Orange Glazed Cranberry Bread

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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. 😀

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’t 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’t 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 “buttermilk” 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 – 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°F (177°C). 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°F (177°C) 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. Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

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.

339 Comments

  1. This bread is in the oven now. I want to make another batch but I have no more oranges for zest. (It’s snowing out and I live quite far from a grocery store). Can I use orange juice instead? If so, how much?

  2. This bread is amazing! It came out so delicious! I would like to make it again and double it. Do you have any suggestions for success? I was planning on just doubling all of the ingredients, but I know some times you need to adjust the baking soda when doubling quick breads. Thanks for such a lovely recipe!

  3. This is the best Cranberry bread. flavors are outstanding.
    You also talked about muffins. Would this bread bake well for smaller loaves for gifts etc.
    thank you . Enjoy your recipes.

  4. Just made the cranberry bread this morning. I used walnuts instead of pecans. I had no oranges, but I zested tangerines instead.
    Also had to make my own buttermilk.
    This bread took almost 1 hour and 10 minutes to get done.
    Also, I didn’t bother with the glaze as that would be too sweet for me.
    My husband went absolutely crazy about this bread…..I make pumpkin bread, banana bread, blueberry bread, etc…and he said this was the most delicious bread I’ve ever made.
    Thanks for the recipe!

    1. I usually cool my quick breads inside the pan. I’ve found that it does not matter either way, as long as it cools for at least 10 minutes inside the pan. (Then you can remove it to cool on a wire rack, if desired.)

  5. This recipe seems exactly what I am looking for. We celebrate our thanksgiving at the weekend in England. No time off work to cook. May make the muffin version. Will report back on success.

  6. Hi Sally! I am planning to make 15 loaves for gifts for friends this Christmas. Can I put multiple loaves in the oven at the same time on different racks? I have a convection oven to distribute the heat evenly. How would the cooking times change when using convection?

    1. What a nice homemade gift! You can bake multiple loaves at the same time, especially if you are using a convection oven. The cooking time is usually shorter with convection, but it may remain the same as instructed since your oven will be filled with loaves (and the oven has to work harder to cook each one!). I hope this helps.

      1. Wonderful! Thank you! I’m looking forward to blessing all of the sweet ladies that take care of my kids at Bible Study. Thank you for sharing the recipe! It is a hit around here.

  7. I would also like to know the temperature and approximate baking time for mini loaves. If I use dry cranberries, i thought about plumping them in orange liqueur.

    1. Hi Patricia! It depends on the size of your mini loaves. My mini loaf pan yields 8 loaves and they take about 20-25 minutes to cook through. Same oven temperature as the regular loaf. You can use a toothpick to test for doneness.

  8. I made this bread a week ago without the glaze, just the streusel, and it was delicious, very moist and flavorful! No need for the aluminium foil during baking in my oven, but I did keep a close eye on it.

  9. I was going to try dried cranberries. Should I rehydrate them a bit with orange juice and strain them? Thanks!

    1. Hi Dana! You can use dried cranberries without rehydrating. I’ve done it and the bread’s still wonderful. Though, if desired for added flavor, you can rehydrate them in orange juice.

  10. I have a pan that will make 4 small loaves and I want to use for individual gifts. What is the change in the bake time. Also, will these wrap well as gifts with the topping on it. How far ahead can I make them before I pass them out. Will they become too moist if I wrap them in Seran wrap? Sorry for all the questions but I have a party coming up and need to make about 20. Thanks.

    1. Hi Jackie, What thoughtful gifts! Without testing your exact pan or knowing the size of the loaves, I don’t know exactly what the bake time would be. Just watch them closely! As long as they are completely cool before you wrap them there shouldn’t be any steam/condensation to make them too moist. They will stay fresh at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 6-7 days.

  11. Can this loaf be frozen? If not, how long can it be stored in the fridge without drying out? It will be eaten quickly, just planning how far in advance I can bake it.

  12. I made these today and I am in love with it … it’s moist, tangy, sweet and pretty ❤️ Thank you so much for such an amazing recipe..

  13. Hi Sally!

    I have a question! We are hosting Easter at our home and I’m planning the dessert menu! I plan on making at least 7 different desserts. I was debating between this quick bread or the grapefruit Greek yogurt cake.
    I have a jar of vanilla beans I’ve been wanting to use up… in general, what would you say the rule of thumb is for replacing vanilla bean for vanilla extract?
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract = X vanilla bean pod
    1 tsp vanilla extract = X vanilla bean pod
    1.5 tsp vanilla extract = X vanilla bean pod
    2 tsp vanilla extract = X vanilla bean pod

    Two more questions:
    I plan on making (from your website):
    1) Pistachio Cake (FIRST QUESTION: this is an egg white only cake, so I’ll use 4 of the egg yolks to make lemon curd, do you think lemon curd in between layers of the cake would be too much?)
    2) chocolate chip cookie layer cake (I think I’ll use extra cream cheese frosting from pistachio cake)
    3) strawberry swirl choc chip cheesecake bars (because these can be made early and stay fresh)
    4) white chocolate snickerdoodle blondies ( have white chocolate baking chips I would like to use up, and these sound delicious)
    5) grapefruit Greek yogurt cake or this orange cranberry glazed bread
    6) Broken Jello glass (this is the only thing not from your website– it’s a pretty jello dessert)
    7) I’m thinking donuts because those instantly impress guests, Haha!! I’m also debating between cake batter rice krispies, puppy chow, or brownies.

    Anyways, my SECOND QUESTION is how do you approach making a dessert buffet?!?! Like, if you were to take on all these dessert, what order would you go in?
    I will be free to bake Friday and Saturday (hopefully everything is done Sunday).
    Maybe this would be a good idea for a blog post?!?

    I appreciate you for sharing all your recipes in such a detailed way for us home bakers! Your recipes are my GO TO! I have all three of your cookbooks.

    THANK YOU!!!!

    1. Hi Veina! What an incredible round-up of desserts you have selected. Seriously some of my very favorites! Let me do my best to answer. 🙂

      – 1 typical vanilla bean = 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
      Lemon curd would be FANTASTIC inside the pistachio cake!
      – When I bake in bulk for events, I always make ahead and freeze. Cakes, blondies, the cookie cake layers, and baked donuts are great for freezing ahead of time and thaw wonderfully. Frost/glaze on the day of serving for best taste and texture. The cheesecake bars can be made the day ahead. They freeze well too, but truly taste better fresh. You can chill them overnight in the refrigerator.

      Always bake ahead to save time later. You are very welcome! Loved reading this!

      1. I sooo appreciate your response!! I always like to bake things as fresh as I can for crowds, but I gave myself 2 days to bake 8 different things last year for a large lunch we hosted at our home and I was exhausted after!

        I will bake most things during my spring break that begins on April 1!

        I am so lucky to have found your website!!

        Now, the huge challenge I have is deciding between grapefruit cake or this orange cranberry loaf! They both would fit wonderfully on my Easter sweets table!

      2. Sally! The day has come!!! I ended up making your grapefruit cake as a smaller birthday cake in a 9′ springform pan and it turned out AMAZING!!! The grapefruit cake on your website does not have enough recognition.

        I was wondering if I can make this loaf with the topping and glaze in a 9′ springform pan, as well?
        Also, can would this stay fresh if I made it today, with the glaze on (2 days before needed)?

      3. I’m so glad to read this! a 9-inch springform pan should work. I’m unsure of the bake time, but use a toothpick to test for doneness. Bake at 350°F (177°C).

      4. Thank you, Sally! I will make it today and hope it is still fresh at night by Easter Sunday!

        Enjoy your Easter weekend!!!

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