Cranberry Orange Muffins

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, cinnamon, and apple flooding kitchens in the fall. (Um, not that I’m complaining.) 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 muffin 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 this brown sugar goodness. Both winners.

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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
  • 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

  • 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, Glazed Apple Crumb Muffins, 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

186 Comments

  1. Carole Rouillard says:

    Hi, is there any way to substitute honey for the sugar?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Carole! We’d love to help but we are not trained in baking with sugar substitutes. For best taste and texture (and so you don’t waste your time trying to adapt this recipe since it may not work properly), it may be more useful to find a recipe that is specifically formulated for sugar substitutes like honey. Thank you!

  2. Vanessa Begat says:

    I’ve made these a bunch with fresh cranberries and LOVE IT but can’t find any right now. If I’m using dried, do I need to reconstitute them or just put them in as is from the bag?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Vanessa, 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!

  3. Sue Russo says:

    Oh my, these are fabulous! Moist, loads of flavor! I have been a baker/cook for over 40 years and this is hands down, the best orange cranberry muffin I have ever had.. It’s a keeper! I didn’t have any oranges to zest, so I doubled the orange juice and wow!

  4. Hi Sally,

    I do not have all purpose flour at this moment, and I wanna try to make this recipe – I have cake flour and self raising flour. Any of these flour I can use instead?

  5. Patricia M Vill says:

    I’m fairly new to baking. I was looking for a cranberry muffin when I came across this recipe! It was a very easy recipe to make and they tasted very good. I could not believe how light and fluffy they came out. My husband loved them too! Thank you for such a fantastic recipe!

  6. Hello I’m attempting these for a friends birthday this week, can I swap the all purpose for whole wheat flour?

    TIA

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      You can, yes, but the muffins will taste a little heavier.

      1. Julie Ellis says:

        I use whole wheat pastry flour and they’re a little heavier than regular white flour but MUCH lighter than whole wheat.

  7. Hi!! Is it possible to use a sugar substitute to make a diabetic-friendly recipe?? Thank you so much.

    1. Julie Ellis says:

      Yes! I use monk fruit by Lakanta and everyone LOVES my muffins and no one knows they’re sugar free! I also substitute orange essential oil (make sure you use one that is safe to ingest) instead of the orange zest. In spring and summer instead of cranberry orange, I make blueberry lemon. Wherever the recipe calls for orange, I use lemon and blueberries instead of cranberries. I love this recipe!

      1. this is exactly what was looking for.. being about to switch out the lemon or orange and or cranberries for blueberries. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Carol Vest says:

    Is there anything I can use instead of the yogurt?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Carol, sour cream would be a great substitute here.

  9. Hi Sally,
    Tried the recipe last night. Love the muffins! My buddy likes them too. I reduced the granulated sugar and they turned out fabulous! Thanks for sharing your recipe.
    Greetings from Malaysia.
    #StaySafe
    Joy

  10. Will this recipe work in a loaf pan?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Absolutely! 350 is the temp. Unsure of the bake time!

  11. I have made these before… delicious… I only have a small amount of fresh cranberries, frozen. Can I combine them with dried cranberries?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kathy, 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. kathy soury says:

    Can you combine the dried cranberries with the whole cranberries? Just thinking how that would work.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      You can use a combination of fresh and dried cranberries. Just keep the total amount to 1 and 1/2 cups. Enjoy!

  13. This recipe looks SO GOOOOD!!!! Just a quick question though, if I fill the batter all the way to the top, won’t the tins overflow? Thanks in advance!!!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Bowen! No, they’ll just rise up with beautiful, tall domes on top. Muffin batter is dense enough that it doesn’t spill over. Enjoy!

  14. i literally ran out of oranges yesterday; can i leave the zest and juice out?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jeff, you could try replacing the orange juice with additional milk and omit the orange zest for a plain cranberry muffin. Or, you can simply use our master muffin batter and use cranberries as your add-ins.

  15. Susan Shanagan says:

    Can I add walnuts to the recipe?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Susan, absolutely — you can add about 1/2 cup of walnuts to the batter. Enjoy!

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