 24, 2010

"my family enjoys this and now I make it every Christmas and give it as gifts. I drizzle frosting on top which just completes it as a dessert. I wonder why there is NO egg what difference would the egg make?"

the little woman User ID: 1294553 119312
Reviewed Dec. 6, 2010

"I need to know how to convert this yeast bread recipe so that they can be made in either my Kitchenaide mixer or my bread machine. I have rheumatoid arthritis, and it's too painful for me to do any kneading."

ArgyleVsPlaid User ID: 5645545 59553
Reviewed Dec. 2, 2010

"I made this bread and it was beautiful! I don't eat eggs, so it was wonderful to find such a nice bread recipe with no egg in it. I'm making it again tonight but using walnut povitica filling so that I can make a traditional Croatian Christmas bread. But I'm going to keep making it with cranberry swirls, too. :)"

cnctgl63 User ID: 5578520 70912
Reviewed Nov. 13, 2010

"LOVE this!!! I will make it again."

rachelmarie82 User ID: 2012683 107840
Reviewed Nov. 5, 2010

"It was a huge hit! I will be making it again."

ccahlmer43 User ID: 5509004 55531
Reviewed Oct. 12, 2010

"I double the amount of streusel topping but this is absolutely my favorite bread recipe and my family LOVES it!"

Spiffy64 User ID: 5125460 63557
Reviewed May. 9, 2010

"i was surprised how easy this was to make. it is very good! you can leave the walnuts in for a subtle crunch or skip them altogether! we really like it. even my brother that hates cranberries enjoys this beautiful bread!"

joedebfry User ID: 265172 112859
Reviewed Jan. 6, 2010

"Excellent and attractive! I made this when we had guests for Christmas. Everyone loved it. I left out the walnuts just because we prefer breads without nuts."

wasoongu User ID: 1077273 143100
Reviewed Dec. 22, 2009

"I make this delicious bread for Christmas morning every year. It's beautiful and festive and really yummy!"

janellzabeth User ID: 2018089 63556
Reviewed Nov. 24, 2009

"Very good!"

honeybeegrace User ID: 4471146 136380
Reviewed Oct. 4, 2009

"I Love LOVE LOVE this bread. Since it was in the magazine I have made probably 30 loaves. It is one of my families All Times Favorits. The only thing I do different is I use almonds instead of the walnuts."

cookinNC User ID: 4119721 148844
Reviewed Sep. 12, 2009

"This bread is YUMMY!!! It is a little work, but well worth the effort. I have made it twice, and I'll definitely make it again. One of those times, I even forgot to stir in the walnuts, butter, and lemon juice to the cranberry mixture before putting it in the bread, and it was was still awesome!!"

Loading Image