Breads/ Quickbreads/ Recipes/ Seasonal Ingredients/ Seasonal Recipes

cranberry walnut orange bread

So, I know by now most of you who are cooking Thanksgiving dinner already have all your ducks in a row. You probably have all your courses planned, your grocery list written and your place settings made. You watched The Pioneer Woman kick Bobby Flay’s behind last week, and are armed and ready with your turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pie.

But…..what’s one more carbohydrate gonna hurt? (wink wink)

I feel compelled to share this recipe with you today for several reasons. The first being that Thanksgiving is a few days away and this cranberry walnut orange bread would be a lovely addition to a breadbasket.

The second reason is that I just love this bread. I really do. It’s probably my favorite quick bread ever, and I look forward to baking it every single year just as soon as fresh cranberries hit the market.

The original recipe is from the pastry chef I worked under while completing my culinary school externship back in 2008.

Remember that?

I don’t. It’s a good thing I have this blog to jog my memory sometimes.

Anyway, you must bake this bread! It’s slightly sweet and not overly-crumbly—the perfect vehicle for whipped cream cheese, apricot preserves or softened honey butter.

I especially love the crunch of the walnuts in this!

And, dare I say it makes a stellar French toast to boot? Just drench two day old slices in milk, egg and vanilla and drizzle with maple syrup.

Oh my…oh oh my. I’m totally doing that on Tuesday morning and you should, too.

Well? What are you waiting for! Get thee to the kitchen and get your bake on!

Cranberry Walnut Orange Bread

makes 1 loaf

2 cups all purpose flour

2 cups fresh cranberries

zest of one orange

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

4 ounces butter, melted

1 egg

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, orange zest, walnuts and cranberries in a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the melted butter, granulated sugar and egg. Pour wet ingredients in with the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Note that the dough will be on the dry side and almost resemble sugar cookie dough.

Press the dough into a greased loaf pan and bake for about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes. The top of the loaf will be a rich golden brown. Let cool before slicing.

**this bread freezes very well!

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  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is
    November 22, 2010 at 7:22 am

    I love that photo of the cranberries coming out of the measuring glass. So pretty! And a slice with honey butter? Mmmmm.

  • Brooke
    November 22, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Jenna, I just ate a Cranberry Orange Walnut Clif Bar (which was pretty good). However, I would MUCH prefer this bread. I know what I’ll be baking this afternoon!

    • jenna
      November 22, 2010 at 7:26 am

      homemade bread > clif bar…every time!

  • Katryn@rampantcuisine
    November 22, 2010 at 7:28 am

    LOVE quick breads and this one looks so festive…must try using this bread to make french toast…sounds amazing!!

  • Natalia - a side of simple
    November 22, 2010 at 7:29 am

    This puts “fruit cake” to shame. Well done! Pretty sure Laura would approve ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin
    November 22, 2010 at 7:32 am

    Wow that looks amazing. I love how cranberries look whenever you bake with them. Delicious!

  • Heather @ The Single Dish
    November 22, 2010 at 7:39 am

    Quick breads have a special place in my heart. Love the bright red cranberries, I want a piece warm with butter, right now!

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite
    November 22, 2010 at 7:43 am

    Cranberries are my favorite food this time of year! I think I might make this and have out for breakfast!

  • hippierunner
    November 22, 2010 at 7:49 am

    Oh man that looks great!

  • Angharad
    November 22, 2010 at 7:49 am

    Yeah…quick breads are my favourite thing to whip up! As a newbie baker they are totally within my comfort zone and just feel so easy and natural to make. And wouldn’t you know I’m making a cranberry and maple loaf this week!

  • Sara
    November 22, 2010 at 7:50 am

    This looks excellent! I love cranberry and orange together – such an excellent combo! Also, your loaf pan is really cute.

    Question: I made Bobby Flay’s pumpkin bread last night and forgot to add the 2/3 cup of water to the batter as I incorporated the dry mix – what would the water have done for the bread? Made it light and fluffy? I mean, my bread is dense, but not in a bad way…

    • jenna
      November 22, 2010 at 7:52 am would have just given it a lighter texture. But since it’s for bread pudding anyway, it doesn’t really matter. Sounds yummy!

      • Sara
        November 22, 2010 at 9:07 am

        Gotcha, thanks!

