This cranberry banana bread is an easy quick bread that's perfect for a festive breakfast, snack, or even dessert - especially with the lovely white chocolate glaze. Ripe bananas and sour cream (or yogurt) keep the loaf moist, while the addition of fresh cranberries give the banana bread a sweeter and slightly tart note once baked.
This banana cranberry loaf is great for the fall and winter season, as it gives you a way to use up any leftover cranberries from your holiday gatherings. Prefer nuts in your banana bread? Add some toasted walnuts or pecans to easily turn this into a banana cranberry nut bread.
Banana bread is an easily customizable cake, with the ability to add extra fruit, nuts, and a variety of spices. For other banana cake variations, try this Strawberry Banana Cake or Spiced Banana Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting, Fluffy Bakery Style Banana Muffins, or Banana Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Moist - this cranberry banana bread recipe uses about 5 very ripe mashed bananas, as well as full-fat sour cream, to ensure the loaf stays incredibly moist. No dry banana bread here!
Customizable - there are endless possibilities when it comes to variations on this recipe. Add nuts or citrus zest for an additional pop of flavor and texture. Don't enjoy a white chocolate glaze? Add a streusel topping instead! Check out the Substitutions and Variations section for more ideas.
Unique - this is a uniquely delicious take on a classic banana bread recipe. Pops of slightly tart cranberries pair incredibly well with the sweet banana bread flavor. And it doesn't just taste good - the white chocolate glaze makes this banana cranberry loaf a feast for the eyes, as well as the taste buds.
- Bananas. Very ripe, spotted brown bananas should be used for the most amount of flavor.
- Sour cream. This helps to add extra moisture and flavor the banana bread. Plain greek yogurt can also be used.
- Sugars. Granulated sugar and brown sugar are used in the loaf, and powdered sugar is used to create the white chocolate glaze.
- Cranberries. Whole, fresh or frozen cranberries should be used in this recipe for best flavor and texture.
- White chocolate. Any type of white chocolate can be used to create the glaze. Note that white chocolate chips don't melt as well as a bar, but can still be used if carefully melted.
See recipe card for full ingredients list and quantities.
Substitutions and Variations
- Don't have sour cream on hand? Swap the same amount of full fat, unsweetened greek yogurt.
- Add orange zest to the batter or glaze for a subtle layer of citrusy flavor.
- Toast walnuts or pecans and fold them into the batter along with the cranberries.
- Feel free to use frozen cranberries instead of fresh - don't thaw them before adding to the batter.
- Soak dried cranberries in orange juice over medium low heat until they become plump, then drain. Use the reconstituted cranberries in place of fresh in the recipe.
- Skip the white chocolate glaze, if desired. Adding a streusel topping before baking would be a delicious alternative! Follow the instructions for the streusel topping from my Cinnamon Apple Crumble Muffins with Oats recipe.
How to Make This Recipe
One: Mash the bananas, leaving some chunks.
Two: Mix the bananas with the sour cream and vanilla and set aside.
Three: Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
Four: Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until combined and fluffier.
Five: Add the banana mixture and mix until incorporated.
Six: Whisk together all dry ingredients.
Seven: Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and fold it together using a rubber spatula.
Eight: Toss the cranberries in 1 tablespoon of flour until completely coated.
Nine: Fold the cranberries into the batter until evenly distributed.
Ten: Pour the batter into a prepared loaf pan and bake until completely cooked through and set.
Once the cranberry banana bread is cool, mix together the melted white chocolate, powdered sugar and heavy cream until a thick glaze forms and pour over top of the loaf. Top with sliced cranberries and chopped pistachio pieces.
- Before starting, line your loaf pan with a piece of parchment paper with overhangs to easily remove the loaf after baking.
- Use very ripe, spotted bananas to achieve the best flavor and texture in this recipe.
- Don't overmix the batter. If overmixed, the loaf can become too dense and stodgy.
- Remove any mushy cranberries before folding them into the batter.
- This recipe has a long bake time. If you notice that your banana bread is starting to get very brown, loosely tent it with foil as it finishes baking.
- It's important to check the center of the cake with a toothpick to check for doneness. When you remove the toothpick, you should see only moist crumbs - no wet batter.
The banana skin should be deeply spotted or even completely brown. This means the sugars have developed and fermented, and will provide the most banana flavor.
This is likely because the flour was measured incorrectly, and too much was added. Always use a digital scale, or the fluff, spoon, and level method. It's also important to ensure the loaf isn't overbaked.
This could be due to over-mixing of the batter, underbaking the cake, or even the loaf experiencing a drastic change in temperature.
Store the cranberry bread covered at room temperature for one day, then in the fridge for an additional 2-3 days. Enjoy at room temperature.
If not adding the glaze, the banana bread can be stored fully at room temperature (covered) for up to three days.
To freeze, the quick bread should be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, then foil, and placed into a zip top bag. Freeze for up to three months. Unwrap completely and thaw at room temperature before enjoying.
Cranberry Banana Bread
- Mixing bowls
- Stand mixer with paddle attachment, or handheld mixer
- Rubber spatula
- 1¾ cups mashed bananas ~5 large bananas
- ⅓ cup sour cream room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar packed
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 ½ cups whole cranberries fresh or frozen
- 1 tablespoon flour
White Chocolate Glaze
- 2 oz white chocolate chopped
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- Pistachios finely chopped (for garnish)
- Preheat the oven to 350℉ and grease and line an 9x5” loaf pan with a strip of parchment paper with overhangs (going perpendicular across the long side).
- Mash the bananas with a fork, leaving some chunks. Mix together with the sour cream and vanilla and set aside.1¾ cups mashed bananas, ⅓ cup sour cream, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- In another bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and mix in until incorporated. Mix in the banana and sour cream mixture.½ cup unsalted butter, ⅓ cup light brown sugar, ½ cup granulated sugar, 2 large eggs
- Whisk together the dry ingredients, then add the dry ingredients and fold it into the wet ingredients using a rubber spatula until just combined.2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Toss the cranberries with 1 tablespoon of flour, then fold in the cranberries.1 ½ cups whole cranberries, 1 tablespoon flour
- Spread the batter into the prepared loaf pan, then bake for 60-70 minutes or until the cake slightly pulls away from the edges and a toothpick inserted fully into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs (but no wet batter). Tent the loaf very lightly with foil if it begins to brown too rapidly during baking.
- Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove the loaf using the parchment paper slings and finish cooling completely on a wire rack.
- White Chocolate Glaze
- Chop the white chocolate bar and place in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between each, until completely melted. Cool slightly.2 oz white chocolate
- Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of heavy whipping cream and mix together to combine. The glaze should be quite thick, as you don’t want it to fall completely over the edges of the cake. Add 1 additional teaspoon of heavy cream as needed until the desired consistency is formed.1 cup powdered sugar, ¼ cup heavy whipping cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Slowly pour over the center of the completely cooled loaf cake, then sprinkle over chopped pistachios (if using). Allow it to set for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.Pistachios