If you’re looking for a great way to use up your leftover frozen cranberries from Thanksgiving, look no further! This vegan cranberry bread recipe is the perfect way to do it. And the crystallized ginger and orange zest blend so well with the cranberries. A beautiful symphony of flavors is the best way to describe this cranberry loaf.
This recipe was inspired by the Vegan Orange Cranberry Bread recipe from Orchids and Sweet Tea. And FYI, for those with egg or milk allergies out there, this recipe is also egg-free and dairy-free in addition to being vegan.
You can easily bake this up and eat it as part of a balanced breakfast, brunch, snack, or even dessert! It’s even super tasty without the optional orange glaze.
Disclaimer: I was generously gifted the Organic Forti-Flax™ Flaxseed used in this recipe from Barlean’s– one of America’s #1 sellers of omega-3 supplements. I will NOT receive any compensation from making purchases through the links in this article and all content and opinions are my own.
Table of Contents
There are plenty of nutritional benefits going on in this cranberry bread. With three star ingredients in particular.
Cranberries this time of year are just magical. They are so bright. And they go so well in baked goods because cooking them with a little added sugar totally transforms the taste from SUPER tart to sweet and flavorful.
And of course cranberries contain many phytonutrients along with fiber, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and D (1). One study even reports that daily cranberry intake of ~1 small cup over a 12-week period improves memory performance and neural functioning in adults. And in addition to the brain benefits, there were also cardiovascular benefits in the form of decreased LDL cholesterol levels in those who ate cranberries daily for 12 weeks (2).
Baked goods like muffins and quick breads are such a good way to incorporate flaxseeds. Buy why would you want to, you ask?
For one, flaxseeds are a excellent source of plant-based omega-3 alpha linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is an essential fatty acid that we need to get from food source because our bodies cannot produce it on its own. Studies show that increased intake of ALA is aids many conditions including inflammatory diseases, metabolic disorders, certain forms of cancer, and obesity (3). It also benefits intestinal flora and has neuroprotective properties (3).
Quick Expert Tip: Make sure to use ground flaxseeds whenever you add it to foods. Using whole flaxseeds is difficult for your GI system to break down and will pass through your system undigested and so, you won’t reap the health benefits.
Ginger is actually a functional food. A functional food is one that not only offers nutritional value but also health benefits.
The bioactive components in ginger have been shown to have anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial activity. In addition, ginger may help protect against neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease (4).
Furthermore, studies also show that ginger may help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels (5).
All-purpose flour- good old AP flour is all you need here. But if you need or want to make this cranberry bread a gluten-free cranberry bread, then simply substitute your favorite gluten-free flour blend in place of the all-purpose flour.
Cranberries- some recipes will tell you that if you use frozen cranberries, you should toss them in flour to control moisture or to prevent a greenish hue to your bread (from the cranberries interacting with the baking soda).
Barlean’s FortiFlax Premium Ground Flaxseed- this organic flaxseed is already ground for you which is the only way to use it if you want to utilize the nutritional and health benefits! Not to mention it adds some nice flecks of brown in your vegan cranberry bread.
Crystallized ginger- you can purchase crystallized ginger in the baking section of your grocery store. It’s is usually in 2 ounce bottles, which is more than enough for this recipe which only calls for 2 tablespoons. I’ve also seen it in bulk sections of health food stores.
Cinnamon- a little bit of ground cinnamon, just enough to add a hint of spice. And because I absolutely LOVE cinnamon.
Salt- the salt here enhances the other flavors and helps balance the sweetness.
Orange zest– Orange always goes well with cranberries. Here we only want the zest which adds a subtle hint of orange without overpowering the other ingredients. I ended up using the zest from 2 navel oranges.
Almond milk mixed with apple cider vinegar– To make this recipe vegan, I used almond milk. And in order to make a vegan buttermilk, I added apple cider vinegar to it. This is the first step of the recipe because you want it to turn to a buttermilk-like consistency. As you’ll see, it starts to coagulate and look funny. This is totally fine and what you want, so don’t worry.
Vegan butter– In my grocery store, there’s only one brand of vegan butter by Earth Balance. It looks like butter, tastes like butter and has the same consistency of butter. However it’s made with a vegetable oil blend (palm, canola, soybean, flax, and olive oil). And bonus: it provides 20% of your daily plant-based omega-3’s per serving!
Baking powder and baking soda– Nothing fancy here. Just need a little baking powder and baking soda to help your vegan cranberry bread rise. It will react with the acid from your vegan buttermilk to form tiny bubbles, making your bread fluffy and less dense.
Vanilla extract– I always love adding a little vanilla to my cakes, cookies, muffins, and other baked goods when it makes sense. It adds a nice flavor that goes well with almost all the other ingredients.
Optional Glaze Ingredients:
The glaze is completely optional. And to be honest, I don’t think its necessary. But if you want it to look all pretty, I say go for it. You’ve already zested an orange for the bread, so why not juice it and use it to make a glaze? Hopefully you have some powdered sugar on hand!
I used the sugar replacement Swerve brand confectioner’s sugar. And I will admit, it turned out wonderful at first. But after sitting, the glaze got dull and slightly gritty. So my suggestion is to use real confectioner’s sugar.
How To Make
Time needed: 1 hour and 15 minutes
How to Make Vegan Cranberry Bread with Orange and Ginger
- Preheat your oven.
