Orange Glazed Cranberry Bread

Moist & flavorful cranberry bread packed with orange zest, light cinnamon streusel, and an orange glaze.

Super-moist cranberry bread with orange zest, orange glaze, and sweet streusel on top! No mixer required for this homemade cranberry bread recipe.

If you’ve ever sunk your teeth into a dry, bland piece of cranberry bread or muffin – I feel your pain. But don’t let that discourage you from the possibility of one fantastic baked good.

I recently visited a local coffee shop and while it’s known to have outstanding lattes and chocolate croissants, their cranberry bread was a flavorless, crumbly mess. I don’t even know why I wasted my $4; I can make this festive loaf at home. And make it even better (and cheaper!), thank you very much.

The next morning, I put my thinking cap on. How can I create a flavorful, moist, tart, sweet cranberry quick bread at home? Surely there must be orange since the flavors pair so wonderfully together. And cinnamon-streusel on top. And glaze. Oh yes, there had to be glaze!

Super-moist cranberry bread with orange zest, orange glaze, and sweet streusel on top! No mixer required for this homemade cranberry bread recipe.

I took a look through my recipe archive and remembered this Cinnamon Swirl Chocolate Chip Bread. You love this recipe! I do too – I look forward to making it again over Thanksgiving. I always need a good cinnamon swirl in my life. ūüėÄ

I used that bread as the starter for this cranberry version. When you have a great “base” recipe, it’s easy to build off of it and create new and exciting flavors. To that basic quick bread batter, I added orange zest, tart cranberries, pecans, streusel, and a cascading orange glaze on top.¬†Meet the moistest cranberry bread ever. So lush. So flavorful.

Making this holiday favorite is quite easy. Simple enough to prepare between all your holiday errands, chores, decorating, and Christmas music dancing in your living room. What? You don’t do that?

Orange Glazed Cranberry Bread

Here are a few essentials you’ll need:

  • Chopped cranberries, fresh or frozen OR dried cranberries
  • Orange zest for the bread and the glaze
  • Orange juice (fresh or bottled) for the glaze
  • Homemade cinnamon streusel

Baking science // nerd alert:

Another main ingredient you absolutely 100% need for your bread is buttermilk.¬†Don‚Äôt try to substitute the buttermilk with anything! Why Buttermilk is what makes some of my cakes, cupcakes, and breads¬†so darn moist. But that’s not the only reason I use it today: the lactic acid present in buttermilk is what will allow the baking soda to produce the leavening gas (carbon dioxide).

Most people¬†don‚Äôt typically keep buttermilk in the house. I know I wouldn’t if I didn’t bake for a living. Save yourself a trip to the store and make a DIY¬†buttermilk at home. Measure 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup. Then, add enough milk (1%, 2%, or whole) to the same measuring cup until it reaches 1 cup. Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes. The homemade ‚Äúbuttermilk‚ÄĚ will be somewhat curdled and ready to use in your recipe.

I like to use oil as the fat in this quick bread recipe, not butter.¬†Butter is a fat that gives unbeatable flavor, but nothing beats the moisture that oil brings ‚Äď especially to muffins, cakes, and quick breads. There is so much flavor in this bread from the orange, streusel, glaze, and cranberries that the flavor from butter would get lost anyway.

Orange Glazed Cranberry Bread

The streusel is optional. I can’t believe I just typed that. In my world, streusel is never optional. But surprisingly enough, this bread would still be as dazzling without it. Streusel is my middle name (at least it should be), so I took the opportunity to make some. The streusel is only a few everyday ingredients: cold butter, flour, sugar, and cinnamon. That’s all!

The bread can take anywhere from 45 minutes to over an hour in the oven. Why the huge gap of time? All ovens are different. Oven air flows, oven hot spots, etc. Breads are thick and having the center baked through properly takes time.

Two tips that are universal to all ovens:

1)¬†Buy an¬†oven thermometer. They’re inexpensive and will control the temperature in your oven. I was shocked to learn that my oven runs almost 20 degrees warmer than what the dial states. That has a HUGE effect on your food baking properly.

2) Cover your bread loosely with aluminum foil. I note that in the instructions below as a reminder. The foil will allow your bread to bake evenly on all sides and prevent the top from getting too brown before the center bakes through.

Super-moist cranberry bread with orange zest, orange glaze, and sweet streusel on top! No mixer required for this homemade cranberry bread recipe.

Next up? Orange glaze. Made from just orange juice, orange zest, and powdered sugar. Drizzle over the bread right before serving.

