Buttery and moist, these cranberry orange muffins are heavy on the flavor and bursting with cranberries in each bite.
Cranberry is an underrated fall flavor, dontcha think? It’s often lost in all the pumpkin pie and apple recipes flooding kitchens in the fall. Cranberry deserves some love! That being said, how about a POP of vibrant cranberry for breakfast? An abundance of cranberries in every soft, buttery bite. Paired with a bright zest of orange and a sweet orange glaze to finish things off.
Orange is cranberry’s soulmate. Like peanut butter is to
jelly chocolate, Fridays are to wine, and french fries are to a chocolate frosty–> an obvious match made in heaven.
I love tart cranberries paired with sunshine-sweet orange. Over the years I’ve shared recipes for cranberry orange Bundt cake, cranberry orange icebox cookies, and orange cranberry bread. I have since made that bread, I don’t know, about 1 million times. Sometimes with streusel, sometimes without (who am I?), but always always always with tons of cranberries and orange zest. Divine.
And so, today’s muffins were born. Festive, fluffy, cinnamon-spiced, and packed with flavor. We’re talking huge flavor! I used my blueberry muffins recipe as the base. Why? All that glorious butter flavor packed inside. Paired with juicy cranberries and bright citrus, the combination of flavor is unreal in these cranberry orange muffins.
These are simple to make. There’s nothing fancy, nothing strange about them. Just a few basic ingredients to make one outrageous morning breakfast.
The star of the show is obviously the cranberries. You may use fresh or frozen. I go a little heavy handed on them– and I think you’ll love that. Because you know when you bite into a “fruit” muffin only to find three small blueberries in one bottom corner? So all you’re really eating is baked flour, sugar, and butter masking as a “fruit” muffin? No, that’s not happening here. All crannies, all over the place.
Besides the burst of tart cranberries, I absolutely love the texture of these cranberry orange muffins. They have more of a cake-like crumb, which is a result of creaming butter and sugar together– as opposed to using oil. They’re light and fluffy, just like cupcakes. Also: they’re so moist. Two eggs, yogurt, and a splash of orange juice (for flavor!) are to thank for their tender, moist centers.
The sweet orange glaze adds to their charm. You can leave the glaze off, but it adds a little extra orange flavor. Kevin and I both liked the muffins with the glaze more. Shocking.
Warm from the oven, these glazed cranberry orange muffins are the best treat to cozy up with on chilly mornings. Or these brown sugar cinnamon pop tarts. Both winners.
And if you can’t get enough of cranberries for breakfast, try my cranberry Christmas cake next. But don’t limit it just to Christmas… or just to breakfast!
More Muffin Recipes
I have dozens of muffin recipes on my site. Here are a few favorites:
Cranberry Orange Muffins
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 12 muffins
- Category: Muffins
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Buttery and moist, these cranberry orange muffins are heavy on the flavor and bursting with cranberries in each bite.
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (50g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (120g) yogurt*
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- zest of 2 oranges
- 1 and 3/4 cups (219g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) orange juice
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) milk (any kind)
- 1 and 1/2 cups (185g) fresh or frozen cranberries (do not thaw)
- 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
- 3 Tablespoons (45ml) orange juice
- Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Spray a 12-count muffin pan with nonstick spray or line with cupcake liners. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the granulated and brown sugars and beat on high until creamed, about 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute, then turn up to high speed until the mixture is combined and uniform in texture. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Then, beat in the orange zest until combined.
- In a large bowl, toss together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and slowly mix with a whisk. Add the orange juice and milk, gently whisking until combined and little lumps remain. Fold in the cranberries with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
- Spoon batter into prepared muffin pan, filling them all the way to the top. Top the batter with an additional cranberry or two, for looks if desired. (I like the pop of color on top of the muffins in doing this.) Bake for 5 minutes at 425°F (218°C), then keeping the muffins in the oven, lower the oven temperature to 350°F (177°C) and bake for 18-20 more minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The total times these muffins take in the oven is about 23-25 minutes.
- While the muffins are cooling for a few minutes, make the glaze by whisking the glaze ingredients together. Drizzle over warm muffins. Allow to briefly cool before serving.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Muffins without glaze stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 5 days. Cover and store muffins with glaze at room temperature for up to 1 day or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Glazed or unglazed muffins freeze well for up to 2 months.
- Yogurt: Use your favorite yogurt; I prefer low fat plain Greek yogurt but regular (not Greek) would be just fine. Try with orange flavored, vanilla, honey, nonfat, or full fat. Sour cream works as well.
- Cranberries: You can use 1 and 1/2 cups dried cranberries as a substitute for the fresh/frozen cranberries.
- Mini Muffins: For mini muffins, bake at 350°F (177°C) for about 11-13 minutes or until baked through. Use a toothpick to test for doneness.
