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Delicious bakery-style Cranberry Orange Muffins are full of cranberries and drizzled with a sweet orange glaze! Easy muffin recipe that’s a breakfast and brunch favorite!
Looking for more easy brunch favorites? You’ll love my French Toast, Bacon Egg Cups, and Buttermilk Pancakes!
Cranberries – and oranges – add such a bright, juicy flavor to so many delicious baked treats during the fall and winter – especially during the holidays! And these Cranberry Orange Muffins most certainly showcase the best combination of these flavors! They are the perfect combination of tartness from cranberries and oranges with moist, buttery sweetness from the bakery-style muffin. Simple, easy perfection!
This muffin recipe is an easy family favorite I’m sure you’ll love too!
Cranberry Orange Muffins
These Cranberry Orange Muffins are absolutely delicious and perfect for breakfast and brunch! Drizzled with a sweet orange glaze, they are even more special to serve during the holidays too! But please don’t save the glaze for special occasions. It’s so simple to make and takes them over the top in terms of deliciousness!
The orange glaze is made of only two simple ingredients that whisk together quickly, so I always drizzle the muffins with it, however the muffins are delicious without it, too – if you wish.
What You’ll Love About This Recipe
Incredible Flavor. The tart cranberries and orange zest combine to create amazing flavor in every bite!
Glaze Makes Extra Special. The drizzle of orange glaze gives these muffins a little something extra, making them even more special on the holidays (or any day!).
Simple Ingredients. Real ingredients you recognize are in this recipe.
How to Make Cranberry Orange Muffins
I think oranges bring out the best in cranberries! And these muffins are bursting with cranberries. The addition of fresh orange zest brings out the bright juicy flavor in these muffins.
Ingredients You’ll Need for Cranberry Orange Muffins
- All-Purpose Flour
- Baking Powder – helps the muffins to rise
- Salt – a touch of salt enhances the sweet and tart flavors.
- Cranberries – You can use fresh, frozen, or dried. You use fewer dried cranberries than fresh or frozen ones, and it’s better if the dried cranberries don’t have added sugar for this recipe.
- Butter – Make sure it’s softened to room temperature before you start. See How to Soften Butter in a Pinch if you are in a hurry.
- Sugar – Use granulated sugar.
- Eggs – Will bind the muffins together and give them that bakery taste and texture.
- Vanilla Extract – I like homemade vanilla extract, but you can use any quality, pure vanilla extract.
- Orange zest – Use the zest of one orange
- Milk – You’ll use a half cup.
- Orange Glaze (optional) – You’ll mix a couple of tablespoons of Orange Juice with Confectioner’s Sugar for drizzling over the warm muffins.
Prepare Muffin Tins and Preheat Oven: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray muffin tins with baking spray or coat well with shortening or butter and flour, discarding any excess flour from tins after coating.
Sift the Dry Baking Ingredients: Sift together all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
Prepare the Cranberries: In a separate bowl, toss together the fresh or frozen cranberries and 2 teaspoons of flour to coat the cranberries. Set aside. If you are using dried cranberries, skip this step.
Mix the Wet Ingredients: Cream together butter and sugar until lightened in color, or about 3 minutes. Add an egg, one at a time, taking care to fully incorporate it before adding the next egg. Mix in vanilla and orange zest.
Add the Dry Ingredients: Gently fold in the flour mixture and alternate with milk. Stir until just combined. Fold in cranberries.
Fill the Muffin Pans: Scoop mixture into prepared muffin tins. Fill tins about 2/3 to ¾ full.
Bake. Bake until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
Make the Orange Glaze: While the muffins are baking, stir together the orange juice and confectioner’s sugar until well combined.
Glaze and serve. Once the muffins have baked, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool slightly in the muffin tin. Then remove each muffin, place it on your serving platter or plate, and drizzle with Orange Glaze.
I like to serve them slightly warm, but they are delicious after they’ve cooled as well.
Can I Use Dried Cranberries Instead of Fresh?
Yes! You may use dried cranberries instead of fresh ones if you wish.
As I mentioned, I use a lot of cranberries in this recipe, so if you use dried cranberries instead of fresh, you use a lesser amount of them as specified in my recipe.
Can I Use Frozen Cranberries?
Yes, you may use frozen cranberries. Use the same amount of frozen cranberries as you would fresh ones.
How Do You Prepare Fresh Cranberries for Baking?
To prepare fresh or frozen cranberries for baking and prevent them from sinking to the bottom of your muffins as they bake, simply toss them in a bit of all-purpose flour to coat them. Then, when instructed in the recipe, gently fold them into the muffin batter. The muffins will then have cranberries throughout. You do not do this with dried cranberries.
