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Orange-Cranberry Soda Bread with White Chocolate Chunks

Makes one 7½-inch loaf

1¼ hours 25 minutes active, plus cooling

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This is not your traditional Irish soda bread. The crumb is fragrant with orange zest and studded with tangy dried cranberries plus bits of creamy white chocolate that add the perfect amount of sweetness. We adapted the recipe from “Rising Hope” by Rachel Stonehouse and Kaila H. Johnson, both members of the team at London’s Luminary Bakery, a social enterprise that supports disadvantaged women by teaching them baking skills. The bread is the creation of Aine, the former head baker at Luminary Bakery, who taught the recipe to trainees in the days before Christmas. Indeed, the rustic loaf is special enough for a holiday breakfast or brunch, but it comes together so quickly and easily that it’s great at any time of the year.

Makes one 7½-inch



Don’t chop the white chocolate into tiny bits. Keep the pieces chunky—roughly ½ inch in size—otherwise they will simply disappear into the crumb. Also, don’t knead the dough as if it was a yeasted dough. Handle it gently, as if making biscuits or scones. A light, gentle touch helps ensure a tender crumb.

1¼ hours

25 minutes active, plus cooling


  • 210

    grams (1½ cups) dried cranberries, roughly chopped

  • 1

    tablespoon grated orange zest, plus 2 tablespoons orange juice


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Mary O.
March 20, 2023
Orange cranberry soda bread
The dough was very wet and required an extra cup of flour, but the bread was very moist and flavorful.
Alyce G.
January 25, 2023
Went offroad, but still delicious
I didn't have any white chocolate so I substituted diced candied lemon peel and increased the orange juice a bit when rehydrating. My loaf took longer to cook (close to an hour) but after cooling it sliced perfectly and tastes lovely. I will definitely substitute other dried fruit and/or nuts for the chocolate in the future, thanks for such a flexible recipe!
Sue E.
January 19, 2023
Can raisins be substituted for cranberries and skip the chocolate?
Maureen R.

Easy and delicious. Moist and perfect with a cup of tea. Will make again.

Amy T.

Followed this recipe exactly and we really enjoyed it. I liked the texture the most on baking day. The next day, it still tasted fine but the crumb was a bit tougher but still wonderful dipped in tea.

Frances R.

This was so delicious. I froze 1/2 and I hope it will be good. I will make this again!

Brenda S.

This is delicious, fast, and easy. I agree that it is a bit tougher the next day but still good. I will measure ingredients the night before, then mix and bake in the morning for my brunch group. I too hope it freezes well.

Marianne S.

Could this be made with frozen whole cranberries instead of the dried?

Lynn C.

Hi Marianne -

Unfortunately, no. Fresh fruit has more water than dried fruit (which has basically none). Using fresh fruit will throw off the balance of wet to dry ingredients in the recipe. You can try using other dried fruits, but keep in mind that the recipe was developed to highlight the balance between the tartness of the cranberries and the sweetness of the white chocolate so not all dried fruit will work here. We would recommend dried sour cherries as a good substitute.

The Milk Street Team

Maura M.

Unsweetened or sweetened dried cranberries?

Lynn C.

Hi Maura -

We always call for sweetened dried cranberries. Unsweetened cranberries are not only exceptionally tart but very hard to find.

The Milk Street Team