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Cranberry Nut Bread (without Orange Juice)

Our Cranberry Nut Bread made without orange juice makes an amazing dessert or breakfast when paired with your favorite latte. Serve up a slice of moist, flavorful quick bread before cranberry season ends.

Cranberry season only lasts a couple of months each year, so you’ll want to grab a bag (or two) of fresh cranberries and bake this cranberry nut bread before they’re gone. Don’t forget to get extra cranberries for a Cranberry Cheesecake topped with Sugared Cranberries or to make some homemade Cranberry Sauce for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Side view of a loaf of glazed cranberry bread.

Cranberry Bread without Orange Juice

Every year for the holidays, there are a handful of recipes that my family and I make time and time again. Cranberry bread is one of those recipes.

This year, we’re having my cranberry nut bread that’s a twist on the traditional. Instead of using orange juice, this festive bread uses tart key lime juice, chopped walnuts, and has pieces of cranberries throughout!

To really put this cranberry loaf over the top, it’s drizzled with a sweet glaze. Serve this holiday bread for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any time of year!

How to Make Cranberry Bread

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 350°F and greasing a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the granulated sugar, oil, egg, key lime juice, milk, and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just until no dry patches remain. Make sure not to overmix; otherwise, the bread will be dense.
Eggs, milk, oil, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl.
Flour whisked with baking powder and baking soda.
Flour, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl.
Flour on top of egg and oil mixture in a bowl.
  1. Fold in the chopped nuts and cranberries then transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan.
  2. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  3. Leave the bread in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. While the bread cools, make the sweet glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk. Add extra milk until the desired consistency is reached.
  5. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled bread, slice, and enjoy!
Batter for cranberry nut bread in a bowl.
Bowl of bread batter with cranberries and nuts.
Cranberries and nuts added to quick bread batter.
Quick bread batter in a pan.

Tips and Variations:

  • This bread contains both baking powder and baking soda. It’s important to use both to help the bread rise.
  • In order to keep the fresh cranberries distributed throughout the bread, chop them in half. This keeps them from floating to surface.
  • If you can’t find key lime juice, try using freshly squeezed lime juice, canned pineapple juice or orange juice.
  • The glaze is optional but really adds an extra sweet touch to this cranberry nut bread.
  • Place the loaf pan on a baking sheet while the bread bakes to prevent the bottom of the bread from over browning.
Side view of sliced cranberry bread on a white plate.

Why didn’t my bread rise?

This bread bakes up with a flatter top than most. While it does rise, it’s not much. That’s due to the key lime juice.

The high acidity of the key lime juice interacts with the baking powder, and in a sense, causes the bread not to rise as much as a quick bread normally would.

What if I can’t find key lime juice?

Key lime juice adds a lovely alternative to orange juice if you still want a touch of citrus flavor in the cranberry nut bread. If key lime juice isn’t available, pineapple or orange juice make great substitutes.

Another option is to omit the fruit juice completely. Since the juice provides a good amount of liquid for the recipe, you’ll want to increase the milk to 3/4 cup.

Cranberry bread on a platter.

Can I use butter in place of oil?

We prefer to make this cranberry nut bread with oil because oil gives it a soft, moist texture. You can swap the oil with equal amounts of softened butter if preferred.

Cream the butter and sugar together before adding the eggs and vanilla. Then alternate adding the dry ingredients and liquid.

Can I use pecans instead of walnuts?

Absolutely! Add pecan, almonds, pistachios, or leave the nuts out completely.

How do you freeze cranberry bread?

Cranberry bread freezes well! Allow the bread to cool completely but don’t add the glaze.

Wrap the bread tightly in plastic wrap followed by a layer of heavy duty aluminum foil. Drop the bread into a freezer bag and it will stay fresh for about 2 months. Thaw at room temperature.

Storage:

Cranberry nut bread stores well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. For best results, store the glaze separately to keep the bread from becoming soggy.

Serve the bread warmed slightly or straight from the fridge!

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Close up view of cranberry nut bread without orange on a platter.

Cranberry Nut Bread (without Orange Juice)

4.5 from 2 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 12 Servings

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Ingredients

Bread:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup key lime juice may substitute with lime, orange, or pineapple juice
  • cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups fresh cranberries chopped
  • ½ cup walnuts chopped

Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar sifted
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk adjust to desired consistency

Instructions 

For the Bread:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F, and grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, eggs, key lime juice, milk, and vanilla.
    1 cup granulated sugar
    ½ cup canola oil
    2 large eggs
    ½ cup key lime juice
    ⅓ cup milk
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix just until combined and no streaks of flour remain.
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
    ½ teaspoon baking soda
    ½ teaspoon salt
  • Fold in the cranberries and walnuts. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
    1 ½ cups fresh cranberries
    ½ cup walnuts
  • Allow the bread to cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. While the bread cools, prepare the glaze.

For the Glaze:

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and milk adding only 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
    1 cup powdered sugar
    1 to 2 tablespoons milk
  • Drizzle the glaze over the cooled bread. Slice and enjoy!
  • See post for tips, FAQs, and storage options.

Notes

*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1 slice of bread. Actual calories will vary.
 
*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 279kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 210mg | Potassium: 89mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 67IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 1mg
Recipe Rating