Cranberry Muffins

These Cranberry Muffins are made with buttermilk and fresh orange juice for an ultra tender crumb. The muffins are chock full of tangy berries. You can top the muffins with crunchy orange-sugar or a shiny orange-glaze.

Ingredient Notes

  • All Purpose Flour: All purpose flour has a medium protein content. When we add the wet ingredients to the flour the batter forms enough gluten to give the muffins some structure. Thanks to the gluten in the batter the muffins can form a nice dome as they bake.
  • Sugar: This batter has relatively low amount of sugar. Muffins are not cupcakes and shouldn’t be as sweet as cake. The sugar or glaze topping does add a layer of sweetness to the muffins. You can serve the muffins without any topping if you prefer as less sweet flavor.
  • Oil: Because oil stays liquid at room temperature the muffins are nice and soft with a tender crumb.
  • Buttermilk: Acidic buttermilk will tenderize the crumb and add a lightly tangy flavor.
  • Fresh oranges: Orange zest contains the orange oil that adds wonderful fresh flavor to the muffins. The fresh juice adds some flavor and some acidity. Just like buttermilk, the orange juice tenderizes and flavors the muffins.
  • Cranberries: – You can use fresh or frozen cranberries. If you’re using frozen berries don’t defrost them or they will leak too much juice into the batter. Fold the berries into the batter while they’re still frozen.

How to make Cranberry Muffins

See the recipe card for detailed measurements and instructions.

a bowl of dry ingredient and a cup of wet ingredients. Wet ingredient being poured into dry ingredients

Step 1: Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and combine the wet ingredients in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup.

Step 2: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

A bowl of cranberries pouring in to a bowl of batter. A bowl of cranberry muffin batter.

Step 3: Add fresh or frozen berries to the partially mixed batter.

Step 4: Fold in the berries just until combine. Do not overmix or the muffins will be dense and rubbery.

A scooper putting batter into a muffin tin.

Step 5: Use a scoop or measuring cup to portion the batter. Do not fill the pans more than 2/3 full.

Pans of cranberry muffins before and after baking.

Step 6: Bake the muffins until they spring back when lightly pressed in the center.

a bowl of orange sugar and a bowl of melted butter.

Step 7: Dip the warm muffins into the orange butter then into the orange sugar. Alternately, dip each muffin into the orange glaze.

Pastry chef tips for making the best Cranberry Muffins

  • Don’t overmix the batter. Fold the flour until halfway incorporated then fold in the berries just until mixed through. Overmixing will result in dense and rubbery muffins.
  • As soon as the wet ingredients are added to the dry ingredients the baking powder and baking soda are activated. For the lightest muffins scoop the batter and bake the muffins right after mixing.
  • I like to use pan spray or butter and flour to prep the muffin pan because I like the nice crust than forms when the batter bakes directly in the pan. You can also use cupcakes liners if you prefer to have each muffin in a wrapper.

How to work ahead:

  • Weigh out all the ingredients ahead of time. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and combine the wet ingredients in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. If you will be holding the ingredients more than 2-3 hours refrigerate the wet ingredients.
  • The pan can be prepped a day ahead of time.
  • The orange sugar can be made up to 1 day ahead of time. Put the butter and orange juice in a container then melt the butter when the muffins come out of the oven.
  • The orange glaze can be mixed up to a day ahead. Cover the container to keep the glaze from drying out.

How to store Cranberry Muffins:

  • The muffins are best the day they are baked but will keep at room temperature for a day. Store them in a tightly covered container.
  • For longer term storage, the muffins can be frozen for up to a month. The muffins can be defrosted and reheated in a 200°F oven. If the muffins have been glazed the topping will melt in the oven.

What is the “muffin method” for mixing batter?

A “muffin” is a specific baked good, but it’s also the name of a mixing technique.

To mix a batter with the “muffin method” you put all your dry ingredients together, put all your wet ingredients together, then combine the two. It’s one of the easiest baking techniques there is. This recipe comes together in just a few minutes.

Want more muffin recipes? Raspberry/White Chocolate Muffins, Bacon & Egg Muffins, Blueberry Cornbread Muffins, Sourdough Blueberry Muffins, Sunflower Muffins, Zucchini Muffins, Squash & Poppyseed Muffins, Bran Muffins, Lemon Blueberry Muffins.

Hey Cranberry lover, you’ll want to try these recipes too:

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

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5 from 2 reviews

Cranberry Muffin Recipe

These Cranberry Muffins are made with buttermilk for an ultra tender crumb. The muffins are chock full of tangy berries and you have your choice of toppings to finish the muffins.
Prep Time30 minutes
Bake Time20 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
18 Standard Muffins
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  • 14 oz all purpose flour (2 3/4 cups, see note)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 4 oz granulated sugar (½ cup)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 oz Buttermilk (1 cup)
  • 5 oz vegetable oil (2/3 cup)
  • 1 orange
  • 8 oz cranberries (2 heaping cups)

Sugar Topping

  • 4 oz granulated sugar (½ cup)
  • 1 orange
  • 4 oz unsalted butter (melted)

Glaze Topping

  • 4 oz confectioner sugar (1 cup)
  • 1 orange


  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter and flour 18 standard-size muffin cups or line with paper liners. Alternately, this recipe will make 9-10 jumbo muffins.
  • Place the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and the sugar in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the dry ingredients to combine.
    14 oz all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon table salt, 4 oz granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil and the finely grated zest and 1/4 cup of juice from the orange.
    2 large eggs, 8 oz Buttermilk, 5 oz vegetable oil, 1 orange
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir until the flour is barely incorporated, then fold in the cranberries. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins filling no more than 2/3 full.
    8 oz cranberries
  • Bake until the center of a muffin springs back when lightly pressed or a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out with a few moist crumbs, 15-20 minutes. While the muffins are baking prepare either the sugar topping or the glaze.
  • For the sugar topping: In a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar with the finely grated zest from the orange. In another small bowl combine the melted butter and 1/4 cup of orange juice.
    4 oz granulated sugar, 4 oz unsalted butter, 1 orange
  • For the Glaze: Combine the confectioner's sugar with the finely grated zest from the orange and 3 tablespoons of the juice.
    4 oz confectioner sugar, 1 orange
  • Cool the muffins in the pan for 10 minutes. They should still be warm, but not too hot to handle. For sugar topped muffins dip the top of each muffin into the melted butter and then into the sugar. For glazed muffins, dip each muffin into the glaze. Allow the sugar or glaze to set for a few minutes before serving.

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If measuring the flour by volume use the “dip & sweep” method. That is, dip the measuring cup into the flour bin, overfill it, then sweep away the excess.


Calories: 274kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 140mg | Potassium: 91mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 249IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 1mg
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @eileen.bakingsense or tag #bakingsense!

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