Nana's Cranberry Bread - Great LC Holiday Bakeoff 2023 Entry

Nana’s Cranberry Bread
(Recipe can be doubled, and baked loaves can be frozen)

2 cups All Purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup margarine, melted (or butter)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp fresh grated orange zest (or reconstituted dried orange peel)
3/4 cup orange juice
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries* (if you like lots, you can use up to 3 cups)
Extra granulated sugar for sprinkling, if desired

*if using fresh cranberries, cut them in half

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a loaf pan and set aside.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a bowl.

Mix the melted margarine, sugar, egg, orange peel, and orange juice in a large bowl.

Sift in the dry ingredients, and mix lightly till just combined (no dry flour left), but do not over mix. Fold in the cranberries.

Pour into the loaf pan. If desired, sprinkle the top with extra granulated sugar. Bake 60-70 minutes.

Notes: This recipe calls for margarine, because that’s what was originally called for in my grandmother Marion Jane’s recipe, but it works just fine with butter. She was a child of the Great Depression, and, most of her handwritten recipes called for “Oleo”. When I was in high school, I had to do interview someone who lived through the Depression. I remember her telling me how Oleo was solid white, like shortening, and it came with a tiny packet of dye, that you were supposed to mix into it, to make it yellow so it would look more like butter. You can absolutely use butter, and I’ve also had luck with half butter and half vegetable oil in a pinch.

My mom, Cindy Lee, has tweaked the recipe over the years, adding more cranberries, orange juice, and orange zest. This is the version I grew up with and make every year. Mom has upped it from 1 1/2 cups cranberries to 3 cups. I’m fine with 2 or 2 1/2 cups, and I don’t sprinkle the sugar on top. I loved that sugar crust as a kid, but I find it too sweet now.

This Thanksgiving, I didn’t have fresh oranges in the house (though I did have juice), so I used dried orange peel, that I reconstituted in hot water for 10 minutes. It worked great too.


The yummy things that come out of your kitchen! This looks delicious.

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This sounds delicious!

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Orange and cranberry is such a delicious combo. I bet this tastes amazing.

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