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Filled with tart cranberries and fragrant orange zest, this cranberry orange bread is an easy quick bread to make for breakfast or tea time. The batter comes together in just minutes for a delicious loaf.
Quick breads are a favorite around here, because, well… they’re quick!
The batter for quick bread mixes up so easily, and because there is no yeast involved, you can have one in the oven in 15 minutes or less.
My favorite quick bread to make is banana bread, but I love to use other fruits too, especially during their peak seasons.
Blueberry bread is ideal for summer, but now that fall is upon is, it’s time for cranberries!
This tart cranberry orange bread is the perfect celebration of the bouncy little fruit, and a welcome treat for the colder months ahead.
Cranberry and orange go so well together, and you’ll love the bright flavor of this loaf.
It takes only minutes to prepare the easy batter, so you can have this moist quick bread ready in just over an hour.
Ingredients for cranberry orange bread
Flour – I use all-purpose flour in this recipe. You can swap up to half of the flour for whole wheat, keeping in mind you might need to add additional liquid.
Baking powder – To help the bread rise.
Salt – I use fine sea salt in my baking recipes.
Butter – You can use unsalted or salted butter depending on your preference. I usually use unsalted butter so I can add the right amount of salt.
Make sure the butter is at room temperature.
Granulated sugar – I use white sugar in this recipe. If you want a touch of molasses flavor in your bread, swap in brown sugar for half of the granulated.
Orange – You’ll need the zest of 1 navel orange. If you plan to make a glaze, you’ll need a bit of the juice, too.
Eggs – Standard large eggs work here.
Buttermilk – I like the flavor buttermilk gives in baked goods. You can swap in 2% or whole milk if you prefer.
Vanilla – Pure vanilla extract if you can!
Cranberries – You’ll need 1 cup of fresh or frozen cranberries.
How to make this recipe
Heat the oven to 350°F.
Lightly coat a loaf pan with nonstick spray or line with a piece of parchment paper. I prefer to use parchment so the loaf can be removed from the pan easily; adding some nonstick spray before placing the parchment will keep it in place.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Pour the granulated sugar into a large mixing bowl. Zest the orange and add it to the sugar.
Using your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar. This helps to release the natural oils and bump up the orange flavor.
Add the butter and beat until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs.
Pour in the buttermilk and vanilla and mix until blended.
Add the flour mixture and stir until combined. You only want to mix until the dry bits are incorporated; the batter should not be fully smooth.
Fold in the cranberries. Do this carefully so you don’t crush the cranberries (a few is OK) and release too much juice into the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes, until golden brown. A toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf should come out clean.
Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely
Try to let the bread cool before slicing. Slicing into the bread while it is still warm can create a gummy texture for the remaining part of the loaf.
While this recipe focuses on the flavor of the fruits, you can add your favorite baking spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves.
Half of the cranberries can be swapped for chopped apples to help balance the tart flavor.
Mix chopped walnuts or pecans into the batter for a nutty taste.
If you like to glaze your quick breads, use my sweet biscuit icing on this cranberry orange bread after it cools. You can swap in orange juice for the liquid to create an orange glaze.
This quick bread will keep on the counter, well wrapped, for up to 3 days.
After 3 days I transfer the loaf to the refrigerator, where it will keep for a few days longer.
Quick breads also freeze very well. I like to double the recipe and have one to eat and one to freeze.
To freeze, let the loaf cool completely. Wrap in two layers of foil, or use just one layer of foil and transfer to a freezer bag.
Label and freeze the bread for up to 3 months for the best quality. Thaw at room temperature.
Can I use frozen cranberries in this recipe?
If you don’t have fresh cranberries on hand, frozen are an excellent swap. I usually buy extra bags of fresh cranberries in November and freeze them so I can enjoy cranberry recipes all year.
If using frozen cranberries, thaw them completely before adding to the batter. I thaw them by placing the cranberries in a colander and rinsing with cold water, gently mixing the cranberries to help remove any ice bits.
You can also just let the cranberries sit in a bowl or colander at room temperature until they thaw, or place in the refrigerator overnight.
Pat the cranberries dry with a paper towel before mixing into the batter, taking care to not smash any in the process.
Can I use dried cranberries?
Dried cranberries will give the bread a bit of a different flavor, as they are sweeter than their fresh counterparts.
I recommend rehydrating dried cranberries before using for baking. This will prevent them from drying out further as the bread bakes.
To rehydrate, place the dried cranberries in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover the bowl and let stand for 10 minutes or longer, until the cranberries have plumped.
Drain completely before adding to the batter.
Can I use this recipe to make muffins?
If you prefer to make cranberry orange muffins, you can!
Increase the temperature of your oven to 375°F. Divide the batter among 12 muffin cups (greased or lined with papers) and bake for 18-20 minutes.
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Cranberry Orange Bread
- Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly coat a loaf pan with nonstick spray or line with parchment.
- In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In a large bowl, add sugar and orange zest. Rub together with your fingers to release the orange oils. Add the butter and cream together until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, then stir in buttermilk and vanilla.
- Pour flour mixture into wet mixture and stir until combined, but do not overmix. Fold in cranberries.
- Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan briefly before removing and cooling completely on a wire rack.
Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate based on online calculators. Any nutritional information found on Stetted should be used as a general guideline only.
I focus on fresh ingredients and easy methods, with spins that keep meals interesting. Dinnertime shouldn’t be stressful or complicated, and I’m here to help you enjoy the time spent in the kitchen. Read more…