Cranberry-Orange Pecan Bread

I grew up baking a version of this holiday classic of cranberry-orange pecan bread using canned orange juice concentrate. When it came time to develop a recipe for Grand Central Bakery, we updated the family favorite by replacing the concentrate with freshly squeezed orange juice and plenty of zest. The result is a a pecan bread with more subtle orange flavor that allows the tartness of the cranberries to shine through.–Piper Davis

LC Bitter Sweet Note

Tart cranberries. Bitter orange zest. And sweet, sweet pecans. We’re not much for math, but this is one equation we’d like to plunge into headfirst.

Cranberry-Orange Pecan Bread Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • Makes 2 loaves


  • 3 1/2 cups (1 pound, 1 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups (10 fluid ounces) buttermilk (either low-fat or full-fat)
  • Zest and juice from one large orange (about 1 1/2 tablespoons zest plus 1/4 cup juice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups (15 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces) vegetable oil or canola oil, plus more for the pan
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 3/4 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen (do not thaw if frozen cranberries)
  • 1/2 cup (1 3/4 ounces) pecans, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped


  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Lightly oil and flour two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans.
  • 2. Measure the flour, salt, and baking soda into a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  • 3. Whisk together the buttermilk, orange zest and juice, and vanilla. Set aside.
  • 4. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and oil on medium-high speed until thoroughly combined. The mixture will seem somewhat sandy. Reduce the speed to low and slowly pour in the eggs. Increase the speed to medium and continue to mix for 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low again and add 1/3 of the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 1 minute. Add half of the buttermilk mixture and mix briefly to incorporate. Repeat with the remaining buttermilk mixture and the remaining dry ingredients, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  • 5. Coarsely chop the cranberries. (If you’re tempted to skip this step, read the LC Note above.) Gently fold the cranberries and pecans into the batter by hand. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Each pan should be slightly more than half full.
  • 6. Bake the cranberry-orange pecan bread for 60 to 75 minutes, rotating the pans every 20 minutes or so. When done, the loaves will be golden brown with cracked tops and a skewer inserted in the center will come out clean.
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