If you’re looking for the ideal holiday treat, try this stunning yet simple cranberry orange bread.
It’s also perfect out of season when you’re not finished with festive flavors. It’s bright, fruity, zesty, and incredibly moist.
Serve it for breakfast or brunch around Christmas or whenever you like. Frozen cranberries ensure you can make it a year-round treat.
The BEST Cranberry Orange Bread Recipe
This colorful, festive cranberry orange bread is a little taste of Heaven. Tart cranberries and zesty oranges are always a good match.
They’re especially yummy in this moist and tender loaf. It’s insanely easy to make and uses mostly pantry staples.
Plus, you don’t even need fresh fruit! Just grab a bag of frozen berries for the ultimate convenience.
This delightful quick bread is an excellent way to liven up your holiday breakfast table. And it tastes incredible well into the new year.
Ingredients for Cranberry Orange Bread
You’ll need fewer than ten ingredients to make this festive bread. They are:
- Dry mix. Dry mix includes all the familiar quick bread-making essentials. Namely, baking soda, baking powder, flour, salt, and sugar. You probably already have these staples in your pantry.
- Eggs. Eggs add moisture, richness, and flavor. Furthermore, they bind the other ingredients while baking. Egg substitutes should work but will likely change the overall texture, so keep that in mind.
- Cranberries. Cranberries offer a flawless blend of tartness and sweetness. And you can’t beat that color! As mentioned, use frozen berries for best results.
- Orange juice. Orange juice is an irreplaceable ingredient. Not only does it provide the necessary liquid for a perfectly moist loaf. It also brings out the sweetness of the cranberries and adds a touch of citrusy tang.
- Orange zest. Orange zest offers a tart, intense sweetness you don’t get with the juice alone. Trust me, it’s a must!
- Butter. Without butter, your bread will be dull and, frankly, hard to swallow. The butter also plays a crucial role in holding everything together. And while you can use oil instead, you don’t get the same richness.
- Walnuts. Though technically optional, walnuts bring a dreamy, buttery crunch to the loaf. They play so well against the juicy pops of fruit and round out the overall taste with a hint of nutty earthiness.
How to Make Cranberry Orange Bread
This recipe couldn’t be easier to make. The only thing to keep in mind is the mixing – don’t go nuts!
Be gentle, and you’ll be fine.
1. Prepare. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a loaf pan well with butter or cooking spray for easy removal later on.
If you’re worried about the bread sticking, line the pan with parchment paper. Or sprinkle some sugar and tap it around to coat the sides.
2. Mix the dry ingredients. Add the flour, baking soda, half the sugar, salt, and baking powder to a large bowl.
Mix well with a whisk to ensure even distribution. Measure all ingredients carefully (with a scale where possible) to ensure best results.
3. Mix the wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, blend the soft butter with the remaining sugar. Cream them together until it looks like a smooth paste.
Then add the egg and mix until smooth.
4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry bowl. Using a spatula, gently mix the egg-sugar-butter paste into the flour. It’ll be thick, and it’s okay if it doesn’t look smooth.
5. Add the orange. Since you need the zest anyway, I highly recommend using fresh orange juice.
Zest the orange and add it to the batter with the orange juice. Stir with a spatula until it’s almost fully incorporated.
6. Add the fruit and nuts. Gently fold in the frozen cranberries and walnuts until they’re evenly distributed throughout the batter.
Do this just before baking to keep the berries from staining the batter. (The color will bleed as the berries thaw.)
7. Bake for about an hour. I say “about” because every oven is different. So, pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes.
Then, check the loaf for doneness. You’ll usually see if it’s ready without needing to insert a toothpick. It’ll be a bit pale in the middle.
To test, gently press the middle. If it springs back, it’s done. If it sinks, it needs more time. After the 45–50-minute mark, bake in 5-minute intervals until done.
You’ll know it’s ready when a toothpick or sharp knife inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean.
A few crumbs are okay, but batter on the surface means it needs more time.
8. Cool the loaf before serving. If you cut into warm bread, it’ll taste delicious but will be dense and almost soggy. Plus, any leftovers will be the same.
Instead, allow the loaf to cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan. Then, turn it out onto a wire rack and leave it to cool.
Pro tip: Make a delicious glaze of orange juice and powdered sugar to tie everything together. Enjoy!
Tips & Tricks for The Best Cranberry Orange Bread
This recipe is easy to follow, but these tips will make it even simpler!
- Use fresh orange juice. It provides a deeper and more intense flavor than the bottled stuff. As mentioned, you’re using zest anyway, so you’ll need the fruit. Might as well juice it, right?
- Add sugar on top. Sprinkle some sugar over the top of the loaf before baking for a caramelized finish. Try to find coarse sugar and use a mix for best results.
- Brush the baked loaf with melted butter. Adding melted butter to the bread once it’s out of the oven will keep it from drying out. Alternatively, poke a few holes in the top and add a thin glaze. It’ll seep inside and leave the loaf super moist and flavorful!
- Use light brown sugar. It’ll give the bread a richer flavor than white sugar. It’ll also add moisture.
- No frozen cranberries? Use fresh or dried. If you use dried berries, soak them in hot water or orange juice to plump them up first.
- Cover with foil if necessary. Sometimes, your loaf will brown after 30 minutes. If that happens, cover it with foil to prevent the top from burning.
How to Store Cranberry Orange Bread
I doubt you’ll have any of this delicious cranberry orange bread left over. If you do, you can store or even freeze it to extend its life.
- To store. Store leftover bread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
- To freeze. Transfer unglazed bread to a freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months.
- To thaw. The best way to thaw this bread is in the refrigerator overnight. If you want to add glaze, warm the bread to room temperature first.
Additionally, if you can’t get enough cranberry orange goodness, try these cranberry orange muffins, too!
More Quick Bread Recipes You’ll Love
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