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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. So I made these today and they turned out wonderful. However I was wondering if the yoghurt should also be at room temperature. I ran into an issue where the sugar/butter/egg mixture curdled as I was mixing it all together. I wasn’t sure how to proceed so I just followed the rest of the recipe and baked them anyway. So glad I did… But any thoughts? I also added some nutmeg and used two cups of fresh cranberries. Delicious!

    1. Hi Melanie, Yes all of your ingredients including the yogurt should be at room temperature. I’m so glad they still turned out well for you! If you are interested in why room temperature is important I wrote this post explaining it!

  2. Delicious muffins!! (And no advertisements popping or distractions from reading the blog.) Added one more step by adding a crumb topping: Cut together 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup butter till mixture resembled pea sized crumbs. As recipe directed, spooned batter into prepared muffin pan, topping the batter with an additional cranberry or two. Then sprinkled crumb mixture on top of dough and baked as directed. Drizzled orange glaze on top of cooled muffins.

  3. These are the most amazing muffins I have ever had. I used fresh cranberries pulsed to make smaller pieces because I don’t actually like fruit muffins but I am cranberry/orange obsessed right now. They turned out perfect. Light, fluffy and full of flavor. I have never been disappointed with any recipe from your site. Thank you!

  4. Amazing recipe! I like to use fresh cranberries if available, otherwise dried is fine too! I like the juicy pop from the fresh berries! I also used the sour cream option and added a splash of orange liquor to the batter. You can also soak the cranberries in orange alcohol of your choice as well! And for the glaze, I used 2 tblsp of fresh orange juice and 1 tblsp of the orange liquor! So delicious! The batter base is fantastic for any kind of muffin!

  5. I am a Grandma now and this is close to my Grandma’s recipe, filled with goodness. She used to make them without the glaze, but my granddaughters love them glazed.
    I never change a recipe the first time I make it, and if I do I publish my own recipe.
    It is wonderful as is written, my family and I have loved many of your delicious recipes.
    In my family, the Children love the mini muffins with the glaze, and adults loved the regular size warm, cut in half, and slathered in butter fresh from the local dairy.

    My recommendation to all, try it as written, try many of Sally’s recipes as written, she has captured the essence of old time cooks and bakers, and her creations will not only make savory moments to remember in the future, but will bring back the precious memorable moments of childhood and bring to life the lost recipes of all our great, great ancestors who turn love into each meal.

  6. These are my go to muffins!! My partner and family adore them and I often make them to give them away as gifts on special holidays. They are well rounded, and I love how many cranberries there are…such a nice burst or tartness in each bite! I do add a little extra orange juice just because. This will forever be my favorite muffin recipe.

  7. Made these muffins for the first time and it will not be the last! My favorite and best muffins ever- I used sour cream this time, may try yogurt next but… enjoyed them so much first time not sure I want to switch it up. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  8. I love the everything about this recipe! I’ve started to use different fruits to the batter. I don’t have enough cranberries so today I’m adding blueberries and chopped apple. Maybe throw some chopped pecans in , too. Will dried cherries work?

    1. I’m thrilled you love this recipe so much, Sheila! Yes, I think dried cherries would work too. Enjoy 🙂

  9. How long would you wait before glazing? While still warm isn’t exactly clear, and my glaze didn’t set at all. Also I had them glazed and at air tight (mostly) room temp for 36 hours and then transferred to the freezer. Is that alright?

    1. Hi Allyson, I just wait a few minutes after transferring them to a wire rack and then make the glaze and top the muffins. If you wish for your glaze to be thicker you can reduce the amount of orange juice you add to the sugar. And yes, it’s fine to transfer them to the freezer after they had been at room temperature for 36 hours.

  10. I fell in love with cranberry orange muffins from Dunkin Donuts, but they rarely have them. Tried this recipe for the first time. AMAZING!!!!! Sorry DD, no more waiting. Thanks.

