Cranberry-Orange Bread

This quick bread pops with orange flavor thanks to fresh orange juice and zest in the icing and zest throughout the loaf as well.

Cranberry-Orange Bread

Alison Miksch; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin; Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle

Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 20 mins

Cranberry and orange might seem like two close cousins in the tart fruit family, but with a hint of sugar, the tartness is balanced beautifully. Together, the two fruits are bright, tangy, and fresh. That's why they're favorites in recipes like Cranberry Orange Sauce, Cranberry-Orange Butter Cookies, and Cranberry-Orange Bundt Cake.

In this Cranberry-Orange Bread, the loaf is studded with frozen cranberries that will become juicy and tender during baking. And it doesn't shy away from orange flavor, either. There's orange zest in the batter, and there's orange zest and orange juice in the glaze.

Ingredients for Cranberry-Orange Bread

The ingredients for this quick bread are fairly straight forward. With a fresh orange or two, pantry baking staples, and a bag of frozen cranberries, you can make this Cranberry-Orange Bread in about 2 hours.

  • Flour: All-purpose flour has plenty of body and structure for this bread.
  • Sugar: White sugar provides a nice, clean flavor; brown sugar might hide the tart-sweetness of the orange and cranberries.
  • Cinnamon and nutmeg: These spices add just a hint of warmness to the bread.
  • Buttermilk and baking powder: Together, these create the "lift" needed for the bread to rise, and the buttermilk gives the bread a tang and tenderizes the gluten strands in the flour, making for a quick bread with a softer texture.
  • Canola oil: Oil, instead of butter, creates a more tender loaf.
  • Frozen cranberries: Chop these so they'll stud the loaf and lend a pop of tartness to each slice.
  • Orange juice and orange zest: Zest provides a gentle floral flavor to the loaf and glaze. Juice adds tang to the glaze, too. All balanced by sugar to blunt the sharp edge of citrus.

How To Make Cranberry-Orange Bread in 4 Easy Steps

The great thing about quick breads is you don't have to wait for anything to rise or proof. You can go straight from your stand mixer to the loaf pan.

Mix dry and wet ingredients: In two separate bowls, combine the dry ingredients (sugar, flour, and spices), then the wet ingredients (eggs, buttermilk, oil, and orange zest). Then combine together just until mixed. Don't overmix it; that will dry out the loaf.

Fold in cranberries: Instead of whole cranberries, you'll get more cranberry bits by chopping them, then gently folding them into the batter. Once the batter is mixed, fold in the cranberries, then put the batter into a greased loaf pan.

Bake: Bake at 350°F for 1 hour to 1 hour and 5 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool slightly, about 10 minutes, then turn out the loaf onto a wire rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

Glaze: While the loaf cools, make the glaze, and drizzle it over the cooled loaf. If you put wax or parchment paper under the loaf bread, you can get a second round of glazing by carefully lifting the paper off the baking tray and pouring the glaze back over the loaf.

How to Make Cranberry-Orange Mini Loaves

Prepare the batter as instructed (through step 2), but pour it into 3 mini loaf pans. Bake about 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in the pans about 10 minutes, then remove to cool on a wire rack. Cool for another hour, then glaze.

fresh orange juice and pulp

Alison Miksch; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin; Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle

The Best Glaze for Cranberry-Orange Bread

We like to keep this sweet-tart quick bread fruit forward, so instead of glazing it with a straight powdered sugar glaze, we're upping the citrus flavor with orange juice and zest.

How To Store Cranberry-Orange Bread

If you're serving this to your friends or family, odds are you won't have a single slice leftover. But just in case, you'll want to properly store the bread:

  • At room temperature: Wrap the leftover loaf in plastic wrap, and store in a cool, dry place for 2 to 3 days.
  • In the fridge: Wrap the leftover bread in plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container. It'll stay fresh up to 1 week.
  • In the freezer: Let the loaf cool completely, then wrap in aluminum foil. Store the wrapped loaf in a zip-top bag, and push all the air out of the bag. Store in the freezer up to 3 months. If you want to enjoy a slice at a time, slice the cooled bread first, then wrap each slice in plastic wrap. Store the plastic-wrapped slices in a zip-top bag up to 3 months.

More Quick Breads and Cranberry Recipes

If you love cranberries or quick breads, you'll want to consider these additional favorite recipes:


  • Cooking spray

  • 2 cups plus 2 Tbsp. (about 9 1/8 oz.) all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp. table salt

  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

  • 3/4 cup whole buttermilk

  • 3/4 cup canola oil

  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 2 Tbsp. grated orange zest, plus 3 to 4 Tbsp. fresh juice, divided (from 2 medium navel oranges)

  • 1 1/2 cups (about 6 oz.) frozen whole cranberries, unthawed, roughly chopped

  • 1 1/2 cups (about 6 oz.) powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat an 8 1/2- x 4 1/2 -inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

  2. Whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.

    flour, sugar, and spices in a bowl

    Alison Miksch; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin; Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle

    Whisk together buttermilk, oil, eggs, and 1 tablespoon of the orange zest in a large bowl until combined.

    eggs in buttermilk

    Alison Miksch; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin; Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle

    Add flour mixture to buttermilk mixture, and stir and fold until just combined, about 30 seconds (do not overmix). Gently stir in cranberries until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.

    cranberry-orange bread batter in loaf pan

    Alison Miksch; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin; Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle

  3. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour, 5 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes; carefully remove from pan to wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

  4. Whisk together powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons orange juice, and remaining 1 tablespoon orange zest in a small bowl until smooth. Add more orange juice, 1 teaspoon at a time, to reach desired consistency.

    cranberry-orange bread with glaze

    Alison Miksch; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin; Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle

    Set wire rack over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to catch any drips. Pour glaze over cooled loaf. You can collect the drips and pour glaze a second time, if desired.

    cranberry-orange bread with glaze

    Alison Miksch; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin; Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle

Mini Loaf Variation

Makes 3 (5.75- x 2.75-in.) loaves; Active 25 min. Total 2 hours, 5 min.

Prepare recipe as directed, dividing batter evenly among 3 (5.75- x 2.75-inch) mini loaf pans lightly coated with cooking spray (about 1 1/3 cups per pan). Bake until risen, golden brown, and a wooden pick inserted in center of each loaf comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes; carefully remove from pans to wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour. Prepare glaze and pour over cooled loaves as directed.

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