Keywords: cranberry orange muffins
There’s more where these muffins came from! Try this same recipe, 3 other ways: Blueberry Muffins with Streusel Topping, Apple Cinnamon Muffins (with lots of crumbs on top!), and Peach Streusel Muffins.
For a more hearty, bakery style muffin– try these chocolate chip muffins! And here is my insanely-over-the-top-in-the-best-way-possible Orange Cranberry Bread:
Reader Comments & Reviews
I almost didn’t make this recipe because one of the reviewers said she likes to fill her muffin tins to the top, therefore it only makes 6 muffins – this isn’t true at all. It makes 12 nice size muffins. She must have been using a jumbo muffin pan. Great recipe!
Hi I made the muffins last night,messed up a bit,but still tasted good.I like to make large muffins the recipe made six muffins filled to the top. I cooked them for seven minutes at 4:25 and then 20 minutes at 3:50 but when I inserted thoothpick it was not cooked enough gave it 20 more minutes…..too well done,but still taste good…..do you have some suggested cooking time for this recipe in large muffin tins
Hi Lynne, for jumbo sized muffins, you can follow the baking time and directions from these jumbo blueberry muffins as a guide. Thank you for giving these a try!
I was looking to make recipe using dried cranberries, has anyone tried this? By the way the recipe sounds delicious
Hi Raegs, dried cranberries will work here — you can put them in directly from the bag, or you can rehydrate them by soaking them in water for a bit. Either works!
I love Sally’s recipes. I live at higher altitude, so I added just 1/2 t. baking soda (instead of 1 t.) and also added 2 t. canola oil to ensure that they’d be moist. Wow, they are great!
Not a fan! These muffins came out very dry, however they were flavorful
Hi Maureen, thank you for giving these muffins a try. Should you decide to try them again, here are a few tips that should help (with any muffin recipe!). Be sure to spoon and level your flour or use a kitchen scale to ensure it is not over measured. Too much flour can significantly dry out the muffins. The muffins may also be slightly over baked if they are coming out too dry. You can try shortening the bake time by a minute or so next time. Thanks again!
Do you think this batter would work for making muffin tops? I’ve seen a couple recipes for muffin tops where the batter is scooped out onto a baking sheet, but it would have to be thick enough not to spread too much and I’m not sure how well they would bake. I know that you can also buy muffin top baking tins but I’m not sure if you would still bake them at the higher temp for 5 minutes or just bake them entirely at 350.
Hi Michelle! We would love to help but have no experience with baking muffin tops – let us know if you give them a try!
The muffins came out nice and moist and puffed up very nicely. The orange flavor was less than I would have liked. I will definitely make these again maybe increase the amount of orange juice and decrease the vanilla.
Do you think these muffins would freeze well?
Absolutely! See recipe notes: Glazed or unglazed muffins freeze well for up to 2 months.
So amazing!! Everyone loved these. I skipped the icing only because I don’t love super sweet things. Nobody complained. I also have used this same recipe subbing in different berries, they came out just as good. I highly recommend!!
I can’t remember if I’ve already left a review. lol But this is probably my 3rd time making these and the recipe is easy to follow. We love them so much. They are perfect in every way. Thank you!
I have made this recipe twice now and each time doubled the recipe. (Costco bag of cranberries!)
because It seems like too much work for just 12 muffins. Great results both times. I liked the sour cream just a little better than the yogurt. My one change was using undiluted frozen orange juice in both the batter and the icing. Upped the flavor!
Your recipes are consistently great!
What are your recommendations for adding chopped walnuts? I love the whole grain cranberry nut muffins a local grocery makes and would like to make them myself. Thank you!
Hi Virginia, you can definitely add some chopped walnuts to this recipe. Try adding about a 1/2 cup (60g). Hope they turn out well!
these are the tastiest cranberry orange muffins I’ve ever had and this recipe is a keeper for sure. I used 1 c of cranberries which was plenty.
Instead of glazing, I sprinkled turbinado sugar over each muffin before baking. It gave the tops a nice bit of sweet crunch, like the Dunkin’ Donut ones. I will do this every time. Thanks for the recipe!
Our family loved these muffins too, but we thought there weren’t quite enough cranberries, so I guess it’s a matter of taste. Also, I substituted buttermilk for the yogurt and it worked great.
can you use canned whole cranberries?
Hi Liz, we don’t recommend it. Canned whole cranberries tend to include sugars and other ingredients and will add quite a bit of liquid to the batter. It’s best to use fresh or frozen cranberries (or even dried cranberries — see recipe Notes for details) in this recipe.
As a UK resident I was very happy to find a recipe that had all the measurements in grams too! My muffins turned out beautifully and everyone loves them! Thank you very much.
I made these for some family and friends and we all thought these were the best muffins we have made/eaten! Great recipe! Question-I want to make them for family but they don’t have a muffin tin. Can I use casserole dish/pan? If so, what size?
Hi Rachel, you could use a 9×5 inch loaf pan instead and follow the bake time and instructions from cranberry orange bread. So glad these were a hit!