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Use sweet oranges and tart cranberries for a bit of freshness in this moist and delicious Cranberry Orange Bread topped with a zesty orange glaze. This easy quick bread recipe is fantastic for breakfast or brunch, or even served as a coffee break snack.
Not only that, this delicious and festive cranberry loaf is perfect for gift giving during the holiday season. It’s so easy to make and is always a bit hit!
When cranberries are in season, I like to buy extra to put in the freezer so that I can make this quick bread any time of year, not just during the holidays.
Looking for more ways to use fresh cranberries? My Cranberry Fluff is pretty and pink and absolutely drool-worthy!
Or, toss fresh cranberries into these yummy baked goods: Cranberry Muffins or Christmas Cake — both are so, so good!
Key ingredients & substitutions for Cranberry Quick Bread
- Cranberries — My first preference is using fresh cranberries for this recipe, however it is still tasty if you don’t have fresh available. You may use frozen cranberries or just 1 cup of dried cranberries in a pinch.
- Orange Juice and Zest — I love the flavor of fresh squeezed orange juice in this quick bread recipe, however you may substitute the same amount of bottled orange juice. And, in that case you can omit the orange zest. You’ll use orange juice in the glaze as well.
- Canola oil — If you’d like to substitute melted butter for the canola oil, I think that should work.
- Egg — An egg binds together all the ingredients during baking. I use large eggs in all my recipes.
- All-purpose flour — There’s no need to sift the flour for this recipe, but you will need to add baking powder and salt for leavening. If you use self-rising flour, omit the baking powder.
- Granulated sugar — Add sweet flavor to the bread! I haven’t experimented with any alternative sweeteners, but pure can sugar should work just fine.
- Powdered sugar — I recommend sifting the confectioner’s sugar for a smoother glaze.
- Vanilla extract — You’ll need just a drop for the glaze. If you don’t have any in your pantry, almond extract is a good substitute or just leave it out.
How to make Orange Cranberry Bread recipe
Adding a simple powdered sugar glaze made with fresh orange juice adds just the right amount of sweetness to this tasty loaf.
STEP 1 | Preheat the oven and prep the pan
Always preheat the oven before baking the loaf to ensure a good rise.
Grease the loaf pan on the bottom and only 1/2 inch up the sides. I also like to place a piece of parchment paper cut to size in the bottom of the pan for guaranteed easy removal.
STEP 2 | Juice and zest oranges
You’ll need 3/4 cup of fresh orange juice, so that’s about 3 medium oranges. If you don’t have a juicer, try this method.
Roll the oranges on the counter to soften them up. Then, cut them in half and insert a fork into the orange and squeeze, using the tines of the fork to encourage more juice to come out.
Use a microplane zester to remove a teaspoon of zest from one orange, avoiding the pithy white under the skins.
STEP 3 | Whisk together wet ingredients
Measure out the orange juice, egg, oil, and orange zest into a small bowl and give it a good whisk to combine.
STEP 4 | Measure dry ingredients
Grab a large bowl and measure out the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Remember, the proper way to measure flour for baking is to spoon the flour into a measuring cup and level it off with a knife.
STEP 5 | Stir together batter
Make a well into the bowl of dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the center. Use a rubber spatula to gently stir until the dry ingredients are just moistened.
A few lump in the batter is actually desirable. Stir the batter too much and the bread texture will be chewy and tough — ugh!
STEP 6 | Fold in cranberries & bake
Now it is time for cranberries! To ensure they don’t sink to the bottom, place the cranberries in a bowl and toss with a tablespoon of flour before adding them to the batter.
Gently fold the coated cranberries into the batter and pour into the prepared pan. Ready for the oven!
- Bake the loaf on the middle oven rack for even cooking.
- Watch that the bread doesn’t brown too fast on the top. Check it a few minutes before the baking time is up and cover loosely with foil if needed.
- Check for doneness by inserting a wooden toothpick near the center of the loaf. It should comes out clean without any crumbs.