        I was actually lazy and just made the bread – it’s THE best pumpkin bread I’ve ever had…the combination of spices is amazing! It’ll be interesting to see how I like it with a lighter texture whenever I make it again.

  • Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun
    November 22, 2010 at 7:55 am

    How about I just come keep you company on Thanksgiving instead? I would be happy to help eat the many treats and dishes you have been coming up with. ๐Ÿ˜€

  • grocery goddess jen
    November 22, 2010 at 7:55 am

    Oh my gosh that looks delicious! Don’t think I’ll have room to add it to my roster this year, but if you want to come over and make me some french toast out of the leftovers, be my guest!

  • Jen @ She said. She said.
    November 22, 2010 at 7:57 am

    I plan on eating enough cranberries this year that my skin will turn red. I love them so much. I’m adding this to the list.

  • Amanda (Eating Up)
    November 22, 2010 at 7:57 am

    That looks so good and Thanksgiving-y! <–Totally a word.

  • Steph@stephsbitebybite
    November 22, 2010 at 8:01 am

    This looks delish! And perfect for Thanksgiving morning…with a huge cup of coffee!!

  • Alina @ Duty Free Foodie
    November 22, 2010 at 8:05 am

    Hey, cranberries are known for being healthy! So, if anything, this must be made for, you know … the anti-oxidants.

  • Lauren @ louisianagrown
    November 22, 2010 at 8:07 am

    I’m so excited! I bought a bag of cranberries a few weeks ago without a real intention, and ended up just sticking them in my freezer. I think I’m going to make this bread just to have it for breakfast. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • R @ Learning As I Chop
    November 22, 2010 at 8:08 am

    I’m already baking two desserts and now I want to make this too. Oh man

  • Maria
    November 22, 2010 at 8:15 am

    I have a huge bag of cranberries in my freezer from Costco. I will be trying your bread soon! Great recipe!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    November 22, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Ooh I love these photos! The fresh cranberries look delicious. I have some cranberries to use up and I think this may be their fate!

  • Jillian @ Reshape Your Life
    November 22, 2010 at 8:27 am

    So, I have been trying to decide what to bring with my to my boyfriend’s family thanksgiving, they seemed to have everything covered and I had NO IDEA what to make… But I’m pretty sure you just answered that question for me!

    Trying this today!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • sofia
    November 22, 2010 at 8:40 am

    wow. this recipe is actually sorta doable for me, the non-baker gal. and it looks yum. i might have to give it a try. thanks!

  • Suzanne de Cornelia
    November 22, 2010 at 8:42 am

    I LOVE cranberries~& the cranberry bogs on Cape Cod~ what a sight with an ocean of those glistening little jewels. Last night was up at 2 AM cooking cranberries in OJ to top yogurt this morning. This bread looks excellent, thanks!

  • Moni'sMeals
    November 22, 2010 at 8:42 am

    wow! those photos are speaking to me.

    Maybe for breakfast, like you said, great idea!

    I have made too much pumkin bread yesterday so maybe I can make this for the next holiday which seems perfect for x-mas. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Camille
    November 22, 2010 at 8:45 am

    This looks positively fantastic. What a wonderful way to use up the 2, Costco sized bags of cranberries I bought ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Alexia @ Dimple Snatcher
    November 22, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Jenna, the photos are gorgeous! I clicked on the “Remember that?” link and my, oh my my my your photos taking has certainly improved!
    And thanks for the recipe: it’s now competing with the persimmon bread I had planned. Happy Thanksgiving!


    • Alexia @ Dimple Snatcher
      November 22, 2010 at 3:46 pm

      Came back to look at recipe! (Still decided between this and persimmon bread)
      And realized that my compliment might not have been expressed as one. It’s a compliment! Promise!

  • Nienke at Revel
    November 22, 2010 at 8:46 am

    Once again this looks incredible and honey butter would be the perfect cranberry bread companion! It would also be great for a Christmas brunch ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Paige
    November 22, 2010 at 9:01 am

    How funny, I made this exact bread last night! One of my holiday favorites. I like to pulse the cranberries a few times in the food processor (easier than chopping). I also add cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground ginger for some spice!

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey
    November 22, 2010 at 9:38 am

    I totally was not going to make this bread (because I have so many treats already stocked in my freezer) until you mentioned making french toast with it. I was planning on doing a baked french toast for Thanksgiving morning, and I’m using this bread.

