Cranberry Orange Muffins

Exceptionally delicious Cranberry Orange Muffins are a must make this holiday season! Incredibly moist with a wonderfully tender crumb, this cranberry orange muffin recipe is beautifully flavored with fresh oranges and dried cranberries. Truly a memorable addition to any holiday breakfast or brunch! Hosting brunch this year? Make sure to try my Lemon Blueberry Bread and Cranberry Orange Bread!

cranberry orange muffin split in half with orange peel text two whole muffins in background

Cranberry Orange Muffins

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.

close up of cranberry orange muffin recipe on cupcake stand with more muffins in background

Cranberry Orange Muffin Recipe

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 with orange half and peels and dried cranberries scattered about

When To Serve Muffins

The aroma of these Cranberry Orange Muffins baking will immediately get you in the mood for the holidays! You’re going to love how moist and flavorful these muffins are. Packed with sweet orange flavor and studded with tart cranberries in every bite. These muffins will make a fabulous addition to holiday celebrations and would be perfect for Christmas brunch.

Searching for more incredible muffin recipes? Check out my Pumpkin Muffins, Raspberry Lemon Muffins, and Morning Glory Muffins!

Cranberries offer a perfectly tart flavor that pairs amazingly with oranges. If you haven’t tried this amazing flavor combination, let today be the day! So refreshing and light, these muffins are sure to be a new favorite. Try out some of these tasty cranberry recipes:

What You’ll Need

Grab yourself a cup of hot tea or coffee and these ingredients to make this cranberry orange muffin recipe:

  • Dried Cranberries – use the dried sweetened cranberries for this recipe.
  • Fresh Grated Orange Zest – The lightness and zesty flavors of the orange zest is a must.
  • Fresh Orange Juice – The key is using fresh-squeezed orange juice. Nothing is better than that flavor, but you could use store-bought if you are in a hurry.
  • All-Purpose Flour – Keeps the muffins together and provides structure.
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda – these two ingredients are the leaveners in this recipe.
  • Salt – Adding a little bit of salt to baked goods brings out the natural sweetness.
  • Ground Ginger – this is optional but I love that little zest it adds to the muffins.
  • Unsalted Butter – You’ll need the butter at room temperature before beginning.
  • Granulated Sugar – You’ll just need some plain white granulated sugar, and it’s just the right amount.
  • Eggs – The eggs are important to bind the ingredients. If you are egg-free, you can swap them for ¼ cup of yogurt, applesauce, or mashed banana.
  • Vanilla Extract – Nothing is better than some pure vanilla extract. Once in a while, though, I will swap it for almond extract, and it’s incredible.
  • Orange Extract – Helps to amp up the orange flavor in these muffins.
  • Cooking Oil – Use vegetable, canola or light olive oil.
  • Milk – any fat content will work here but I recommend whole milk.

top down view of split cranberry orange muffin with more muffins behind it 

Making The Muffins

These muffins take just minutes to pull together and about 20 minutes to bake. You can enjoy the muffins while still warm, or when cooled.  They are best the day they are made, but are still very good the following day. Let’s get started!

  1. Preheat oven line a muffin/cupcake pan with paper liners.
  2. Zest and juice one whole orange.
  3. Combine orange juice and cranberries in a small saucepan and simmer about 5 minutes, stirring as needed.  
  4. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ginger in a large bowl and set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, orange zest and sugar until light and fluffy. You’ll want to use either a hand mixer or stand mixer for this step.
  6. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add in the eggs (one at a time), vanilla extract, 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). Finally, fold in the dried cranberries. 
  8. Scoop batter into prepared muffin pan and bake muffins for about 20 minutes
  9. Cool muffins on a wire cooling rack.

single cranberry orange muffin in paper liner with orange peel tied around it

Tips For The Ultimate Cranberry Orange Muffins

Check out these tips to ensure you have amazing muffins:

  • Measure the ingredients precisely otherwise the muffins may end up dense or not as appealing.
  • Use fresh ingredients so the muffins rise properly, and you get the best flavor.
  • Use parchment or good quality liners so the muffins don’t stick to the paper. I used these exact muffin liners. They are Panettone liners that are freestanding and a bit larger than standard muffin liners. Here is another option with a different print.
  • Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick, there should be moist crumbs, but not wet batter when you remove.

FAQs

How long do these muffins last? If kept in an airtight container, the muffins will last 3-4 days. It can be kept at room temperature. They are best the day of and the second day.

How many muffins will this recipe make? If you are making standard size muffins, you will end up with 12 muffins. If you make large muffins using large liners or a jumbo muffin pan, you can expect 8 muffins. 

