This healthier vegan cranberry orange bread is perfectly moist, naturally sweetened, and made using wholesome ingredients. No eggs, no oil, no refined sugar, and an oat flour base! NO guilt!
This recipe was originally published in November 2019. It has been updated for content and photos.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Made this today and loved it.😋😋😋Between my husband and I, we ate the whole loaf in just one day. 😳 – Heather
This delicious loaf is perfect for the holidays with bursts of fresh orange flavour and tart cranberries throughout. It’s the perfect amount of sweet (if I say so myself), yet there’s ZERO refined sugar.
Naturally sweetened using dates (as I did for my vegan lemon loaf) and freshly squeezed orange juice. It’s healthy enough to serve for breakfast and delicious and sweet enough for dessert! Win-win!
Here’s why you’ll love it
- Healthy (for a dessert!) – it’s not only lower in calories, but it’s oil free and butter free, making it low fat. PLUS, it’s 100% naturally sweetened and uses wholesome oat flour! No refined ingredients.
- Festive enough for holidays, but simple enough to make any time of year.
- It’s suitable for all eaters! It’s gluten free, dairy free, egg free, nut free and soy free, which are among some of the top allergens.
Ingredients + Substitutions
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Oat flour: Make sure to get certified gluten free oat flour if needed. I usually buy rolled oats and grind them in my Vitamix to make the flour.
- Pitted dates: Or remove the pits yourself if using medjool dates.
- Baking powder: Make sure it’s fresh and still active, as baking powder may start to lose its effectiveness after sitting open in the pantry for a few months.
- Oranges: Use freshly squeezed oranges (not orange juice) for the best flavour and to avoid added sugar.
- Fresh cranberries: Fresh work best because they’re juicy and tart which pairs beautifully with the sweet oranges and dates. If you cannot get fresh cranberries where you live, or at a certain time of year, you may sub with fresh blueberries instead.
- Applesauce: Use unsweetened to avoid added and refined sugar. The applesauce acts as our egg replacement to help bind the loaf, so don’t skip it. If you cannot have, or don’t have any available, you may use mashed banana instead.
How to make it
(This is a summary with step by step photos, full recipe measurements and instructions are in the recipe card below.)
Start by gathering all your dry ingredients and adding them to a large mixing bowl. (photo 1)
Then add the dates and water to your blender and process until smooth to make date syrup. Set aside. (photos 2-3)
NOTE: You will end up with about 2 cups of date syrup, add 1.5 cups to the batter, and reserve the remaining half cup for glazing later.
Add the wet ingredients (including 1.5 cups of the date mixture) to your bowl of dry ingredients. Mix to combine. (photo 4)
Add the cranberries to the same bowl and fold them in. (photo 5)
Then pour the batter into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper and bake. (photo 6)
While the cranberry orange bread is baking, prepare your glaze by combining the remaining orange juice and date syrup in a small bowl. (photo 7)
Once the loaf is completely cooled to room temperature, you may glaze in a crisscross pattern. (photos 8-9)
Then slice, serve and enjoy!
Your cranberry orange bread tastes best on days 1-2. However, you may keep it at room temperature, wrapped or in a sealed container for 2-3 days.
If you’re planning ahead, you may fully bake the loaf and freeze it unglazed (once completely cooled to room temperature) for up to 6 weeks. Make sure it’s very tightly wrapped or use an airtight, freezer-safe container.
Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and glaze before serving.
- If you do not have a powerful blender, soak your dates in warm water for about 15 minutes first. Then drain and make the date syrup as directed. This will help soften the dates, making them easier to blend.
- Use fresh and active baking powder. Baking powder that is open in your pantry for 6+ months can start to lose its effectiveness.
- Make sure your cranberry orange bread is completely cooled before glazing.
- If you don’t have fresh cranberries available where you live, fresh blueberries also work beautifully in this sweet bread.
More delicious sweet breads
If you tried this recipe, please let me know about it in the comments below. I always love hearing from you! Don’t forget to Subscribe to This Healthy Kitchen to be among the first to get my new recipes! You can also FOLLOW ME on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter to see more delicious food and get all the latest updates.
- 2 cups oat flour gluten free if preferred
- 2.5 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a 9″ x 5″ (or similar) loaf pan with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all your dry ingredients and whisk together. Set aside.
- Add the pitted dates and water to a blender and process until completely smooth. This will make about 2 cups of date syrup. Measure 1.5 cups worth that will be used in your loaf and the remaining ½ cup will be used later to make the glaze. Do not use more than 1.5 cups in the loaf.
- Now add your wet ingredients (except the cranberries), to the bowl of dry ingredients: 1.5 cups of the date syrup you made, ½ cup of orange juice, the orange zest, and the applesauce. Mix until combined and then fold in the cranberries.
- Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan and gently tap the loaf pan down 2-3 times on a hard surface to ensure there are no gaps in the bread. Don't press down with a spatula.
- Bake in your preheated oven for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle, comes out dry. Depending on your oven and loaf pan size, cooking time will vary. Once baked, remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before removing the bread from the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before glazing.
- To make your glaze: Add 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice to your remaining ½ cup of date syrup and mix well. Then drizzle the glaze over your cooled loaf. Slice and enjoy!