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My easy Cranberry Orange Muffins are quick and simple to make from scratch! These bakery-style muffins are bursting with cranberries and sweet orange flavor.

A stack of orange cranberry muffins on a white plate.

Festive, so fluffy, and perfectly spiced with cinnamon, these muffins are buttery, moist, and bursting with cranberries in each bite. Even better they can be made in 35 minutes from start to finish!

The freshly squeezed orange juice and the orange zest add flavor and make my orange cranberry muffins a breakfast favorite in our house. I always have some in the freezer during the Holiday season!

This classic flavor combination will make your house smell amazing and also makes a great edible gift for neighbors and friends! Sweet, a little bit tart, fluffy, and so buttery, these muffins will surely become a family favorite.

More Cranberry Recipes

Ingredient Notes

Here is an overview of the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe.

  • Flour – All-purpose flour (plain flour in the UK) works best. Make sure to measure the flour by spooning it into a cup and then level with a knife. Don’t scoop directly out of the container!
  • Baking powder – Leavening agent for this quick bread. I recommend storing it in the fridge so it keeps fresh longer.
  • Orange – You will need the zest and juice from one large orange. Make sure to clean the orange well with hot water and if you have it some vegetable cleaner. Then use a zester, while making sure to not go over one spot twice, the white inner layer tastes bitter.
  • Butter – I prefer to use unsalted butter, so I can control the amount of salt. Melt the butter in the microwave (about 40 seconds on 100% power) or on the stove.
  • Milk – I recommend using whole milk for the best flavor but 2% works too.
  • Cranberries – You can use fresh or frozen cranberries for this recipe. If using frozen, the muffins will take a few minutes longer to bake. Dried cranberries work too, but I prefer fresh cranberries because they add little bursts of juiciness.

How to make this recipe

Detailed measurements and instructions can be found at the bottom of the page on the printable recipe card.

Step by step collage on how to make muffins.
  1. Prep: Preheat oven to 420F (215C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners and zest the orange (Image 1).
  2. Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl, stir together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and orange zest.
  3. Wet Ingredients: In a second bowl, whisk together the egg, melted butter, vanilla extract, milk, and orange juice until blended. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, stirring just combined and everything is evenly moistened (Image 2). It is ok if the batter is slightly lumpy.
  4. Add cranberries: Using a silicone spatula, fold in the cranberries just until evenly distributed, do not over-mix (Images 3 and 4). Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling the cups all the way to the top.
  5. Bake: Bake for 5 minutes at 420F (215C), then keeping the muffins in the oven, lower the oven temperature to 350F (180C) and bake for 15-20 more minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean and the muffins are golden on top.
  6. Cool: Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the muffins cool for 5 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan and let cool to room temperature on the rack.

Expert Tips

  • Mixing by hand is preferred for this recipe! A stand or hand mixer is too powerful and will over-mix the batter easily.
  • Mix until the wet and the dry ingredients are just combined! Not over-mixing the batter makes these muffins bake up tall and creates the perfect moist and tender texture!
  • You can make these with fresh or frozen cranberries! If you use frozen, you don’t need to thaw them.
  • Filling the muffin cups evenly and almost to the top ensures that the muffins cook evenly with high-bakery style tops and are ready at the same time.
  • A 1/4 cup cookie or ice cream scoop works best to distribute the batter between the muffin cups evenly.
  • To make the glaze, start by adding 1 Tbsp orange juice to the powdered sugar. Add more juice until the glaze is thick and has the desired consistency. Drizzle over cooled muffins.

Recipe FAQs

Can you use dried cranberries instead of fresh ones?

Yes, you can also use dried cranberries in this recipe. If using dried cranberries, use about half the amount of cranberries. I recommend soaking them in hot water for a few minutes before straining them and adding them to the batter. You can also use orange or cranberry juice to soak them.

Can you use frozen cranberries instead of fresh ones?

Yes, you can also use frozen cranberries in this recipe. If using frozen cranberries, you don’t need to thaw them. Just add them straight from the freeze. The muffins might take a few minutes longer to bake, make sure to test with a skewer for doneness.

How to make a glaze for Cranberry Orange Muffins?

To make a glaze for these muffins, combine 1 cup of powdered sugar and 1-2 Tbsp of orange juice until you have a smooth and thick glaze. Drizzle glaze over the cooled muffins.

A close up of a muffin speckled with cranberries.

Leftovers

These muffins keep moist and fresh for a few days covered at room temperature. I don’t put them in an airtight container because they tend to get soft and a bit soggy in there.

Freezing

You can freeze these muffins. Allow them to cool completely, then put them in an airtight freezer bag and freeze for up to three months. Thaw them for a few hours or overnight on the counter.

More muffin recipes to try

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5 from 12 votes

Cranberry Orange Muffins

Cranberry Orange Muffins are quick and simple to make from scratch!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 12

Equipment

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • cup light-brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon, or more to taste
  • 2 Tbsp orange zest, from 1–2 oranges
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup milk
  • cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 ½ cups cranberries, fresh or frozen

Instructions 

  • Preheat an oven to 420F (215C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and orange zest.
  • In a second bowl, whisk together the egg, melted butter, vanilla extract, milk, and orange juice until blended. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, stirring just combined and everything is evenly moistened. It is ok if the batter is slightly lumpy.
  • Using a silicone spatula, fold in the cranberries just until evenly distributed, do not over-mix. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling the cups all the way to the top.
  • Bake for 5 minutes at 420F (215C), then keeping the muffins in the oven, lower the oven temperature to 350F (180C) and bake for 15-20 more minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean and the muffins are golden on top.
  • Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the muffins cool for 5 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan and let cool to room temperature on the rack.

Notes

  • Mixing by hand is preferred for this recipe! A stand or hand mixer is too powerful and will over-mix the batter easily.
  • Mix until the wet and the dry ingredients are just combined! Not over-mixing the batter makes these muffins bake up tall and creates the perfect moist and tender texture!
  • You can make these with fresh or frozen cranberries! If you use frozen, you don’t need to thaw them. Dried cranberries work too! Check out my tips in the post above.
  • Filling the muffin cups evenly and almost to the top ensures that the muffins cook evenly with high-bakery style tops and are ready at the same time.
  • A 1/4 cup cookie or ice cream scoop works best to evenly distribute the batter between the muffin cups.

Nutrition

Calories: 228kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 116mg | Potassium: 163mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 318IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 1mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Julia Foerster

Hi, I'm Julia! Born in Germany, I call Canada now my home and love to share my favorite dishes with you! Here you'll find hundreds of recipes, all made from scratch, with lots of tips and detailed step-by-step instructions.

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5 from 12 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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7 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These were delightful. I used frozen cranberries (had to hand-pick them all out of a frozen berry mix!) and freshly made orange juice and zest. It was a nice change from the very sweet and chocolatey things I have been baking lately.

    I baked a few minutes beyond even the maximum suggested here, and still they were pale, so I will take it even a little further next time. Even the muffin part that was missing cranberries in my batch tasted lovely, so it’s a great recipe all around! My guests enjoyed them and took all the remaining ones home!

  2. 5 stars
    These are probably the best I have ever tasted and cranberry is my fave, Thanks! Question; will this recipe make 6 large muffins? My first time making large muffins. I also make these gluten free using 1:1 flour🥰

  3. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! My toddler is devouring them. Made them dairy free with plant butter and unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Thanks!