Cranberry-Orange Muffins {Delicious Recipe}

Last week my next door neighbor dropped of my yearly delivery of oranges (from their tree).  It’s a special treat I look forward to each year (usually just after Christmas).  I can see their giant orange tree from my yard, but can’t quite reach it, so it’s sweet that they bring me a big bag of oranges when they ripen each year.  I usually just make juice or smoothies with the oranges, but since I am a baker through and through I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to work up a recipe using the delicious fruit.

I had a bag of dried cranberries left over from some Christmas baking, so I thought some cranberry orange muffins could be a nice treat.  As I usually do when I have a recipe idea, I searched through my cookbooks and the internet for recipe ideas. I found a few that sounded good… read up on all the reviews and notes in each recipe, and added a few ideas of my own to create the final recipe.  I often have to make (and adjust) a recipe several times before I’m happy with it, but these were wonderful the first time!  Of course you are welcome to adjust it to your tastes… substituting some of the flour with whole wheat flour would add some health benefits, or you could go the other way and and top them with a glaze made with some powdered sugar, a bit of butter and orange juice.

Cranberry-Orange Muffins 

1 cup dried (sweetened) cranberries

1/3 cup fresh orange juice

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon powdered ginger

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 Tablespoon fresh orange zest (the zest of one whole orange)

2/3 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon orange extract

2 Tablespoons oil (vegetable, canola or olive)

1/2 cup milk (any fat content)

 Directions ~

1.)  Preheat oven to 375 F.  Line a muffin/cupcake pan with paper liners.

2.)  Zest one whole orange (making about 1 Tablespoon of zest) and set aside.

Squeeze the juice from that one orange (about 1/3 cup).

3.)  Put the orange juice (if needed, add some prepared orange juice to the fresh juice to make 1/3 cup) and the cranberries in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Simmer about 5 minutes, stirring as needed.  Turn off heat and set aside.

4.)  In a large bowl add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ginger, and set aside.

5.)  In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, orange zest and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).

6.)  Scrape down the side of the bowl, then add in the eggs (one at a time), vanilla, orange extract, and oil.  Blend until well combined.

7.)  Add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk (add about half of the flour mixture, then some milk,then the rest of the flour, and the rest of the milk).  Fold in the cranberries.  Do not over mix.

8.)  Scoop batter into prepared muffin/cupcake pan.

Bake muffins about 20 minutes (test with a toothpick, there should be moist crumbs, but not wet).

9.)  Cool muffins on a wire cooling rack.

Enjoy the muffins while still warm, or when cool.  They are best the day they are made, but are still very good the next day.

Yields about 8 large or 12 medium (standard) muffins.

Recipe Source ~  Glorious Treats

~ Shopping note ~

 The muffin liners I used are called Panettone liners (or molds).  I bought mine at Sur la table (and they sell them for the best price I’ve found).  They are free standing (you don’t need to use a muffin pan, just set them on a baking sheet), and the ones I used are about 50% larger than a standard muffin/cupcake.

Happy baking!


  1. Trying these! Just wondered – when you fold the cranberries into the batter from the saucepan, do you add the orange juice too? Thank you.

  2. Can I use fresh cranberries to make the cranberry orange muffins

  3. Great recipe! Thanks! I’ll be sharing your link on my blog 🙂

  4. I made these  and they’re amazing. They tasted like they came from an expensive  bakery.  

  5. Just made the muffins. Came out as photographed, and they have a wonderful texture and flavor, the only minus I found is that they were not sweet enough. I would increase the sugar the next time. Thanks for the recipe!

  6. Can I substitute oil for butter ? I am allergic to dairy

    • Hi Nisha, I have not made the recipe any way other than what’s listed, but I would imagine that you could make it will all oil. I think you could just do 1/2 cup total oil (no need for the additional 2 tablespoons). Happy baking!

    • Here in CA one of the dairies makes a lactose-free butter/oil spread.  I keep butter buds around to boost the flavor also.  I understand there are all sorts of allergies, and my partner has the lactose-related variety.  This has been my solution, and so far so good.

  7. Love your website-it’s one of my favorites! What type of packaging did the cranberries come in or what’s a good brand to use? Thanks for your help!

    • For the dried cranberries I don’t have any brand preference. I usually buy the cranberries in the bulk foods section of my grocery store, or buy Crasins (brand).

  8. These were fantastic!!! Did recipe exactly, only added 1 cup of chopped walnuts. By far my favorite muffin recipe to date. Was going to make it healthy by subbing this and subbing that, but instead did just what was listed and they were wonderful. Thank you…..perfect recipe.

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