Soft and buttery, these cranberry orange muffins are bursting with flavor in every bite!
Cranberry + orange is one of my favorite winter flavor combinations and I love to rock it this time of year. Add a little spice like cinnamon or ginger and you have a wonderful cozy, yet bright flavor that will make any baked good pop.
These muffins are filled with orange zest, cinnamon, and fresh cranberries, and they’re topped with a simple orange glaze. They’re simple and humble, but still fabulous, so they’re perfect for a formal holiday brunch, a quick treat on a busy morning, and everything in between. Plus, they’re done in under 3o minutes start to finish, so how can you argue with that?
Muffin baking tips
Here are my best tips for baking perfectly tall, soft and tender muffins every time!
- Don’t over mix the batter. Too much mixing encourages gluten in the flour to develop, which will cause tender muffins to be tough and dense. Mix only until no visible streaks of dry ingredients remain. Fold any mix-ins (like cranberries) into the batter gently.
- Fill the muffin cups only about 2/3 full. It’s a little counter-intuitive, but less batter equals taller muffins. This will give them room to expand up the sides of the liners as they bake and give them a nice dome on top. If you overfill the cups, the batter has nowhere to go so it spills over the sides creating really flat muffins. I have found that this cookie scoop portions out exactly the right amount of batter for a regular muffin pan.
- Bake for a few minutes at a higher temperature. I bake the muffins at 425°F for 5 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350°F for the remainder of the baking time. This gives the muffins a nice spring right when they hit the oven— they puff up tall and the outside sets up quickly to hold that shape. Then the insides of the muffins play catch-up after you reduce the temp.
- Don’t let muffins cool in the pan. Muffin pans hold a lot of heat and continue to bake the muffins after they’re out of the oven. If you allow the muffins to cool completely in the pan, they may be dry and over-baked. Let the muffins cool in the pan only until they are no longer too hot to handle, about 3-4 minutes. Use a knife to help left them out of the pan if necessary.
More cranberry-orange recipes
If you like these muffins, check out these other cranberry orange recipes!
- Spiced cranberry orange danishes
- Cranberry orange mimosas
- Cranberry orange breakfast knots
- Cranberry orange cream cheese pound cake
- Cranberry orange cinnamon rolls
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This recipe was originally published in January 2010.
Cranberry Orange Muffins
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (113 grams, 1 stick), softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
- 1/2 cup dark or light brown sugar (105 grams)
- Zest of 1 orange
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (240 grams)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup whole milk (125 ml)
- 1 cup fresh cranberries (100 grams)
- 1 cup powdered sugar (210 grams)
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a regular muffin pan with paper liners or grease with nonstick baking spray.
- With an electric mixer, beat butter, sugars, and orange zest until pale and creamy, about 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
- Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add vanilla.
- Combine flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Add to the butter mixture in 2 additions, alternating with the milk. Mix only until combined.
- Fold in cranberries.
- Scoop batter into prepared pan, filling about 2/3 full.
- Bake for 5 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350°F and continue to bake muffins for about 10 minutes more, until muffins are set on top and spring back to the touch.
- Let cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar and just enough orange juice to make a thick but pourable glaze. Drizzle over muffins and enjoy!
- For best results, have all ingredients at room temperature. I take my butter, eggs and milk out of the fridge 30 minutes before baking.
- These muffins freeze really well. Wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in a ziplock bag in the freezer for up to 1 month. Defrost as needed on the counter for about 20 minutes.