This healthy cranberry orange bread brings together the bright and zingy flavors of orange and cranberries, with added texture from chopped pecans.
This gorgeous, festive bread is perfect for fall, winter, and the holiday season!
Healthy Orange Cranberry Bread
This cranberry orange bread is all the best things: fluffy, cozy, sweet and tart (but not too sweet, because if I want dessert I’d rather have an actual dessert, ya know?). And it’s packed with nutrients, too!
I love the tartness from the fresh cranberries here; they make for a more moist and refreshing bread than sweetened dried cranberries.
The pecans add crunch, the orange is wonderfully tangy, and the brown sugar adds just the right amount of sweetness.
This bread is just sweet enough to balance out the fresh cranberries, but doesn’t feel like a cake more than a bread, so it can be a great breakfast or snack, too!
(Hot tip: if you’re having this bread for breakfast, consider pairing it with some eggs for protein to round out the meal and keep you satisfied.)
Truly such a great recipe to enjoy during the holidays! Though you really don’t need a special reason to enjoy it, either. 😉
To make this festive bread, you’ll need:
- white whole wheat flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
- ground cinnamon
- baking powder
- baking soda
- 2 oranges (juiced and zested)
- light brown sugar
- canola oil (or, you can substitute light olive oil or melted coconut oil)
- 1 egg
- fresh cranberries (You can also use frozen, but be sure not to thaw them – just throw them in the batter still frozen! Otherwise, they’ll turn the batter red. I recommend using a serrated knife to slice them in half.)
- pecans (These are optional, but highly recommended for adding a delicious crunchy texture! Walnuts would also work great.)
How to Make Cranberry Orange Bread
As pretty as this bread is, luckily it’s pretty simple to make, too!
The full recipe is at the end of this post in the recipe card, but here’s a quick rundown.
Start by whisking together the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, orange zest, and brown sugar) in a large bowl. Separately, combine the wet ingredients (oil, egg, and orange juice).
Pour the wet mixture into the dry, mixing lightly until just combined.
Next, add the chopped cranberries and pecans, and stir lightly again to distribute in the batter.
Using a spatula, scrape the batter into a greased loaf pan (I suggest 8×4″) and bake at 350 degrees F for 35-45 minutes.
When it’s done, it should pass the toothpick test: insert a toothpick near the center, and it should come out clean.
Allow the bread to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and slice it up! Believe me: it’ll disappear quickly. 🙂
This bread also makes a great edible holiday gift!
How to Serve & Store
You can serve this bread warm or cool – your choice! To store, wrap tightly in plastic wrap or an airtight container and keep on the counter for up to 3-4 days.
You can also freeze individual slices by wrapping in foil and placing in a freezable plastic bag. Just place on the counter to thaw at room temperature before you’re ready to eat it.
Optional Glaze for Cranberry Orange Bread
If you want a slightly sweeter or more decadent bread, you can add a glaze on top. I promise, it’s easy!
Start with 1/3 cup powdered sugar and mix in orange juice one tablespoon at a time, until your desired consistency is reached. Then, drizzle over the completely cooled bread.
You’ll find the full cranberry orange bread recipe at the bottom of this post. Enjoy!
Want more fall and winter baked goods inspiration? You might like:
- Spiced Butternut Squash Muffins
- Peanut Butter Banana Bread
- Healthy Pumpkin Muffins with Applesauce
- Vegan Irish Soda Bread
- Sweet Potato Muffins with Coconut
- Cranberry Yogurt Scones
- Whole Wheat Carrot Cake Muffins
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- zest of 1 orange (about 1 teaspoon)
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup canola oil (or light olive oil or melted coconut oil)
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup fresh orange juice (from about 2 oranges)
- 1 cup roughly chopped fresh cranberries*
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans (optional, plus more for garnish if desired; walnuts will also work well)
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8x4" loaf pan. If desired, line the bottom and long sides of the pan with parchment paper to lift the loaf out easily once baked.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, orange zest, and brown sugar.
- In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the oil, egg, and orange juice.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula until just barely combined. Add the cranberries and pecans and stir to distribute evenly.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Top with additional pecans if you'd like.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the center of the bread comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.
- *Frozen cranberries can be substituted here, just don't thaw before mixing them into the batter so they don't turn the whole batter red. Just use a serrated knife to slice them in half.
- If you want a slightly sweeter or more decadent bread, I'd top this with a glaze instead of mixing more sugar into the batter. Start with 1/3 cup powdered sugar and mix in orange juice one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached, then drizzle over the completely cooled bread.