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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!
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.
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.
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.
Tips, Substitutions, and Common Questions:
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.
How do you keep the bread from browning too quickly while it bakes?
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.
What can I use as a substitution for buttermilk?
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.
Can I use dried or frozen cranberries instead of fresh cranberries?
Yes, our readers have been successful with this substitution. The dried or frozen cranberries will not float to the top of the bread.
How can I keep the cranberries from floating to the top of the bread?
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.
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- 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Orange Zest
- 1/2 Cup Buttermilk
- 1/2 Cup Canola or Vegetable Oil
- 1/2 Cup Orange Juice
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
- 1 1/2 Cups Fresh Cranberries
- 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
- 2-3 Tablespoons Orange Juice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9 x 5 - inch loaf pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt until well combined. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Next, add the cranberries and use a wooden spoon or spatula to stir until well incorporated.
- 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.
- 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.
- While the bread cools, make the glaze.
- In a medium bowl, combine the powdered sugar and orange juice.
- 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.
- After the bread cools completely, drizzle the glaze over the top, slice, and serve.
- Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
*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.
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