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Cranberry Orange Bread with Glaze

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Cranberry Orange Bread is incredibly moist, dense, and full of orange and cranberry in every bite. It’s even topped with a sweet orange glaze that puts it over the top. We think it’s the best cranberry orange bread around!

It’s taken three years of trial and error to get this cranberry orange bread recipe perfected. Not that I’ve worked on it for three years straight.

Cranberries are only in season from mid-September through mid-November. You get what I’m saying, though. Three years of recipe testing during cranberry season.

This moist cranberry orange bread is sweet, a little tart, and wonderfully dense. It’s the perfect dessert for any holiday dinner table.

Of course we’re also partial to our apple crisp and cherry crisp, too! We’ve even turned this bread recipe into cranberry orange muffins with streusel topping, so it’s ok to enjoy it for breakfast and dessert!

Orange Cranberry Bread on a white platter next to baby pumpkins and fresh cranberries.

How to Make Cranberry Orange Bread:

Now it’s time for the good stuff! The instructions for the cranberry bread. 🙂 I love how quickly this recipe comes together in regards to prep work. The longest part is the baking time.

Start by letting the oven preheat while you’re making the batter.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set it aside. In a separate small bowl, stir together the orange zest and sugar.

The sugar should turn a light orange color and have a slightly damp consistency from the oils in the zest. Set that bowl aside as well.

Ingredients used for Orange Cranberry Bread such as eggs, cranberries, fresh orange juice, flour, and sugar.

I used a stand mixer for the remainder of the recipe, but a large bowl and hand mixer or whisk will also work.

Place the buttermilk, oil, eggs, orange juice and vanilla in the bowl of the stand mixer. Mix the ingredients on low until they are combined.

Add in the flour mixture and orange zest and sugar. Continue to mix on low until the batter resembles a muffin or pancake batter.

Next, add the cranberries. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to stir the fresh cranberries into the batter.

Arial view of orange cranberry bread batter in a mixing bowl topped with cranberries.

Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan. The cranberries float naturally, so there’s no need to try and push them down. They’ll just float back to the top.

Place the pan in the oven, and bake for 70 to 75 minutes.

After the cranberry bread finishes baking, allow it to rest for 5 to 10 before removing it from the loaf pan and transferring to a cooling rack. While the bread cools, make the orange glaze.

In a small bowl, mix the powdered sugar and orange juice until creamy. The orange juice amount can be adjusted, so the glaze is the thickness you like.

Once the bread cools completely, drizzle with the orange glaze.

Arial view of orange cranberry bread batter in a loaf pan.

Tips, Substitutions, and Common Questions:

u003cstrongu003eHow do you make orange cranberry bread without orange juice?u003c/strongu003e

In the bread portion of the recipe, substitute the orange juice for equal parts of buttermilk. Then add 1 to 2 teaspoons of orange extract. For the glaze, use a 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of orange extract, depending on taste. Substitute the orange juice with equal parts of milk.

u003cbr/u003eu003cstrongu003eHow do you keep the bread from browning too quickly while it bakes?u003c/strongu003e

Make an aluminum foil tent to place over the bread. I did this and added the tent about 15-20 minutes before the cranberry bread finished baking.

u003cbr/u003eu003cstrongu003eWhat can I use as a substitution for buttermilk?u003c/strongu003e

Add half a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup, and add enough milk until it measures 1/2 cup. Stir, and let sit for five to ten minutes before adding to the other ingredients.

u003cbr/u003eu003cstrongu003eCan I use dried or frozen cranberries instead of fresh cranberries?u003c/strongu003e

Yes, our readers have been successful with this substitution. The dried or frozen cranberries will not float to the top of the bread.

u003cbr/u003eu003cstrongu003eHow can I keep the cranberries from floating to the top of the bread?u003c/strongu003e

Our readers have tried a couple of different things. Toss the cranberries in flour before adding them to the batter or chop them into pieces. Both of those work to keep the cranberries from floating.

Baked and sliced loaf of orange cranberry bread drizzled with orange glaze.

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Baked and sliced loaf of orange cranberry bread drizzled with orange glaze.

Orange Cranberry Bread with Glaze

Yield: 10 Servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cool Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours

This orange cranberry bread is incredibly moist, dense, and full of orange and cranberry in every bite. It's even topped with a sweet orange glaze that puts it over the top. We think it's the best orange cranberry bread around!

