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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 this brown sugar cinnamon pop tarts. 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 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, 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

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. We had some cranberries and oranges in this week’s farmshare, so I made these this evening – flipping delicious. my glaze was a bit runny and I only had a cup of cranberries, but they still turned out amazing. Can confirm the sour cream works perfectly fine in place of yogurt. My only note is that I took you very literally when you instructed to fill to the top & ended up with a lot of overflow. But that just gives me nibbles to eat at 10pm when it’s not acceptable to down whole muffins before bed. 🙂 Thanks for the recipe!

  2. I made these for my daughter’s birthday celebration at school, and made them as mini muffins. Just an FYI for anyone who might want to do minis, they took about 19 minutes to cook and made 4 dozen (!!). Delicious! I’m sure the kids will enjoy the special treat.

  3. Oh my goodness, these were AMAZING! My four year old begged me to buy cranberries the other day and we used them to make these muffins. The house was filled with the most delicious aromas of vanilla, brown sugar, orange and cranberry. They were also the first muffins I baked in my new oven (and early Christmas present as my old one died several weeks ago and I’ve been forced to use an old one we keep in the basement…travesty!) They turned out perfect! Tender, buttery, with delicious light orange flavor throughout and tangy bites of cranberries everywhere. Next time I think I’ll chop half of the cranberries smaller to vary the consistency. I have enough glaze leftover for another batch, so they’ll be make again very soon…likely this weekend! Thanks for the fabulous recipe!

  4. Made this recipe as a bread in a tea loaf pan. Used 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour to make it a tiny more healthy. It was delicious! Will make this again soon! Love the cranberry-orange flavor!

  5. Made these yesterday and they were the bomb! My husband and office staff LOVED them! I used the whole bag of cranberries and I still think I could have used more – probably 3-4 cups total. I like having a cranberry in every bite. Only used 2 TBL of orange juice for the glaze – made it a little thicker. Lined the muffins on a cookie sheet and poured all of the glazed on the muffins and sprinkles green sugar sprinkles on top to give it a more Christmasy look. THANK YOU for sharing this delicious recipe!

  6. Hi all! Do you think cherries would work in this recipe? I could not find cranberries in my small town grocery store.

  7. These were so yummy! I used sour cream instead of yogurt and I used zest from 3 lemons and 3 tbs of orange juice instead of 2. These came out perfect to me! I added in chocolate chips because I love chocolate with oranges and it was delish! I found that sprinkling the tops of the muffins with sugar before you put them in the oven gives them a nice golden crisp top. Wonderful recipe!

  8. Do you think I could substitute dried cranberries? I was given a huge bag and wanted to use some of them.

  9. We made them and they came out super! Exactly like you said, buttery and moist. Only we replaced the fresh cranberries with the dry ones. Nevertheless, still good!

  10. These turned out to be the best muffins I’ve ever made. They were perfectly sweet and tart with the cranberries and so lovely and moist. I really enjoyed them with my friends and my husband who’s not a big fan of muffins absolutely loved them as well. I didn’t glaze them and found the muffin by itself had great flavour. Thanks for another wonderful recipe, Sally!

  11. I made these tonight and they were really good and easy. I only had dried cranberries so I put them on to simmer in orange juice while I mixed everything else. By the time i was done they were nice and juicy. I drained them and added them to the mix.

    Thanks for the recipe!!

  12. These turned out really well! I was looking for a recipe to use up some extra cranberries that I had on hand and am so glad I stumbled upon this one. I used low fat kefir in place of the yogurt and it seemed to work. Thanks for the recipe! 

  13. Sally. I must confess I made 26 regular size muffins from this recipe 2 days ago and I have 2 left. I have finally found a website I can trust for great baked goods I am going to start selling some of my baked stuff around where I live and I’d love to add this to my list thank you so so much your the bomb girl keep posting please!

  14. I made the cranberry orange muffins today! This recipe is awesomely delicious! Nice and moist with or without the glaze! Thank you for sharing! 

  15. I just baked these muffins–so delicious! Best cranberry orange muffins I’ve ever made.  Extremely moist and flavorful. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  16. I just made these.  These are outstanding…so flavorful.  Just ate one and have to restrain myself from having 2 more right now.  Thank you for sharing this recipe. It is a keeper!!

  17. I was wondering if this recipe could be used in a loaf pan instead of the muffin tins, and at what temp it should cook?

  18. These look delicious! I’m going to bake them for the favors at my sister’s wedding. I’m going to be using giant muffin tins. Would you be able to tell me the temperature and time difference I would need?? Also, do they freeze well?

    1. Hi Erin– what a nice favor. The muffins freeze well up to 2-3 months. For the jumbo, bake at 425F degrees for 5 minutes. Keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce oven temperature to 375F and continue to bake for 25-26 minutes until tops are lightly golden.

  19. Hi there! Quick question about this recipe. It says to use fresh or frozen cranberries, but not to thaw them? All I have is frozen cranberries, but why shouldn’t I thaw them first? I am very confused by this. 

    1. They’ll release a lot of juice when thawed. It’s best to have them frozen or fresh in the batter.

  20. These are delicious! My favorite muffin is the orange cranberry. I used to purchase them at the famous Starbucks coffee shop, they no longer offer them. 
    I only have a 6 cup giant muffin pan, and this recipe filled it up. I did add more frozen cranberrys.  I didn’t have milk, so I used half and half, and I also grated two large oranges, next time I’ll grate three. I squeezed the oranges for juice, but..I found Tropicana with pulp more flavorful and used that instead. I sprinkled sugar ontop. I baked them at 375 for 20 minutes, turned the oven down to 350 for an additional 10-15 minutes. My oven is a bit wonky and I needed to check them.
    They’re moist and flavorful. I love the tartness of the cranberry. I did make the glaze mentioned, I didn’t care for it. I used paper muffin liners, I found the large ones in a grocery store.
    Heaven, the moment the aroma hits the kitchen, and when you take a bite, simply devine. 
    Thanks for the recipe and all the reviews, they gave me the courage to make them.

  21. Made these today and added a half cup of walnuts, just because I like nuts. I also omitted the glaze and made a streusel topping (and added more nuts). They are wonderful. 

  22. Had a craving for cranberry muffins after someone gave me some cranberries and whipped these up. They are delicious! I made them exactly as per the recipe and they came out perfect. I really use your site a lot because your recipes are so reliable and good. Thank you

  23. Hi Sally, love your muffin recipes! Been making them for 2 years with rave reviews Every. Single. Time.   if I wanted to make these muffins (or any other) into mini muffins, do you know what the adjusted bake time would be?  Thank you and keep baking!

  24. These are really delicious! I followed the recipe exactly (except no glaze) using sour cream, and they’re outstanding. Thank you!

  25. I just made these muffins today and they are so delicious! I used a mix of blueberries, cranberries, blackberries and raspberries, REALLY GOOD.

  26. The muffins are moist, flavourful and totally delicious. I used rehydrated dried cranberries as that was what I had on hand. Best muffins I’ve ever made❤️ Thank-you for sharing

  27. Would adding orange extract exemplify the orange flavour? I really want that to stand out.

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