Easy Cranberry Orange Muffins
Start your morning with these easy cranberry orange muffins! They are tender, fluffy and have a pop of flavor thanks to the tart cranberries and zesty orange. The best part is that they are ready in 30 minutes!
If you’re looking for an easy recipe that uses seasonal flavor, these cranberry orange muffins will do the trick. They are the perfect addition to your Christmas breakfast! The tart and tangy flavor will instantly brighten up your morning, which is just what we need on these long winter days. I find myself making these muffins several times during the holiday season because it’s so easy to whip up a batch!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Bursting with flavor. The tart cranberries pop against the citrusy orange zest.
- Tender texture. The addition of sour cream guarantees a moist texture (just like cranberry coffee cake). The high baking temperature makes fluffy and tall muffin tops!
- Just the right amount of sweetness. The simple orange glaze is just enough to satisfy your sweet tooth (I use it for my cranberry orange scones too).
- Easy to make. These ingredients are easy to find and the muffins are done in 30 minutes.
- Festive holiday recipe. Whip up a batch when guests are visiting or if you want a homemade treat in the morning!
- Cranberries: You can find fresh cranberries during the holiday season. Other times of the year you can use frozen (do not defrost).
- Orange juice and zest: Freshly squeezed juice and zest will provide the most flavor.
- Sour cream: For moist and tender texture, use full-fat sour cream. Greek yogurt is a good substitution.
- Unsalted butter: Different brands of salted butter have different amounts of salt added. it’s best to add salt separately so you have control over the measurement.
- Baking powder: This leavening agent helps the muffins rise. Check that it is fresh and not expired.
- Confectioners’ sugar: Also known as powdered sugar, this is used to make the glaze.
Refer to the recipe card for ingredient details and measurements.
Add some mix-ins. When adding the cranberries, stir in 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts. Chocolate chips or white chocolate chips are also an option!
Top it with streusel. You can use the streusel recipe from my apple crumble muffins. Whisk together 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 Tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Stir in 4 Tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle on top of muffins prior to baking.
Make mini muffins. Use a mini muffin tin to make a bite-sized version of this recipe. Baking time will be 8 to 10 minutes (yields approximately 36 mini muffins).
How to Make Cranberry Orange Muffins
- Whisk dry ingredients: In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Make the batter: In a separate bowl, beat butter both sugars and zest until light and fluffy. Add sour cream, eggs and vanilla extract, then mix until combined.
- Stir in half the flour mixture by hand, then the orange juice. Mix in remaining flour mixture.
- Stir in cranberries by hand.
- Bake the muffins: Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Bake for at 400℉ for 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with little to no crumbs.
- Make the glaze: Whisk confectioners’ sugar and fresh orange juice together. Drizzle glaze over cooled muffins and serve.
Use room temperature ingredients. This is essential to getting a smooth, consistent batter. As a result, the muffins will also have a consistent texture too!
Weigh your ingredients with a kitchen scale. For accurate measuring, use a scale. If you don’t have one, spoon the flour into a measuring cup and level with a knife.
Make sure the oven is hot before baking. Muffins need a high temperature to rise and become fluffy. I have found that 400℉ is the sweet spot! Keep the oven door shut until the muffins are dont baking.
Tilt the muffins on their sides when they come out of the oven. This helps prevents a soggy bottom as they cool.
Use fresh orange juice and zest. This makes all the difference in flavor. I do not suggest bottled orange juice unless that is all you have on hand.
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 or 4 days. Make sure they are completely cooled before storing to prevent any condensation.
Freeze muffins for up to 3 months. Once they have cooled completely, store them in an airtight container in the freezer. Defrost in the refrigerator before bringing to room temperature.
Yes, but do not defrost the cranberries. Toss them in a tablespoon or two of flour to prevent them from sinking in the batter as they defrost while baking.
Yes, but make sure they have no added sugar. Decrease quantity to 2/3 cup. Keep in mind dried berries will provide a different texture.
In a pinch, yes, but fresh juice adds much more flavor. You’ll have to buy an orange for the zest anyway!
Here are some recipes to try if you want to bake with cranberries this holiday season.
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Get the Recipe: Easy Cranberry Orange Muffins
- 2 cups (250 g) all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling on top
- ¼ cup (50 g) packed light brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon fresh orange zest
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- ½ cup (113 g) sour cream, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (60 ml) fresh orange juice
- 1 ½ cups (170 g) fresh cranberries
- 1 cup (120 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- Preheat oven to 400℉. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to combine butter, sugar, brown sugar and orange zest until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla, mix until incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Switch to a spatula or wooden spoon. Stir in half the flour mixture, then mix in the fresh orange juice. Add remaining flour mixture and mix just until combined (don't over-mix). Stir in cranberries.
- Use an ice cream scoop or spoon to divide batter evenly among prepared cups, each about 3/4 full. Sprinkle with sugar if desired (sprinkle high above pan so sugar disperses evenly). Bake muffins for about 25 minutes or until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with little to no crumbs. Allow muffins to cool on their sides in the pan for a couple minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- For the glaze, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and fresh orange juice. Drizzle over muffins with a spoon. Garnish with more orange zest if desired.