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Cranberry Orange Bread

4.93 from 28 votes

Soft, moist, and bursting with sweet cranberries – this classic cranberry orange bread will instantly brighten your morning!

cranberry orange bread recipe

Perfect For Thanksgiving Breakfast!

Judging by how much traffic my Crustless Pumpkin Pie recipe has suddenly been getting, I think it’s safe to say people are in full-on Thanksgiving mode.

(Of course, the department stores skipped Thanksgiving altogether. But that’s a different story…)

This delicately sweet cranberry orange bread is such a delicious Fall-inspired recipe to have on hand, and it’s perfect for serving guests visiting during the holidays.

The bread is also great for a light Thanksgiving morning breakfast that won’t weigh you down, so you’ll still have plenty of room for the main event later in the day.

Also Try This Chocolate Banana Bread

vegan cranberry bread

This is somehow the first cranberry recipe I’ve ever posted on the blog!

I’m not sure why I always forget about cranberries in the Fall, but they are just as worthy of attention as the ubiquitous pumpkin.

There are a full TWO CUPS of fresh cranberries packed into this bread, which is almost double what’s called for in most cranberry orange bread recipes.

Unsweetened cranberries have a tartness that perfectly compliments the sweet orange in this bread, and including orange juice enabled me to lower the oil considerably while adding extra flavor and moisture at the same time.

Trending Right Now: Applesauce Muffins – Reader Favorite Recipe

cranberry orange bread
cranberry bread recipe

While fresh cranberries aren’t always easy to find, you can usually buy them frozen—which works just as well in this recipe—at most grocery stores.

For the healthiest option, be sure to look for frozen cranberries without any sugar listed in the ingredients.

The BEST cranberry orange bread recipe, packed with 2 full cups of fresh cranberries and HALF the sugar!

Healthy Cranberry Orange Bread

Leftovers can easily be sliced and frozen for a morning where you need a quick breakfast that encompasses the best flavors of the holiday season.

The cranberry bread is oh-so-soft and moist, and the recipe held its own in a blind taste test against a traditional cranberry orange bread with twice the amount of fat and sugar!

I sent it to my mom over the weekend so she could make it as well.

Five out of six friends chose this version as their favorite, without having any idea it was healthier and vegan!

The Best Holiday Healthy Cranberry Orange Bread Recipe
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Cranberry Orange Bread

This classic cranberry orange bread will instantly brighten your breakfast table!
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Yield 10 – 12 slices
4.9 from 28 votes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups spelt, oat, or all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar, unrefined if desired
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups cranberries, chopped (fresh or frozen-thawed)
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 3 1/2 tbsp oil (see note for fat-free sub)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp orange zest

Instructions

  • *The orange zest is important here for best flavor. The cranberries can be subbed with raspberries if needed. I can't vouch for the taste if subbing applesauce for oil or using a flour not listed here, but multiple readers have said they liked the results of subbing applesauce for the oil, so feel free to experiment. Oat flour will yield a denser bread, which is still delicious in its own right.
    Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan, and line the bottom with parchment. In a large bowl, stir first five ingredients. Stir in all remaining to form a batter. Pour into the loaf pan. Bake on the oven center rack 50-55 minutes, or until bread has risen and a toothpick comes out mostly clean. Let cool completely. If you can wait, the taste and texture are so much better the next day! Leftovers can be sliced and frozen if desired. My favorite way to eat this bread is glazed with coconut butter. The glaze in the photos is 1/4 cup powdered sugar mixed with 1 tsp orange juice, which is also delicious.
    View Nutrition Facts

Notes

The recipe was adapted from my Healthy Banana Bread.
 

Have you made this recipe?

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Recipe in the Hello Breakfast ebook

 4.93/5 (28)

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Published on November 6, 2017

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98 Comments

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  1. Nicole @ Bento Momentos says

    This looks delicious! Reminds me of the cranberry walnut loaf that my co-worker brought in for the Thanksgiving I had to work (surgery RN at a level 1 trauma hospital). Definitely powered us through the crazy day of gun shots and stabbings!

  2. jordan @ dancing for donuts says

    cranberry + orange is one of my favorite flavor combos for the holiday season!! i love how moist this bread looks – so many healthier baked goods dry out like crazy!! can’t wait to make this for my fam when i’m home for the holidays 🙂

    • Natasha says

      Yeah, I think that would work. It will look sort of different from the picture, though. But it will most likely taste the same!

