Orange Bread

Unlike much of the country, Sacramento isn’t blanketed in snowy white in the dead of winter. We are blessed instead with plenty of green, with flowery shows of red and pink from camellias, and displays of bright orange and yellow from the grapefruit, lemons, kumquats, and oranges decorating the citrus trees that grow everywhere around here. Citrus season is the winter, and when nothing else seems to want to grow, we have an abundance of fruit. In fact, many of the boulevards in downtown Sacramento are lined with Seville orange trees, which anyone can pick, and which produce a sour fruit perfect for zest, marmalade, orangeade, and for baking. For this recipe I used a couple navel oranges from our tree, but truly any orange will do. It’s the zest that has the highly flavorful orange oil that you need for this quick bread.

Orange Bread Recipe

  • Yield: Makes one loaf.


  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest (or more for more intense orange flavor)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins, chopped

Optional Glaze

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice*
  • 1 teaspoon orange juice
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar)

*If you happen to have Seville oranges, or sour oranges, use this juice instead of the lemon juice.


1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 4x8-inch loaf pan. To make it easier to remove the loaf from the pan, you may want to lay down a wide strip of parchment paper, along the length of the bottom of the loaf pan, and up the narrow sides. Butter this as well.

2 Beat the butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes on high in an electric mixer. Add the sugar and beat for an additional 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until completely incorporated after each addition. Beat in the orange zest.

3 In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

4 Add the yogurt and dry ingredients by thirds, starting with the yogurt, alternating the additions. Beat only until just incorporated. Mix in the golden raisins.

5 Immediately pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Place in middle rack of 350°F oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes*, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

6 Cool on a rack in the pan for 5 minutes. Then remove the loaf from the pan and cool for another 10 to 15 minutes.

7 While loaf is cooling, prepare optional glaze if using. Whisk together the lemon juice, orange juice, and powdered sugar until smooth and there are no lumps. Place loaf on a serving plate. Use a toothpick or skinny skewer to poke holes in the top of the loaf and drizzle the glaze over the loaf.

*If you are using a 5x9 loaf pan, the loaf will be done earlier. Check at 40 minutes. You can use this recipe for muffins, in which case the cooking time should be 20-25 minutes.

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Orange quick bread with coconut from Food for Thought
Orange bread, a yeast bread version from Baking History
Seeded orange soda bread with poppyseeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds from Cook Almost Anything Once
Orange pumpkin loaf from Whisk: A Food Blog

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Showing 4 of 48 Comments

  • Judy B.

    This looks amazing! Luckily, a friend from California just presented us with a big box of Navel oranges, and this would be a great way to use some of them. What a nice change from the ordinary coffee cakes and breads we’re accustomed to baking. Thanks so much for this recipe….I will likely make it this weekend. I imagine it can be frozen if I want to make a couple extra loaves?

    Sure, it can be frozen. ~Elise

  • joan

    Hi, Elise – Hmmm….you’re picking oranges off trees – and we’re using snowblowers to get rid of 12-18″ of snow in NY City. We never get that much in Manhattan. Lol. This orange bread looks incredible. I’m really into baking right now – but have a few questions. Will it change the bread’s consistency if I substitute 4 egg whites for 2 eggs and use canola oil or applesauce instead of the butter? And, yes, I know the ingredients – just as you have listed them – will produce the best results. What do you think?

    No idea Joan. I don’t make substitutions like that. If you do, please let us know how it goes. ~Elise

  • Rayna

    Ok, as I read your description of sunny, citrusy Sacramento, my initial impulse was to type, “you make me sick, Elise!” But I realized that would not sound very nice. See, I am here in the Mid Atlantic part of the country, where we are getting hammered by snowstorm after blessed snowstorm. But I will certainly give this absolutely amazing looking bread a try this weekend; sliced warm with butter and a drizzle of honey and I’d think it would suddenly not be quite so cold outside!

    Sorry! You know the funny thing was that growing up, all I wanted was to have snowy winters. Got my wish one year in the 70s when it actually snowed an inch in Sacramento. Killed our avocado trees. I and my siblings gathered up all of the snow on our lawn and the surrounding lawns and built a snowman 2 feet tall (photo). The good news about winter is that it’s a great time to bake! Unlike in the middle of summer when the last thing you want to do is turn the oven on. ~Elise

  • Fred

    Looks great. Wish we had smell emails.
    How could use this in bread machine?

    I thought bread machines were for yeast doughs, aren’t they? This is a quick bread that you do not want to knead, just mix enough to combine. ~Elise

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