Cranberry Orange Bread

Whisking Wolf
by Whisking Wolf
1 loaf
1 hr 15 min

Step aside cookies, the new go-to for holiday baking is Cranberry Orange Bread. Studded with fresh cranberries and zested orange peel this quick bread is a soft, fluffy mingling of sweet and tart. It’s a loaf so delicious you’ll want to make all winter long.

Santa doesn’t always deliver gifts on a reindeer-pulled sleigh, sometimes he delivers them on a 110 horsepower Harley Davidson. And in Palm Beach today his tiny, toy-making elves from the North Pole were replaced with a burly gang of Outlaw bikers. True, tattoos and leather chaps may not be the first things that come to mind when talking about Christmas toys, but let me tell you something about steel horse riders: they have hearts of gold.

My heart is blacker than a burned oven mitt, but I still loaded the saddle bags of our Road Glide with Christmas gifts and dropped them with the Marines at a Toys for Tots collection event at our local Harley store. There I saw Santa, two of his three ho’s and dozens of badass bikers donating enough Barbie dolls to fill a real life Malibu dream house. It was enough to bring a tear to my eye–then again my eye may have welled up from the 4 drink maximum.

Either way, I cried for a good cause.

If rumbling bike motors don’t put you in the Christmas spirit, there’s always baking as a backup. Besides, fresh cranberries and oranges smell a lot more seasonal than exhaust fumes from a Harley. The loaf of Cranberry Orange Bread in my kitchen is proof of that. Not only does this quick bread smell like Christmas, it looks and tastes like Christmas, too. Loaded with fresh cranberries, orange zest and orange juice this soft, fluffy loaf is the perfect treat for a snowy day in December.

Or a sunny day on a Harley Davidson.

Before sharing the recipe for Cranberry Orange Bread, here are a few tips and tricks to help you out:

Ingredient Tips and Tricks

Fresh cranberries are recommended but frozen can be used in a pinch. If you’re using frozen cranberries, do not thaw prior to baking.

For best results, eggs, sour cream and milk all need to be at room temperature before beginning.

I use full-fat sour cream for maximum moisture but plain Greek yogurt will work as a substitution.

Prevent cranberries from sinking during baking by dusting them with a tablespoon of flour before adding to batter.

Preparation Tips and Tricks

Always use the spoon and level method to measure flour. Scooping flour is a no-no. That technique overpacks flour into the measuring cup which will result in a drier, denser bread than you’ll get with properly measured flour.

Bake this festive bread in a 9 x 5 metal loaf pan. Glass pans require longer bake times and, therefore, are not recommended for this quick bread recipe.

Above all, do not overmix or overbake the batter or else the end result will be dry, dense bread.

How to Store Cranberry Orange Bread

Store homemade bread in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

To make ahead just bake, cool and wrap bread first in plastic then in aluminum foil and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then serve at room temperature.

I hope you enjoy this Cranberry Orange Bread recipe. Please leave a comment and a rating at the bottom of this blog when you try it for yourself. And, while you’re at it, sign up for my weekly Recipe Newsletter so you never miss a tempting recipe.

Finally, if you like adding cranberries to baked goods then you’ll love this recipe for Cranberry Muffins. Hints of cinnamon and the sweetness of glaze make these fresh cranberry muffins a seasonal hit.

Recipe details
  • 1  loaf
  • Prep time: 20 Minutes Cook time: 55 Minutes Total time: 1 hr 15 min
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  • 2 cups all-purpose flour unbleached
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt fine
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract pure
  • 2 Tbsp whole milk room temperature
  • 1/3 cup orange juice freshly squeezed
  • 2 Tbsp orange zest freshly grated
  • 1 1/4 cup fresh cranberries divided
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour unbleached
  • powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5 loaf pan and set aside.
Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to a large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine then set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk brown sugar, granulated sugar, oil, eggs, sour cream, vanilla, milk, orange juice and orange zest until well combined. Set aside.
Add dry ingredients to wet then stir with a wooden spoon until just moistened and flour is still visible. Do not overmix.
In a small bowl, toss 1 cup of cranberries with 1 Tablespoon of flour until berries are coated to prevent sinking while baking.
Gently fold floured cranberries into the batter then stir until evenly distributed.
Pour batter into prepared baking pan and top with remaining 1/4 cup of fresh cranberries.
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, covering the top with aluminum foil after the first 30 minutes to prevent overbrowning. Loaf is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove bread from oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Dust loaf with powdered sugar then slice and serve.
Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.
Whisking Wolf
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  • My mother had a recipe very similar to this one, I make it every year! So yummy! No sour cream in her recipe, I'll have to try this one too!

    • Whisking Wolf Whisking Wolf on Dec 26, 2021

      Hi Debbie! Most of my muffin and bread recipes include sour cream because it adds a lot of moisture. Hope my version lives up to your mom's. Merry Christmas

  • J J on Dec 26, 2021

    I don't keep fine sea salt in my cupboard.

    How is fine sea salt better than table salt for this recioe,

    Can I substitute table salt one-for-one...?

    • Whisking Wolf Whisking Wolf on Dec 26, 2021

      Yes, regular salt can be substituted for fine sea salt at a 1:1 ratio. Enjoy