This cranberry orange muffin recipe is one of my favorite breakfast recipes. The zesty flavor of fresh citrus, the tangy tartness of whole cranberries, and the light touch of sweetness from the muffin batter is a wonderful flavor combination. It’s truly a great grab-and-go breakfast that you can make ahead of time on the weekends.
I must admit, we even love these muffins for an afternoon treat or dessert as well. Our cranberry orange muffin recipe is easy to make with a simple list of ingredients too. If you’re ready to start baking, simply hit the “jump to ” recipe button, or scroll through our photos and steps below for some helpful tips and tricks.
Can I Use Dried Cranberries Instead Of Fresh Cranberries?
Can I use dried crandberries instead of fresh cranberries? The answer is yes! Though, have you ever tried baking with fresh cranberries? If not, you’re in for a treat. Cranberry orange muffins are great during the holidays and throughout the winter when cranberries are in season. Ever find an extra bag of cranberries in the back of your fridge in January? This is the perfect recipe for those!
Tips For Baking With Dried Cranberries
If you’d like to substitue dried cranberries instead of fresh, just change the amount used from 1 cup of fresh cranberries to 3/4 cup of dried cranberries. Also, here’s a tip: soak dried cranberries in water 30 minutes before baking. To speed up the process, you can also rehydrate dried cranberries by adding them to a bowl, covering with water, and microwaving for one minute. Just let them cool for five mintes, then drain the water before adding them to your cranberry muffin recipe. That will make them moist and plump while also preventing them from being too chewy and absorbing extra moisture out of your orange cranberry muffins while baking.
Tips For Baking With Frozen Cranberries
You can also use frozen cranberries for this recipe. Simply thaw one cup of frozen cranberries and bring them to room temperature before blending them with the rest of the ingredients as described in the cranberry orange muffin recipe below.
Should I Precook Cranberries Before Baking?
Some recipes might require you to cook cranberries, such as making a cranberry sauce, before adding them with other ingredients. But thankfully that is not the case when baking cranberries. When baking, cranberries will soften and pop. The baking process also brings out the natural sugars to make fresh cranberries a little sweeter.
How To Make Cranberry Orange Muffins: Step-By-Step
This cranberry orange muffin recipe is adapted from my favorite lemon blueberry muffin recipe. The combination of sweet citrus with tart cranberries makes a tasty muffin! Here’s what you’ll need:
Cranberry Orange Muffin Recipe Ingredients
- all-purpose flour
- granulated sugar
- baking powder
- vegetable oil
- fresh cranberries
Cranberry Orange Muffin Toppings
You have a couple of choices for muffin toppings. I like to add a crumb topping that gives muffins that fresh-from-the-bakery look and flavor. Like a cranberry orange muffin you might order at your favorite cafe.
Another great topping would be a citrus glaze drizzled across the top. This will definitely make the cranberry orange muffins a bit sweeter and more dessert-like.
And, of course, you could also bake them plain without a topping if you’d like to reduce the amount of sugar used in the recipe.
How To Make A Crumb Topping For Muffins
To make a crumb topping as pictured, mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, and 1/2 stick of butter in a small bowl with a fork or pastry cutter. I like to cut the butter into smaller pieces to make it easier to blend. You’re going for a mixture where the butter takes on the shape of small peas when mixed with the flour and sugar. Once the butter is blended in with the flour and sugar, place the bowl in the refrigerator to keep cold until ready to use.
Baking Cranberry Orange Muffins
To start, pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and line muffin tin with muffin liners. You can use foil or paper liners for this recipe. I like to use tulip shaped baking cups since they’re a bit taller and guide the muffin as it rises. Plus, the folds in the paper tulip baking cups make the muffins easy to unwrap once baked.
Whisk together 2 cups of flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. (Baking powder bakes a more cake-like muffin than baking soda.)
Wash and dry two fresh oranges. For this cranberry orange muffin recipe, I like to use navel oranges. But any orange in season will do. Zest the two oranges over the flour mixture. Then cut one orange in half, and then squeeze orange juice into a separate bowl or cup. Measure out two tablespoons of orange juice and add to flour mixture.
Add milk, oil, and beaten eggs to flour mixture and blend ingredients using a fork or spoon (do not use a hand mixer or stand mixer. These are too powerful and will overmix your batter. This will make your muffins tough and keep them from rising.
After wet ingredients are blended in, gently fold in the cranberries and then spoon batter into muffin cups.
Finally, spoon refrigerated crumb topping onto each of the muffins and bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes.
Once the muffins are finished baking, let them cool for 5 mintues, then enjoy!
How Long Will Cranberry Orange Muffins Be Good For
You can store fresh baked muffins in an air tight container or bag and they should last for at least a week. You can also freeze them for up to three months. Though, personally, these taste so good they don’t usually last long in our household!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 oranges, zested (roughly 2 Tbsp)
- 2 Tbsp orange juice
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup white sugar (for crumble topping)
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (for crumble topping)
- 1/2 stick butter, cubed (for crumble topping)
- Start by making your crumb topping, mixing together the 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, and 1/2 stick of butter with a fork or pastry cutter. Once the butter is blended in with the flour and sugar, place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin tin with foil muffin liners.
- Whisk together 2 cups of flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl.
- Zest oranges over flour mixture. Cut one orange in half, and then squeeze orange juice into a separate bowl or cup. Measure out 2 tablespoons of orange juice and add to flour mixture. (add more one tablespoon at a time if needed)
- Add milk, oil, and beaten eggs to flour mixture and blend ingredients using a fork or spoon (do not use a hand mixer or stand mixer as this will make your muffins tough and keep them from fully rising)
- After wet ingredients are blended in, gently fold in the cranberries and then spoon batter into muffin cups.
- Spoon refrigerated crumb topping onto each of the muffins and bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes.
You can subsitute a plant based milk for regular milk. I've used oatmilk before with great success.
You can substitue dried cranberries for fresh cranberries. Just reduce the amount used to 3/4 cup dried cranberries and soak them in water (then drain) before baking.