This Cranberry Orange Banana Bread recipe yields an incredibly moist and flavorful banana bread scented with orange, warm earthy spices and studded with tart cranberries. Slice and serve with softened salted butter. Yields 2 loaves or 16 thick slices.
It’s not everyday that I have overly ripe bananas hanging out on the counter.
But when I do, I make banana bread.
And since the holidays are here, I had an idea and decided to add grated orange zest and fresh cranberries for a festive spin on my classic recipe. The results? Delicious. The subtle orange with the tart cranberries really work nicely with the banana flavor. It was everything I hoped it to be!
This cranberry orange banana bread would make an excellent gift. But equally amazing as an addition to breakfast or brunch and would also be the perfect after dinner dessert. I’ve even included instructions for storing and freezing below.
To Make This Cranberry Orange Banana Bread You Will Need:
- unbleached all-purpose flour – Gives structure to the banana bread.
- baking soda – Creates a gas while baking which helps the cake rise
- baking powder – Will create lightness in the batter, which makes it rise.
- fine salt – Use either sea salt or pink himalayan.
- cinnamon (ground) – Lends a distinct warm and woodsy flavor.
- ginger (ground) – Gives a pungent, spicy and sweet flavor.
- nutmeg (ground) – Warm, aromatic with subtle hints of clove.
- mace (ground) – A similar flavor to nutmeg with notes of cinnamon and black pepper.
- bananas – Use very (and I mean very) ripe bananas for added moisture, flavor and sweetness.
- granulated sugar (white) – Adds sweetness and flavor.
- light brown sugar – For a touch of sweetness and caramel-y flavor.
- orange zest – Adds bright and distinct citrusy notes.
- unsalted butter – Adds moisture, richness and flavor.
- eggs – Lends richness and flavor.
- vanilla – Adds warmth and enhances all of the other flavors in this recipe.
- milk – Adds moisture. Feel free to use any milk you have on hand.
- orange juice – Gives additional orange flavor and moisture to the batter.
- cranberries (fresh)- Lends a pop of color with bright, sweet and tart flavor.
Position your oven rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat to 325°.
Lightly grease (and line with parchment if desired) two 9×5 loaf pans with nonstick baking spray with flour. Or you could also grease and use parchment paper.
Prep the Dry Ingredients:
In a bowl measure and add 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda, 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon fine salt, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon ground mace.
Whisk to combine and set aside.
Prep the Wet Ingredients:
In a medium bowl, peel and add 3 very ripe bananas and use a fork to mash to desired consistency.
How to quickly ripen unripened bananas:
Don’t have ripe bananas but you need and want to make this bread? Simply place your unpeeled bananas on a small rimmed baking sheet. Slide them in a 350° oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Once cooled and save to handle, peel and add to a bowl before mashing!
Then in a large bowl, add 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup light brown sugar and the zest of 1 large orange – this will give a subtle orange flavor.
A Note On Orange Flavor:
The orange in this quick bread is subtle and perfect (in my opinion). However if you want more orange flavor, consider upping the amount of orange zest.
Use your fingers to mix and massage the sugar and zest together until it resembles coarse wet sand.
To the sugar mixture, pour in 1/2 cup melted and cooled butter.
Crack and add in 2 large eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons milk and 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice.
Whisk well to combine.
Add the mashed banana and stir to combine.
Combine the Dry and The wet ingredients:
Gradually add in 1/3 of the flour mixture at a time.
Mixing until just incorporated. Repeat with the rest of the flour mixture two more times.
Try not to over mix.
Lastly add in 2 cups halved fresh cranberries.
Use a rubber spatula to fold the cranberries in to the bread batter.
Measure and divide the batter evenly among the two prepared pans. It’s about 2-1/2 cups per pan.
Bake The Bread:
Spread the top of the batter smooth and bake in the lower-third of your oven for 40 to 45 minutes OR until a tester comes out of the middle with a few crumbs attached. In my oven, that took 40 minutes. Because every oven is different, I recommend checking at the 35 minute mark.
Rotate the pans halfway through to ensure even baking.
Best when served warm with softened salted butter. Maybe even a drizzle of honey and a cup of coffee or tea too!
How To Best Store and Freeze This Cranberry Orange Banana Bread:
Allow the bread to cool completely before storing. This quick bread will last up to 3 to 4 days on the counter if wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. For freezing, double wrap each loaf in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. Freeze up to 4 months.
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Enjoy! And if you give this Cranberry Orange Banana Bread recipe a try, let me know! Snap a photo and tag me on twitter or instagram!