Sweet orange juice and tart cranberries come together to make this festive cranberry-orange bread. One of my favorite recipes for the Christmas season, this bread is moist, not too sweet, and incredibly flavorful. Everything about it is easy and delicious. I enjoy it with a cup of coffee in the mornings and sometimes in the evenings as dessert.

I squeeze the orange juice and grate the zest, so my bread is packed full of freshness and orange flavor. Adding a simple powdered sugar glaze over the top gives this loaf the right amount of sweetness.

Bright berries lend a festive look, so this bread would make a nice gift for the holidays. In addition, your friends, coworkers and neighbors then could share it with their families.

Cranberry Bread with Orange Glaze

Batter Ingredients

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup milk

Zest 1 large orange (reserve 1 teaspoon for glaze)

1/4 cup orange juice 

6 tablespoons butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1-1/2 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed and patted dry

1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Optional- Add more cranberries and orange slices to the top for garnish. 

Orange Glaze Ingredients

1 cup powdered sugar

1-1/2 tablespoon orange juice, more if needed to thin

1 teaspoon orange zest 

Bread Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a l9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Combine milk, orange zest (reserving 1 teaspoon for the glaze) and orange juice in a small bowl. Set aside.

Use a stand mixer, if available, to cream butter and sugar at medium speed for three minutes. Beat in two large eggs, mixing well. Add flour mixture in two parts, alternating with the milk mixture and mixing on medium/low speed until incorporated with each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.

Toss cranberries with 1/2 tablespoon flour; then, fold them into the batter, stirring until incorporated. Spread batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes at 350 degrees until golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes; then, run a knife around the edges and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before glazing. 

Glaze Directions

In a separate bowl, stir together powdered sugar, orange juice and reserved zest. Stir until smooth. It should have a drizzling consistency. Add more orange juice to thin it out or powdered sugar to make it thicker, if needed.

Tips and Variations

• With cranberries in season, I like to buy a few extra bags for the freezer. That way, I can make this wonderful treat any time I choose.

• Toss in some pecans or walnuts to the recipe to add to the texture.

• Fresh or frozen cranberries will work nicely.

• Zest the orange before juicing. 

• Bake on the middle oven rack for even cooking.

• Check for doneness by inserting a wooden toothpick near the center of the loaf. It should come out clean.

• I prefer to store my loaf in the refrigerator, so the glaze doesn’t get soft, but it will be fine stored at room temperature for several days.

• Giving this bread as a gift? Wrap it in a clear food-safe bag with festive tissue paper, a bow and a gift tag. 


~ Gina Abernathy is the author and recipe creator behind the blog, Home at Cedar Springs Farm.