    • Tracey C says

      You can rehydrate dried cranberries so I’m sure that option would be just fine! All you need to do is cover your dried cranberries with hot water, cover the bowl and let sit for 20-30 min. Drain the water and you’ll have soft cranberries to use in your baking!

    • Roger Nehring says

      I am making this for the second time. It is a delicious treat. I cut the sugar to a half cup and used applesauce in lieu of oil. It is quite sweet.

      • Veronica says

        Thank you for the tip, Roger! I was just thinking about reducing sugar, and how much I might use. 🙂

        Katie,
        The loaf looks beautiful and I cannot wait to bake it! Thought I might try Swedish lingonberries instead of cranberries. They have a similar tartness and are in season. 🙂

    • Vi says

      I did use dry and it tastes great! Since dry cranberries are sweet the bread is sweeter than it is with the fresh cranberries.

  3. Emily says

    This looks insanely delicious! I am so in Thanksgiving mode 🙂 Cranberry sauce is my favorite part of Thanksgiving and can’t wait to give this a try!
    xo,
    Em

  4. saiba mais says

    I love to know recipes like this, I’m always looking for news to prepare for my children, I think they’ll like it.

  5. Cathy says

    Tip: take 1/4c of the dry ingredients and coat the cut cranberries in it. Mix everything BUT the cranberries, then add them at the last. Gently fold them into the batter. The coated berries will now stay evenly distributed in the batter during baking.

  6. Erica P says

    Always love your recipes– can’t wait to try this! What are your thoughts on using maple syrup instead of sugar?? As always thanks again for sharing!

    • Jason Sanford says

      Another commenter said she made muffins and they turned out really well. If you use a different pan, you’d have to adjust the baking time and experiment.

  7. Sabrina B says

    great Thanksgiving recipe or even anytime I, like you, remember to use cranberries in a lovely dessert like this, love that it’s a different flavor than anything I’ve made and potentially not too sweet?

    thank you for sharing this recipe!

  8. Mrs E. says

    I’m almost speechless…What these are vegan?! With only 3.5 Tbls of oil (I used coconut) and no egg, I am so surprised at the outcome. These are SO incredibly moist and delicious and not too sweet given the amount of sugar. This is the best cranberry orange bread -even including those with dairy products (I made 12 muffins) recipe I’ve made and my family loved them. I used 3/4 cup oat flour, made from oats ground in my blender, and 1 1/4 cup A/P flour. I was afraid they would be dense but they were so light and airy and moist. I used fresh Organic cranberries which I found at Trader Joe’s, I had about a 1/4 cup leftover from the 8 oz. bag and I could have easily used all of the cranberries. I started chopping the cranberries into 4 pieces but I would have been chopping forever, so I just used my food processor until I got large pieces. If you don’t cut the cranberries they will all float to the top due to the air pockets in them so chopping is a must to get them evenly dispersed and baked in the batter. I made these into muffins-the recipe yields exactly 12 muffins. I lined my muffin tins with parchment muffin cups and filled each all the way to the top-loved that the cake did not stick to the liners when eating. I topped the muffins with sugar in the raw-I had a packet leftover from a Starbucks coffee run and one small packet allowed me to sprinkle the sugar on the tops of the muffins. I popped these into the oven and they were done in less than 25 minutes. Keep up these great recipes Katie!

  9. Mrs E. says

    here is the pic of the muffins after they were baked, even though I filled each to the top with batter they rose pefectly

  10. Mrs E. says

    These are still delightful the next morning, I will try to reduce sugar by a third on the next go around to see what happens

  11. Jennifer Bliss says

    OMG! The color in the cranberry bread is awesome!! I just might need to try this! I’m a horrible baker but I can’t stop thinking about it! Mind if I link and comment often!? Swing by my place and let me know! CHEERS!

  12. Heather says

    I LOVE this recipe! I have made it twice in two weeks. The first time, I made it exactly as written, and it was FANTASTIC.
    The second time, I substituted unsweetened applesauce for the oil, and it was not as good. The texture is kind of…gummy and it’s not as moist, but it is not bad and I will still eat it.
    I will stick to the recipe as Katie wrote it and it is the best cranberry bread I have ever had!!!! The eggs and butter are not missed at all! Thank you for such a great recipe, Katie!