  • Krystina (Basil & Wine)
    November 22, 2010 at 10:02 am

    I love how beautiful cranberry bread is.

  • Katie @
    November 22, 2010 at 10:20 am

    I need to make this!!!

  • megan @ whatmegansmaking
    November 22, 2010 at 10:37 am

    Great recipe Jenna! It sounds delicious. I love any use of cranberries around this time ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Kelly
    November 22, 2010 at 10:37 am

    This looks gorgeous!!! If food could be beautiful this is beautiful!

  • J.
    November 22, 2010 at 10:51 am

    I’m impressed.
    Growing up, we always had “gum drop cake” (aka ..Christmas cake…due to the multi-colors), but it was a year-round thing. I really need to make that again; you should try it. Just good old fashioned flour, butter, sugar, gum drops, etc…great especially if frozen and eaten cold.

  • marie
    November 22, 2010 at 11:13 am

    I don’t normally just get up and bake something I just saw on a blog (it usually goes in a folder on my computer), but this really spoke to me for some reason and I had to make it NOW. It’s now in the oven, I can’t wait!

    • jenna
      November 22, 2010 at 12:06 pm

      yesss! Hope it turned out marvelous!

      • marie
        November 22, 2010 at 4:16 pm

        It turned out great! You know, as I was eating it, I was really thinking that some cream cheese on it would make it even better. I will test that theory tomorrow, because I really have to go to the store to buy some and find out!

        • marie
          November 23, 2010 at 5:39 pm

          I know this is my zillionth comment, but I just want to say that this was even better today (a day later).

  • Jess
    November 22, 2010 at 11:34 am

    This looks awesome! I can’t wait to try making it with cranberries I picked up at the farmer’s market!

  • Sharon
    November 22, 2010 at 11:50 am

    This looks great! And what a pretty loaf pan/dish that is. I too watched the throwdown…and was inspired to try out Bobby’s brussels sprouts myself…I was way too curious about the butter/vanilla bean twist-I omitted a few steps (no pomegranate seeds or molasses-I substituted Annie’s pomegranate vinaigrette drizzled on at the end) but I otherwise really liked the results! I’ll be making that one for Thanksgiving for sure…

  • Rachel @ The Avid Appetite
    November 22, 2010 at 11:56 am

    This looks unbelievably delicious! The cranberries look gorgeous – I love that color.

  • Cathy B. @ Bright Bakes
    November 22, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    oh my! so so pretty!
    cathy b. @ brightbakes

  • Jenny
    November 22, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    This looks delicious! Sweet and light, perfect for a thanksgiving breakfast!:)

  • Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather
    November 22, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Such pretty colors in the bread. Orange and cranberry are so yummy together.

  • Laura (Blogging Over Thyme)
    November 22, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    I am making this NOW ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)
    November 22, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    What a glorious, perfect looking bread!

    This is random but it’s cool that the cranberries don’t “bleed” and stain the whiteness of the bread. Whenever I make anything with blueberries they do that. And I have a red and white polka dot shirt that when I wash it, the red bleeds onto the white. Super random comment but that’s how my brain is working today ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen
    November 22, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    The cranberries are so vibrant! Love it – it sounds absolutely delicious!

  • salah@myhealthiestlifestyle
    November 22, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    this bread as french toast???? omg to die for!!! Love it!!!

  • Kristin
    November 22, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    For those of you in the south….whole cranberries are BOGO this week at Publix! Just stocked up last night so I thought I would share the good news ๐Ÿ™‚ love em!

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss
    November 22, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Wow, I ALMOST baked something exactly like this today except went for a different cranberry-orange treat. I’ll definitely be trying this bread over the next few days, though. Thanks!

  • Christina
    November 22, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Wow, I’ll definitely make this tomorrow morning! We don’t have Thanksgiving in Germany but it also makes a nice bread for a cold Tuesday morning;).Thank’s for sharing!!!

  • Tracy
    November 22, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Thank you for posting this recipe, Jenna…I literally went out to buy cranberries and bake this as soon as I saw the recipe. It made my apartment smell HEAVENLY and is the perfect pre-Thanksgiving (why wait?) dessert. Yum!

  • Nicole
    November 22, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous I will go and bake ASAP!

