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Buttery and moist, these cranberry orange muffins are heavy on the flavor and bursting with cranberries in each bite.

cranberry orange muffins

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.

cranberry orange muffins on a yellow plate

cranberry orange muffins

Anyway, cranberry and orange are absolute perfection together and I’ve been dreaming about today’s muffins since I posted this particular cranberry orange bread recipe last year. 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.

2 images of cranberry orange muffin batter in a muffin pan and baked cranberry orange muffins in a muffin pan

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.

2 images of cranberry orange muffins

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!

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cranberry orange muffins on a yellow plate

Cranberry Orange Muffins

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 muffins 1x
  • Category: Muffins
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Buttery and moist, these cranberry orange muffins are heavy on the flavor and bursting with cranberries in each bite.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 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)

Orange Glaze

  • 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) orange juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Spray a 12-count muffin pan with nonstick spray or line with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Cranberries: You can use 1 and 1/2 cups dried cranberries as a substitute for the fresh/frozen cranberries.
  4. 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 Cranberry Orange Bread:

cranberry orange bread

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I don’t bake a lot so this was an endeavor and due to my lack of experience I didn’t check on them while baking.

    Baked at 400 for 20 and they burned quite a bit :*(

  2. Another tasty recipe! I used King Arthur GF flour — measure for measure or whatever it’s called — and followed the recipe exactly. I cut a couple minutes off the cook time, but my oven tends to run hot so that’s probably why. Definitely recommend.

  3. Your muffin recipes are always reliable, easy and tasty. I make them to have for breakfast or as a snack at work. Love the flavour with the orange and dried cranberries definitely going to make this one again.

  4. OMG, the fluffiness!!! This recipe makes the most fluffy and soft cupcakes ever. I’ve made them idk how many times so far and they are always super easy and perfect. Once made them with whole-wheat flour and they were still super soft, also have remplaced the cranberries for blueberries and dark chopped cherries and gosh… still super great!

    1. Hi Margie, We don’t usually include nutrition information as it can vary between different brands of the same ingredients. Plus, many recipes have ingredient substitutions or optional ingredients listed. However, there are many handy online calculators where you can plug in and customize your exact ingredients/brands. Readers have found this one especially helpful: https://www.verywellfit.com/recipe-nutrition-analyzer-4157076

    1. Hi Kari, That should be fine. Let us know if you give the muffins a try!

  5. Needed to bring breakfast to work. Found this recipe. It was easy and the muffins came out bakery-quality. Thank you!

  6. Hi, I was just wondering what the temperature change would be to make jumbo muffins. They look delicious!

  7. I love lemon cranberry muffins, but couldn’t find a recipe for them on your website, so I adapted this recipe to make them. I used one lemon for the zest and juice instead of the oranges, and omitted the cinnamon. I also didn’t put a glaze on top (doesn’t need it.) And I used frozen cranberries, not dried. They are so, so good! The best lemon cranberry muffins I’ve had. Store bought are always too greasy and don’t have enough cranberries. These muffins are amazing! Thanks for the recipe!

  8. Very good recipe, but had enough batter for at least 18 regular muffins.

  9. My husband’s favorite muffin is orange, but I don’t think he’d like the cranberries. Will the recipe work leaving the cranberries out? I love and trust your recipes, so I prefer to go with yours than one from a site I am not familiar with. 🙂

    1. Hi Melissa, You can leave them out with no other changes. We hope he enjoys them!

  10. Hi! I’d like to try these with half whole wheat and half white flour. Do you have any tips for adapting the recipe?

    1. Hi Stephanie! You could make this recipe with 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 all purpose flour without any other changes to the recipe. The muffins will be a little heavier and more dense. Still delicious, though!

  11. These are the best muffins! So moist and favor full. I have made your cranberry scones and everyone loves them!

    1. Hi Teadra, 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!

  12. I would love to try your recipe for the cranberry muffins. How much store bought orange juice should I substitute for the fresh orange? Thank you!

  13. So sorry, I just reread your recipe and I got my answer concerning the orange juice!

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