  13. Mary says

    I wish i had left the orange zest out as it made the bread taste bitter!! ruined it! the squirrel has been eating it though, next time NO orange zest will be used. went to the store just to buy the orange too! to make it

    • Jason Sanford says

      It sounds like your orange zest was bad or rancid. Orange zest is a common ingredient in orange baked goods and should impart a sweet note, not a bitter one. So either you sadly must have gotten a bad orange or maybe one of the other ingredients uses was bad, because it definitely shouldn’t make a baked good bitter!

  14. Casey says

    This bread is DELICIOUS! The best gluten free bread I’ve ever made. My dad says he doesn’t like any gluten free baked goods, but this definitely turned him around!

  15. Kiki says

    My husband and little boy went crazy for this bread! It was a huge hit 🙂
    I subbed applesauce for the oil and I used coconut sugar for the additional 1/4 c of sugar! It turned out great, and the house smelled amazing! Thank you for the great recipe!

  16. ish says

    These taste amazing with just a few (mostly!) healthy ingredients and were just the right sweetness! My only issue was that I set the timer for only 35 minutes at 350 degrees, and when I check them after the timer went off they were already done! Other than that, I have a new go-to recipe!

    • Jason Sanford says

      It lasts like most traditional homemade quick bread recipes, so should be fine to ship I would think… but I haven’t tried it.
      Jason

  17. lillian says

    I bought one bag at the $.99 store and then found your recipe. After making it and tasting how delicious it was, I wished I had bought more bags. It costs $2.99 at the major supermarket!! I cut out a 1/4 of the additional sugar, and with the glaze, it is sweet enough. It’s a winner of a recipe!

  18. Betty says

    I made the cranberry orange bread several times during the holidays, and my friends (and husband) raved about it!! As I always do with fruit breads, I made mine in mini-loaf pans, so that I could use them as gifts. I bought and froze cranberries in order to have some to use later in the year, when I can’t find cranberries in the stores. I certainly don’t want to wait until next Thanksgiving to make this bread again. It’s a winner!!

  19. DawnM says

    Made this as my brother bought fresh cranberries but didn’t like them. It’s DELICIOUS!! I don’t use the second quantity of sugar (firs5 loaf was too sweet), and as I only had 1.5cups cranberries I added half a cup of mixed seeds. This is going to be a regular in our house, thank you.

  20. Courtney Clark says

    I just made these and am speechless. They are the best muffins I’ve ever made vegan or not! I used apple sauce instead of oil, and added about 3 tbs of flax for protein. To even the flax out, I added 2tbs of cashew milk and 1/2 tbs extra of apple sauce. I made muffins and they came out heavenly. Thank you so much, this definitely won’t be the last time I make these!

  21. Juliet_CA says

    This recipe looks awesome! Can you simply add some chopped walnuts if desired? Also, can I get by w less sugar, cut by half the amount for a more tart flavor? I’m searching for a low-fat, plant based cran-orange loaf.
    Putting my frozen January cranberries to use for Easter. Thanks!

  22. Juliet_CA says

    Hi. I’m back to report: the loaf was very good & moist; I think it would have been great, if I didn’t add walnuts. I especially loved the burst of orange, but seems like the nuts undercut that flavor somewhat. (Nix the nuts!) I subbed equal parts applesauce for butter, which was a success. Also, I used white whole wheat flour and may experiment w other varieties. I did not cut back on the sugar. Overall, the loaf is loaded w cranberries & orange flavor; and yes, it’s best the next day & beyond.
    You have many wonderful, healthy recipes here — can’t wait to try some more. Thanks?

  23. Vi Singhal says

    This is amazing! I did make it the 1st time with dried cranberries and it was great! This time I made it with fresh cranberries and it was very good but not as sweet. I also used coconut palm sugar. My husband likes the one with the dried cranberries as it is sweeter so I will most likely stick with those. Thx for a great recipe!

  24. Arielle B says

    It worked so well – we didn’t have baking soda so we put extra baking power (googled how much backing powder in place of soda) also used turbino sugar (it was bigger pieces) and got lazy during zesting but hopefully got it near 1 tbsp… Tastes awesome!

