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Cranberry Orange Muffins

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Tender cranberry orange muffins bursting with flavor from fresh orange juice, orange zest, and tangy cranberries. This simple recipe will become a family favorite!

close up of cranberry orange muffins on a cooking rack

Cranberry Orange Muffin Recipe

These cranberry orange muffins are so flavorful. They will quickly become a favorite with anyone who tries them.

When you’re in the mood for a sweet, zesty muffin, this is the one you need. It’ comes together quickly and tastes incredible.

I used my basic muffin recipe as a starting point for today’s muffins. It’s a well-loved recipe that already includes a cranberry orange variation. But with it being Fall, I thought it would be great to have a dedicated recipe for this fantastic flavor.

I made one change in addition to adding orange and cranberries. And that was the addition of baking soda. It reacts with the acidity in the orange juice to create a domed muffin top.

Why this recipe works

  • The proper ingredient ratio is used to create a wonderfully textured muffin that is dense but not dry.
  • The muffin method is used for mixing the ingredients.
  • The thick batter is sturdy enough to support the plump cranberries so they don’t sink to the bottom of the muffin.
overhead of cranberry orange muffins arranged on a dark background

Cranberry Orange Muffin Ingredients

I used standard muffin ingredients from my plain muffin recipe with the addition of cranberries and orange for flavoring. The ingredient list is fairly simple and you probably have most of the ingredients on hand.

  • Flour: I always recommend using a quality flour like Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose flour*.
  • Sugar: White granulated sugar is mixed into the muffin batter. And coarse sugar* is sprinkled over the top for extra sweetness and crunch.
  • Leavening: Baking powder and baking soda are needed for a peaked muffin top. Look for an aluminum-free, double-acting baking powder such as Rumford*.
  • Salt: Just a little is needed to balance the sweetness and bring all the flavors together.
  • Orange juice & zest: Make sure to use fresh orange juice. It will make the muffins taste so much better!
  • Milk: Whole milk works best for this recipe.
  • Butter: Unsalted sweet cream butter is what I always recommend. It adds a sweet buttery richness that you’ll love.
  • Eggs: 2 large eggs are needed for structure.
  • Cranberries: Fresh cranberries are best but frozen, unthawed cranberries or dried cranberries will also work.

To bake these muffins you’ll need:


How to make cranberry apple muffins

It’s so easy to whip up these cranberry orange muffins. Simply whisk the dry ingredients together, whisk the wet ingredients together, then combine the two. Plop the batter in a muffin tin and bake.

The Batter – The batter is thick and lush. It bakes up into tender orange muffins studded with ruby red cranberries.

cranberry orange muffin with a bite taken out so the inside is visible

Step 1: Use the muffin method for mixing

First, make sure the cold ingredients are at room temperature. Set them out about 1 hour before you begin making the muffins.

You need two separate mixing vessels. A large bowl and a large liquid measuring cup or small bowl.

Whisk all the dry ingredients together in the large bowl. This includes flour, sugar, leavening, and salt.

Whisk all the wet ingredients together in the second bowl or measuring cup. This will be the orange juice, zest, milk, melted butter, and eggs.

wet and dry ingredients mixed separately

Step 2: Make the muffin batter

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in. Use a silicone spatula to fold it all together just until almost fully incorporated. There should be a few streaks of dry flour visible.

Add the cranberries and gently fold them into the batter. Don’t over mix or the muffins will be tough.

process shots for mixing cranberry orange muffin batter

Step 3: Bake

Divide the batter evenly between 12 paper-lined muffin cups. The batter should fill the cups about ¾ of the way. This is about 4 tablespoons of batter. I use an ice cream scoop to portion the batter and it works wonderfully.

Bake the muffins in a 400°F for 12-15 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out with only a few moist crumbs attached. Be careful not to over bake or the muffins will be dry.

baked and unbaked cranberry orange muffins in a muffin tin

Carefully transfer the muffins to a wire cooling rack and let them cool completely before serving. Or you can serve them slightly warm.


Make ahead instructions

Muffins are best the day they are made but they can be stored for later use. Place the muffins in an airtight container and keep them at room temperature for up to 3 days.

  • How to refrigerate cranberry orange muffins
    • Place the cooled muffins in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
  • How to freeze cranberry orange muffins
    • Wrap the cooled muffins individually in plastic wrap then place them in an airtight container or zip-top freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.
      • Thaw one or all of the muffins in the refrigerator overnight.
      • Or place a single frozen muffin in the microwave for 40-60 seconds
cranberry orange muffins on a cooling rack

Can I use dried cranberries instead of fresh?

You can use dried cranberries for cranberry orange muffins if you don’t have fresh cranberries available. You’ll want to use about ½ cup of dried cranberries in place of ¾ fresh.

If you like this recipe, you’ll love these other fruity muffins:

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cranberry orange muffins on a cooling rack

Cranberry Orange Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Tender cranberry orange muffins bursting with flavor from fresh orange juice, orange zest, and tangy cranberries. This simple recipe will become a family favorite!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (260 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) fresh orange juice
  • ½ cup (120 ml) milk, room temperature
  • ½ cup (114 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • ¾ cup (75 g) fresh cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons coarse sugar, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.
  3. In a small bowl or 2-cup liquid measuring cup, whisk the orange juice milk, butter, eggs, and orange zest together until well combined.
  4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in. Stir with a silicone spatula until almost fully combined.
  5. Add the cranberries and gently fold them into the batter.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups and sprinkle the tops with coarse sugar if using.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached.
  8. Transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

Make ahead tip

  1. The muffins will keep for up to 3 days stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
  2. The muffins can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
  3. The muffins can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or microwave a single muffin for 40-60 seconds.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 207Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 241mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 1gSugar: 11gProtein: 4g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the values shown are just an estimate.

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