Like banana bread or carrot cake, I found this bread’s flavors and “moist” factor were more prominent on day 2. Don’t get me wrong… the bread is fan-freaking-tastic the day it’s baked, but I especially enjoyed it the next morning. This makes it a perfect treat to serve to guests.¬†You can make it the evening before, then drizzle immediately before serving the next day. I prefer the bread at room temperature, but it’s just tasty served warm. Or even cold (try it!).

I’m so relieved to have my dry, flavorless cranberry bread memory washed away. This bread fixes it all. Sweet, tart, zingy glaze, cinnamon-y streusel, moist interior. Holiday perfection!

Super-moist cranberry bread with orange zest, orange glaze, and sweet streusel on top! No mixer required for this homemade cranberry bread recipe.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the ingredient list. Most of the ingredients are repeats of each other! And the streusel and glaze are both optional.

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. ♥

Orange Glazed Cranberry Bread

Moist and tender orange cranberry bread with buttery streusel and a zingy orange glaze. Perfect for guests or with a warm cup of tea in the early morning or afternoon.

Ingredients:

Streusel

  • 1/4 cup (31g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 Tablespoons (45g) unsalted butter, cold

Bread

  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (accurately measured)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (110g) chopped cranberries, fresh or frozen (do not thaw)1
  • optional: 1/2 cup (65g) chopped pecans
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature2
  • 1/2 cup (105g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk (no substitutions)
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) vegetable oil¬†(or canola; or melted coconut oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons orange zest

Glaze

  • 1 cup (120g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons orange juice
  • as much orange zest as you want

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350¬įF (177¬įC). Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with nonstick spray. I prefer a dark metal loaf pan, which seems to help brown quick breads more evenly.
  2. Make the streusel first: Toss the flour, sugar, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter, your hands, or two forks. Go for pea-size crumbs.
  3. Make the bread: In a large bowl, toss the flour, baking soda, salt, cranberries, and pecans together until combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until combined. Make sure there are no brown sugar lumps remaining. Whisk in the buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and orange zest. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently whisk until there are no more lumps. Do not overmix.
  4. Pour the batter into prepared loaf pan. Top evenly streusel, pressing the streusel down gently into the top of the bread so it sticks.
  5. Bake the bread for 45 minutes to 1 hour, covering loosely with foil about halfway through to ensure even browning. Poke the center of the bread with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, the bread is done. Oven times will vary between ovens. My bread took 59 minutes exactly. Allow bread to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
  6. Make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk the confectioners' sugar and orange juice together. Add more orange juice depending how thick you want the glaze. Whisk in orange zest and drizzle over cooled bread.
  7. Slice and serve. Bread stays fresh at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 6-7 days.
  8. Make ahead tip: For longer storage, you can freeze the unglazed bread for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before glazing and serving.

Recipe Notes:

  1. 1 cup dried cranberries may be used instead of fresh/frozen.
  2. Room temperature egg is highly suggested for this bread. It will disburse more evenly when mixed. To bring the egg to room temperature quickly, place in a cup of warm water for 5 minutes.

Make muffins! You can make muffins with this cranberry orange quick¬†bread batter. Bake at 350¬įF (177¬įC) for around 20 minutes.

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

A few more of my favorite recipes to enjoy this time of year…

Cinnamon Swirl Chocolate Chip Bread

Cinnamon-Swirl Chocolate Chip Bread

Orange Sweet Rolls— every Christmas morning!

Copycat Pillsbury Orange Sweet Rolls. Gooey, fluffy, and dripping with orange glaze!

Salted Pecan Pie Tarts¬†– I can’t get enough. LOVE these.

Salted Pecan Pie Tarts

Today Kevin and I are having our engagement photos taken! I’ll be sure to share some when our photographer is finished with them. I can’t wait.

Super-moist cranberry bread with orange zest, orange glaze, and sweet streusel on top! No mixer required for this homemade cranberry bread recipe.
Super-moist cranberry bread with orange zest, orange glaze, and sweet streusel on top! No mixer required for this homemade cranberry bread recipe.
Super-moist cranberry bread with orange zest, orange glaze, and sweet streusel on top! No mixer required for this homemade cranberry bread recipe.
Super-moist cranberry bread with orange zest, orange glaze, and sweet streusel on top! No mixer required for this homemade cranberry bread recipe.

272 comments

  1. I would like to make five mini loaves instead of one large loaf. Should I make a double batch of batter? Do I fill the pans to the top. or should I leave some room for rising? It looks delicious, and I want to do it justice.

    • If your mini loaves are large enough, I would make a double batch of batter. Or make 2 batters, yes. I would fill them 3/4 full.