Ingredients

Bread

Glaze

  • 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Orange Juice

Instructions

Bread

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9 x 5 - inch loaf pan. 
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt until well combined. Set aside.
  3. In a separate small bowl, use a spoon to mix the sugar and orange zest until the sugar becomes light orange in color. Set aside.
  4. Add to the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl and hand mixer), the buttermilk, oil, orange juice, eggs, and vanilla. Mix on low speed until the ingredients are combined.
  5. Add the flour mixture and the orange zest/sugar mixture. Continue to mix on low speed until all the ingredients are smooth like muffin batter. 
  6. Next, add the cranberries and use a wooden spoon or spatula to stir until well incorporated.
  7. Transfer the batter to the greased loaf pan. Place in the oven and baked for 70-75 minutes. If the bread begins to become too brown, place a piece of aluminum foil loosely over the top to prevent burning.
  8. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a very light crumb. Remove the bread from the oven and allow to cool for 5-7 minutes before transferring from the pan to a cooling rack.

Glaze

  1. While the bread cools, make the glaze.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the powdered sugar and orange juice. 
  3. Whisk or use a hand mixer on low until the glaze is smooth and creamy. Adjust the amount of orange juice to reach desired consistency.
  4. After the bread cools completely, drizzle the glaze over the top, slice, and serve. 
  5. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Notes

*Calories listed are an approximate based on ingredients used and serving size listed. 

*Bread bakes with a light brown crust which was removed for the photos and the video to show the inside and cranberries.

*Please be sure to see the post and the comments section for additional tips, substitutions, and baking variations. Our readers have provided several wonderful comments regarding changes they've made to this recipe that might be helpful for others.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 346Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 9gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 144mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 1gSugar: 34gProtein: 4g

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Grammasue

Saturday 16th of January 2021

I made these yesterday with cranberries, blueberries & fresh orange juice. I made them in glass Pyrex 8-oz. baking dishes (that I LOVE & use all the time-perfect portions!). I only used orange juice & a little pwdr sugar for glaze. They were absolutely perfect! A little firmer this morning but still really good !

Jane

Tuesday 5th of January 2021

This is SO good!!! And is a very pretty dessert to serve for coffee with the girls or a special brunch.

John

Wednesday 6th of January 2021

Thank you Jane! Kim and I are glad you enjoyed the bread and we appreciate you coming back to comment on the recipe. Have a lovely day :)

Sydney

Saturday 26th of December 2020

First time making a homemade version of my holiday favorite. I used 1 cup fresh cranberries and 1/2 C dried. It was a good mix (and all I had on hand ;p ) The bread was dry and hard so will take it out sooner next time. I can't to try this again!

John

Saturday 26th of December 2020

Good Afternoon Sydney, well I'm glad to hear you're excited to try it again. Although, I'm sorry to hear the bread was dry and hard. The mixture of dried and fresh cranberries was a good idea. Use what you have on hand and adapt as needed. Adapt and overcome, when of my favorite mottos :) We hope the bread turns out more moist and soft the next time you make it. Thank you for commenting and we wish you a lovely day!

Alison

Friday 25th of December 2020

Great recipe! We shall be adding it to our annual bread making rotation.

My mom is gluten free so we substituted Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gf flour and the loaves are perfect. We also used dried cranberries soaked overnight in triple sec. mmmmm mmmmm mmmmm.

John

Saturday 26th of December 2020

Good Morning Alison, that's wonderful! We're glad the gluten-free mix worked in the recipe and those triple sec soaked cranberries sound tasty! Thank you for coming back to comment on the recipe card, have a lovely day :)

Siesta

Wednesday 23rd of December 2020

I don’t/can’t eat this—gluten free; however, my very grateful neighbor said it was the best cranberry bread she’d ever had in her life. Note—I baked about 65 minutes, covered with foil as suggested last 15 minutes. Beautiful presentation!

Kimberly

Thursday 24th of December 2020

Hi Siesta! Thank you so much for the sweet comment! While we're sorry you weren't able to try the bread, it was so nice of you to make a loaf for you neighbor. We're glad she enjoyed it. Happy Holidays to you both! Have a wonderful weekend.