Cranberry Orange 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.
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.
How to Properly Measure Flour
The most accurate way to measure flour is to use a kitchen scale, weighing it in grams.
If you don’t have a kitchen scale, follow this method.
- Aerate the flour with a whisk or spoon. Flour becomes heavy and compact as it sits. Aerating is the same as fluffing the flour, but not the same as sifting it. Do not sift the flour unless the recipe specifically calls for it.
- Use a spoon to sprinkle the flour into the measuring cup. Do not tap the cup against the counter, as this will compact the flour.
- Use the back of a butter knife to level off the excess.
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.
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
- 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. For bakery style muffin tops, line a 12 count muffin pan with 6 muffins liners, meaning you’ll only fill every other muffin well with batter. Filling every other well allows the muffins to spread and dome without running into each other. 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.
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.
How to Create Bakery Style Muffins
Bakery style muffins are known for their domed tops. Plus who doesn’t love them? I used a few techniques to help “lift” these muffins so they would have domed tops.
1. THE REST PERIOD
Let the batter rest for 15 minutes after it’s mixed and before you scoop it into the muffin pan. During the resting period, starch molecules in the flour are absorbing the liquid in the batter, causing them to swell and giving the batter a thicker consistency (ref the kitchen whisper). Our 15 minute rest is just a quick rest.
2. BAKE AT HIGH TEMPERATURE INITIALLY
Bake the muffins at a high temperature (425ºF) initially then lower to 350ºF. Starting the muffins off at a higher temperature causes the batter to rise rapidly, producing a domed shape.
3. FILL THEM TO THE TOP
Fill your muffin liners to the top with batter. Yes, this goes against everything you’re heard but it’s important in helping the muffin gain that height.
4. FILL EVERY OTHER MUFFIN CUP
This tip has been a game changer! For bakery style muffin tops, line a 12 count muffin pan with 6 muffins liners, meaning you’ll only fill every other muffin well with batter. Filling every other cup allows the muffins to spread and dome without running into each other. This technique also encourages the muffins to brown, creating a golden muffin top.
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!
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
Cranberry Orange Muffins
- 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
- 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.
- For bakery style muffin tops, line a 12 count muffin pan with 6 muffins liners, meaning you’ll only fill every other muffin well with batter. Filling every other well allows the muffins to spread and dome without running into each other.
- Fill the liners to the top with batter. Yes – to the top! Use a butter knife to smooth the tops of the muffins if lumpy. 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.Repeat with the remaining batter, making sure to bump the temperature back up to 425ºF.
Any suggestions to reduce or substitute the amount of sugar in this recipe? We don’t eat a lot of sugar but I would love to try this recipe.
Hi Desiree! I haven’t tried reducing the amount of sugar myself, so I can’t give an accurate substitute!
Can you substitute butter for the oil.
I believe that would be okay, I haven’t tried it myself!
I just made the cranberry orange muffins wow wow wow. This recipe is a keeper. My husband loves them and requested I make some more. They are way better than any bakery. Thank you so much Beth . I will definitely make more of your muffin recipes
I just made these delicious cranberry orange muffins wow this recipe is a keeper. They are so moist and full of flavour. I will be definitely making them again. They are way better than any bakery
This was the 2nd time I’ve ever made muffins. They were bursting with orange flavor and you got the little tartness from the cranberry! So good!! 5 stars for sure!!
My husband just loves his muffins and stated these are the best he has ever had. BIG CALL from this expert. The tips are worth noting also
Question how would l adjust oven temp and baking time if making large size muffins (6 per tray) ?
Are you talking about using a jumbo sized muffin pan? I would add 10 minutes to the bake time, check them, and add more time as needed.
I want to make these wonderful looking muffins. Question, do you cook the cranberries first? When I’ve used them raw before my food has been awful due to raw cranberries. Thank you!
Hi Andi! Nope, you don’t cook them first. They will bake in the oven!
Amazing recipe. I used cup4cup gluten free flour, weighed out to 360g. Followed the rest of the directions. Added in some blueberries as well. Turned out amazing. Gluten free and you wouldn’t know it. Thanks for the recipe!!!
Dried cranberries work? Should I soak in boiling water first if so or not?
Yes, you can use dried cranberries! It totally depends on the texture and taste you’re going for if you should soak them. Like the texture of dried cranberries? Then put them in dry! Want them more plump and juicy? Put the dried cranberries in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow them to soak for 10-15 minutes, then drain the water.