If you’re not done with festive flavors, you must try this stunning yet simple cranberry orange bread.
It’s bright, fruity, zesty, and incredibly moist. Serve it for breakfast or brunch, and your loved ones will go gaga.
Tart cranberries and zesty oranges are a match made in heaven. And 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 to make this cranberry orange bread!
Instead, you’ll just grab a bag of frozen berries. How easy is that?
The BEST Cranberry Orange Bread Recipe
Cranberry orange bread is the perfect way to liven up your holiday breakfast table. And it tastes incredible well into the new year.
With its simple list of ingredients, this delightful quick bread can easily be made from scratch in no time at all.
And the combination of sweet cranberries and juicy citrus will have your taste buds dancing!
Serve it with your next decadent brunch spread or as a sweet afternoon snack with tea or coffee.
Either way, you’ll definitely enjoy this unique blend of flavors.
Ingredients for Cranberry Orange Bread
- Dry Mix – I won’t go into too much detail here as this includes all the familiar quick bread-making essentials – baking soda, baking powder, flour, salt, and sugar. You probably already have these staple ingredients in your pantry.
- Eggs – Eggs add moisture, richness, and flavor. Furthermore, they bind the other ingredients, so they stay together while baking. Egg substitutes should work but will likely change the overall texture, so keep that in mind when picking.
- Cranberries – Cranberries offer a flawless blend of tart and sweet. And you can’t beat that color! As mentioned, you’ll use frozen berries for best results.
- Orange Juice – Orange juice is an irreplaceable ingredient – it’s in the title, after all! Not only does it provide the necessary liquid for a perfectly moist loaf, but 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 plays a crucial role in keeping everything held 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. It plays so well against the juicy pops of fruit and rounds 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. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175°C) and grab a loaf pan.
Grease the pan well with butter or cooking spray for easy removal of the bread later on.
If you’re worried about it sticking, line it with parchment too. Or sprinkle some sugar and tap it around to coat the sides.
2. Mix up the dry ingredients.
Add the flour, baking soda, half the sugar, salt, and baking powder to a large bowl and mix well with a whisk to ensure even distribution.
Measure all ingredients carefully (with a scale where possible) to ensure best results.
3. Blend the other half of the sugar with the soft butter.
In a separate bowl, blend the soft butter with the sugar until it looks like a smooth paste. Then add the egg and mix until smooth.
4. Mix the eggs and butter into the dry bowl.
Using a spatula, gently mix the egg-sugar-butter paste into the flour. It will 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 right before baking.
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 minutes 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 on a wire rack and leave it to go cold.
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
- Use fresh orange juice instead of bottled to get a deeper and more intense flavor. As mentioned, you’re using zest anyway, so you’ll need the fruit. Might as well juice it, right?
- 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.
- To keep the bread from drying out, brush melted butter over the top after removing it from the oven. Alternatively, poke a few holes in the top with a toothpick and pour over a thin glaze. It’ll seep inside and leave the loaf super moist and flavorful!
- Use light brown sugar instead of white sugar to give the bread a richer flavor. It’ll also add moisture to the mix.
- If you don’t have any fresh or frozen cranberries on board, you can also use dried cranberries. Try soaking them in hot water or orange juice to plump them up!
- If the loaf looks brown after 30 minutes, cover it with foil. This will keep it from burning on the top.
How to Store Cranberry Orange Bread
The best way to store cranberry orange bread is in an airtight container at room temperature. It will last up to 4 days.
If you want to make it last a bit longer, freezing it is the best option.
Make sure to freeze the bread before glazing because it can form ice crystals and harden up.
When you want to eat it, put it in a dish in the fridge overnight to thaw. Then, bring back to room temperature before glazing.
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