These easy bakery-style Cranberry Orange Muffins are moist, delicious, and bursting with flavor full of cranberries and oranges. The sweet orange glaze drizzled over the top is the best!
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 that I’m sure you’ll love! While I love to serve them for brunch, they also make an excellent, quick, and easy dessert.
Table of Contents
- Cranberry Orange Muffins
- What You’ll Love About This Recipe
- How to Make Cranberry Orange Muffins
- Expert Tips
- Can I Use Dried Cranberries Instead of Fresh?
- Can I Use Frozen Cranberries?
- How Do You Prepare Fresh Cranberries for Baking?
- How to Make Ahead, Store, and Freeze Cranberry Orange Muffins
- Cranberry Orange Muffins Recipe
Cranberry Orange Muffins
These Cranberry Orange Muffins are delicious and perfect for breakfast and brunch! Drizzled with a sweet orange glaze, they are even more special to serve during the holidays! But please don’t save the glaze for special occasions. It’s so simple to make and takes them over the top!
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!
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 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 citrus flavor in these muffins.
Ingredients 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. I use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. If you substitute with Morton’s Kosher salt, fine sea salt, or table salt, you will only need half the amount of the salt called for in the recipe.
- 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 to drizzle 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. 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 3/4 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 the orange juice and confectioner’s sugar until well combined.
Glaze and serve. Once the muffins have been 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 also delicious after they’ve cooled.
- Room temperature ingredients. Bring your butter, eggs, and milk to room temperature so they incorporate fully into the muffin batter.
- Measure your flour correctly. Weigh your flour to the correct measurement on a kitchen scale or spoon and level the sifted flour into your measuring cup.
- Check for doneness. Insert a toothpick or skewer into the center of a muffin to check for doneness. If it comes out clean, the muffins have finished baking.
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 will use less 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.
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 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 also be frozen with the glaze. 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 also serve them at room temperature), so I will reheat them 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 (240 g) all-purpose flour , + 2 teaspoons (2.5 g) for coating fresh cranberries, if used
- 1½ teaspoons (6 g) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (1.4 g) kosher salt
- 2 cups (198 g) fresh cranberries , or 1 cup (114 g) dried cranberries
- ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup (198 g) granulated sugar
- 2 large (100 g) eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons (9.3 g) vanilla extract
- zest of 1 orange
- ½ cup (113.5 g) milk, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 cup (113 g) 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 3/4 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.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
From the Add a Pinch recipe archives. Originally published 2013.