These Cranberry Orange Muffins are tall, moist bakery style muffins.

Dotted with fresh or frozen cranberries and infused with fresh orange juice and zest, they make a cozy winter breakfast, snack, or dessert.

Close up of a cranberry orange muffin

Cranberry orange is one of my favorite winter flavor combinations and one that’s severely underrated if you ask me. Tart cranberries and orange are just a match made in Heaven, so I just had to make these Cranberry Orange Muffins.

These muffins were inspired by my orange muffins, which are always a hit as well.

Tall, fluffy, and moist, they make the perfect snack, breakfast, or dessert – especially during the winter months when fresh cranberries and oranges are readily available.

Do yourself a favor and enjoy a freshly baked one after it’s cooled -the bright citrus flavor and juicy cranberries really shine, you’ll never want a muffin from the bakery again.

Overhead view of bakery style muffins with orange and cranberries

Why You’ll Love These Easy Cranberry Muffins

Here are a few reasons why I love these cranberry orange muffins so much.

  • They’re bakery-style muffins. You know those tall, uber-moist muffins with the puffy muffin tops you find at bakeries? That’s exactly what these are.
  • Loaded with orange and cranberry in every bite. Between the cranberries in the batter and on top and the orange juice and zest, you’ll find incredible cranberry orange flavor in each and every bite.
  • Made with pantry staples. Besides the cranberries and orange, every ingredient used in this recipe is something you likely already have in the cupboard.
  • Quick & Easy! From start to finish, these homemade muffins are ready in under an hour – including 15 minutes of rest time and just over 20 minutes in the oven.
Close up of a orange cranberry muffin

What You’ll Need

These tall, fluffy muffins are made with your typical muffin ingredients, plus the orange juice/zest and cranberries to give them the extra flavor. See the recipe card below for measurements.

  • All-purpose flour – It’s important to measure the flour accurately as too much can change the texture of the muffins.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Eggs
  • Buttermilk – Using buttermilk helps keep the muffins extra moist and also adds a bit of flavor.
  • Vegetable oil – Vegetable oil also adds moisture to the muffins.
  • Orange zest and orange juice – Adds bright orange flavor to every bite of these muffins.
  • Cranberries – Fresh and frozen cranberries both work in this recipe.

Tip: Once you zest the oranges, cut them in half and squeeze out the orange juice.

Can I use dried cranberries?

Although dried cranberries aren’t the best substitute for fresh cranberries, if you prefer the dried ones, you can use those in this recipe!

How to Make Cranberry Orange Muffins

These orange cranberry muffins are easy to make and the prep takes just a few minutes, though the batter will need to rest for 15 minutes before baking.

Combine the dry ingredients. In a small bowl stir together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Combine the wet ingredients. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil, orange zest, and orange juice. Stir for 30 seconds with a rubber spatula.

Combine the ingredients. Gradually add the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Fold in the cranberries.

Let the batter rest. Cover the bowl with a towel. Rest for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425ºF during this time. Fill the muffin tin with muffin liners.

Fill the muffin liners. Transfer the batter to paper liners, filling them almost to the top with the batter.

Garnish the muffins. Add extra cranberries and sanding sugar to the top of the muffins if desired.

Bake. Bake the muffins for 7 minutes at 425ºF, then turn the temperature down to 350ºF and bake for 13 to 16 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in the pan.

Do I Have To Rest The Batter?

Yes, this step is key to bakery-style muffins.

The rest time allows the starch molecules in the flour to absorb some of the liquid, which results in them swelling and creating a thicker batter consistency (ref: kitchen whisperer).

Close up of a cranberry muffin with a bite missing

Tips for the Best Homemade Muffins

Here are a few tips for making these bakery-style muffins.

Do not overmix the batter. As you combine the wet and dry ingredients, stir just until the ingredients are combined. Overmixing the muffin batter can lead to dense muffins.

Do not thaw the cranberries. If you’re using frozen cranberries, there’s no need to thaw them. It’s better not to as they can stain the batter red as you stir them.

Fill the muffin liners almost to the top. The key to tall, puffy muffin tops is to fill the liners almost all the way to the top, not just halfway or 3/4 as you might for regular muffins.

Bake in batches. You should have enough batter for more than one muffin tray. But you’ll still just want to bake one at a time to ensure that they bake properly.

Do not open the oven. When you reduce the heat from 425ºF, resist the urge to peek in the oven or take the muffins out. Just turn the temperature down and let the oven work its magic.

Overhead view of cranberry orange muffins

How to top the muffins

For these tender muffins, I topped them with with extra cranberries and sanding sugar. Sanding sugar is a large crystal sugar that’s great for decorating because it won’t dissolve with heat.

If you want a different topping, try a sweet orange glaze (orange juice and powdered sugar) or try our streusel topping. No matter how you top the muffins, they are the perfect afternoon snack, and great for busy mornings and Christmas morning!

Two orange cranberry muffins stacked on each other

Serving Suggestions

With the moist texture and sweet topping (especially if you add the sanding sugar), these muffins are absolutely delightful on their own at room temperature. Slightly warm from the oven is even better.

How to Store Leftovers

Leftover cranberry orange muffins can be stored at room temperature for 3 or 4 days. Just keep them in an airtight container. You can also refrigerate them and let them come to room temperature before enjoying them.

Can I Freeze These?

Yes. These bakery-style cranberry orange muffins freeze well. Allow them to come to cool completely, then wrap them individually in plastic wrap. I’ll sometimes wrap two together, with the bottoms of the muffin liners touching as well. Once wrapped in plastic, place them in a ziplock bag or container.

Thaw frozen muffins on the counter or if you’re impatient like me, pop them in the microwave in 15-second intervals.

More Muffin Recipes

Close-up of a bakery style cranberry orange muffin

Cranberry Orange Muffins

4.60 from 27 ratings
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 23 mins
Rest Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 48 mins
Yield: 15 muffins
These Cranberry Orange Muffins are tall, moist bakery style muffins. Dotted with fresh (or frozen) cranberries and infused with fresh orange juice and zest, they make a cozy winter breakfast, snack, or dessert.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all purpose flour, measured properly, 360g
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • zest of 3 oranges
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1&1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

Instructions
 

  • In a mixing bowl combine the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Stir with a spoon to combine and set aside.
  • In a larger mixing bowl combine the eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil, orange zest, and orange juice. Stir to combine with a spatula for 30 seconds.
  • Gradually mix in the dry ingredients, mixing by hand just until combined. Fold in the cranberries, the batter will be very thick! If using frozen cranberries, do not thaw them.
  • Cover the bowl with a towel and allow the batter to rest for 15 minutes. During this time, preheat the oven to 425ºF.
  • Line a muffin pan with muffin liners. Fill the liners ALMOST to the top with batter.
  • Top the muffins with a few extra cranberries and sanding sugar if desired.
  • Bake for 7 minutes at 425ºF, then keeping the muffins in the oven, turn the temperature down to 350ºF and bake for 13-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan. Bake the remaining muffins.
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
Author: Beth
Calories: 267kcal, Carbohydrates: 45g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 23mg, Sodium: 185mg, Potassium: 89mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 23g, Vitamin A: 82IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 71mg, Iron: 1mg
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