Spiced Cranberry-Orange Pecan Bread

closeup of slices of Cranberry-Orange Pecan Bread

I love Fall and Winter baking with all the seasonal spices, nuts, and fruits, and this Spiced Cranberry-Orange Pecan Bread checks all the boxes.  It’s lightly sweet, while full of bright pops of tart cranberries and just a hint of orange. The crunchy, toasty pecans bring both flavor and texture, and the warm spices add the perfect finishing note.

Best of all this bread comes together in just a few minutes.  It also freezes beautifully which means you can always have a few slices on hand when the need for a treat arises.  Additionally, I appreciate that the amount of sugar and butter isn’t off the charts so I can enjoy a slice without feeling like I had dessert.

There’s something truly delightful about sitting down for an afternoon break with a homemade treat and a cup of coffee or hot tea.  And if you happen to be joined by some girlfriends, as I was when I served this, all the better!  Fortunately, cranberries are easy to freeze (see my tip below) so you can make this treat year-round.

Don’t forget to pin this Cranberry-Orange Pecan Bread recipe for later!

Pinnable Image for recipe for Spiced Cranberry Pecan Orange Bread

Here’s What You Need to Make Spiced Cranberry-Orange Pecan Bread:

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 drops orange oil (or 1 Tbsp. grated orange zest)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. apple pie spice blend – OR
    • ½ tsp. cinnamon
    • ¼ tsp. cardamom
    • ¼ tsp. allspice
    • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
    • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • ¾ cup fresh or frozen cranberries, each cut in half & thawed if frozen
  • ½ cup chopped toasted pecans

Here’s What to Do:

Preheat oven to 350, and grease and flour one 9” x 5” loaf pan.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar 3 minutes on medium speed. Then beat in vanilla and orange oil/zest. Next beat in eggs, one at a time.

Meanwhile, combine flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Add this flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, and mix on low until almost combined. Using a spatula, fold in pecans and cranberries. Bake loaf 55 mins or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Halfway through the baking time, rotate pan  to ensure even browning and baking. Cool loaf in pan 15 minutes, then tip out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

serving of Cranberry-Orange Pecan Bread

Baking Tips for Cranberry-Orange Pecan Bread

Freezing Cranberries

As you know, fresh cranberries are available only in November and December.  Fortunately, they couldn’t be easier to freeze for year-round baking!  All you need to do is open the bag, sort out any mucky cranberries, and then lightly rinse the keepers.  Next, spread the rinsed berries out on tea towels to dry.  When the berries are dry, pour them into 1 Qt. freezer bags and toss them in the freezer.  Just don’t do what I sometimes do, which is hang onto them forever, waiting for a “special occasion” to utilize my treasures. True confession – I have found bags of cranberries in my freezer that were more than 2 years old!  Amazingly, they were just fine.  Of course I used them – I was raised to be frugal!

Cooking with Essential Oils

I encourage you to add pure citrus essential oils to your pantry (actually, your fridge).  I use them all the time to flavor drinking water, tea and coffee (a drop of orange oil in a cup of coffee is magical), salad dressings, desserts, breads, etc.  However, please be sure you are buying from a reputable company, and what you are buying are pure, undiluted essential oils.  Plant Therapy is my favorite brand because they offer a wide range of quality oils at great prices.

Pinnable image for Spice Blend recipe Posts

One last tip – save time by making a quick batch of my Apple Pie Spice Blend.  Honestly, making your own is a snap, and it’s wonderful in all kinds of baked goods.  In fact, any time cinnamon is called for in a recipe I often add this blend instead.

I hope you make Spiced Cranberry-Orange Pecan Bread and share it with someone you love while you enjoy a cuppa and a chat!


loaf of Cranberry-Orange Pecan Bread

If you enjoyed this recipe, here are few other delicious quick breads you might like:

Spiced Cranberry-Orange Pecan Bread

Everything wonderful about the cooler months in one sweet loaf – warm spices, bright citrus, crunchy pecans and sweet-tart cranberries!  
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Keyword Cranberries, Pecans, Quick Bread
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 12 Slices
Author Elizabeth at thewildolive.org


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 drops orange oil OR 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 ½ tsp Apple Pie Spice Blend OR spices listed below - see recipe in post
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries - each cut in half, then thawed
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans


  • Preheat oven to 350; grease and flour 9” x 5” loaf pan.  In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar 3 minutes on medium speed.  Beat in vanilla, orange oil/zest; beat in eggs, one at a time.  Combine flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk and mix on low till almost combined.  Fold in pecans and cranberries.  Bake loaf 55 mins or until tests done.  Cool loaf in pan 15 minutes, then tip out onto a wire rack to cool completely.


Check out my recipe for Apple Pie Spice Blend and two other baking spice blends – Pumpkin Pie Spice and Chai Spice

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