These soft and fluffy Cranberry Muffins are packed with tangy cranberries and bits of sweet white chocolate. They’re super simple to make and can be ready to enjoy in just 30 minutes!
Fresh Cranberry Muffins
These cranberry muffins are so soft and fluffy, and each is bite packed with an array of flavors, from warm notes of vanilla and surprise pops of tangy cranberry, to sweet bits of white chocolate.
Today’s batter is adapted from my popular basic muffin recipe. I use this in many of my recipes, like my chocolate chip muffins, because, well, it works! It consistently produces a light, tender, soft crumb that complements just about any filling (and it took me months upon months to develop it, so I don’t feel bad making it pull its weight around here). It’s the perfect vehicle for tart fresh cranberries and mellow, slightly caramelized white chocolate
The flavor of these muffins is sweet and tart, with juicy tart cranberries that are almost a pleasant shock against the sweet muffin crumb and white chocolate. Sugar on top gives that sugared cranberry effect, which is the perfect frosty crown to these festive muffins.
Why you’ll love my recipe:
- No mixer required.
- Fast–just 15 minutes of prep before baking!
- Uses my favorite technique for tall muffin tops.
- Yields incredibly soft, fluffy, and flavorful cranberry muffins!
What You Need
Mostly basic ingredients, let’s talk about a few of them:
- Cranberries. We’re using fresh cranberries here for the most flavorful results. Frozen cranberries will work too; just add them into the batter (no need to thaw first!).
- Egg + egg white. Just like my strawberry muffins, adding an extra egg white makes these cranberry muffins nice and fluffy.
- Buttermilk. Buttermilk adds moisture and flavor to our muffins. While I highly recommend using the real thing for best results, my buttermilk substitute will work in a pinch.
- Cornstarch. Cornstarch adds to the soft, tender texture of these cranberry muffins. One day I might just do a standalone post on the wonders of this seemingly simple ingredient and the magic it works in recipes, would that interest you?
- White chocolate. You can use either chocolate chips or a chopped chocolate bar. I recommend using a higher quality chocolate for the best, tastiest results, as many white chocolate chips contain various ingredients that are a bit less than desirable. Sure, it helps the chips keep their shape, but we lose more than I’d like in flavor by going that route.
SAM’S TIP: Your white chocolate chips/chunks may look a bit golden after baking–this isn’t just normal, it’s what we want! This simply means the chocolate caramelized in the oven, which honestly makes the flavor even better.
Remember, 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 Muffins
- Whisk together the butter, oil, sugar, egg, egg white, and vanilla, then stir in the buttermilk.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then gradually add them to the wet ingredients and stir until about 50% combined. We want to avoid over-mixing the batter (as that would cause dense, dry muffins), so we’ll add our add-ins at this point.
- Add the cranberries and chocolate and finish stirring until fully combined.
- Divide the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 8 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature and bake for 7-8 more minutes. This is a tried-and-true method for creating light, fluffy muffins, more on that below!
- Let the muffins cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely. I use a butter knife to gently pry them out of the pan.
SAM’S TIP: Removing your cranberry muffins from the pan shortly after baking helps prevent soggy muffin liners. Speaking of, if you’re looking for that bakery effect you can always make your own parchment paper muffin liners!
Frequently Asked Questions
You can, but it’s not my favorite substitution. Dried cranberries are sweeter and much less tart than fresh. It’s not an even substitution either; you’ll need fewer dried cranberries than you would fresh or frozen (see the recipe notes below for a more exact amount).
Adding some orange zest and a tiny splash of orange juice to the batter should do the trick. I’d say you’d need zest from 1-2 oranges to get the flavor you’re looking for!
As with my banana muffin recipe, we’re using two oven temperatures today to create tall, bakery-style muffin tops. Starting with a higher temperature causes the muffins to rise nicely, and then we’ll drop the temperature so the interior can cook evenly. If we stayed at the high temperature the whole time, the centers would dry out instead of being soft and fluffy.
If you love these cranberry muffins, you should try my cranberry bundt cake!
- ¼ cup unsalted butter melted and cooled (4 Tablespoons/57g)
- ¼ cup vegetable or canola oil (60ml)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
- 1 large egg + 1 large egg white room temperature preferred
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk room temperature preferred (118ml)
- 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour (218g)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups fresh cranberries (155g)
- 1 cup white chocolate chips or 6 oz white chocolate bar chopped (170g)
- Additional granulated sugar for topping, optional)
- Preheat oven to 425F (215C) and line a muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together butter, oil, sugar, egg, egg white, and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined.
- Whisk in buttermilk.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cornstarch, and salt.
- Gently, using a spatula, fold dry ingredients into wet until about 50% combined. Then, add cranberries and white chocolate and continue to gently stir until completely combined.
- Evenly divide batter into prepared muffin tin (you can fill them to the top) and sprinkle tops with additional granulated sugar, if desired. For a taller rise, let muffins sit in the tin for 10-30 minutes before baking.
- Transfer muffins to center rack of oven and bake for 8 minutes on 425F (215C). Once 8 minutes has elapsed, do not open door, but reduce oven temperature to 350F (175C) and bake another 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs.
- Allow muffins to cool in tin for 10 minutes before carefully removing to a cooling rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
CranberriesFresh cranberries are best, rinse and dry them and pick out any bad berries before using.
Frozen berries will also work, I add them to the batter frozen (without thawing first).
Dried cranberries could also work, we recommend ¾-1 cup dried cranberries (some readers have soaked the dried berries in hot water to plump them up before using).
StoringStore in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 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.
I originally published this recipe in 2015. I’ve updated it to make the muffins softer and fluffier and the method easier to follow.