  • Sage LaCroix
    November 22, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    This looked so good that I had to try it. Literally, the loaf is in the oven right now! One question: Why whisk together the melted butter and sugar and then mix it into the dry ingredients? I guess I am so used to mixing all the dry and then adding the wet that I am curious what this will do for the final product. I guess I could just be patient and wait, but I like to kind of hear the science-y stuff behind the food (Alton Brown fan!).

  • Liz @ Blog is the New Black
    November 22, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    Beautiful pic of the cranberries in the glass! I haven’t made cranberry bread in a long time, but I might now. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Heidi - Apples Under My Bed
    November 22, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Beautiful! What am i waiting for? a cool day maybe – it’s too hot to turn the oven on (dare i say it). It would make a stellar french toast!! Blissful. I adore cranberries! – and fresh cranberries, I love it.
    Heidi xo

  • Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef
    November 22, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    oooh yum! i made pumpkin apple cranberry muffins yesterday and they were great. i bet this is too!

  • Sage LaCroix
    November 22, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    This is delicious! Warm with whipped cream…Yum!

  • Amy
    November 22, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    That is one gorgeous hunk of bread AND the final addition to my Thanksgiving menu. Thank you for sharing!

  • Pam (Holistic Health Coach)
    November 22, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Wow this looks really good, what a great way to use fresh cranberries and zest an orange. I have a zester that’s begging to be used…

  • Ally
    November 22, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    This loaf looks amazing and I love simple recipes! This would be great for the a light breakfast after our traditional thanksgiving morning run ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Shannon
    November 22, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    You’re right… just when I thought I had all of my desserts planned… THIS recipe happened. It makes me want to leave working by faking an illness, speed home and rip open the bags of fresh cranberries i bought today

  • amyt
    November 23, 2010 at 7:07 am

    I made this yesterday……for my inlaws – they both love walnuts, and cranberrys. I haven’t tried it yet – I hope it tastes as good as it looks and smells!! I have also made your cin walnut bread…….they loved that one ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing!

  • Samantha
    November 23, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    I made this yesterday, and it tastes even better today. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

  • Lucy
    November 24, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    I made this just now and it tastes amazing!!! I love the tart burst of fresh cranberries. I also made your mushroom risotto recipe too. =)

  • Peggy
    November 24, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    I literally saw this post, got up, went to Trader Joe’s, and bought cranberries, and baked it. It’s cooling now, and I’m going to bring it to a Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, but one question: I know you said the dough would be crumbly like sugar cookie dough, but my dough was REALLY crumbly, and the finished product came together, rose, and browned, but still doesn’t look completely smooth on top like I’d expect a quick bread to. Is that supposed to happen? Or might the middle be a bit dry?

    • Peggy
      November 24, 2010 at 9:45 pm

      Oh my goodness, nevermind. I just cut a tiny piece off the end (no one will notice, right? I’ll wrap it up all pretty….) and it’s amazing. WIN, Jenna.

  • laurie
    November 26, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    BEST BREAD EVER! Made it as an afterthought and it was the hit of Thanksgiving. Served it with a Honey/cin./vanilla butter and it was heavenly! THanks!

  • Krista @ Can't Survive on Yarn Alone
    November 27, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    I made this bread this morning with a few modifications – aka what I had on hand. I loved it and will definitely be making it again.

  • Jillian @ Reshape Your Life
    November 28, 2010 at 5:24 am

    So, I tried making this last night… And although the flavor is there… the look is not. I’m not sure what I did wrong but it was VERY crumbly when I was mixing the dough, but it seemed to smoosh together when I put it in the pan. But while it was baking it didn’t really rise, it browned and it tastes fine… But the finished product is a bit flat and still very crumbly.

    Any thoughts on what I did wrong? Should I add more butter or egg next time?

  • Allison
    November 28, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    I’ve never posted to your blog before but have been reading for two years and just have to let you know that this recipe won me major kudos with my boyfriend’s family! I brought it to his family’s day after Thanksgiving brunch and everyone was raving about it. Thanks Jenna!

  • Morgan @ Healthy Happy Place
    November 30, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    I’ve been thinking about this recipe since you posted it last week and just HAD to make it. the loaf is in the oven, I can’t wait to see how it turns out! the dough was really dry and I actually had to mold it into the pan, so I’m a little nervous. can’t wait to try it!

