Made with fresh cranberries and orange, this Cranberry Orange Muffin Recipe produces a delicious, bakery-style coffee cake muffin that is light, tender, and finished with an irresistible buttery streusel and sweet glaze.
These Cranberry Orange Muffins are everything a muffin should be. They are sweet, buttery, tender, and light. With the addition of fresh, tart cranberries and notes of citrus from the orange juice and orange zest, these muffins also pack an incredible amount of flavor into every bite.
But the flavor doesn't stop with just the addition of cranberry and orange. These cranberry orange muffins are also finished with a buttery streusel and sweet glaze, becoming reminiscent of coffee cake in muffin form! And even though these deliver the quality and texture of a bakery-style muffin, these muffins are surprisingly simple to make.
Enjoy one of these cranberry coffee cake muffins as a mid-morning snack alongside spiced Christmas Tea or add them to your holiday breakfast menu with Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole and Maple Candied Bacon.
Notes on Ingredients
- Cranberries: Fresh cranberries are best for these muffins, however, I have provided modifications for using both frozen or dried cranberries in the recipe card.
- Orange: For the best punch of orange flavor, use both orange zest and orange juice. You can juice the orange yourself or use prepared orange juice.
- Flour: All-purpose flour is best for this muffin recipe.
- Butter: Use unsalted butter in the muffin batter and for the streusel.
- Spices: Nutmeg and cinnamon add just the right amount of warming flavor and compliment the flavors of both the cranberries and orange, just as they do for Cranberry Orange Sauce.
- Leavening Agents: Baking powder and baking soda work together to create a light and fluffy muffin. A bit of salt will help the volume of the muffins as well, as well as enhance the overall flavor.
- Granulated Sugar + Brown Sugar: These Cranberry Orange Muffins are sweetened with both granulated sugar and brown sugar which helps the muffins to achieve a fluffy consistency with a rich finish. You will also use brown sugar in the streusel. Use dark or light brown sugar interchangeably for this recipe.
- Powdered Sugar + Milk: Are used to create a sweet glaze for the perfect finish on these cranberry orange muffins.
- Using Frozen Cranberries: You can enjoy these cranberry orange muffins year-round by using frozen cranberries. I suggest processing the frozen cranberries in a food processor briefly and then adding the cranberries, still frozen, directly to your batter.
- Using Dried Cranberries: First of all, keep in mind that while you can use dried cranberries, I highly recommend fresh or frozen cranberries over dried cranberries for these muffins, as dried cranberries are much sweeter and chewier than fresh or frozen muffins and will change the flavor slightly of the muffin. To use dried cranberries in place of fresh cranberries, you will only want to use ½ cup of dried cranberries. You will also want to soak the dried cranberries in warm water for 15 minutes to plump them up. After soaking, drain off the water, pat the cranberries dry with a paper towel, and then fold them into the batter as directed.
- Gluten-Free Cranberry Orange Muffins: Use an all-purpose 1:1 gluten-free flour in place of the all-purpose flour in both the muffin batter and streusel.
- Using Whole Grains: I love swapping out refined flour for whole grain flour when I can. This recipe works using whole white wheat flour, not whole wheat flour, in place of the all-purpose flour. Whole white wheat flour is still 100% whole grain but has a lighter density than flour simply labeled whole wheat. The muffins won't be quite as light and fluffy, but pretty close.
How to Make Cranberry Orange Muffins
The following tips are provided to help you achieve perfect results. You will find the detailed instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Step One: Prepare Cranberries. For the best flavor and texture, it is best to finely chop the cranberries before adding them to the muffin batter. This will ensure that every bite has a bit of cranberry flavor, but the muffins will not be overwhelmed with tartness. The best way to chop the cranberries is to use a food processor. If you don't have a food processor, chop the cranberries by hand. I just find that using a food processor makes this process MUCH easier!
Step Two: Prepare Muffin Batter. This recipe for Cranberry Orange Muffins requires no stand mixer or a hand mixer to make the batter. It is best to whisk the dry and wet ingredients separately and then fold them together to just combine. This will ensure your muffin stays light and fluffy.
Step Three: Prepare Streusel. The streusel topping is a completely optional addition. That said, the buttery, rich streusel turns good cranberry orange muffins into bakery-worthy coffee cake-like muffins that are irresistible!
Step Four: Assemble Muffins. To ensure each muffin is even in size and bakes evenly, use an ice cream scoop or ¼ cup measuring cup to scoop the muffin batter into the prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the muffin batter.
Step Five: Bake Muffins. Bake the muffins in the center rack of a fully preheated oven, until the muffins are set and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.
Step Six: Glaze the Muffins. Just like the streusel, the glaze for these Cranberry Orange Muffins is completely optional. It provides a sweet finish and helps to balance out the tart cranberry flavor. Plus making a powdered sugar glaze is one of the easiest things to do! I use the time that the muffins are cooling to prepare the glaze and then drizzle the cooled muffins with the glaze.
Cranberry Orange Muffins should be cooled fully to room temperature before transferring them to an airtight storage container.
- At Room Temperature: These muffins will last at room temperature for 3 days in an airtight container.
- In the Refrigerator: To extend the shelf life of cranberry orange muffins, store them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- In the Freezer: Store fully cooled cranberry muffins in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 3 months. Defrost the frozen muffins overnight in the refrigerator and then enjoy the defrosted muffins within 3 days.
More Brunch Muffin and Bread Recipes
- Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
- Pumpkin Muffins
- Sour Cream Coffee Cake
- Easy Cheese Danish
- Baked Cinnamon Donuts
- Blueberry Coffee Cake
If you tried this recipe for Cranberry Orange Muffins, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
Cranberry Orange Muffins with Streusel Topping
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup light brown sugar packed
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup milk any variety
- ⅓ cup pulp-free 100% orange juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar packed
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 3 tablespoons milk any fat percentage
For Muffin Batter
- Preheat the oven to 350℉. Use 3 (6-cup) muffin pans for a total of 18 muffins, line with paper liners, or grease well with butter or cooking spray. Set aside.
- Place the cranberries into a food processor fitted with an s-blade and briefly process to chop up the cranberries. Alternatively, you can chop them by hand. Set the cranberries aside to add to the batter later.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon until well combined. Add the chopped cranberries and orange zest and toss to coat the cranberries with flour. Set the mixture aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together eggs, milk, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, orange juice, and vanilla.
- Add the dry ingredients slowly into the wet ingredients and fold together until just incorporated and the flour is fully moistened. Don't overmix.
- Measure out about ¼ cup of the batter to fill each muffin cup with batter, about ¾ of the way.
- To prepare the streusel, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour in a medium mixing bowl. Add the melted butter and mix until the mixture resembles wet sand.
- Sprinkle the streusel evenly over each muffin.
- Bake the muffins on the center rack of the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the muffins are set and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the oven and cool them on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine sifted powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons of milk. Whisk until smooth, adding up to 1 additional tablespoon of milk.
- Drizzle the prepared glaze on the cooled muffins.