Cranberry Orange Pecan Bread

This cranberry orange pecan bread, with its tart and sweet, doesn't even need a schmear of butter. It makes a jolly easy homemade gift at the holidays.

Cranberry Orange Pecan Bread Recipe

This cranberry orange pecan bread has a subtle sweetness and slight tartness that makes it a welcome respite from whatever you’re doing any time of day. It also makes a terrific gift, which is why the recipe makes not one but two loaves—one to gift, one to keep. This recipe has been updated. Originally published November 10, 2009.Renee Schettler Rossi

*How To Bake With Cranberries

We quite like the jarring tartness that happens when you bite into a burst of cranberry in this cranberry orange bread. But don’t be tempted to leave the cranberries whole as they tend to float to the surface of baked goods rather than staying pleasingly dispersed throughout the loaf or muffin. There’s a simple way to remedy this. Simply pulse the cranberries in your food processor until coarsely chopped but not mushy and then toss them in your quick bread batter. We advise against attempting to chop fresh cranberries with a knife on a cutting board given just how maddeningly roly-poly they can be

Cranberry Orange Pecan Bread Recipe

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


  • 3 1/2 cups (17 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 1 large orange (about 1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated 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) mild vegetable or olive oil, plus more for the pans
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 3/4 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen (do not thaw if using 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. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
  • 3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, orange zest and juice, and vanilla. Set aside.
  • 4. Using a stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and oil on medium-high speed until thoroughly combined and somewhat sandy. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add 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 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 in your food processor. (See *How To Bake With Cranberries above.) Gently fold the cranberries and pecans into the batter. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans so that each is slightly more than half full.
  • 6. Bake the cranberry orange pecan bread, rotating the pans every 20 minutes or so, until the loaves are golden brown with cracked tops and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. You want to start checking the bread at 45 minutes, although it could take as long as 75 minutes. Let cool in the pans for at least 10 minutes and then turn the loaves onto a wire rack to cool completely.

How To Make Cranberry Orange Pecan Muffins or Mini Loaves

  • If you prefer to make muffins or mini loaves of cranberry orange pecan bread to gift, simply divvy the batter among 12- to 18-cup muffin tins or 6 mini-loaf pans and start checking for doneness after 15 minutes for muffins, 25 minutes for mini loaves.
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