STEP 7 | Top with orange glaze
First, sift the powdered sugar into a bowl. Make the glaze by adding the fresh squeezed orange juice a tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Then, stir in the vanilla.
I like to make my glaze a little thick and always wait until the bread has cooled to drizzle or spread it on top.
That way, the glaze stays mostly on top of the loaf. If all the bread isn’t eaten right away, be sure the glaze has set before wrapping the loaf in plastic wrap for storage.
- Cool the quick bread for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.
- Slice quick bread with a long serrated knife to avoid crumbling if you run into fruit or nuts.
Frequently asked questions
There is no need to cook the cranberries before baking in this quick bread recipe. However, do be sure to rinse and dry fresh cranberries well before using in this recipe. If using frozen cranberries, do not thaw before adding to the batter.
Absolutely! If using dried cranberries, reduce the amount in the recipe to just 1 cup.
There’s no need to refrigerate Cranberry Orange Bread. To store the bread, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or store in a resealable plastic bag at room temperature for up to 3 days.
This quick bread will stay fresh in the freezer for up to two months. To freeze, cool the loaf completely then wrap in plastic wrap and store in a resealable freezer bag.
One of the things I like most about quick breads is that they freeze well. Often I will double my quick bread recipe to make two loaves — one for now and one for later.
It’s also nice to have an extra loaf in the freezer for last minute sharing with friends. Cranberry Orange Bread is delicious with a cup of coffee, spiced Russian tea, or my instant chai latte.
Your shares are how this site grows and I appreciate each one. Do you know someone who would enjoy this recipe? I’d love it if you would share it on Facebook or on your favorite Pinterest board!
Cranberry Orange Bread
- 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups all-purpose flour + 1 tablespoon
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
- 1 – 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a non-stick 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
- In a small bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup orange juice and zest, canola oil, and slightly beaten egg until well combined.
- In a large bowl, combine the 2 cups all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula just until the dry ingredients are incorporated — do not over mix.
- Toss the cranberries with a tablespoon of flour, then gently fold into the batter.
- Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
- Add orange juice one tablespoon at a time to the sifted powdered sugar and stir until smooth and the desired consistency. Stir in the vanilla extract, then drizzle or spread on top of the cooled Cranberry Orange Bread.
- Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit into the loaf pan for easy removal.
- If using frozen cranberries, do not thaw.
- To use dried cranberries, reduce the amount in the recipe to just 1 cup.
- Store tightly covered at room temperature for up to three days.
- If desired, garnish with additional orange zest just before serving.
- To freeze, cool completely then wrap in plastic wrap and store in a resealable freezer bag.
About Sheila Thigpen
Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer
Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.
I am assuming only one egg. It’s not shown in ingred list, but mentions it when mixing wet ingred.
Oh, my, yes! There should have been 1 egg listed in the ingredient list. Thank you for pointing that out 🙂
Can you use orange extract instead of zest?
I believe a little orange extract would work just fine!
Can this recipe be used to make muffins? If so, any idea cooking time?
Gina, I haven’t tried making muffins myself with this recipe, but I do think it would work. I would adjust the baking time to around 20 to 25 minutes. I do have another cranberry muffin recipe you might also want to try. Happy Thanksgiving!
This is amazing! I made it last night for coffee this morning. OMG! It’s heavenly! Thank you!
The batter seemed really thick. I added a splash of milk so that I could mix the cranberries in.
Fantastic low fat treat! So easy to make, I had leftover cranberries from Thanksgiving and this was the perfect way to use them. Delicious!
Excellent recipe. I had two bags of fresh cranberries which was 6 cups, quadrupled your recipe and made it exactly as written. This recipe is definitely a keeper. Thanks so VERY much!
How long to bake if you are using mini loaf pans?
Hi there! You can adapt this recipe to make three mini loaves in smaller pans that measure 5 1/2 x 3 inches. Adjust the baking time to 40 – 42 minutes.
@Sheila Thigpen, Thanks!
