These cranberry orange muffins are bursting with color and flavor and are perfect for any morning of the week!
If you think blueberry muffins are great, you’ll think these are to-die-for.
The tops are nice and crisp, and everything else is just moist and tender.
The muffins themselves are sweet and citrus-flavored, which is contrasted by the tart cranberries. Together, they’re a match made in heaven.
They’re excellent for breakfast or brunch, but if you drizzle them with glaze on top, they make fantastic desserts, too!
Best of all, cranberry orange muffins take under an hour to make – cooling included. Gorgeous, scrumptious, and easy to make? Yep, that’s what I call the perfect recipe.
Can I Use Frozen or Dried Cranberries?
Frozen berries are perfectly fine for this recipe. You can use the same amount and don’t have to thaw.
Just throw them into the batter and bake for a few minutes longer.
I don’t recommend using dried cranberries because the flavor and texture just aren’t the same.
But in a pinch, you can submerge dried berries in hot water for 10 minutes to soften and saturate them.
Pat them dry with paper towels and add them to the batter.
- All-Purpose Flour – The base of the batter. I use all-purpose flour, but you can also try whole wheat for healthier muffins. The measurement should be the same.
- Granulated Sugar – For sweetness. Regular, granulated sugar works.
- Baking Powder – The leavening agent that will make the muffins rise and give them those adorable muffin tops.
- Salt – A bit of saltiness to counterbalance the sweetness.
- Vegetable Oil – For maximum muffin moisture.
- Egg – It also leavens the batter and adds richness.
- Milk – A liquid ingredient to saturate the dry. Buttermilk makes a fantastic alternative.
- Orange Zest And Orange Juice – Zest the orange before juicing it.
- Cranberries – If yours are too large, pulse them in the food processor to make them smaller.
How to Make Cranberry Orange Muffins
1. Prepare. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line your muffin tin. This recipe makes 12 muffins, so you’ll need 12 muffin liners.
If you don’t have muffin liners, grease the cups with baking spray or butter, and be very generous in doing so.
2. Mix the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk them until combined.
3. Mix the wet ingredients. Next, take a 1-cup measuring cup and pour the oil in (you’ll only need 1/3 cup). Crack in the egg and fill the remaining area with milk.
Tip: Be sure the egg and milk are both at room temperature! They’ll be easier to mix this way.
4. Combine the dry and wet ingredients. Pour the oil mixture into a bowl and whisk until well-combined.
Then, pour the mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients. Whisk with either a rubber spatula or a wire whisk – no electric mixer needed.
Be careful when mixing. You’ll want to stop as soon as you don’t see streaks of flour anymore.
5. Add the remaining ingredients. Gently mix in the orange zest, orange juice, and cranberries.
6. Bake. Then, spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin. Fill the cups 3/4 of the way.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or the tops spring back when you gently press on them.
7. Cool. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Serve and enjoy!
Tips for Making the Best Muffins
- Measure the flour accurately. Using more flour than needed will result in dry, almost rubbery muffins. A kitchen scale is the best tool for this, but you can also use the spoon and level method if you don’t have it. Spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it off with the back of a knife or an offset spatula.
- Zest the orange before you juice it. It’s much easier that way.
- Don’t over-mix the batter. No need to use an electric mixer, either – a good-old wire whisk or rubber spatula will do. Stop as soon as you no longer see streaks of flour. An over-mixed batter will yield dense muffins.
- Use room temperature milk and egg. They’ll incorporate easily with the rest of the ingredients.
- Use good-quality muffin liners. Specifically, use ones with a non-stick coating so you can easily peel them off. If you don’t have them, grease the tin generously with either baking spray or butter.
- Reserve some cranberries. Then, sprinkle them on top right before baking for a prettier look.
- Use buttermilk instead of milk for moister muffins. Stir together 1 tablespoon of vinegar with 1 cup of milk and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, or until it curdles.
- Use vegetable oil, not butter. Some recipes call for the latter – don’t trust those! While butter does help with flavor, it won’t make the muffins as moist as vegetable oil does. Butter also makes the muffins super greasy. Stick to oil and just add vanilla to improve the batter’s flavor.
- Pour water over any empty muffin cups. This will prevent the pan from getting scorched while baking.
- Don’t open the oven door in the middle of baking! This will alter the temperature inside and might cause the muffins to deflate.
- Let the muffins cool in the tin first. Wait at least 5 minutes before taking them out.
Here are a few flavor variations to try, as well:
- Make them crunchy! Add toasted nuts for extra crunch. Pecans, walnuts, cashews – pick your fave.
- Glaze them. Turn your breakfast into dessert. Whisk together 1 cup of powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons of milk, and 1 tablespoon of orange juice. Drizzle the glaze over the muffins.
- Add some chocolate chips. Cranberries, orange, and chocolate all together in one muffin? It might sound strange, but don’t knock it till you try it! White chocolate, in particular, tastes amazing with cranberries.
- Make lemon cranberry muffins instead. The citrus doesn’t just have to be orange. Try the recipe with lemon zest and lemon juice instead.
How to Store Cranberry Orange Muffins
While they taste best fresh out of the oven, you can store these muffins on the counter and they’ll stay moist for up to 2 to 3 days.
In the fridge, they’ll last for about a week. Warm them in the microwave for 30 seconds at low power, or in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can also freeze them for up to 3 months. Thaw them in the fridge overnight or on the counter for 1 hour. Reheat for 10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Whichever storing method you choose, be sure to place the muffins in an airtight container first.
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