  • Amy
    November 30, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    This bread was WONDERFUL!!!! I was a little nervous when I first started making it because it was crumbly, but OH MY! I fell in love after the first bite! I also made some orange honey butter ๐Ÿ™‚ Yummy!

  • Lauren
    December 1, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    I loved all of your pictures! They are one of the reasons that I wanted to make this bread. Thank you!

  • megan @ whatmegansmaking
    December 21, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    I love this bread. I made it last weekend and everyone who’s tried it has liked it. The cranberries are tart, but perfect with the rest of the bread. Thanks Jenna! And it’s better the second day, so I’d say make it a day in advance of when you want to serve it.

  • Kurt
    February 4, 2011 at 10:11 am

    I made this bread recipe at least five times over the holiday season. I am making it today for a friends birthday. Had a hard time finding Cranberries, however, Safeway still had them. It is my new favorite sweet bread recipe!

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    March 11, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Jenna, I just made this bread, but I couldn’t find cranberries, so I used blueberries and it is delicious! Thanks for this great recipe!

  • Caroline
    March 18, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Can I make this with frozen cranberries instead?

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  • Diana
    October 7, 2012 at 9:58 am

    I’ve tried making this twice and it tastes really good, but it’s very crumbly. I haven’t been able to cut a clean slice. So disappointing. I was hoping to make it for Thanksgiving.

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    I’m making this recipe in mini loafs tonight for Thanksgiving gifts – yummm!

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  • Toni Ashcraft
    January 19, 2013 at 11:10 am

    I made this during Christmas and loved it! Was concerned with it being cumbly but it turned out great. I kept it wrapped in foil for a day before cutting. I made a loaf for a friend and one to keep to share with guests…..the guests never got any. One slice with my coffee, and that was breakfast for a week! One of my favorite recipes! I’m ready to make more!

  • barbara
    November 19, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    I’ve just put the bread in the oven. I had to add cider to hold it together. It was far too crumbly and I’m sure would not have come out as a quick bread should. Did you leave out something – orange juice, cider or something?

    • Nanci
      December 24, 2013 at 6:06 am

      I added extra melted butter and a little warm water. I guess cider or orange juice would have been a better choice. :-/

  • Nanci
    December 24, 2013 at 5:39 am

    There isn’t nearly enough liquid in this recipe. The sugar soaked up ALL the melted butter and egg, so there were no “wet ingredients.” I added 2 more tablespoons melted butter. Still powdery. So I added 1/4 cup warm water and finally got it to a consistency resembling very stiff cookie dough. So I packed it in the loaf pan and it’s baking now. We’ll see how it turns out!

  • krs
    December 26, 2013 at 11:42 am

    Love this recipe; My bread did turn out a little hard but tastes good all the same. I added 2 cups walnuts and 1 1/2 cup cranberry instead; i love it ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the recipe!

  • I_Fortuna
    January 11, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    This recipe is very dry. The picture looks like a nice moist bread but . . . Seems like something is missing. I would add a cup (at least) of buttermilk. All my quick breads are the consistency of a very thick pancake batter and they always come out perfect. I think I will try this and bake it the way I always do. I would use a different bread for bread pudding and just add cranberries and wlanuts to it. Anyhow, looks great. Thanks for posting!

    • Garrett
      June 23, 2020 at 11:34 am

      This recipe is a disaster of dryness. I made it as written only adding a tsp of orange extract and it comes out more like a very very dry and bland scone than a quick bread and it has no orange taste. Surely there is some ingredient missing on this list that would add more moisture? What is that pool of liquid in the photo above? This was a waste of time and money getting the ingredients together. I tossed it in the trash after half a slice.

  • Anna
    December 17, 2017 at 11:13 am

    I made this recently and it was so good! It is a different kind of batter than most quick bread recipes, much dryer. I was worried but decided to bake it anyway without adding any extra liquid. I also toasted the walnuts before adding. It was amazing! The texture of the bread is wonderful, not too โ€œsquishyโ€ if you know what I mean. Some quick breads can be too moist or soft. This was like something I could get in a European type bakery. I have made several loaves and given some as gifts. Everyone wants the recipe. My new go to cranberry bread recipe!

  • Cynthia
    January 7, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    I’m afraid to make this bread again. It was so good I couldn’t stop eating it. I thought it would be too thick, but this bread was spectacular.