These cranberry orange muffins are infused with fresh orange zest and juice, plus plenty of cranberries (fresh or frozen!). They are so moist, soft, and fluffy and they come together quickly! Recipe includes a how-to video!
A Tart & Sweet Classic Muffin Recipe
Last year when I shared my cranberry white chocolate muffins, many of you requested instructions for making them into cranberry orange muffins. I proceeded to stock up on all the fresh cranberries I could get my hands on and got to work perfecting this one. I think you’re going to enjoy it as much as I do..!
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- Easy recipe: no mixer and no hard-to-find ingredients required.
- Made without artificial flavors or extracts: we’ll use the juice and zest of fresh oranges instead!
- Gorgeous tall muffin tops, thanks to my favorite muffin baking method (also used in my banana muffin recipe!).
- Sweet oranges and tart cranberries create such a well balanced flavor.
- Make them with a crumb topping: skip the sugar topping and top your cranberry orange muffins with streusel topping instead!
What You Need
While cranberries and oranges are a given, there are a few more key ingredients you should know about before we get started.
- Sour cream. Similar to buttermilk, sour cream adds depth of flavor and moisture to these muffins. Don’t worry, your muffins won’t taste like sour cream–but they will be even more flavorful because of it! Plain, full-fat Greek yogurt could be substituted in a pinch.
- Sugar. We’ll add sugar in the batter and an extra sprinkling on top to balance the tartness from the cranberries.
- Cornstarch. If you’ve been around for a little while, you know the drill here! Cornstarch is my go-to ingredient for tender, melt-in-your-mouth baked goods. Don’t skip it!
- Oranges. You will need at least 2 fresh oranges today, maybe more. How many you need really depends on the size of your oranges. If you end up having some leftover, make some orange rolls!
- Cranberries. Stick with fresh or frozen cranberries here. If you use frozen, there’s no need to thaw your berries before adding them to the batter.
Notice we aren’t using vanilla extract in this recipe–this is intentional. I found it diminished the fresh orange flavor too much.
SAM’S TIP: When zesting your oranges (always zest before juicing) make sure to only zest the orange skin and avoid the papery white layer beneath. That layer is called the pith, and it can be bitter.
This is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Cranberry Orange Muffins
- Zest your oranges until you have 2 tablespoons of zest, then set the zest aside.
- Squeeze ⅓ cup of juice from your oranges, then set this aside as well.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, then set aside.
- Add the sour cream, melted butter, and egg into a separate bowl and whisk to combine, then add the orange juice and zest and whisk until well incorporated.
- Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until 50% combined, then add the cranberries and fold again until the batter is uniform. The batter will be thick–take care not to over-mix!
- Portion the batter in a lined muffin pan (I like to use an ice cream scoop for this). Bake for 8 minutes at 425F (220C), then reduce the oven temperature to 350F (176C)–DO NOT open the door–and bake for another 8-10 minutes. Let the muffins cool in their pan for 5-10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
SAM’S TIP: Do not over-mix your batter! If you do, you will create dry, dense muffins. Combine the wet and dry ingredients until just combined, then stop.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! This baking technique yields beautiful, bakery-style muffins with soft fluffy interiors and tall tops. Baking at the high temperature the whole time would dry out the muffins, while baking at the low temperature would yield flat, average looking muffins. Plus, it’s not hard to do–just set a timer and reduce the temperature when it goes off!
You can, but I am not a fan of using dried cranberries here. They are sweetened, so they will make your muffins much sweeter than intended. They also work best if you rehydrate them, which just makes for an unnecessary extra step in the recipe.
If you must use dried cranberries, note that they aren’t an even substitution; you would need ¾-1 cup of dried cranberries instead of 1 ½ cups of fresh or frozen.
Yes! These muffins freeze well and make a perfect grab-and-go breakfast. To make sure they taste fresh, wrap them really well with plastic wrap and foil before storing in an airtight container in the freezer. They will keep this way for a few months.
These muffins would be perfect served for breakfast on Thanksgiving or Christmas! I can’t wait to hear how you like them 🥰
Cranberry Orange Muffins
- 1 ¾ cups (220 g) all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup (180 g) sour cream
- ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter melted
- ⅓ cup (78 ml) orange juice
- 2 Tablespoons orange zest
- 1 large egg
- 1 ½ cups (167 g) fresh cranberries
- Additional granulated sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat your oven to 425F (220C) and line a 12-count muffin tin with paper liners (or make my parchment paper liners and use them). Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.1 ¾ cups (220 g) all-purpose flour, ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar, 2 Tablespoons cornstarch, 2 teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt
- In a separate medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together sour cream, melted butter, and egg until well-combined.¾ cup (180 g) sour cream, ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, 1 large egg
- Add orange juice and zest to the sour cream mixture and whisk well.⅓ cup (78 ml) orange juice, 2 Tablespoons orange zest
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and use a spatula to gently fold the wet and dry ingredients together until about just about 50% combined, then add cranberries and continue to gently fold until cranberries are well distributed and you have a uniform batter (batter will be thick, do not over-mix or your muffins will be dense).1 ½ cups (167 g) fresh cranberries
- Evenly divide batter into your prepared muffin tin and sprinkle tops with additional granulated sugar.Additional granulated sugar
- Bake in the center rack of 425F (220C) oven for 8 minutes, then without opening the oven door, reduce the oven temperature to 350F and bake for another 8-10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
- Allow muffins to cool in their pan for 5-10 minutes before carefully removing from pan and allowing to cool completely on cooling rack.
StoringStore in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.