Lightly sweetened fluffy cranberry orange muffins that will make your mornings so much cozier! Soft, fluffy, and made with fresh orange and cranberries, these festive muffins are perfect for those special holiday mornings.
Why you'll love it
These cranberry orange muffins are the perfect breakfast or snack, especially during the colder months when fresh cranberries are abundant. They are also great using frozen and dried cranberries. In fact, a mix of fresh or frozen and dried can give you the perfect amount of cranberry flavor.
This means you can enjoy these delicious bakery-style muffins any time of the year. To give you that signature bright citrus flavor, we use freshly squeezed orange juice and orange zest. The end result is a pan of orange cranberry muffins that are bursting with flavor in every bite.
There is nothing better than the combination of tart cranberries and bright oranges during the holiday season. These are so tender, light and fluffy. Exactly what you want to enjoy on a snowy Christmas morning.
- Oil - I firmly believe to get the best muffins, you need to stop using butter. They give you lighter, fluffier muffins that are also more moist compared to butter. If you want to add a bit of rich buttery flavor, you can substitute a couple of tablespoons of the oil with melted butter.
- Cranberries - You can use fresh or frozen cranberries. You do not need to thaw frozen cranberries. I also like to sprinkle in some dried cranberries into the mix!
- Oranges - Use your favorite kind of orange. I like Navel oranges for baked goods, but Cara Cara oranges are also really great. You will need the zest and the juice. I recommend zesting before you juice.
- Yogurt - Adding Greek yogurt adds tenderness and a subtle creaminess to the muffins. You can substitute it with sour cream.
- Baking powder - I highly recommend finding an aluminum-free double acting baking powder.
How to Make Cranberry Orange Muffins
Making muffins is a very easy process, it is a matter of mixing the wet ingredients together in one bowl, mixing the dry ingredients in another bowl, then mix the wet and dry together. The sugar is considered a wet ingredient as it will turn to a liquid state when added to the liquid.
- Add the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl and stir. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, add the orange zest and sugar. Rub the zest into the sugar to help release more of that orange flavor. Add in the orange juice, vegetable oil, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk well.
- Mix the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and stir gently to combine.
- Toss your juicy cranberries in a small amount of flour and fold into the muffin batter.
- Spoon batter into the lined muffin pan and optionally add more cranberries to the top of the muffins. You can also add a sprinkling of sugar to the muffin tops.
- Bake until they are a light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean or with a few crumbs clinging to it.
- Allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.
Expert muffin baking tips
If you want bakery-style muffins that are extra tall and fluffy, there are a few expert tips you need to keep in mind.
The most important way to ensure you get the best results is to make sure you are correctly measuring your ingredients, particularly the flour. You should fluff up the flour and then spoon it into your measuring cup then sweep of the excess. If you want to make sure you get consistent results, you can convert the recipe to metric and use a kitchen scale.
All ingredients should be room temperature. It helps to mix everything together without risking overmixing. Never overmix your batter. You should mix only until there are no obvious streaks of flour. As such, you should always mix the batter by hand with a rubber spatula. Never use a stand mixer or hand mixer. There should still be lumps in the batter.
Always use pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. Never artificial or clear vanilla.
Don't skip rubbing the orange zest into the sugar. It helps to release its oils and incorporates the flavor that much more.
Let your batter rest before adding in your cranberries, if you have double acting baking powder. Resting your batter allows the batter to thicken and the flour to hydrate. This results in tall, tender muffins. But it only works with double acting baking powder. When you are ready to bake, fold the cranberries into the muffin batter and portion out into the muffin liners.
Keep your cranberries from sinking to the bottom by tossing them in flour.
Keep the muffins stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to five days.
You can freeze the muffins by allowing them to cool completely to room temperature then transferring them to a baking tray. Freeze them on the tray for about 2 - 3 hours before transferring to an airtight container. Freeze for up to a month. Thaw overnight in the fridge or defrost in the microwave.
It’s pretty easy to make these muffins gluten-free. There are many methods available, but I recommend using a gluten-free baking mix. I frequently use many of them in my baking with no differences in the final product. For added nutrition you can include pulsed oats or almond flour in your gluten-free cranberry orange muffins.
You can make this recipe more interesting by using a streusel topping to add a nice buttery crunch. Or finish them with a delicious sweet orange glaze. They also make great mini muffins if you have a mini muffins pan.
Cranberry Orange Muffins
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cups granulated sugar
- Zest of 1 ½ oranges
- ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- ½ cup Mazola corn oil
- ½ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a muffin tin with liners. Set aside.
- Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Mix together the sugar and orange zest in a medium bowl. Rub together between your fingers to release the oils. orange juice, oil, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla extract. Whisk quickly until it is fully mixed together.
- Toss the cranberries in flour and set aside.
- Make a well in the dry ingredients, then pour in the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined. There should be several lumps left in the batter.
- Evenly distribute the batter among the muffin liners. Top the muffins with the turbinado.
- Bake for 15 – 18 minutes, or until a toothpick entered through the top comes out clean.