This Cranberry Banana Bread is sweet and tangy, soft, and perfectly sliceable. Delicious with a cup of coffee for breakfast or dusted with powdered sugar for a tasty treat after dinner. Oil-free and vegan!
Ingredients you need
Ingredient notes and substitutions
Flour ~ I typically go for white whole wheat flour. It’s a whole grain flour, but lighter and softer than regular whole wheat. Spelt flour would also work well, as would traditional all-purpose flour.
If you need a gluten free option, choose a blend that’s meant to replace wheat flour at a 1:1 ratio, like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1:1 Baking Flour.
Sugar ~ Organic cane sugar produces the best results in this quick bread.
Bananas ~ Use ripe bananas that are starting to brown. The more ripe the bananas (they’ll have more brown spots), the sweeter this cranberry quick bread will be.
You need 1 cup of mashed bananas, which means you’ll need 2-3 bananas depending on the size.
Milk ~ Pretty much any unsweetened, plain non-dairy milk will work. I typically reach for almond milk, but oat milk or rice milk should both work.
Cranberries ~ I love the tart, juicy flavor of fresh cranberries. I buy bags and bags of fresh cranberries every fall and stash them in the freezer. That way I can make my daughter’s favorite Spiced Orange Cranberry Sauce, a healthy Cranberry Smoothie, or the party favorite Creamy Cranberry Jalapeño Dip all on a moment’s notice.
Rinse the cranberries and discard any that appear moldy or green. Drain well. There is no need to thaw frozen cranberries.
Fresh or frozen cranberries are preferred for this quick bread recipe, however, dried cranberries can be used if you must. Note that dried cranberries are sweeter so you can reduce the sugar in the recipe by up to ¼ cup. You will also need less cranberries…use just 1 cup of dried. To plump up the dried cranberries and make them juicier, soak them in hot water for about 15 minutes before adding them to the batter.
Add-ins ~ We love this cranberry banana bread as is, but it would also be delicious with chopped nuts, like walnuts or pecans, about ½ cup. Other tasty extras that would work well are orange zest, a dash of cinnamon, a drop of almond extract, or even chocolate chips!
Add-ons ~ Again, this recipe is pretty much perfection on its own, but we sometimes sprinkle on some powdered sugar if eating it for dessert.
If you love a sweet glaze, it would be yummy on this cranberry bread. Mix powdered sugar with just enough liquid (fresh lemon juice or orange juice would be nice, but almond milk or water would also work) to reach the correct consistency. Drizzle it on top after the bread has cooled.
How to make the recipe
Please scroll down to the recipe card for exact ingredient measurements and instructions.
In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas really well, until they are almost liquid (1). Add the sugar (2), vanilla and lemon juice (3) and milk and whisk well (4).
Whisk together the dry ingredients and add them to the bowl with the liquid ingredients (5). Whisk until smooth (6).
Add the cranberries (7) and mix until just combined (8).
Pour the batter into a parchment lined loaf pan (9) and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (10).
Let it cool in the pan on a cooling rack for about 20 minutes before removing the loaf from the pan. Allow to continue to cool completely before attempting to slice.
Storage and freezing
Counter: This bread will keep in an air-tight container on the counter for 2 to 3 days.
Fridge: You can store it longer in the fridge for up to a week.
Freezer: You can also freeze this vegan cranberry banana bread. Wrap the whole loaf tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil or place in a freezer-safe plastic bag. It should keep well for up to 3 months.
You can also freeze individual slices for easy grab-n-go breakfasts, snacks, or desserts. Just like the full loaf, wrap each slice tightly in plastic wrap and then either in aluminum foil or place the slices in a freezer-safe plastic bag. Again, freeze for up to 3 months.
Tip: Be sure the bread is completely cooled before transferring to a storage container of any kind.
Pro tips for success
~ Use the spoon and level method of measuring the flour. Otherwise, you may end up with too much flour.
~ Use ripe bananas. The spottier, the sweeter.
~ Mash the bananas really well…until they are almost in a liquid state.
~ If using frozen cranberries, do not thaw before adding them to the recipe.
~ If using dried cranberries, use just 1 cup. Soak them in hot water for 15 to 20 minutes to plump them up. Drain well before adding to the batter.
~ You may add up to ½ cup of chopped nuts, if you like.
~ Let the cranberry banana bread cool completely before slicing.
~ Dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with a glaze if you like a sweeter dessert bread. Make sure the bread is completely cool first!
While I much prefer to use fresh or frozen cranberries for this easy quick bread, you may substitute dried in a pinch. Use just 1 cup of dried cranberries and soak them in hot water for 15 to 20 minutes to plump them up. Drain them well before adding to the batter.
No, do not thaw frozen cranberries before adding them to the batter.
I don’t ever chop the cranberries. I just add them in whole. However, you can, if you prefer. Fresh cranberries are a bit hard to chop because they will roll all over the cutting board. I would suggest pulsing them in a food processor a few times instead.
There isn’t too much different between banana bread and banana cake. Banana bread is like a cake in that it doesn’t contain yeast or need to rise. Typically bread, even quick bread, is a bit more dense than cake, and contains less sugar. However, that isn’t always true. Sometimes the only differenence is the pan it’s baked in. Give my Banana Snack Cake a try for a slightly different spin.
I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! If you tried it, please use the rating system in the recipe card and leave a comment below with your feedback.
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Vegan Cranberry Banana Bread
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup mashed bananas about 2-3 medium bananas
- ½ cup organic cane sugar
- 1 cup non-dairy milk
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen cranberries rinsed, drained, and picked over to discard any moldy or green cranberries.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9.25 x 5 loaf pan with parchment paper or spray lightly with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the mashed bananas, sugar, milk, lemon juice and vanilla until well combined.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk just until incorporated.
- Add the cranberries and stir them in gently.
- Pour mixture into the prepared loaf pan.
- Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
- Take bread out of pan and continue to completely cool on wire rack before slicing.
Storage/Freezing This bread will keep in an air-tight container for 2 to 3 days. You can store it longer in the fridge for up to a week. You can also freeze this recipe. Wrap either the whole loaf or individual slices tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil or place in a freezer-safe plastic bag. It should keep well for up to 3 months.
Nutrition facts calculated assuming about 1-inch per slice.
Nutrition values are calculated using online calculators and are estimates only. Please verify using your own data.
Viki Bello says
Just made it and it turned out so delicious. ❤️ Added some lemon zest and walnuts, used soy unsweetened milk and coconut sugar. Saving the recipe as one of my favorite cranberry breads. Thank you so much for posting it, Jenn. Now I need to use my will power and stop eating slice after slice. 😂
Jenn Sebestyen says
That makes me so happy, Viki! Thank you for your comment. Now go grab another slice! 🙂
Best recipe ever! I have to change the flour to gluten free but other than that I followed it exactly. Thank you so much. My husband I truly enjoy it and have been making it about twice a week.
Jenn Sebestyen says
Yay! I’m thrilled to hear you love it, Shauna. Thank you!
Jenn Sebestyen says
Oooh, I love that you make it into a cake! Great idea! So glad everyone enjoyed it. Thanks, Rebecca!