This festive quick bread recipe is simple to make and makes a perfect neighbor gift or Christmas morning breakfast.
Merry Christmas Eve! I’ll be taking the next week off to play with my family, but I couldn’t sign off for the year without leaving you one last fabulously easy recipe.
This cranberry orange bread has been on my mind since LAST Christmas, but I never quite got things together enough to make it last year. This year, I’m making up for lost time…I’ve already made five loaves, and I still have more cranberries and oranges waiting to be transformed into this delicious bread!
Seriously, is there any better combination than tart cranberries and juicy oranges? It’s my favorite Christmas flavor…maybe even more than peppermint ice cream, which is really saying something.
So, move over banana bread…this cranberry orange bread is divine! If you’ve got some extra cranberries and oranges lying around, make it ASAP! If not, pin it now and promise yourself you’ll make it after the Christmas hubbub dies down. You won’t be sorry!
It’s a delicious combination of sweet and tart, and the red cranberries just look so festive!
How to adjust a quick bread recipe to make different size loaves
The basic cranberry orange bread recipe below makes one 9×5 loaf (or 12 muffins), but the recipe is really adaptable. If you double it, it makes three 8×4 loaves or 6 mini loaves (depending on your pan size). Make sure you adjust the cooking time for smaller loaves and muffins. See the following chart:
|Pan size||Cooking time|
|Mini loaves||25-35 minutes|
Remember that cooking times are approximate, and the more loaves you have in the oven at once, the longer they are going to take to cook. I set my timer for the lower end number (45 minutes for a large loaf) and then keep a close eye on them for the last bit of cooking time. You’ll know your bread is done when the loaves are light golden brown, have a nice domed top, and when a toothpick (or bamboo skewer) inserted comes out clean.
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- Zest of one orange
- ½ cup milk (*see note)
- 2 Tablespoons orange juice
- ½ cup vegetable (or canola) oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups cranberries
- ½ cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts), optional
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon orange zest (about 1/2 an orange)
- 1 Tablespoon orange juice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x5 bread pan.
- Mix together orange zest and sugar in a large bowl.
- Add milk, orange juice, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Stir until mixture is uniform.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
- Take 2 Tablespoons of flour mixture and mix with cranberries in a small bowl until the cranberries are evenly coated. Set aside.
- Add remaining flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix together until just combined. Add in cranberries and nuts (if desired). Fold in gently until no dry streaks remain.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a bamboo skewer comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make glaze, mix together powdered sugar (sifted to avoid clumps), orange zest, and orange juice in a small bowl. Drizzle over bread.
I like to use homemade buttermilk instead of plain milk. It’s super easy to make: just add ½ Tablespoon lemon juice (or vinegar) to the measured milk and let it sit for 5 minutes. Once you see it begin to curdle, it’s ready to add to the recipe.
This recipe is extremely adaptable to make different size loaves or even muffins. One recipe will make a single 9x5 loaf or 12 muffins. A double recipe will make 3 8x4 loaves or 6 mini loaves. See the chart in the post for adjusted cooking times.