Cranberry orange bread is packed with fresh cranberries, orange zest, crunchy pecans and drizzled with an orange glaze.
This recipe for Cranberry Orange Bread sure is special!
Cranberry Orange Bread is a recipe straight from my Mom’s recipe files. It’s the sort of recipe that I grew up on, but never noticed how special it was, until I was living on my own and missed it! I asked my Mom to share her recipe, and of course, I made a few changes by adding pecans and an orange glaze to make it even better.
I love this cranberry orange bread because it uses fresh cranberries! During the week of Thanksgiving, I always buy a few extra, and store them in the freezer for this quick bread all winter long. It makes an awesome breakfast because the tart cranberries and crunchy pecans are so great with the orange flavors from the zest and glaze.
Orange Cranberry Bread ingredients
- All-Purpose Flour. This is a full-size loaf of bread, so it calls for 2 cups of all-purpose flour. The best way to measure your flour is to fluff it in the container, scoop it into the measuring cup, and level it off with a knife. One cup of flour weighs between 120-130 grams each, if you would like to bake by weight.
- Sugar. Regular granulated sugar for this recipe.
- Baking Powder. We’re only using baking powder, not baking soda today, because we don’t want the bread to overly brown on top.
- Fresh Cranberries. We need 2 cups of chopped cranberries, which means you need to chop them in half and then measure them. Chop a handful in half, add it to the measuring cup, and repeat until you have 2 cups worth of halved cranberries.
- Pecans. Nuts are always optional in my recipes, and I really like the crunch of ½ cup of pecans in the batter.
- Eggs. Two large eggs, beaten in a separate bowl before being added to the batter.
- Milk. I always bake with whole milk. Adding milk to a bread dough makes the final result more tender and soft, which is why muffin and quick bread recipes often contain milk, while chewy cookies do not.
- Vanilla Extract. Real vanilla pure extract.
- Butter. We will be melting half a stick of butter (4 tablespoons), so no need to bring the butter to room temperature.
- Fresh Navel Orange. Try to find a large, heavy navel orange with a bright orange rind. Wash it very well, and then zest all of it and juice it. We will use 2 tablespoons of the juice for the bread, and the rest for the glaze after baking.
- Powdered Sugar. A small amount of powdered sugar (also called confectioner’s sugar) to make the glaze on the bread. The frosting on the cranberry orange bread is optional, but it really contains a lot of orange flavor, so I don’t skip it.
Cranberry Orange Bread Recipe notes
If you’ve made a quick bread in a loaf pan before, you’ll find this batter to be thicker than others. While some quick breads have a thin, runny batter, this bread batter is full of so much stuff that it tends to be on the thicker side. Plus, the fresh cranberries soften and release juices in the oven, so the bread will have plenty of moisture while baking, I promise!
Second thing about this bread is that slicing this many fresh cranberries in half is a bit tedious, but I promise it’s worth the effort! I do have a trick to make it faster, though. If you have two plastic deli lids leftover from the olive bar at a grocery store, you can pile as many cranberries between two of them as you can. Then, press your hand gently on the top of the lids, and cut the cranberries in half all at once. If that sounds complicated, just cut each cranberry in half while listening to a great podcast.
The third thing about this cranberry bread is that it uses my 'muffin method' for super tender results. While most cookie and cake recipes call for mixing wet and dry ingredients separately before combining, this recipe calls for the sugar (a wet ingredient) to be mixed in with the flour. This step results in a super soft crumbed bread. This bread melts in your mouth!
How to make cranberry orange bread:
- Whisk together the flour, sugar, and baking powder. Then stir in the cranberries and pecans. Coating the cranberries and pecans in flour helps them from sinking to the bottom of the bread while it bakes.
- Next, in a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, orange juice and zest, vanilla, and melted butter.
- Combine the two mixtures, but note it will be a stiff batter. Scrape it in into the pan and bake until a toothpick inserted comes out dry with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
- While the bread cools, make the glaze using the rest of the orange juice and a bit of powered sugar. Drizzle it on top after the bread cools, and then slice and serve.
How to serve this recipe for Cranberry Orange Bread
The best way to create neat, clean slices is to let the bread cool completely before slicing. Use a serrated knife and cut thin ¾-1-inch slices. Serve on a plate with tea or coffee.
Orange Cranberry Bread storage
Let the bread cool completely, wrap in two layers of plastic wrap, place in a storage bag and keep in the fridge. It will keep for up to 1 week this way. You can also freeze for up to 3 months. I recommend slicing before freezing. Thaw in fridge overnight.
Cranberry Orange Bread Recipe FAQs
It sounds like you over-baked it, or maybe you didn’t measure the ingredients correctly and added too much flour. You can try to save it by drizzling the orange glaze over the entire surface, instead of just the top.
My recipe will never create a green cranberry bread, because it does not contain baking soda. My bread recipe is made with all baking powder. However, if you make a recipe with acidic fruit that contains baking soda, sometimes, the fruit juices react with the baking soda and become green. This is more common with blueberries and raspberries than cranberries, because cranberries contain less juice, but it still happens.
More cranberry recipes you'll love
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 cup chopped cranberries (cut in half)
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ cup melted butter
- 1 whole navel orange, zested and juiced
- ⅔ cup powdered sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9” loaf pan with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, and baking powder.
3. Stir the cranberries and pecans into the flour mixture, and set aside.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, 2 tablespoons of orange juice, vanilla, melted butter and orange zest.
5. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients, and stir until combined. The batter will be thick.
6. Scrape the mixture into the loaf pan, and bake for 55 minutes.
7. Test the bread with a cake tester at 55 minutes, and remove it from the oven if it comes out with only moist crumbs clinging to it.
8. While the bread cools, whisk together the remaining orange juice with the powdered sugar, and drizzle on top of the bread as a glaze.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 354Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 250mgCarbohydrates: 57gFiber: 2gSugar: 29gProtein: 6g