  25. melina santos says

    I know nothing about baking so this might be a dumb question, can this be made into cupcakes?? I made this last year for thanksgiving and loved it! I wanted to make these into cupcakes for my graduation at the end of this week so that they’re more convenient to eat.

    • Jason Sanford says

      We haven’t tried it so honestly can’t say! I don’t see why not, but baking time might differ. Be sure to report back if you try!
      Jason (media relations)

  26. Christina says

    I made these . Chopped the cranberries in the food processor and made them in a muffin tin. They were so tart I had to throw them out. The muffin part was ok

  27. Alli says

    Just made these as muffins. Took 40 min at 350 degrees. We loved them (toddler, preK, adults). I actually found them more on the tart side, even after adding all the sugar, which is perfect for us. Admittedly, I was really generous with the cranberries and zest:) Had with butter on top. Will try glaze next time. My toddler can’t eat eggs, so I really appreciate good egg free baking recipes!

  28. Jill says

    Wow, this exceeded all expectations. I didn’t have parchment paper so just greased and floured the pan and it came out of the pan just fine even still warm from the oven. Next time I might use half Splenda, half sugar. It was delicious without any glaze. Thank you for this delicious vegan recipe!!!

  29. Stella says

    This loaf tastes divine – I defy non-vegans to notice that it has no egg or dairy! The cranberries did make the cakey parts somewhat wet, but I used 1 cup oat flour and 1 cup all-purpose… maybe straight AP would handle the moisture better. I’ll definitely make this one again!

  30. Ly says

    I used frozen raspberries, and the bread turned out so delicious! I love the recipe, and have made the bread three times so far!

    • CCK Media Team says

      We haven’t tried it here, but normally that works in baked goods! Be sure to report back if you try it!

  31. Nina says

    Hi and greetings from the UK. I have made quite a few of your cakes/breads over time, all of which are absolutely delicious. All the ones I have baked to date have stated that you turn the oven off at the end and leave it for 10 minutes in the oven. In this recipe it doesn’t state to do that. Is the cooking instruction correct or has it been missed off the instructions? Thanks.

  32. DJ says

    I made this with white flour and applesauce as sub for oil. I let it rest overnight as recommended. Oh, my. It is amazing! So moist and full of flavor!

  33. Julie says

    This is the absolute BEST cranberry bread that my entire family has ever had!!! My family (who ranges from vegan to carnivore’s) LOVED it! Thank you so much!!!

    I followed the recipe as written and wanted to ask if there is a sugar alternative that can be used?

  34. Nina says

    Hi and Greetings from Lockdwn 2 UK. I don’t know if you can help…. I have been trying to convert the cup measurements to grams. Does this sound right.. 2 cups plain flour = 265g. 3/4 cup sugar = 150g which is best soft brown sugar or white fine caster sugar? 1 cup orange juice = 250ml?
    Also, re the orange zest… often the oranges imported to the UK can have bitter zest, should I still include it or can you suggest something else? Finally, I have a juicer would you recommend I made my own orange juice or use unsweetened store bought? Many thanks….

    • CCK Media Team says

      Off the top of my head, 2 cups flour is about 240g, white sugar is probably better (your measurement is correct), and 1 cup juice or any similar liquid weighs 240g if you’re using a food scale. Sorry we don’t know of anything that could replace the orange zest except maybe a tiny bit of orange extract?

  35. Nina says

    ps Whoops… I forgot to ask re the 2 cups fresh cranberries = 200g ? I want to try the recipe but don’t want to mess up as I don’t have measuring cups just scales. Thanks again…

  36. Rachel Wimberly says

    This was amazing! Way better than any cranberry orange bread I’ve tried. I left the cranberries whole and it worked well! You just won’t get the huge patches of pink that Katie got.

  37. C.Y. says

    Love these! I use 2 cups soft white wheat, as I mill my own. I sub applesauce for the oil. I do muffins 350 for 20-25 minutes.

  38. Wsu says

    Has anyone done it with almond flour/meal? Was it good? It just that I have a lot of it at my house and would like to use it

  39. Bbeky says

    This recipe looks mouth watering, thank you so much for sharing! What oil did you use? And have you tried gluten free all purpose flour with this recipe? If so, which brand? Thank you so much

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