Gluten-Free Cranberry Bread with Pistachio Filling

Holiday Breads 2023

Both colorful and delicious, this gluten-free cranberry bread is loaded with creamy pistachio filling, diced cranberries, and chopped nuts. The Gluten-Free Bread Flour ensures the dough is quick to mix, easy to handle, and effortless to slice. With its distinctive swirls and rich-but-not-too-sweet flavor, this loaf will be a centerpiece of your holiday table.  

View our entire collection of Holiday Breads here.

1 hr
55 mins to 1 hr
4 hrs 30 mins
one 12" x 4" loaf
Gluten-Free Cranberry Bread with Pistachio Filling  - select to zoom
Gluten-Free Cranberry Bread with Pistachio Filling  - select to zoom
Gluten-Free Cranberry Bread with Pistachio Filling  - select to zoom
Gluten-Free Cranberry Bread with Pistachio Filling  - select to zoom


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  1. To make the pistachio paste: In a food processor, pulse the pistachios until finely ground. 

  2. Add the sugar, flour, and salt to the food processor and pulse to combine with the ground pistachios. Add the butter and pulse in 2-second intervals until the butter is pea-sized.   

  3. Add the egg and extract, and process until smooth. Transfer the paste to a small bowl and store, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to use. (The pistachio paste can be made up to 5 days in advance. If stored for more than 2 hours, allow the pistachio paste to sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before using; this will make it easier to spread.) 

  4. To make the dough: In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all the dough ingredients. Mix using a spoon (if mixing by hand) or the flat beater attachment (if using a stand mixer) until a sticky, batter-like dough forms, about 1 minute on medium speed. If mixing by hand, there may be some lumps — that's OK. It’s normal for the mixture to resemble cake batter at this stage.  

  5. Cover the mixture and set it aside for 20 minutes. It will begin to firm up slightly during this time and look more like dough than batter. Then, on a greased or (gluten-free) floured work surface, gently knead the dough — fold the dough in half towards you (use a bowl scraper for assistance, if needed), then pat it down, rotate the dough 90° (a quarter turn) and fold again — until it becomes firmer to the touch, smoother, and easier to handle, 5 to 6 times. As you work, dust your work surface and the dough lightly with gluten-free flour (or apply more grease) as needed to prevent sticking. The dough may still be sticky to the touch but should have some bounce and body by the end of kneading.  

  6. Return the dough to the mixing bowl, cover, and allow it to rise for 40 minutes, or until slightly puffy.  

  7. To assemble: Lightly grease a tea loaf pan. In a small bowl, stir together the diced cranberries and flour; set aside.   

  8. On a greased or (gluten-free) floured surface, gently deflate the soft dough and pat or roll it into a rough 9" x 14" rectangle with one of the long edges facing you. 

  9. Spread the pistachio paste evenly over the entire surface of the rectangle, leaving a 1" bare margin on the long edge farthest away from you. (A small offset spatula is a helpful tool here.) 

  10. Sprinkle the diced cranberries over the pistachio paste, followed by the chopped pistachios. 

  11. Starting with the long edge near you, roll the dough into a cylinder and pinch the seams to seal. 

  12. Use a bench knife or serrated knife to cut the log in half lengthwise to make two pieces of dough, each about 14" long; cut carefully to prevent too much filling from spilling out. With the exposed-filling side up, alternate overlapping the two pieces together to form a twist, then tuck the ends underneath. (It’s OK if some of the now-exposed inner dough coils tears slightly at this point.) Place the log into the prepared pan.    

  13. Cover the loaf and allow it to rise for 45 to 60 minutes, or until it’s puffy and has risen above the edge of the pan by about 1" in the center.   

  14. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.  

  15. Bake the cranberry bread for 30 minutes, then tent with foil and continue baking for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the bread is deep golden brown. The internal temperature should reach between 195°F and 205°F on a digital thermometer when it’s done.  

  16. Remove the bread from the oven and immediately loosen the edges from the pan with a heatproof spatula or table knife. Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  

  17. Finish by dusting the loaf with confectioners’ sugar, if desired. Slice and serve at room temperature.  

  18. Storage information: Store any leftover gluten-free cranberry bread, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 2 days. After 2 days, rewarm individual slices briefly in a toaster, if desired. Freeze for longer storage.  

Tips from our Bakers

  • Fresh or frozen cranberries will provide the biggest burst of tart flavor, but dried cranberries can be substituted. To use dried cranberries, place 3/4 cup (86g) dried cranberries in a bowl, and cover with enough boiling water to submerge all the berries. Cover the bowl and allow the cranberries to soak for 15 minutes. Drain well, then sprinkle the hydrated cranberries over the pistachio filling; no need to toss with flour.   

  • If you do not have a tea loaf pan, this bread can also be baked in a 9" x 5" pan. To assemble, roll the dough into a 10" x 12" rectangle and proceed with the shaping as described in steps 9 through 12. Place the log into a lightly greased 9" x 5" pan.  Allow the loaf to rise for 45 to 60 minutes, or until it’s puffy. Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for 30 minutes, then tent with foil and continue baking for 32 to 38 minutes, or until the gluten-free cranberry bread is a deep golden brown.  

  • Be aware: some of your baking ingredients can be a hidden source of gluten. Learn more at our blog post: For gluten-free baking, think beyond just flour. For additional information on King Arthur-produced products, read the complete details of our allergen program, including our contact-prevention practices.