Orange Cranberry Walnut Bread

Delicious quick bread featuring cranberries, orange juice, and walnuts. Excellent seasonal treat for breakfast, brunch, or as a snack. Serves 12. Freezes easily.

Citrus is one of my favorite ingredients in the kitchen. It works for everything from roasting veggies and brightening up pasta to baking cookies. I should specify to say citrus zest is one of my favorite ingredients.

Citrus zest is something not to be overlooked and honestly, I don’t think there’s a substitute for it. Dried citrus peel is okay but it just doesn’t add the full effect of fresh citrus oil from the rind. Citrus pairs with so many other flavors it’s hard not to add a little zest to everything!

This recipe for Orange Cranberry Walnut Bread features orange zest, juice, cranberries, walnuts and walnut oil. It’s a delicious combination that’s perfect for the holidays because it looks and tastes super festive 🙂

This post is sponsored by OctonutsCA. All opinions and ideas are my own.

Sliced Orange Cranberry Walnut Bread with fresh oranges and cranberries on the table.

I’ve been using the walnut and almond oils from Octonuts and I love them (especially the pour nozzle on the bottles– genius!). Walnut oil is a great addition to baked goods but especially works well in quick breads. The oil adds just a little extra depth to this cake without overwhelming the other flavors.

Orange Cranberry Walnut Bread ingredients displayed

For a really flavorful loaf cake, we want to incorporate as much citrus flavor as possible without overpowering the loaf with added liquid. Making citrus sugar is the best way to add flavor without affecting the structure.

To make citrus sugar:

  • Work the zest into the sugar for about 1 minute, until fragrant and well-distributed. Moisture from the zest will cling to the sugar.
  • You can use beaters from a mixer on low speed, a fork, or your hands.
  • Working the zest into the sugar is the trick for deeper citrus flavor– you’ll be adding flavor to the cake from the beginning and there won’t be one large clump of zest in the batter.
Steps to make Orange Cranberry Walnut Bread part 1

To make a great Orange Cranberry Bread, you’ll want to follow a few basic steps:

  1. Preheat the oven. Have everything ready and in place.
  2. Make the citrus sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add in the eggs, the orange juice, walnut oil, and vanilla. Beat until well blended, about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in half of the flour mixture.
  5. Add in all of the yogurt. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  6. Add in the remaining flour mixture until just combined.
  7. Fold in the cranberries and walnuts (bring batter from the outside of the bowl over the mix-ins, working from the bottom up to ensure even distribution). Avoid over-mixing.
  8. Pour batter into pan and bake immediately for best results. Quick breads (and most baked goods) depend on a good initial rise in the oven. Batter that sits too long (like waiting on an oven to heat up) often fall flat.
Steps to make Orange Cranberry Walnut Bread Part 2

Tips for Better Quick Breads:

  • Only mix flour until it is just incorporated
    • This keeps the crumb light and airy
  • Roughly chop mix-ins for better distribution in every bite
  • Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and put in oven as soon as it’s made
    • This helps ensure a good rise and crust
  • Bake on the middle rack for even browning
  • When you begin smelling delicious cake, it’s nearly done. Start testing with a toothpick at 50 minutes.
  • Wait until bread is cooled completely for cleaner slicing
  • Most cakes and breads are better on day 2. Bake at night and enjoy for breakfast!

This recipe is written vegetarian but can be made vegan with a few easy swaps: use plant-based yogurt (I’ve used unsweetened coconutmilk yogurt above) and use an egg substitute like flax or chia eggs. Egg replacer works, too. I wouldn’t recommend anything like banana or applesauce here as that would make the bread too moist and heavy.

Orange Cranberry Walnut Bread Sliced

Orange Cranberry Walnut Bread

Emma J. Watling
Delicious quick bread featuring cranberries, orange juice, and walnuts. Excellent seasonal treat for breakfast, brunch, or as a snack. Serves 12. Freezes easily.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Course Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine American, Holidays
Servings 12 slices
Calories 215 kcal


  • 9 x 5 loaf pan
  • stand or hand mixer


  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup Octonuts walnut oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup plain, unsweetened yogurt
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts


  • Preheat oven to 350°F and grease or line a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar with orange zest and stir together until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add in the eggs, orange juice, Octonuts walnut oil, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until well blended, 1-2 minutes.
  • Add in half of the flour mixture and stir until incorporated. Stir in all of the yogurt. Scrape down sides of bowl and add in remaining flour mixture until just combined.
  • Fold in the chopped cranberries and walnuts then spread prepared batter into loaf pan.
  • Bake on 350°F for 50 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted comes out clean.
  • Let cool in pan for 15 minutes then remove to a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing. Store tightly covered and enjoy within 3 days.


  • For more orange flavor, increase zest to 2 tbsp.
  • For best results, bake immediately after preparing batter.
  • Cake slices easier when cooled completely
To freeze leftover orange cranberry walnut bread:
Wrap slices individually then add into a freezer storage bag. Use within 3 months of freezing. Let thaw on counter for a few hours and enjoy (or warm in microwave).


Calories: 215kcal
Keyword Orange Cranberry Bread, Orange Cranberry Loaf Cake, Orange Cranberry Walnut Bread
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

I took a loaf of this Orange Cranberry Walnut Bread home to my parents for Thanksgiving and they loved it. I’ll take it as a compliment that it’s a good recipe (they used to run a bakery) 🙂

Andrew and I enjoyed visiting Virginia for the week but now we are shifting into Christmas mode here at home in St. Louis. Citrus everything will be on the menu for the next few months and this loaf cake is at the top of my baking list for the season. Hopefully you’ll give it a try asap and let me know what you think! Happy first week of December!


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