I’ll warn you, these are hard to resist! So, while the recipe is sized perfectly for 12 muffins, you may want to make a few extras as they’ll disappear quickly.
How to Make Ahead, Store and Freeze Cranberry Orange Muffins
These muffins come together quickly and are also easy to make ahead. This makes them perfect for easy entertaining if you have guests for the weekend or for serving at holiday brunches too!
To store: Once they’ve cooled completely, they can be stored underneath a cake dome for 3 to 4 days at room temperature.
To freeze: Place cooked and cooled muffins onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place the baking sheet into the freezer for 30 – 45 minutes so that each muffin individually freezes. If you wish, you can wait to add the glaze if you know you’ll be freezing them, but they can be frozen with the glaze as well. Once frozen, transfer the frozen muffins into a zip-top freezer-safe bag or other freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to 3 months.
To serve: When ready to serve, remove them from the freezer and let them thaw completely. I like to serve these warm (but you can serve them at room temperature as well), so I will reheat them a bit before serving.
More Muffin Recipes to Try
More Muffin Recipes
Here’s my Cranberry Orange Muffins recipe. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
Cranberry Orange Muffins Recipe
- 2 cups all-purpose flour + 2 teaspoons for coating fresh cranberries, if used
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups fresh cranberries or 1 cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup unsalted butter , room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- zest of 1 orange
- ½ cup milk
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- Preheat oven to 375º F. Spray muffin tins with bakers spray or coat well with shortening or butter and flour, making sure to discard any excess flour from the tins after coating.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Toss together fresh cranberries and 2 teaspoons of flour to coat cranberries in a separate bowl. Set aside. If using dried cranberries, simply skip this step.
- Cream together butter and sugar until lightened in color, about 3 minutes. Add an egg, one at a time, taking care to fully incorporate before adding the other. Mix in vanilla and orange zest.
- Gently fold in flour mixture, alternating with milk. Stir until just combined. Fold in cranberries (fresh or dried) and scoop mixture into prepared muffin tins, filling about 2/3 to ¾ full. Bake until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
- Prepare orange glaze topping for muffins while the muffins are baking by stirring together until well-combined.
- Once muffins have baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly in the muffin tin. Then, remove each muffin and drizzle with orange glaze. Place onto a plate to finish cooling or serve slightly warm.
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From the Add a Pinch recipe archives. Originally published 2013.
These muffins always come out wonderful! Today I made them with blueberries and lemon and they were great. Don’t leave off the glaze!
Ellen, I’m glad you tried these with blueberries and lemon and loved them. I agree; do not omit the glaze!
I made these muffins and they turned out super good . I did adjust the recipe. I used 1 3/4 flour. I added 1 tsp of cinnamon. I added 1/2 cup of orange juice to the dry cranberries and I put these in a pot on the stove to allow them to warm and plump up. I omitted the milk using the orange juice as a substitute. I baked the muffins for 24 minutes. They were delicious. 10/10
Thanks for the tips on how you made these muffins, Liz.
THE best muffins we have ever made! Thank you Robyn.
Thanks so much, Gary. I love that you think these are the best muffins you have made.
These were delicious! I made them gluten-free and used dried cranberries soaked in about 1/8 cup of orange juice. Mine came out a little overdone at 30 minutes.
Linda, these sound delicious with the added orange juice to the dried cranberries. So glad you liked them.
Easy recipe, every batch has been wonderful. I needed to cut down my baking time by 6 minutes, otherwise I would have had burned muffins. Of course don’t forget get the glaze. Once I used sugar crystals on top before baking because I didn’t have confectionery sugar, it wasn’t bad but I prefer the glaze.
I agree that the glaze makes a difference. I’m so happy these always turn out great for you, Robin.
I made these without the glaze (so my toddler could have them without too much sugar), they’re super delicious! Thanks for the recipe
These are still delicious without the glaze, aren’t they, Jessie? You need to try them sometimes, though, with the glaze even if put glaze on a few of them.
I absolutely love these. I’m not a big fan of cranberry, yet these keep me coming back. Perfect for the holidays, but I make them year around.
I love these year round, too, Heidi, but they are a hit around the holidays. Thanks!
Very good but 30 minutes cook time is way too much. I checked them at 22 minutes and that was longer than necessary. I work recommend checking after 18 minutes
Thanks, Normand. Sometimes different ovens will bake foods faster than others. It always takes about 30 minutes for my muffins to be done when I make them. I’m so glad you liked them.
I have made this recipe several times and they always turn out. I did sub 1/2 cup of orange juice for the milk. Husband’s favorite. Thank you Robyn.