  2. Loved this recipe, raised ordinary to really good. Baked 5 mini loaves with 2 batches, yes that’s perfect. Funny cook fail story though. I live in Hawaii and my coconut oil is always liquid. Chose it for the bread without thinking, broke the eggs in and added cold buttermilk from the fridge. Voila! Solid coconut oil. Eggs in there so can’t microwave. Took me about a half an hour (which of course I didn’t have) to thaw it in a larger pan full of hot water. I’ve learned my lesson. But the bread was yummy…Thanks for the recipe.

  3. This bread is completely and utterly amazing! So moist, so festive, and so delicious! I have made 80 loaves of this bread in 2 weeks for people wanting me to make it for them. Yes, 80 loaves! And I have 20 more to make Monday. People are loving it! Thank you for the recipe!

  4. My wife and I made 10 loaves at once! Simply multiplied everything by ten, dragged out all of our biggest mixing bowls and stock pots and went at it. Crazy good cranberry bread! We kept a loaf just for us in the refrigerator – carve a slice, dot with butter, warm in microwave, close eyes, big bite … so moist, a heavenly Christmas flavor!

    *** A few tips if you make a lot of these at once: 1) The orange zest takes a lot of time. For us, each loaf needed the zest from one big navel orange so you might want to do this the day before you bake. 2) Cutting 10 cups of frozen cranberries is pretty funny – little red marbles running all over the counter! So I coralled them with a couple of rolled-up towels, then put down two heavy chopping boards side by side with a little space between, herded cranberries into the slot, then split with a long chef’s knife. Pretty easy work after you get a system. Splitting the berries is better rather than shredding them in a processor, IMO. Nice flavor explosions and good mouth feel! 3) Fill bread pans about 3/4 for a full loaf but you can make them shallower, too. After cooling I wrapped ours in 2 layers of plastic wrap and put in frig. Stayed really moist even after several days. Thank you for a fabulous recipe, Sally!

  5. Made mini breads and they look and smell wonderful. Haven’t tasted them yet as they are made for gifts. Would you leave them in the tins and wrap with parchment paper or take them out of the tins? Will they stick to the paper out if the tins?

  6. Hi Sally! Love your blog!! For the first time, I am using a microplane to zest navel oranges, being careful to remove top orange layer of peel only and avoid the pith layer beneath. Even so, the small shreds taste bitter. (I washed the oranges with soap and water first, to remove any wax, and then rinsed them throughly.) Is this normal? I am worried that adding the zest to the bread and glaze will make them bitter. Could the zest be eliminated altogether for a good result? Thanks for your help, and Merry Christmas!!

    • * thoroughly ¬†ūüôā

    • Oh you want that great orange flavour to pair with the cranberries… to leave it out would be like having bread without butter. It will not taste bitter when it is combined with everything else-both in the cake and the glaze. Try it!

  7. Hi Sally, I made a trial run of this to get ready for Christmas morning. It is DELICIOUS, but my streusel kind of just melted away into the bread. I used very cold butter and the streusel was in pea-sized crumbs. It doesn’t look like your picture with the clumps of streusel, just kind of like some sugar was sprinkled on top. Any thoughts on what I might have done wrong? Was thinking about maybe putting the streusel in the freezer while I prepare batter – do you think that would help? Thanks and Merry Christmas!

  8. Love your blog! I made this recipe and found that the dry ingredients stuck inside the chopped cranberries. What are some ideas to avoid this? It didn’t really impact the taste, but it didn’t look very nice. Thanks!

  9. Hi, Sally! I tried this recipe last weekend and it is delicious. But instead of APF, I used bread flour as it was all I had available. The bread was a little dense. Any tips how to fix this? Thanks.

  10. This recipe is awesome! Turned out very moist. I ended up baking mine for 52 min, putting foil on top after 35.

    Only things I would change – double the amount of cranberries and vanilla. I love pure tart things and chose to forgo the streusel and pecans.

  11. Hi Sally i am going to try baking this very soon. I only have a 22x10cm loaf pan..its slightly smaller than the 9x5inch you use…will this overflow?
    also, when baking banana bread i use light color pan and it gets brown at different time each time i bake them..i read somewhere that using a darker pan will make it hot and burn faster…i guess its not true? so many questions!! haha love your blog and books :)) thank you

  12. I had been eyeing this bread for awhile and I made it yesterday into jumbo muffins and did your trick of 5 minutes @ 425 and 20 minutes @ 350. They were so delicious. I use that trick on all of my muffins now, no matter the recipe. I love the combo of orange and cranberry together. Thanks again for helping me with a last minute breakfast idea. I can always rely on your recipes.

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