This easy cranberry orange quick bread recipe can be made three different ways. Recipe and tips for cranberry orange quick bread loaf, mini loaves (perfect as edible gifts) and muffins. This moist cranberry orange bread is made with fresh cranberries and orange peel; perfect for the holiday season.

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One muffin on a white plate in front of a tray of muffins, half an orange and a bowl of fresh cranberries.

Large Loaf Method

How do you make cranberry orange bread loaf?  Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray oil lightly on the inside of a 9×5 metal pan. Line pan with parchment paper on the long side and spray again lightly with oil. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add wet ingredients and cranberries and mix until a thick batter forms. Pour all of the batter into the pan and spread evenly.  Bake for 55-65 minutes until golden brown on top. Insert a toothpick into the center, it should come out clean. Allow the loaf to rest for 15 minutes before using the parchment paper as handles to remove the bread. Let the loaf cool completely on a wire rack before wrapping in foil to store on the counter or in the fridge.

Overhead of a large loaf of cranberry bread with fresh oranges and cranberries scattered around

Mini Loaf Method

How do you make cranberry orange bread mini loaves? Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray oil lightly on the inside of three 5×3 metal pans. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add wet ingredients and cranberries and mix until a thick batter forms. Pour batter evenly into three separate mini loaf pans. Bake for 40-45minutes until golden brown on top. Insert a toothpick into the center of each loaf, it should come out clean. Let the mini loaves cool for 15 minutes then remove. Allow the breads to cool on a wire rack completely before wrapping in foil to store on the counter or in the fridge. Makes three mini loaves. 

close up of a mini loaf with fresh cranberries scattered around

Muffin Method

How do you make cranberry orange muffins? Preheat the oven to 350 F. Using standard size muffin or cupcake liners, line the muffin tin cups. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add wet ingredients and cranberries and mix until a thick batter forms. Add batter to each muffin liner about 3/4th of the way up using a spoon. Repeat until all muffins liners are filled. Bake for 20-25 minutes golden brown on top. Insert a toothpick into a few muffins and if it comes out clean, they are done. Allow muffins to cool for 5 minutes before removing and letting them cool on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining batter until gone. Makes 18-20 muffins. 

Close up of three cranberry orange muffins

Tips and Tricks

Do you use the same recipe for a large loaf, mini loaves and muffins?  Yes, you mix the ingredients for the batter exactly the same way. The only differences between the recipes are the pan and cooking time. This recipe is very versatile and easy, making it an easy holiday baking tradition. 

What is a quick bread? A quick bread means that there is no yeast in the recipe and therefore does not rise. Since it doesn’t need to rise, you can mix this batter up and pop it into the oven. This bread is also a no knead bread, making it easy to whip together quickly and easy for any beginner baker.

What pan should you use for cranberry orange bread? I’d use a metal 9×5 loaf pan for a large loaf, three metal 5×3 mini loaf pans or a standard metal muffin tin. 

Do you eat this quick bread cool from the fridge, room temperature or hot (from the toaster)?  This is a personal preference. Some people like it cool outta the fridge or at room temperature. Others like to lightly toast a slice of cranberry bread and smear butter or cream cheese on it before eating. 

How do you know when cranberry orange bread is done? There are a few ways to know if cranberry orange bread is done. Visually, the cranberry bread should be golden brown on top and if you insert a toothpick into the center of cranberry bread, it should come out clean. The middle should be fully set and the top should spring back gently once pressed.

Two slices of cranberry orange bread sliced, surrounded by fresh oranges and cranberries.

Storage

How do you store cranberry orange quick bread? The best way to store cranberry bread is wrapped in foil on the counter for a few days or in the fridge for up to week. 

How do you freeze cranberry orange bread? If you want to make cranberry bread and freeze it, allow it to cool completely before wrapping it in two layers of foil. Then you can store it in a large ziploc bag, removing as much air as possible. Store in the freezer for up to three months. Defrost on the counter before eating. 

Substitutions

Can you use frozen cranberries? Yes, cranberries freeze very well.I wouldn’t defrost the cranberries but still quickly pulse cranberries in a food processor until they are in coarse pieces and resume the recipe as written. If you defrost the cranberries there may be too much liquid in the batter.

What can you substitute for orange peel in cranberry bread? I buy dried valencia orange peel in the spice aisle and use that. You can also freshly zest a navel orange (be careful to avoid the white pith) and use that in the recipe. 

Does it matter if you use pulp or not pulp orange juice? No, use whatever you prefer. Either will work well.

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Cranberry Orange Bread Three Ways

This easy cranberry orange quick bread recipe can be made three different ways. Recipe and tips for cranberry orange quick bread loaf, mini loaves (great as edible gifts) and muffins. This moist cranberry orange bread is made with fresh cranberries and orange peel; perfect for the holiday season.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Resting Time15 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Servings: 12
Author: Samantha

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried orange peel or fresh orange zest
  • 1 large egg
  • 12 oz fresh or frozen cranberries coarsely chopped

Instructions

Cranberry Orange Bread Loaf

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • Use oil spray to spray a metal 9×5 loaf pan to prevent sticking. Line loaf pan with parchment paper on the long side. Spray again lightly with oil to prevent sticking.
  • Coarsely chop fresh or frozen cranberries by hand or with a few pulses in a food processor.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
  • Stir in orange juice, vegetable oil, orange peel and large egg. Ensure the dry and wet ingredients are mixed well. Batter will be thick but not perfectly smooth.
  • Add in coarsely chopped cranberries and mix until cranberries are throughout the batter.
  • Pour batter into greased and parchment paper lined loaf pan and cook for 55-65 minutes. Bread is done when the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.
  • Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan.
  • Cool completely on wire rack.

Cranberry Orange Bread Mini Loaves

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • Use oil spray to spray 3 mini loaf pans (5×3 each) to prevent sticking.
  • Coarsely chop fresh or frozen cranberries by hand or with a few pulses in a food processor.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
  • Stir in orange juice, vegetable oil, orange peel and large egg. Ensure the dry and wet ingredients are mixed well. Batter will be thick but not perfectly smooth.
  • Add in coarsely chopped cranberries and mix until cranberries are throughout the batter.
  • Start by filling each pan about half way up. Then evenly divide the batter between the three mini loaf pans.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.
  • Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing from pans.
  • Cool completely on wire rack.

Cranberry Orange Muffins

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • Add muffin liners to a standard metal muffin pan.
  • Coarsely chop fresh or frozen cranberries by hand or with a few pulses in a food processor.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
  • Stir in orange juice, vegetable oil, orange peel and large egg. Ensure the dry and wet ingredients are mixed well. Batter will be thick but not perfectly smooth.
  • Add in coarsely chopped cranberries and mix until cranberries are throughout the batter.
  • Using a spoon, add batter to each cup in the muffin pan. Fill each cup 3/4th of the way up.
  • Bake muffins for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of at least two muffins.
  • Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Repeat until all the batter is gone. Makes 18-20 muffins.

Notes

  • Store cranberry bread at room temperature for 3 days; in the fridge for 7 days; or the freezer for 3 months in tin foil.
  • Do not defrost frozen cranberries if using. Coarsely chop and resume recipe as written.
  • This recipe will make one 9×5 bread loaf, three 5×3 mini loaves or 18-20 muffins.

Originally posted on December 10, 2018. Republished with updated photos, recipe information and tips and tricks on November 11, 2019.

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