Can I freeze this cranberry orange muffin recipe? Yes, you can. Let the muffins cool completely then wrap with plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil. Put it in an airtight container or freezer safe bag. The muffins will last 4 to 6 months and can be thawed on the counter before serving.

4 cranberry orange muffins on white surface

Variations To Try

We love these muffins just the way they are, but sometimes we like to add in some extra yummy goodness. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Add any of your favorite nuts like walnuts, pecans, almonds or hazelnuts.
  2. Use lemon zest and juice instead of orange for a tantalizing flavor.
  3. Toss in ¼ – ½ cup of raisins to the dough for a fun twist.
  4. Top with the glaze below and sprinkle with some chopped Candied Orange Peel.

Optional Glaze

These muffins are delicious on their own but if you’d like to add a glaze here’s what you’ll need: 

  • 2 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Prepare the glaze by mixing the powdered sugar, orange juice, and melted butter in a bowl. If it’s too thin, add an additional tablespoon of powdered sugar. Drizzle the glaze all over the top of the muffins and let it set. Add another layer of glaze if you want.

More Orange Recipes

  1. Chocolate Orange Cake
  2. Cranberry Orange Bread
  3. Orange Zest Sugar Cookies
  4. Candied Orange Peel
  5. Cranberry Orange Cookies

How to Make Cranberry Orange Muffins

cranberry orange muffin split in half with orange peel text two whole muffins in background

Cranberry Orange Muffins

Exceptionally delicious Cranberry Orange Muffins are a must make this holiday season! Incredibly moist with a wonderfully tender crumb, this cranberry orange muffin recipe is beautifully flavored with fresh oranges and dried cranberries. Truly a memorable addition to any holiday breakfast or brunch!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 260 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 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 ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter 1 stick, 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 but whole milk preferred

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
  • Zest one whole orange (making about 1 Tablespoon of zest) and set aside.
  • Squeeze the juice from that one orange (about 1/3 cup).
  • 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.
  • In a large bowl add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ginger, and set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, orange zest and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Scoop batter into prepared muffin/cupcake pan.
  • Bake muffins about 20 minutes (test with a toothpick, there should be moist crumbs, but not wet).
  • Cool muffins on a wire cooling rack.

Notes

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

Tools Needed

hand mixer or stand mixer | muffin liners (Panettone liners that are freestanding) or this one OR use a standard muffin pan

Optional Glaze 

  • 2 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
Prepare the glaze by mixing the powdered sugar, orange juice, and melted butter in a bowl. If it’s too thin, add an additional tablespoon of powdered sugar. Drizzle the glaze all over the top of the muffins and let it set. Add another layer of glaze if you want.

Nutrition

Calories: 260kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 4gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 146mgPotassium: 64mgFiber: 1gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 306IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 42mgIron: 1mg
Keyword cranberry orange muffins
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Originally published January 9, 2011.

57 comments

  1. These are the best orange-cranberry muffins that I have ever tasted. Just took them out of the oven and they are delicious! Thank you so much for the recipe; the fact of simmering the cranberries in the juice makes them so soft. My muffins were ready, but very pale; I took them out of the oven, brushed them with melted butter and sprinkled them with brown sugar. I will definitely make them again.

  2. I tried these, and the batter was delicious! The muffins were really yummy, too; just a little dry. Probably will just take them out a little sooner than 20 minutes next time. Other than that, they were very soft, crumbly, and flavorful. Definitely going to be making these again!

  3. OMG… so I just hadddd to comment and say THESE MUFFINS TOTALLY ROCK! i started to bake them a little late since my boyfriend forgot oranges (DUH i know) i went on a hunt to wal-mart for oranges.. now its 1:47am i’m finally tasting one from the first batch as the second batch is in… and magnificent. everyone must try.. very easy and wonderful taste! thanks GLORY you’re glory-ous 🙂 THANK YOU..great BLOG

  4. What an amazing recipe! Made these last night. Thank you. My old recipe is being replaced.

  5. I love orange cranberry muffins. I need to make this recipe stat!

  6. Have you ever made these with frozen cranberries? What changes did you make?

  7. Delicious muffins !

  8. Just found this recipe when googling for cranberry & orange muffins and of all the ones I found, it appealed the most – and I haven't been disappointed! Absolutely delicious. I didn't have orange extract so just used juice, so the orange flavour probably isn't as intense as yours, but still very delicious. Not as prettily wrapped as yours, mind. 🙂 Thanks for the recipe!

  9. Ever made these with fresh cranberries?

  10. Abby- Fill the muffin molds about 2/3 full. Enjoy!

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