First thing’s first. Set your oven temp for 375 degrees fahrenheit to make sure it’s ready when you’re done mixing up the batter. FYI, this is also a good time to get your bread pan greased.
- Prepare the “buttermilk” mixture.
Next you need to combine the almond milk and the apple cider vinegar to create a vegan buttermilk mixture. Set this aside for now and wait until you’re ready to mix in the wet ingredients in step #4.
- Mix the dry ingredients together + the orange zest.
In a large mixing bowl, mix in all the dry ingredients up to the orange zest. I mixed it a few times with the whisk to combine.
- Add the wet ingredients.
After melting the vegan butter in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds (or until completely melted), add all the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Then mix until just combined. Do not overmix.
- Add the cranberries.
Lastly, fold in your fresh or frozen cranberries and pour the mixture into your loaf pan. Then using some extra cranberries, strategically place more cranberries on the top of your loaf to make it look oh so pretty and festive. 🎅🏻
- Bake it.
Pop the pan into your preheated oven and set the timer for around 50 minutes. Check on it when it gets close to the 50 minute mark to make sure it’s not getting too browned on top. Mine took about 1 hour exactly. And I checked the inside my inserting a wooden skewer which came out clean.
No. They are similar, however confectioner’s sugar is powdered sugar with the addition of an anti-caking agent (usually a starch). For this recipe it is perfectly fine to use them interchangeably.
Yes. If you don’t have any crystallized ginger or cannot find any in stores, you can try adding a small amount of ground ginger or even fresh ginger. For this recipe, I’d recommend using ~1 Tbsp of ground ginger or 2 Tbsp if using fresh finely grated ginger.
Yes you can substitute regular butter in place of the vegan butter. You may not want to substitute margarine however because it does have a higher water content and less fat, which may drastically change the baking time and also the consistency of the final product.
Vegan Cranberry Bread with Orange and Ginger
- 1 standard loaf pan usually ~9×5 inches
- 1 zester, grater, or microplane
Cranberry Bread Ingredients
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup brown sugar lightly packed
- ¼ cup Barlean's FortiFlax flaxseeds
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 2 Tbsp crystallized ginger finely chopped
- ½ Tbsp cinnamon ground
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp orange zest
- 1 cup almond milk unsweetened
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup vegan butter melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup fresh or frozen cranberries +extra for topping the bread
Orange Glaze (Optional)
- juice from 1 navel orange ~1-1½ oz
- 1½ cups Swerve confectioner's sugar may substitute regular confectioner's sugar
- Preheat your oven to 375°.
- In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix the almond mix and apple cider vinegar together. Set aside to allow to curdle while you finish the next step.
- Mix first 9 ingredients (dry ingredients, spices, and orange zest) together in a large bowl.
- In the same large bowl, add the almond milk mixture, melted vegan butter, and vanilla extract. Mix only until just combined.
- Fold in cranberries. May use fresh or frozen berries. They both turn out great!
- Grease a standard sized loaf pan. You may also line with some parchment paper to prevent sticking. Then pour your batter mixture into the loaf pan.
- Place a few extra cranberries onto the top of the bread batter to make for an aesthetically pleasing cranberry bread.
- Bake in a 375° oven for about an hour. Depending on oven settings, this time may vary. Check on your loaf around the 50 minute mark by inserting a sharp knife or skewer. If it comes out clean with no batter, it's done!
- Let cool slightly then remove from pan and add optional orange glaze (if making).
- To make the glaze, mix the juice of 1 navel orange with the powder/confectioner's sugar until completely smooth and glossy. Drizzle over your entire loaf and enjoy!
- I used frozen cranberries for this recipe (but you can also use fresh ones). And I did NOT coat them in flour prior to folding into the batter like some recipes suggest- the loaf stilled turned out perfect.
- If you’re not a fan of ginger, you can leave it out. I felt it gave an extra something special to the loaf that isn’t always expected.
- If you don’t have crystallized ginger, you can substitute 1 tsp of powdered ginger or 2 tsp of fresh ginger. You won’t get an little bits of ginger but your bread will still have a hint of warm ginger flavor.
Did you try this vegan cranberry bread recipe? Let me know by leaving a comment! I’d love to hear what you though of it. 😊
Related Article: Getting Omega-3’s With Barlean’s (Product Reviews and Recipes)
Interested in more vegan recipes? Try these:
- One-Pot Spicy Vegan Brunswick Stew
- Pumpkin Pie Smoothie [Vegan]
- Unexpectedly Good Dilly Bean Stew with Cabbage
- Vegan Egg Salad
How about more omega-3 fatty acid recipes?
- Seriously Delicious Cranberry Lemonade Smoothie
- Seriously Delicious Peach Melba Frozen Yogurt
- Pumpkin Oatmeal Raisin Cookies [Egg-Free]
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Kiran Campbell is a registered dietitian and entrepreneur with 13 years of experience. She has a degree in psychology as well as dietetics. She is also a proud member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ and its Cardiovascular Health and Well-being Dietetics Practice Group among others. Kiran proudly presents and promotes the most up-to-date, science-based nutrition information on all things heart-related. She aims to serve not only individuals with heart disease, but also those wanting to protect against it. Learn more about Kiran by visiting her About Page.