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 by sallysbakingaddiction.com-- buttery and moist, these festive muffins are packed with flavor!

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 by sallysbakingaddiction.com-- buttery and moist, these festive muffins are packed with flavor!

Cranberry Orange Muffins on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

Cranberry Orange Muffins by sallysbakingaddiction.com-- buttery and moist, these festive muffins are packed with flavor!

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.

Cranberry Orange Muffins by sallysbakingaddiction.com-- buttery and moist, these festive muffins are packed with flavor!

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 (220g) 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: Unglazed muffins stay soft, fresh, and moist covered at room temperature for up to 5 days. 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:

Orange Glazed Cranberry Bread

Cranberry Orange Muffins-- buttery and moist, these festive muffins are packed with flavor!
Cranberry Orange Muffins by sallysbakingaddiction.com-- buttery and moist, these festive muffins are packed with flavor!

404 Comments

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  1. Hi Sally, i tried this recipe and the muffins were SO delicious but unfortunately, they weren’t moist 🙁 I used dried cranberries instead of frozen or fresh. Could that have been the reason why the muffins were dry?

    1. Hi Kaye, I wouldn’t think that the dried cranberries would be the issue. Did you do anything differently or alter any ingredients? Make sure that you are spooning and leveling your flour (not packing it!) and careful not to over-bake the muffins. Reducing the bake time by 1-2 minutes may help for next time.

  2. Vicki Maass says:

    Hi Sally,
    Haven’t made these yet, but they sound terrific! Can you please send me the nutritional information breakdown for this recipe?

    Thanks!

    1. I’m unsure of the nutritional info of this recipe, but there are many great online calculators like this one: https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp

  3. I’ve been baking since I was a young girl (85 years old now) and I must admit these are the most superb muffins I’ve ever made. I did reduce the sugar to a scat 1/3 c otherwise no changes. Delicious! Thank you for a great recipe.

  4. I make these today and they can out dry and I feel they lack flavor. I followed everything to the T. The glaze was runny. It had orange flavor and cranberry flavor, but they weren’t very sweet.
    I used light brown sugar, maybe I should use dark.
    I will try again sometime.

  5. Muffin was still very moist the next day. Very flavorful!

  6. Absolutely delicious! I only had dried sweetened cranberries (reduced the amount to 1 cup because I was worried about the sweetness). The flavor was amazing. I did replace 50 grams of the all-purpose flour with 50 grams of whole wheat pastry flour. Very good!
    My only criticism would be that the glaze was incredibly too thin. I had to add more sugar to thicken it. I would suggest adding the orange juice gradually rather than all at one time.
    These will definitely go on my muffin rotation!

    1. Forgot to add that I had to cook these a little differently. I’ve found that my oven burns muffins when cooked following Sally’s directions. I did 5 minutes at 400 degrees and then about 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

  7. Used sour cream instead of yogurt, bread flour (and a little extra milk) and substituted the juice/zest of 2 lemons instead of orange. Didn’t bother making the topping. Even without it, they turned out great! Thanks for the recipe.

  8. Rachael Shoy says:

    Hi Sally,

    I made the muffins..very moist and excellent muffin recipe. I am getting a slight bitter taste…. did anyone else experience this?

    Could it be the baking soda???

    Thank you so much for a reply. I would really like to make again.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rachel, Fresh cranberries can taste bitter when uncooked – but sweeten up when cooked/baked. If your berries are particularly large go ahead and chop them into slightly smaller pieces to make sure they bake. You should also check to make sure your baking soda is fresh, most boxes say they are good for 6 months but we tend to replace them after 3 for optimal freshness.

  9. Made these super delicious muffins for our breakfast treat yesterday. Skeptical about using frozen cranberries, but did it. WOW, the cranberries popped during baking and the rest is history. My husband and I admitted we could not stop with one. Absolutely the best cranberry orange muffin recipe ever.

  10. Made these last night. The muffins were moist. I had to use vanilla yogurt with sugar in it because my other option was greek. The flavor is good. I only had 1 orange zest to add. Used frozen cranberries. It came out very tart. How could I cut the tartness?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jen, these muffins are naturally tart because of the cranberries. Next time, try using half of the cranberries (3/4 cup). Thanks for giving these muffins a try!

  11. Tried this recipe and like all your recipes it came out fab!! Will defo be baking these often, thank you so much! Xx

  12. Not very flavorful. Not sure how this has 5 stars.

  13. Can you use dried cherries

  14. Elise Dertinger says:

    Hi Sally….Can I do a straight up substitute for lemon (zest and juice) instead of orange? Lemon Cranberry Muffins are my husbands FAVE. Would love to see a Lemon Cranberry Muffin recipe of yours one day!

    Thanks in advance,

    Elise

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Elise, We haven’t tested these with lemon but you can certainly try. You might also like these Blackberry Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins where you can use cranberries instead of blackberries if you wish.

      1. Elise Dertinger says:

        Great idea! I will use the blackberry recipe. Thanks so much!

        Elise

  15. Delicious, dense and moist. I used canned jellied crandberry sauce about 1 cup, sour cream, lemon juice and lemon zest, a few chocolate chips for my daughter. Yummy! Perhaps a few walnuts would of been good.

  16. Hi Sally,
    Just made these and added the glaze. I measured the glaze twice with scale and it came out so runny and clear. Not like your pic. Should I have just added more powdered sugar or less orange juice? Or both? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Alison, You can always thicken the glaze up by adding more of the sugar. If you decide to make this again, start with less orange juice and then add it a little at a time until you reach your desired consistency.

  17. Made these for a brunch. Made a strudel topping instead of the glaze. Ooohhh so good. They were gone fast.

  18. samanta aniston says:

    I tried this recipe…muffins turned out very well. Tqvm for sharing.

  19. These muffins are amazing! A perfect balance of sweet and tart. If you’re wondering whether you should make them, the answer is yes, you definitely should.

  20. Excited to have found this recipe. Curious what the substitute for yogurt would be in the recipe? Dairy products not permitted due to a dietary restriction. Thx.

    1. Dairy free yogurt works and I’m sure the same amount of mashed banana or unsweetened applesauce could work in a pinch.

      1. Thank you Sally. I was wondering about the applesauce. Looking forward to trying this recipe for another use of the fresh bag of cranberries I bought.

  21. Hi Sally,

    Can you use buttermilk? These look amazing.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes, you can use buttermilk instead of regular milk. Enjoy!

  22. Thank you. I just made them; used your coffee cake streusel for topping; they look amazing. Serving them for Thanksgiving breakfast

  23. I made these for Thanksgiving week and incorporated a little of the streusel topping from the Cranberry Orange Bread recipe since we are fond of it. They turned out great and were a BIG HIT at work and at home. I used a mixture of fresh and dried cranberries, the latter had been rehydrated with orange juice. It will be one of my go-to muffins!

  24. What type of yogurt do you recommend using? Would Greek yogurt work in this recipe?

    1. Any plain (non flavored) yogurt is great. Greek yogurt works wonderfully.

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