Cranberry Orange Muffins

published Oct 29, 2022
Cranberry Orange Muffins Recipe
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Cranberry orange muffin on surface.
Credit: Photo: Yunhee Kim; Food Stylist: Jessie YuChen

When I was growing up, my mom was a huge fan of the cranberry orange loaf from Panera and was known to occasionally arrive home from work with a loaf in hand. The first time I tried it, I was immediately taken by what a perfect flavor combination cranberries and oranges make — especially for someone like me, who doesn’t usually go for super-sweet breakfasts. (My ideal breakfast meal is a savory egg and potato dish with a shared order of pancakes or waffles for the table.) The oranges provide a bright, citrusy pop of flavor, and the cranberries are sharp and tart. Together they make the perfect pair for a subtly sweet breakfast treat.

These super-simple cranberry orange muffins, inspired by that loaf my mom loved, are a make-ahead breakfast that was made for busy mornings. They’re just sweet enough, with a little zing from the cranberries to really perk you up. However, my favorite part about this recipe? It only requires one bowl! No need to get a million dishes dirty in the process. Plus, it only takes 15 minutes to prep these bad boys — the oven does most of the work.

Can I Substitute Dried Cranberries for Fresh Cranberries?

Yes! The results won’t be exactly the same, but they can definitely work. You’ll want to use 1/4 cup less dried cranberries than the recipe calls for. Most importantly, you should soak the dried cranberries before adding them to the batter. Place dried cranberries in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Steep for 10 to 15 minutes, then strain the cranberries.

Do You Need to Thaw Frozen Cranberries?

You absolutely want to thaw frozen cranberries before baking. Because they’re frozen, they have a higher water content that can lead to the cranberries sinking to the bottom of the muffins. Thawing allows the cranberries to release as much of the excess moisture as possible.

Credit: Photo: Yunhee Kim; Food Stylist: Jessie YuChen

Cranberry Orange Muffins Recipe

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes to 23 minutes

Makes 12 muffins

Nutritional Info


  • Cooking spray

  • 12

    paper muffin liners

  • 2 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon

    baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon

    baking soda

  • 1

    large orange (10 to 12 ounces)

  • 1 1/4 cups

    granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup

    vegetable oil

  • 1/2 cup

    whole milk

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 2 teaspoons

    vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 2 cups

    fresh or thawed frozen cranberries


  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Coat a standard 12-well muffin pan with cooking spray and line with paper liners.

  2. Place 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1 teaspoon baking soda in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

  3. Finely grate the zest of 1 large orange until you have 1 tablespoon into a large bowl. Juice the zested orange into the bowl until you have about 1/4 cup juice. Add 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1/2 cup whole milk, 2 large eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and whisk until combined.

  4. Add the flour mixture and fold with a flexible spatula or wooden spoon until no streaks of flour remain. Add 2 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries and fold until just combined. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin wells, filling each one almost to the top (about 1/3 cup each).

  5. Bake until the muffins are golden brown, the tops bounce back when pressed, and a tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20 to 23 minutes total. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Recipe Notes

Storage: The muffins will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. They can also be frozen for up to 2 months, then thawed at room temperature.