Excellent flavor, just added more zest. Problem is when I baked for the time noted, I used a tooth pick and it came out clean
Then after cooling, I cut into it and the middle wasn’t done and the cranberries were all in the middle of the loaf wet. Any suggestions? Thank You.
Hi Eileen. Did you toss the cranberries in flour before adding them to the batter? That should help keep them from floating to the bottom during baking. You’ll want to be sure to fold them into the whole bowl of batter so that the cranberries are evenly distributed during baking, too. Hope this helps for next time 🙂
Followed directions exactly. Looks beautiful, and was cooked perfectly in 55 minutes, but way too tart. I used fresh cranberries and they overpowered the recipe. Not sweet enough for me.
The batter was too thick, it came out like a biscotti. Baked another one with a bit more juice, but the dough didn’t rise above an inch. A bit disappointed about that. Tastes delicious, though.
This is amazing just as written!!
So happy to have found a gf dessert bread recipe that rises so well and tastes delicious!
Hello, I made about 20 of these loaves last year and gave them to friends, family and coworkers with their cookie trays. This recipe has become my hubby’s favorite. I’m wondering… has anyone ever added any chopped pecans to this recipe? If so, how did it turn out?
I made the recipe without the glaze on top, and it was still delicious. My husband gave it an A.
Delicious. Thanks for the recipe.
I made the bread in mini loaves for my neighbors at Christmas with honey butter. Needless to say, my gifts were a welcome treat over the usual Christmas cookies. The honey butter was a huge success as well. Thank you for helping to make a great many Christmas smiles.
Very easy recipe and delicious! I didn’t have orange juice and only 1 orange, so I squeezed the orange, added water to make 3/4 cup and used 3/4 cup of almond milk (I made 2 loaves.) It seemed to be the right consistency! I didn’t glaze the top, but it turned out great!
Simple, easy, and delish! Will make again.
My whole family absolutely LOVES this recipe!! This is a keeper.
Made this recipe the other night into muffins, have made the bread with the glaze and it was amazing. The muffins didn’t disappoint and instead of doing the glaze for the muffins I put the sugar crystals on top with sweet/tart flavor in one bite these were amazing!! Will be making again since my husband ate 3 of them while I was in shower. The bread recipe only made 13 standard muffin tin muffins. So another batch is in my future!
Oh, that’s so wonderful to hear!!
I’ve made this twice now due to everyone loving it. Followed written recipe. Soooo good. Thank you
Made as written, absolutely delicious! Easy to put together, perfect texture, fantastic way to showcase frozen cranberries. Thank you for sharing the recipe, This is my new favorite cranberry bread.
Thanks for the recipe. When freezing, can I freeze with the glaze on the bread?
Hi, Sarah. While you technically can freeze the loaf with the glaze, it will thaw and taste better if you add the glaze after.
Hi! Should the glaze go on after it’s 100% cool, or after the 10 minutes in the pan?
Hi, Laura! If you’d like the glaze to melt, drizzle it on while the loaf is still warm. Otherwise, if you glaze the loaf after it’s completely cooled it will be a thicker consistency. Either way, the bread is delicious — do whatever is your preference!
My attempt turned out chewy. This was a very stiff batter and difficult to work with.
If your cranberries are large, cut them up. It’s not as good with big sour chunks lol. Otherwise it’s a good recipe.
I made the orange cranberry bread for Christmas to give out to favorite neighbors and for our Christmas Eve Brunch. Huge hit! I’m glad I added the mini chocolate chips! Can’t wait to make more of this recipe. Highly recommend
Is there any way to make this w/o $9 eggs!! Seriously! Thanks.
Hi, Elizabeth! I know, the price of eggs today is ridiculous! While I haven’t tried any of these methods with my cranberry orange bread recipe, I found this interesting article rating egg substitutes in baking. Hopefully, you will find a suitable solution in the article.
Love this recipe! I am gonna make it for a second time today. Great use of my costco cranberries
I made this yesterday and it was delicious. Thank you.