Cranberry Orange Bread is an easy quick bread that’s perfect for the holiday season. Serve it for brunch on Christmas or Thanksgiving, turn it into a special after school snack or have it for dessert – it’s always the perfect choice!
So… What do you call this pretty thing? Cranberry Orange Bread? Or Orange Cranberry Bread?
I know, I know. Like that makes a huge difference.
But what about… A cranberry orange loaf? Or a cranberry orange quick bread?
Who knew there were so many ways to call the same thing 😂
But for the sake of our hungry tummies, let’s just all agree this is a Cranberry Orange Bread Recipe.
So we can move on and just get to the recipe of this moist bread… Ah no, that’s a whole new verbal controversy right there.
Anyways, this is pure holiday deliciousness in the shape of a bread, it’s quick and easy to make, and most of all: It’s loaded with so many fresh and juicy cranberries.
There’s also wonderfully festive hints of orange, because I didn’t want a plain cranberry bread recipe. And I wanted a glaze. What’s a bread without streusel or a glaze??
Hint: Boring. That’s what 😉
Which is why I pack something on most of my bread recipes – streusel on my Whole Wheat Cinnamon Crunch Banana Bread, more streusel on my Cinnamon Pecan Streusel Pumpkin Bread and, ahem, even more streusel on my Applesauce Bread… It’s definitely time for a glaze now.
How to make cranberry orange bread:
It’s really, really easy to make this homemade bread. But I still have a handful of tips:
- Prep the cranberries: If you’re using fresh cranberries, make sure you dry them well with paper towels after rinsing. Cut larger ones in half, small ones are fine to be left whole. Don’t skip coating them in flour and sugar, this is very important to keep them from all sinking to the bottom!
- Don’t overmix: As with any quick bread (or muffin, for that matter), it’s crucial you do not overmix the batter. Overmixing will result in a dense, gummy bread, so only fold the wet and dry ingredients together until just combined.
- Pay attention to the baking time: Overbaked, dry bread is not very nice to eat! Every oven runs differently (and even your pan will affect the baking time and how your bread rises!), so keep a close eye on it.
- Loosely cover the pan with foil for the last 20 minutes, to avoid the top getting too brown.
- Check the bread every 5 minutes for the last 15 minutes of baking – just make sure you do it quickly so the temperature doesn’t drop too much in the oven.
- I know it’s hard to judge when exactly a baked good is ready, so to be absolutely sure get yourself a thermometer with a probe (FYI, that’s an affiliate link and I may make a commission if you click through and make a purchase). Breads and cakes are done when the internal temperature reaches about 210°F! This knowledge has totally changed my baking (I’m terrified of underbaked anything), and I’ve been able to say goodbye to dry baked goods!
One more thing that might come up when you make this bread:
How do you zest an orange with a grater? How do you zest an orange without a grater?
We’re going to use the zest of an orange to add some nice flavor to the base of this bread. You can either do this with a grater (or with a microplane like this one – my favorite! FYI, that’s an affiliate link and I may make a commission if you click through and make a purchase) or with a decent vegetable peeler and a knife.
When grating, make sure you only grate the outmost layer of the zest, as the white pith is very bitter.
OR you can use a sharp vegetable peeler to peel off the zest in a very thin layer (again, not the white stuff), then chop it finely with a knife.
Either way, make sure you’ve washed your orange before zesting, AND definitely zest it before squeezing the juice!
Can you freeze homemade cranberry orange bread?
This bread freezes great in bags or containers that are suitable for freezing – but I recommend freezing it without the glaze. Be sure to label your container with the name and use-by date – freeze for up to 3 months.
I prefer freezing bread in slices (divided by baking parchment), because they thaw quicker. Just leave out on a plate at room temperature for 1-2 hours, or microwave in quick bursts. If you’re freezing the entire bread, it will need several hours to completely thaw.
Get the printable recipe here:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 1/3 cup melted butter, cooled, OR canola oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups cranberries, large ones halved
- 1/2 tablespoon white sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon white flour
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 5x9 inch loaf pan, or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- Combine dry ingredients: Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk well. Set aside.
- Combine wet ingredients: Mix milk and orange juice in a large measuring jug and set aside for 5 minutes. The milk will curdle, which is exactly what we want - that way it behaves like buttermilk (you can prep the cranberries while you're waiting). Then whisk in the butter, and then the remaining wet ingredients.
- Make batter: Add wet to dry ingredients and fold (using a spatula or wooden spoon) JUST until combined. Do not overmix. Toss cranberries in 1/2 tablespoon flour and 1/2 tablespoon sugar and fold into the batter.
- Bake: Spread batter in prepared loaf pan and bake for 55-70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean. Loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil after around 40 minutes of baking time, to keep it from getting too brown.
- Cool and glaze: Cool the bread in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack and cool completely. To glaze, combine orange juice and confectioner's sugar until smooth and spread over cooled bread.