Cranberry Orange Bread

Cranberry Orange Bread is a great breakfast treat or any time treat. If you love the sweet and tart combination of cranberries with the citrus taste of orange this quick bread loaf should make your friends and family happy.

With a little simple modification, you can turn this recipe into muffins.

These recipes are made without yeast so they are quick, easy, and really can be whipped together in a relatively short time.

I have listed one recipe that is a family favorite and can be used as a muffin recipe with a bit of a modification of adding one extra egg.

You will need:

    • White flour– all-purpose flour (since you don’t want your berries sinking to the bottom you need heavy flour). I have also used half white and half whole wheat successfully if you like darker bread).

Measure your flour and baking powder correctly. Most over-dense bread and muffins are due to not sifting your flour first before you measure and measure exactly. Get into the habit of leveling off your flour with a knife instead of eyeballing the measurement.

  • Salt – I use pink Himalayan fine grain salt.
  • Sugar – I have used white and brown sugar and a combination of both.
  • Baking Powder – Non-aluminum baking powder (make sure your baking powder is fresh and measure exactly- you don’t want to add too little or too much). I hate bitting into a muffin or quick bread and tasting baking powder so I suggest you sift and mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together.
  • Oil – Try to use vegetable oil. You need light oil for a moist loaf.
  • Vanilla- If you can use real vanilla extract it is the most flavorful.
  • One egg at room temperature. You will use two eggs for muffins.
  • Milk- You can use water but milk adds a creamy texture to the bread. I use 3% fat milk that has been sitting out a bit before I pour it into my batter. Adding ingredients at room temperature helps the batter combine easily.
  • Orange– You need the juice (without seeds) as well as the zest of the orange. It is easier to grate the zest from an orange before you squeeze the juice out. I like to add my zest to the sugar and stir it a bit so the oil gets released into the sugar and thus evenly into the batter.
  • Whole raw cranberries– You can use either fresh or frozen cranberries, but fresh is better because you want to keep the temperature of your ingredients as uniform as possible. Sometimes it is hard to find fresh raw cranberries where we live.

Not to worry if you use frozen cranberries thaw them before you use them. You don’t want to give your batter a chill. You may need an extra minute or two to your baking time if you started with frozen fruit.

Don’t over mix muffins or quick bread. You will get a heavier bread and always fold in your berries gently, just until everything is evenly combined.

Don’t open the oven door as you risk your bread or muffins deflating. I know it is tempting, but opening up the oven door will change the oven temperature.

Depending on your oven the allotted baking time may need to be modified. If your oven tends to be hotter in some areas you need to take this into account. Use a toothpick test to see if your bread or muffins are ready.

Do a stick test to tell that your bread or muffin is fully baked. Stick a wooden toothpick into the center of your bread or muffins.

If it comes out clean with a few moist crumbs your bread is ready to be taken out. If the toothpick comes out wet you need to bake your bread a bit longer.

Do let your bread or muffins cool at least 10-15 minutes before removing them from the loaf pan or muffin tins. Butter your loaf pan and sprinkle a bit of flour around the bottom and sides to help remove your bread from the pan.

Bread takes about 55 minutes to cook while muffins take about 25 minutes to cook. Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease pan and dust with flour or line muffin tins with paper liners.

You can also purchase disposable paper pans for baking or muffin cups that stand on their own on a tray.

Cranberry Orange Bread Ingredients

cranberry orange bread recipe

(Please note I included the weight of dry ingredients because measuring by weight in baking is more accurate)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (240g)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar (200g)
  • zest of one orange
  • ½ cup vegetable oil (120ml)
  • ½ cup milk (120ml)
  • 1 large egg for a quick bread or 2 large eggs for muffins
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2cups fresh or frozen cranberries (180 g)

Step one:
Sift flour, measure, and add in baking powder and salt, mix well.

Step two:

Mix the zest of the orange and the sugar in a separate bowl, mixing well. Wisk in oil, milk, egg/eggs, orange juice, and vanilla. This is your wet mixture.

Step three:

Gently mix the wet sugar and dry flour mixtures until well blended. Do not over mix.

Step four:

Gently fold in the cranberries with a spatula until distributed throughout the batter.

Step five:

If you are making cranberry orange bread place the mixture into a 9×5 prepared loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes.

If you are making cranberry orange muffins, fill the muffin liners or cup and bake for 25 minutes until the tops are golden brown.

You should get about 12 muffins, depending on how full your cups are.

Do the toothpick test to ensure that the muffins or bread is done. Let cool undisturbed for at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

Step six (optional)
If you want you can make a simple white sugar glaze to drizzle over your bread or muffins once they are cool.


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk (you may need a bit more for a smoother, runnier glaze. You can also substitute orange juice instead of milk.)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • orange zest (optional)

Wisk together the ingredients in a small bowl. Drizzle over cooled bread or muffins.

Note: You can freeze cranberry orange bread or muffins. Freeze individual muffins on a tray and then transfer them into a zip lock bag and store them in the freezer.

I write the date I made the bread or muffins on the bag and they will keep for 2 months, but honestly, they never stay in my freezer long once my family knows they are there.