Cranberry Cream Cheese Bread is a soft, tender, quick bread that is perfect for breakfast or snack! It is studded with tart cranberries and finished with a sweet orange glaze, making it the perfect recipe for the holiday season!
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Easy: This is such an easy recipe! It doesn't require any kneading or rise time, just mix and bake! If you love quick bread recipes, Applesauce Pumpkin Bread and Banana Bread are two of my other favorites!
- Flavorful: The cranberries and orange zest give the loaf a nice punch of flavor and the cream cheese makes it incredibly moist and tender!
- Great for Gifting: There is nothing like freshly baked cranberry orange bread to get you in the holiday spirit! Wrap it in a bag and tie it off with some ribbon, and you have a delicious gift!
- Freezes Well: Make up a few batches and keep them in the freezer, then remove and thaw as needed throughout the holiday season. This cranberry bread is wonderful to keep on hand for last-minute gifts or easy breakfasts. They are also wonderful for your brunch buffet or afternoon snack!
If you are looking for more delicious cranberry recipes for holiday entertaining try this Cranberry Jalapeno Dip!
See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the full list of ingredients, including measurements.
Cranberries: Fresh or frozen cranberries can be used.
Cream Cheese: This is a moist and tender bread, thanks to the addition of cream cheese! The cream cheese also adds a subtle tangy flavor that complements the cranberries.
Eggs: The eggs act as a binder in our bread, which helps the dough to be smoother and fluffier.
Milk: Milk adds flavor and lightens the texture of the bread. You can substitute soy, almond, or rice milk.
Orange Zest: Orange and cranberry are a perfect harmony of flavors. Orange zest adds just the right amount of citrus to the bread, then the juice is used for a sweet citrus glaze.
Vanilla Extract: Vanilla extract adds flavor. I love the warm, complex flavor of vanilla but you can also use almond extract.
1) Cream the Butter, Cream Cheese, and Sugar
- Beat the butter, cream cheese, and sugar together in a large bowl on high speed for 2 minutes. This helps the sugar to dissolve into the butter, creating an airier batter. You can use a stand or hand mixer.
- Scrape the sides before adding your next ingredients, and also before adding in the flour, so that all of the ingredients are incorporated.
2) Add the Remaining Wet Ingredients
- Add the eggs, milk, zest, and vanilla, into the cream cheese mixture and mix well.
3) Add in Dry Ingredients
- In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
- Add the flour mixture to the batter. Mix on low speed until the flour is just incorporated. The mixture will be lumpy.
4) Fold the Cranberries in By Hand
- Finally, add the beautiful berries! Fold them in by hand, until the berries are distributed throughout the batter.
5) Bake the bread
- I recommend 8-inch loaf pans so you have taller bread, but 9-inch loaf pans can also be used.
- You can also bake this cranberry bread batter in 5-inch loaf pans to make mini loaves.
6) Finish with a Citrus Glaze
- While the bread is baking, whisk the glaze in a small bowl.
- This is a simple glaze of powdered sugar, orange juice, and vanilla. It adds a beautiful sweet orange flavor to finish off the bread.
Store the bread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for a week. Cranberry Cream Cheese Bread can also be frozen for up to 4 months. Wrap the whole loaf or individual slices in plastic wrap, then foil. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
Dried cranberries can be used instead of fresh, but you will use fewer berries. For this recipe, you will need 1 ½ cups of dried cranberries.
It is best to cream the butter and sugar with a mixer, in order to get light and airy bread. Mixing by hand will result in a more dense bread. After the butter and sugar are creamed, the rest of the ingredients can be mixed by hand, if you prefer.
When you cream sugar with softened butter and cream cheese the sugar crystals poke into the softened fats to create air pockets. If your butter and cream cheese are too cold, the air pockets won't occur and your batter will be dense.
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Cranberry Cream Cheese BreadRecipe by:
Cranberry Cream Cheese Bread
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, scooped and leveled (390 grams)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup butter, softened (110 grams)
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened (223 grams)
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar (300 grams)
- 3 eggs
- ⅓ cup milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1 cup powdered sugar (120 grams)
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the Bread
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray two 8x5-inch bread pans with nonstick spray.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream butter, cream cheese, and sugar using a hand or stand electric mixer. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes, then scrape the sides.
- Add in the eggs, vanilla extract, orange zest, and milk, and beat on medium speed, until mixed well. Scrape sides again, to ensure that all of the ingredients are mixed together.
- Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix on low speed until just incorporated. Do not overmix.
- Add the cranberries and stir on low speed, or by hand, until they are distributed throughout the batter.
- Pour the batter evenly into two loaf pans. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely.
Make the Glaze
- Whisk together the powdered sugar, orange juice, and vanilla, until smooth.
- Drizzle over the top of the cooled loaves.