  11. Can I substitute oil for the butter? Would it be the same amount? Thanks! Looking forward to Making these

    1. You need the butter to cream with the sugar, so I don’t recommend it. (Unless you use room temperature solid coconut oil.)

  12. OMG! I had one and I’ve been fighting with myself not to have a second… Now, this has nothing to do with the healthy low fat low sugar muffins that I usually make, although I reduced the white sugar by half. Tomorrow I’m trying the lemon poppy seed muffind, and I might try the scones on Sunday. Self isolation is not good for the waist line! ( I used plain greek yogurt, it looked a little funky before I added the flour but the result was great)

  13. You can if you’d like! Hope you find some recipes to love on my site. Thank you so much!

  14. This is THE best cranberry-orange muffin recipe ever!! Didn’t change a thing. All was perfect. Taste is phenomenal!!

  15. I would love to make this recipe tomorrow but I do not have any oranges at the moment. Can I substitute Orange Extract and/or Orange Juice?

    1. You can skip the orange zest and just use the orange juice called for in the recipe. Feel free to add 1/4 teaspoon of orange extract too, if desired.

  16. Hey, Sally, I was wondering if I could replace the orange zest and juice with lemon zest and juice, is that possible or would that be a bad combination? We’re out of oranges.

  17. Absolutely outstanding! Made my own buttermilk per your instructions, added walnuts cause I love them and followed the rest of the recipe exactly as written. Next week your cranberry bread and my weekly batch of soft sugar cookies for my grands. By the way made the taco chili and we loved it. Thanks for all the great recipes.

  18. Rookie mistake. Didn’t read the recipe through first. Left the temp at 425. They were domed shape but still delicious.

  19. My family loved these muffins (even without the icing – I didn’t have the sugar). We didn’t have fresh cranberries so I cooked the dried cranberries in a 1/4 orange juice for a few minutes to plump them up a bit.

    Also due to limited ingredients, only had the rind for one orange but they still loved them!

  20. While in isolation I bake. Tried these fabulous cranberry orange muffins,used the exact ingredients and absolutely loved them!
    Also hope to try more of your recipes

  21. Hi Sally, these are my besties favorite so I made them as a surprise and plan to mail them tomorrow(from VA to FL)… do you think they will stay fresh with the glaze?

  22. Hi Sally,

    OMG, These muffins are absolutely the best! No adjustments needed at all. Ive used other recipes, but this one far outweighs the one I used before. So glad I found yours. Do you have a recipe for Banana Nut Muffins?

  23. Hi! I made these yesterday and my husband loved them. I noticed blue on Some of them this morning…should I have refrigerated them immediately?

    1. Hi Maria! Absolutely. You can use 1 and 1/2 cups dried cranberries as a substitute for the fresh/frozen cranberries.

  24. I’ve been making several of your muffins. I want to make orange w/ finely crushed walnuts as I have no cranberries. If I add crushed walnuts (and how much would you recommend I add?) should I reduce the amount of flour? I ask because I’m assuming the cranberries added some moisture/juice to the cupcakes, but w/ only orange and walnuts maybe they will be too dry unless I reduce flour? Thank you so much. I’ve been loving the high-domed muffins from that initial burst of high heat! wonderful.

    1. Hi Nancy! For best results, I recommend replacing the cranberries with 1 cup of chopped walnuts instead of finely crushed walnuts. I haven’t tested this recipe with the addition of finely crushed nuts (similar to a coarser flour consistency) so I can’t give any confident answers.

  25. Hello, and thank you – I’m so excited to try this recipe!
    We got tons of oranges in our veg box this last week. Do you think I could use all orange juice instead of juice and milk? And could I use melted butter instead of creamed (and increase the baking powder)? I never plan ahead 😉

    1. Hi Alli, You can try using all orange juice. I recommend sticking with soften butter – no melted. I often forget to take out my butter ahead of time so I use my trik to Soften Butter Quickly all the time!

  26. 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. Made these muffins today and also a 8′ round. I subd the yougart with sour cream and used almond abstract instead of vanilla. They were super moist and delicious

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

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