Cranberry Orange Bread is a deliciously sweet bread that’s perfect for Christmas! Packed with orange flavor and fresh cranberries, this sweet loaf is covered with turbinado sugar for a perfectly crunchy top.
Deliciously sweet quick bread is flavored with orange two ways and studded with cranberries! It’s perfect for holiday entertaining and gift-giving with its wintery flavors and beautiful look.
Love quick fruit breads? This Moist Banana Bread recipe is the perfect way to use those old bananas.
This was my mom’s favorite DIY Christmas food gift! She had a friend who made it for her every year.
This is the recipe Sally gave to my mom more than 20 years ago, and now I make it every year! I always wrap it in colorful plastic wrap and top it all off with a festive bow for a great stocking stuffer or homemade office gift.
Cranberry Loaf Ingredients
This is your basic shopping list for this cranberry loaf, but the full list of measurements and instructions is in the recipe card below!
- Brown sugar
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Orange juice
- Orange zest
- Fresh cranberries
- Turbinado sugar, for the top
You can always swap milk for the orange juice, but the loaf won’t have that strong orange flavor.
For the turbinado sugar, Sugar In The Raw is my preferred sugar for topping this bread. But any large crystal, such as decorator’s sugar, can be used instead. You can always skip this step completely, but I think it gives this cranberry bread a great sparkle and crunch!
If you’re a fan of nuts, you can always add some chopped pecans to the mix! Fold these in when you add the cranberries to the dough.
How to Make Cranberry Orange Bread
- First, preheat the oven and grease your loaf pan. I also put a piece of parchment paper in the pan to ensure my cranberry bread won’t stick.
- Next, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. (Photo 1)
- In a second mixing bowl, whisk the egg, melted butter, orange juice, and orange zest. (Photo 2) Add your wet ingredients to the dry ingredients (Photo 3) and mix until just combined. Don’t over mix! It will make the bread dense.
- Now, fold in your cranberries and pour the batter into the loaf pan. Top it all off with turbinado sugar. (Photo 6)
- Then, bake until a skewer in the center of the bread comes out clean.
- Once baked, let the bread rest about half an hour before removing it from the pan. I leave the parchment paper sticking out of the long sides. This helps me remove the cranberry orange bread with just a little effort. Cool and serve!
You can serve this bread plain or add a vanilla icing drizzle to the top! Simply mix together 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon corn starch, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 2 tablespoons milk until smooth and drizzle over the bread once it’s cooled.
Cranberry Bread Tips and Tricks
- Tent the loaf with foil. To get this Cranberry Orange Bread completely cooked, I usually cover it loosely with foil about halfway through baking. This keeps the bread cooking but doesn’t let the crust get overly brown. Make sure to leave gaps for the steam to escape so your loaf doesn’t become a steamed dumpling!
- Use an oven thermometer. Baking is basically a science. A few degrees to warm or too cool, and your loaves can deflate or burn. Even if you have a brand new oven, it’s likely that it struggles to regulate the temperature. A simple oven thermometer always tells you the temperature even if the oven display is slightly off.
- This recipe can be used to make 3 min loaves. The baking temperature will be the same, but reduce the baking time to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
What is Quick Bread?
There are so many types of bread, and honestly, I want to eat all of them! But what makes this Cranberry Orange Bread a quick bread?
Quick bread is made without a natural leavening agent like yeast. Instead, I use baking powder and baking soda in this cranberry loaf.
As the name implies, quick bread is usually made faster than a standard white bread loaf because there’s no need to prove — or let the dough rise.
More Amazing Christmas Desserts
- White Chocolate Haystacks
- Frosted Peppermint Sugar Cookies
- Rum Balls
- Cracker Candy
- Italian Ricotta Cookies
- Chewy Sprinkle Cookies
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Cranberry Orange Bread
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup brown sugar white sugar may be substituted
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt 3/4 teaspoon salt can be used as a substitute
- 1 large egg slightly beaten
- 1/4 cup butter melted
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries washed and allowed to dry (about 6 ounces)
- 2 tablespoon turbinado sugar
- Preheat an oven to 350°F.
- Prepare a 9” X 5” loaf pan by spraying with baking spray, then lining the pan along the long side with parchment paper and spraying the parchment paper.
- Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine.
- In a small bowl, combine the egg, melted butter, orange juice (or milk), and orange zest and whisk until blended.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
- Fold in the cranberries.
- Place batter into prepared pan and spread the batter evenly.
- Top with turbinado sugar.
- Place into the preheated 350°F oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a skewer or knife placed into the center of the bread comes out clean.
- Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool for 30 minutes.
- Once the bread has cooled, run a knife along the short ends of the pan (the area without parchment paper).
- Remove from the pan by lifting the bread with the parchment paper.
- Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing.
- Milk can be used as a substitute for all or part of the orange juice, it will not have as much orange flavor.
- Sugar In The Raw is my preferred sugar for topping this bread. Any large crystal, such as decorator's sugar can be substituted.
- 1 cup of chopped pecans can be added.