This moist & flavorful orange cranberry bread is packed with orange zest and tart cranberries, topped with cinnamon streusel, and finished with orange glaze. It’s one of my favorite quick bread recipes to prepare because it always draws a crowd!
Welcome back, cranberry orange bread! I’ve made this quick bread at least 5x the past month (honestly, I’ve lost count… it’s one of my favorites!) and decided to add a few updates to the original post. By the way, it freezes beautifully.
When I think of the fall season, many flavor duos come to mind, but no flavor combination is more delicious than orange + cranberry. I love tart cranberries paired with sunshine-sweet orange. Over the years I’ve shared recipes for cranberry orange muffins, cranberry orange bundt cake, and cranberry orange scones— all incredible, but nothing rivals today’s quick bread. It’s the original and I recommend making two loaves because trust me, it will disappear quickly!
3 Parts to Orange Cranberry Bread
- Bread: To ensure a moist and flavorful bread, we turn to my cinnamon swirl chocolate chip bread recipe– readers love this bread and I do, too. Using that batter as the base, it’s easy to create new and exciting flavors.
- Streusel: Homemade cinnamon streusel comes together with simple everyday ingredients and is a welcome addition to this quick bread. You’ll love the textural variation in each bite. While I believe streusel is never optional, this bread is still dazzling without!
- Orange Glaze: A drizzle of orange glaze on top heightens the bright orange flavor of this orange cranberry bread.
Craving plain cranberry bread? You can leave off the streusel and/or orange glaze. Same bake time and temperature.
Cranberry Bread Ingredients
Don’t be overwhelmed by the ingredient list below– you’ll notice most of the ingredients are repeated in each part of the recipe.
- Flour: All-purpose flour is the base of this quick bread recipe. Because we’re loading it up with lots of add-ins, we need a sturdy flour.
- Baking Soda: Baking soda helps the bread rise.
- Salt + Vanilla Extract: Salt and vanilla extract add flavor. (Try using homemade vanilla extract.)
- Cranberries: We use 1 cup of chopped cranberries. I recommend using fresh or frozen cranberries, though dried cranberries will also work. If using frozen cranberries, do not thaw.
- Pecans or Walnuts: While optional, chopped nuts are a wonderful addition and compliment the flavors of the bread. I always use them!
- Egg: One egg binds everything together.
- Sugar: We use both brown sugar and granulated sugar to sweeten this bread.
- Buttermilk: We use buttermilk for added moisture, but also because the lactic acid in buttermilk is what helps the baking soda do its job. Want to use sour cream and milk instead? You definitely can. See my cinnamon swirl quick bread, which is another favorite recipe of mine. This bread batter recipe is similar and you can use 1/3 cup sour cream and 2/3 cup whole milk here too.
- Oil: While butter provides unbelievable flavor, nothing beats the moisture that oil brings. We use oil in this quick bread recipe to produce a moist and soft bread, and also because the flavor of butter would get lost with all of the other flavors.
- Orange Zest: Orange zest adds a lovely punch of flavor to the bread. Save the juice for the orange glaze!
How to Make Orange Glazed Cranberry Bread
- Make the streusel. Use your hands, two forks, or a pastry cutter to cut the cold butter into the other streusel ingredients. The colder the butter, the less likely the streusel will sink down into the cooking bread.
- Make the batter. Mix the dry ingredients together in one bowl and the wet ingredients together in another. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until no lumps remain. No electric mixer needed!
- Pour into prepared pan. Top with streusel.
- Bake. This 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. Quick breads are thick and having the center baked through properly takes time.
- Make the glaze. Combine ingredients together and drizzle over cooled bread.
- Slice, serve, and enjoy!
Similar to banana bread and carrot cake, this bread was even more flavorful and moist on day 2. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love it warm out of the oven, but I especially enjoy it the next morning. It’s a perfect treat to serve guests because you can make it the evening before.
Two Baking Tips
- Buy an oven thermometer. Unless you have a brand new or regularly calibrated oven, your oven’s temperature is likely inaccurate. Incorrect temperature ruins baked goods and you waste hours spent on the recipe and money spent on ingredients. The inexpensive remedy to this mess is an oven thermometer. While cheap, they’re irreplaceable in a baker’s kitchen. Place it in your oven so you always know the actual temperature.
- Cover your bread with aluminum foil. I note this in the instructions below as a reminder. About halfway through baking, loosely cover the loaf with aluminum foil. This will allow your bread to bake evenly on all sides and prevent the top from getting too brown before the center bakes through.
This is moist and tender orange cranberry bread with buttery streusel and a zingy orange glaze. It’s perfect for guests or with a warm cup of tea in the early morning or afternoon. See notes for freezing instructions.
- 1/4 cup (31g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 2 Tablespoons (30g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 Tablespoons (45g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (105g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk, at room temperature*
- 1/3 cup (80ml) vegetable oil (or melted coconut oil)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1 cup (110g) cranberries, fresh or frozen (do not thaw)*
- optional: 1/2 cup (65g) chopped pecans or chopped walnuts
- 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1–2 Tablespoons orange juice
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.
- Make the streusel first: Whisk the flour, sugar, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter, your hands, or two forks until mixture resembles pea-size crumbs. It’s important to keep the streusel cold, so place in the refrigerator (covered or uncovered) until ready to use in step 4.
- Make the bread: Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until combined. Whisk in the buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and orange zest. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, then whisk to completely combine. Avoid over-mixing. Fold in the cranberries and nuts (if using).
- Pour the batter into prepared loaf pan. Top evenly streusel, pressing the streusel down gently into the top of the bread so it sticks.
- Bake the bread for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cover 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 usually takes 1 hour. Cool bread completely in the pan set on a wire rack.
- 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. Drizzle over cooled bread.
- Slice and serve. Cover and store leftover bread at room temperature for 1 day or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Freezing Instructions: For longer storage, you can freeze the glazed or unglazed bread for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before glazing (if needed) and serving.
- Cranberries: 1 cup dried cranberries may be used instead of fresh/frozen. You can slice the cranberries in half, if desired. I leave them whole.
- Buttermilk: Buttermilk (an acid) is required for this quick bread recipe. If you don’t have any, you can make a DIY sour milk substitute. Add 2 teaspoons of white vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup. Then add enough whole milk to the same measuring cup until it reaches 1 cup. (In a pinch, lower fat or nondairy milks work for this soured milk, but the bread won’t taste as moist or rich.) Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes. The homemade “buttermilk” will be somewhat curdled and ready to use in the recipe. Another option is to use sour cream and milk instead of buttermilk. See my cinnamon swirl quick bread. This bread batter recipe is similar and you can use 1/3 cup sour cream and 2/3 cup whole milk here too.
- Muffins: Grease a 12-count muffin pan or line with liners. Prepare streusel and batter in steps 2 + 3. Spoon the batter evenly into each liner, filling each to the top. Press streusel into the tops of each. Bake the muffins for 5 minutes at 425°F (218°C) then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (177°C). Bake for an additional 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The total time these muffins take in the oven is about 20-22 minutes, give or take. Cool muffins for 5 minutes in the muffin pan, then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling. Makes 18 muffins.
Keywords: orange cranberry bread
Quick Bread Recipes
I welcome easy recipes around the holidays. What I love most about quick breads is that they’re universally delicious and, best of all, they’re QUICK! Here are a few seasonal quick bread recipes to make next:
See all of my quick bread recipes.