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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. I just finished making these muffins, and they’re wonderful! I’m not usually very good at sweet baked goods, but these came out great! Thank you!

  2. These are fresh out of the oven and absolutely delightful! Soft, tender, light, and fluffy all in the same bite! My cranberries are sour and make for an amazing tart bite. Thank you for showing me that muffins can be made from scratch! Yours are truly all wonderful and my family adores every single recipe of yours that I make! ❤️

  3. what adjustments need to be made to the baking time and temp if I use a 6-count jumbo muffin pan rather than the standard 12-count?

    1. Hi Christine! You can follow the bake time and temperatures that I use for these jumbo muffins. Bake time will be the same, but you can always use a toothpick inserted in the center to test for doneness.

  4. Hi Sally – Most cranberry breads, muffins, etc recipes call for the cranberries to be chopped. Your recipe doesn’t state to chop, so I assume we put them in the batter whole?

    1. Hi Sharon! If you’d like, you can definitely chop the cranberries but I use them whole in this muffin recipe.

  5. These were great! I didn’t make the glaze because I didn’t think they needed it. They totally reminded me of Panera’s with less sugar–I love the whole cranberries!

  6. Made these with lemon instead of orange and they were delicious! Super moist and packed with flavour and cranberries!

  7. Made this today and they were delicious even without the glaze. I added half cup walnuts for some crunch. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  8. Hi Sally! I have a question about this recipe. I recently made it and it was delicious, but I ran into a small problem. In the recipe it says to use the zest of two oranges. Is there a more extact way of measuring how much zest is needed? When baking these I zested two oranges, and it seemed like way, way too much, so I only added half and it worked well. I know there are many types of oranges and such, so is using measuring tools, how much zest would be needed, or is a case by case basis? Thanks, and the recipe was lovely.

    1. Hi Isabella! It’s usually around 2 Tbsp of zest, but you can add or reduce based on your preference. So glad you enjoyed the cranberry muffins, thanks for trying them!

  9. Jan. 5th was my 80th birthday and I invited some friends for coffee that morning, served these muffins since I had leftover cranberries from the holidays in my freezer. Without saying they were a huge hit. I’ve always loved cooking and baking and like to try new things (not always greatly received when my kids were young – how time flies) that was eons ago. My friends are always up for something new that I am trying, and are gracious with compliments. I am blessed with many guinea pig friends and they keep coming back. Thank you so much, keep up the work inspiring young people to be creative cooks. You’ll attract lifelong friends.

    1. Happy birthday, Pat!! I’m thrilled that these muffins were a hit and thank you for taking the time to leave such a kind comment.

  10. Dark or light brown sugar…which do you prefer? And which one did you use for the muffins pictured?

    1. Hi Holly! I used light brown sugar in the pictured muffins. Either work wonderfully in this recipe!

  11. These have a wonderful texture. However, I would omit the cinnamon. Even one teaspoon seemed to overwhelm the orange flavor. I used orange extract in addition to the zest and it helped intensify the flavor.

  12. I just made these muffins for the second time. They are, by far, the very best muffins I have EVER had! I don’t know how you do it, Sally. You are a magician in the kitchen! Thank you!

  13. I made these tonight and they were great, My husband had two and wanted more. I used the sour cream and dried cranberries. These are the best, Thank you

  14. These muffins are to die for! Served them with cranberry honey butter!

  15. I have made these muffins several times now and they have become a favorite of my husband and son. They request these when they go on road trips. They are full of flavor when you use fresh squeezed OJ and use that in your glaze as the liquid. I highly recommend. Very very moist an bursting with flavor

  16. I think I’ve commented before, but I have these in the oven right now & just have to say how much we enjoy this recipe. I keep a stash in the freezer (we’re down to one so I’m making more now). These have become the only muffins my husband seems to want! The tartness of the cranberries & the orange flavor really makes them pop. We don’t add the glaze because we love that they aren’t overly sweet (though the glaze is delicious as well). I just wanted to thank you for this wonderful recipe.

  17. Amazing taste. Love the slight tart taste of the fresh cranberries & the fragrance of the orange zest in this muffin recipe. Just made a dozen as of now & the kitchen smells great. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  18. Great muffins! Was worried about the cranberries being too tart, I used fresh, and my husband not liking them but he loved them so much! Orange glaze is amazing. I used vanilla yogurt and almond milk. Perfect!

  19. Amazing, best muffins ever. Moist and cakey. We made these for a work Thanksgiving party. Thank you!

  20. I am getting ready to make these AGAIN! They are deeelicious!! They are light but moist and the flavor is to die for. I bake for my coworkers, seniors that I deliver meals to, and my women’s meeting at church!! They all love them! I’ve been cooking your recipes for about a year and you have taught me so much! Thanks for your hard work and your ads are not distracting to me.

  21. The kitchen smelled lovely while the muffins were baking and these are so delicious!

  22. One of my favorite muffin recipes of all time! These rival a muffin from a bakery any day! This flavor combination is my mom’s favorite. I used strawberry greek yogurt this time since it’s all I had, and they turned out amazing!

  23. I made these for a brunch when I had some of my friends over and eveyone commented how good they were. This recipe is a keeper.

  24. These were wonderful! My husband has celiacs and I made them using Bob’s Redmill GF 1 to 1 flour. No other changes. I wanted to pass along for others.

  25. These muffins are delicious! I made recipe using just OJ, no milk. I used my mini-chopper to chop cranberries instead of whole because I like the cranberry throughout the batter. Also added chopped walnuts. I did not add the orange zest because I didn’t have an orange. Thanks for the tip of substituting sour cream for yogurt because I didn’t have the yogurt. I did make the icing and that just makes them completely yummy!

  26. I added pecan pieces and lemon Greek yogurt they are delicious muffins. Thanks for the great recipe.

  27. These are the best cranberry orange muffins I have ever baked. These freeze beautifully too.

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