Cranberry orange muffins are a bit tart and a bit sweet making for a delicious combination to enjoy all year long! Drizzle these with a simple orange glaze for the perfect addition to your breakfast or brunch!
Is there anything better than the cranberry orange flavor combination? Most people eat it more often during the holidays, but it’s my personal favorite all year long!
When I can’t get a good mocktail to drink, I get cranberry orange juice together. And when I have the choice of pastries, I always choose cranberry orange.
One of my all-time most popular recipes is this delicious cranberry orange bread (5 star rating with over 40 reviews!). I’ve had a number of people ask me how to make that yummy bread into muffins, so I decided to finally write it up!
why you’ll love this recipe
- Moist muffins – no one likes a dry muffin and the fresh cranberries in these cranberry orange muffins keep them moist and perfect.
- Sweet glaze – these muffins are finished with a slightly sweet orange glaze to counterbalance a bit of the tart cranberry in the muffins. It’s the perfect way to finish the muffins.
- Easy to make – there’s nothing difficult about these muffins – you just add everything together and bake!
- Bake quickly – unlike the cranberry orange bread that inspired these muffins that takes about an hour to bake, these muffins get you the delicious cranberry orange flavor in less than half that time!
- Amazing flavor – I’ve tried a lot of orange cranberry food in my lifetime, and the combination of the cranberry, orange zest, and orange juice in these muffins is in my opinion, the best flavor combination I’ve tried.
- Good for all occasions – these would work well if you need baby shower food, bridal shower food, Christmas food, or just a yummy breakfast any time during the year!
- Freeze well – these freeze fantastic! Double the batch, freeze some, and enjoy them whenever you want!
- Cranberries – you really want to use fresh or frozen (and thawed) cranberries for these muffins. The tart flavor of the fresh cranberries really makes these muffins shine. I like to grab extra cranberries to freeze during the holidays OR you can always get frozen ones at Whole Foods throughout the year.
- Orange juice – you can either use store-bought or fresh-squeezed orange juice, either one works great.
- Orange zest – fresh zest from an orange works or just get a spice container of orange peel like this. I always have some on hand to use in recipes.
- Oil – you can use any flavorless oil in this recipe. Vegetable, canola, and avocado oil all work great.
- Chopped walnuts – you can omit the walnuts if you can’t do nuts or you’re making this for someone who is nut-free, but if you don’t mind nuts, the nuts really add a lot to this recipe.
How Do you Make Cranberry muffins?
I mentioned it before but these cranberry orange muffins are pretty easy to make. The biggest headache is cutting the cranberries, but it’s worth the time you’ll spend cutting them to have those big juicy bursts of cranberry in each muffin!
First off you need to preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then place cupcake liners (paper ones or reusable silicone ones like these) in 24 regular size muffin tins.
Slice the cranberries in half. If you’re in a real big hurry, you could use a food processor or chopper to pulse them, but you won’t get the same even cranberry flavor across all the muffins. I definitely prefer the sliced option!
Add the two tablespoons of sugar to the bowl of sliced cranberries and mix together. Sugaring the cranberries helps cut down on the tartness and also helps keep the cranberries from just sinking to the bottom of the muffins. Set that bowl aside once the cranberries and sugar are mixed.
Mix flour, baking soda, and salt together in a small bowl.
Mix remaining sugar, orange zest, and oil in another bowl. Once those are combined, add in your egg and mix well.
Slowly add your flour mixture, orange juice, and water to the sugar mixture. I typically like to alternate – half the flour, half the orange juice, half the water, then the other half of the flour, other half of the juice, and other half of the water. Stir throughout the process to mix things in well then mix one more time once everything is in to finish your batter.
Fold in the chopped nuts and cranberries. And if you’re anything like Moira Rosa and don’t know what it means to fold, simply use a spatula and gently move it from top to bottom, stirring everything together until the nuts and cranberries are stirred in.
Divide the batter evenly among the 24 cups – I like to medium cookie scoop to add the batter to the muffin tins to keep things as even as possible. You want the cups to be about 3/4 full so they don’t get over huge and overflowing.
Bake in the oven for 22-24 minutes or until the tops are light golden brown and they bounce back when you touch the tops.
While muffins are baking, mix the powdered sugar and orange juice together to make your glaze.
When the muffins are done, remove them from the oven and place muffins on a cooling rack to cool completely.
Glaze muffins when they’re completely cooled so the glaze doesn’t just run off.
Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold. They’re delicious no matter what way you serve them!
Freeze the cranberry orange muffins before you glaze in an airtight freezer bag. When you’re ready to eat, simply put in the oven or toaster oven and bake until they are fully warmed. While they bake, make up the glaze quickly and top with glaze once warm.
Store in an airtight container on the counter for up to five days. If you don’t use them in five days, freeze using the tip above.
Split the batch if you want some with nuts and some without by simply mixing in the cranberries, pouring batter into half of your muffin tins, then adding the nuts into the remaining batter before filling the second half of your tins.
Try with and without the glaze. The glaze adds a hint of sweetness to the muffins that I personally love, but they’re good without as well!
Bake a batch and give to your neighbor with these cute have a berry merry Christmas gift tags!
While technically you could use dried cranberries instead of fresh, they will make these muffins much drier rather than the moist muffins you really want. I highly recommend fresh or frozen cranberries if you can get them.
This recipe makes 24 regular size muffins. If you want to make mini muffins, it should make about three times that. If you want to make jumbo, bakery style muffins, it will make 6-8 muffins depending on how big you make them.
Yes, you can, the flavors just won’t be divided across the cranberries as well as if you cut them in half. I’ve had a lot of people do this with my cranberry orange bread though and said it still tasted good, so it is possible.
More Baked Goods
- Best honey cornbread recipe – this sweet cornbread is more like cake than bread and absolutely delicious! Perfect with your favorite chili.
- Pumpkin cream cheese muffins – soft pumpkin muffins filled with a cheesecake like filling, they’re a great choice for a fall brunch!
- Chocolate chip zucchini bread – the most moist zucchini bread you’ll ever try thanks to one secret ingredient in the batter!
- Chocolate chip banana muffins – grandma’s recipe that has been made even better with time!
- Pineapple coconut bread – a recipe that will make you feel like you’re on an island somewhere enjoying a pina colada in the sun!
Cranberry Orange Muffins
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup + 2 TBS sugar 2 TBS to mix with the cranberries
- 1 TBS grated orange rind or orange zest
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup oil canola, vegetable, or avocado
- 2 cups Cranberries sliced in half
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 TBS orange juice
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and place cupcake wrappers in 24 regular muffin tins.
- Slice cranberries in half. Combine with 2 TBS sugar in a bowl and set aside.
- Mix flour, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup sugar, orange rind, and oil.
- Add egg and combine.
- Slowly add flour mixture, orange juice, and water to sugar mixture.
- Once all mixed together, fold in chopped nuts and cranberries.
- Divide batter into 24 muffin tins with each muffin tin about ¾ full.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 22-25 minutes or until the tops of the muffins are light golden brown and they bounce back when you push on them.
- While muffins bake, mix powdered sugar and orange juice together to make glaze.
- Move muffins to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
- Drizzle glaze on muffins once cooled.