Cranberry orange zucchini bread is a tender bread recipe filled with orange juice and zest, walnuts, dried cranberries, and cozy spices. The perfect quick bread for the holidays, with all your favorite seasonal flavors!
Cranberry orange zucchini bread is the perfect bread for the holiday season. This tender, moist zucchini bread is filled with your favorite seasonal flavors like orange, cranberry, cinnamon, and walnuts.
Freshly grated zucchini adds plenty of moisture and structure to this bread recipe. You'll also need one orange - we'll use the zest and juice for extra orange flavor. Crunchy walnuts and chewy cranberries add flavor and texture to your bread loaf, and cinnamon adds a hint of cozy warmth.
Serve cranberry orange zucchini bread during fall and winter months when you're craving all your favorite seasonal flavors. It's great for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and gift giving!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Zucchini - You'll need one cup of finely grated zucchini (before squeezing out the liquid). We're squeezing out the liquid because we're utilizing the orange juice for added flavor, and don't want to add too much moisture (this causes your bread to be gummy). One cup of shredded zucchini should weigh about 135 grams before, and about 70 grams after squeezing the liquid out. This equals about 1 medium or 1.5 small zucchini.
- Orange - You'll need one medium orange for this recipe. We'll be using the zest and juice of the orange. Most of the flavor comes from the zest, so I don't recommend omitting it. Orange juice adds fresh citrus flavor and moisture to your bread.
- Sugar - Granulated sugar adds sweetness and moisture to your zucchini bread. I do not recommend using brown sugar in this recipe, your bread crust will turn out a bit too dark.
- Vegetable oil - Adds moisture to your bread. Canola oil or light olive oil can work in a pinch.
- Eggs - Add moisture and structure to your bread.
- Vanilla extract - Adds depth of flavor to your bread.
- All-purpose flour - Adds structure to your bread. I have not tested this recipe with other types of flours, so I don't suggest making any substitutions. Baking is an exact science, and altering main ingredients can change the density and texture of your bread. Instead, search for a recipe that includes the flour you'd like to use.
- Leavening agents - This recipe uses both baking soda and baking powder. They cannot be substituted for one another - you'll need both to get the proper amount of lift.
- Spices - Cinnamon and salt add depth of flavor to your bread. Salt enhances the flavor of your bread without making it "salty". Cinnamon can be substituted with a spice blend like pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice for a fun seasonal twist.
- Walnuts - Add crunch and texture to your bread. Can be omitted if desired, or substituted with pecans.
- Dried cranberries - Add fruity flavor and chewiness to your bread. Can be omitted if desired, or substituted with raisins.
Do I need to peel my zucchini?
No, there's no need to peel your zucchini before grating it to make zucchini bread. Finely shredded zucchini blends seamlessly into the bread while baking, so you won't even notice it's there (aside from a few green flecks here and there).
Plus, the skin of the zucchini contains fiber and nutrients you'd otherwise be missing by peeling it off. Not to mention it takes extra prep time to peel your zucchini.
The only exception is if you're using an extra large zucchini with very tough skin - you may want to peel the skin off in this case.
Do I need to squeeze the liquid out of my zucchini?
Yes, for this recipe I highly recommend squeezing the liquid out of your zucchini. Each recipe varies, but for this recipe, we're also utilizing the orange juice for extra flavor. This means that we need to squeeze the liquid from our zucchini to prevent adding too much moisture, which makes your bread gummy and wet.
How to store zucchini bread
For detailed information on storing zucchini bread, check out my full post: How to store zucchini bread
Room temperature - Zucchini bread can be stored in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.
Refrigerator - If your bread is extremely moist/wet, you may want to store your zucchini bread in the refrigerator instead. Zucchini bread will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week in a tightly sealed container.
Freezer - Zucchini bread can be carefully wrapped in plastic wrap/foil (either the entire loaf or single slices), then stored in a freezer safe bag or container in the freezer for up to 6 months. Set out on the counter top for 1 to 3 hours to thaw to room temperature.
Cranberry Orange Zucchini Bread
- 1 cup (135 g) finely grated zucchini, after measuring, squeeze liquid out*
- 1 medium orange
- ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (100 g) vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cups (210 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (57 g) dried cranberries
- ¼ cup (28 g) chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease one 9x5 loaf pan (or line with parchment paper) and set aside.
- Measure 1 cup (135 grams) of grated zucchini, then place into a few layers of paper towels, or a kitchen towel, and gently squeeze over the sink to remove excess liquid. Zucchini should measure about 70 grams afterward.
- Zest and juice one orange into a large bowl. Add finely grated zucchini (with liquid squeezed out), granulated sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Stir until evenly combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add to wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Add dried cranberries and walnuts, stirring until incorporated.
- Pour into prepared loaf pan. Bake for about 48 to 55 minutes, OR until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean/with dry crumbs, or bread reaches 200 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit in the center (baking times will vary based on your oven and type of pan used).
- Allow bread to cool completely on the counter before removing from pan and slicing.
- Measure 1 cup (135 grams) of finely grated zucchini, then squeeze liquid out (70 grams) before adding to the batter.
- Leftover zucchini bread will keep in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. If your bread is very moist/wet, I recommend refrigerating.
- Zucchini bread can be frozen for up to 6 months. Tightly wrap in plastic wrap/foil and store in a freezer safe bag or container. Thaw on the counter top for 1 to 3 hours.
- There's no need to peel the skin off your zucchini unless desired.
- Cranberries can be substituted with raisins, walnuts can be substituted with pecans (or omitted entirely).