Breakfast, Cake, Recipes

The Best Orange Bread You'll Ever Have


I’ve made orange bread countless times before but can’t remember coming across a recipe as great as this one, from James Beard’s American Cookery.

First of all, who doesn’t like a bread that perfumes their kitchen with a light citrus scent? Second and more importantly, the texture is pretty incredible, somewhere between sliced sandwich bread and a hearty banana bread. It’s light enough for breakfast yet hearty and sweet and filling enough to go with afternoon coffee or tea.

And here’s the kicker: this delicious cakey bread, which stayed moist for almost a week later with no hint of staleness, is made with just two tablespoons of butter. I’m so used to using at least a stick of butter in these types of breads that I forget how juice and water be equally as effective in helping with the texture. Plus, you don’t feel weighed down if you accidentally eat, say, a quarter of a loaf in one sitting.

So I urge you to make this orange bread the next time you have a craving for something cakey and sweet. Play around with it and add cranberries, nuts, etc. It’s a bread you’ll make again and again.


The Best Orange Bread You'll Ever Have

Makes 1 loaf


  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons orange zest


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large stand mixer or another large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg. Combine the orange juice and hot water. Alternate adding the OJ/water mixture and the dry ingredients to the creamed ingredients, mixing well after each addition. You should begin and end with the dry ingredients. Stir in the orange zest.
  3. Pour the mixture into a 9×5 loaf pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the bread from the pan and cool one a wire rack.

Adapted from James Beard’s American Cookery