Cranberry Orange Muffins {So Soft}

Easy cranberry orange muffins recipe, homemade with simple ingredients in 30 minutes. Soft and fluffy! Full of fresh or frozen cranberries, orange zest and a topping of sparkling sugar.

I love a good muffin in the morning or even an after school snack for the kids. It’s one of those warm, feel-good foods that fills a hungry tummy. I especially love how soft these ones are! Once you add that fun topping of sparkling sugar it becomes complete. As you might have guess, muffins are one of my favorite foods, especially with fruit. That’s why I also love the Lemon Blueberry Muffins (Healthy Recipe) and Pancake Muffins. You should check them out!

How to make cranberry orange muffins recipe from scratch? 

  1. Whisk together- Flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl.
  2. Add-Eggs, oil, milk, vanilla extract, orange extract, orange zest and mix.
  3. Fold in– Cranberries with a spatula. 
  4. Pour– Batter in a greased and floured muffin pan.
  5. Sprinkle– Sparkling sugar on top of each muffin.
  6. Bake– At 350 degrees F for 22-25 minutes.
  7. Remove– Pan from oven, let muffins cool, and then enjoy!

Can you use dried cranberries instead of fresh in muffins?

No! Using dried cranberries will make the texture and flavor less delectable. They won’t have that soft, gooey burst of flavor either. Fresh is best.

Can you substitute cranberries for blueberries in muffins?

Yes! Blueberries are a great alternative and also make a juicy, yummy muffin.

How can I make my muffins more moist?

  • Be sure not to overcook your muffins, because they become more dried out.
  • I suggest using oil, because the oil is what keeps in that moisture.
  • Don’t over-mix the batter.
  • Measure ingredients correctly so that you don’t overdue it on the dry ingredients.

What is sparkling sugar? Is it the same as granulated sugar? 

Sparkling sugar is a larger sugar crystal often used for baked goods. It is not the same as granulated sugar and should not be substituted for one another.

Variations for cranberry muffins

Lemon cranberry muffins- Replace the orange extract with lemon extract and use lemon zest instead of orange zest for a new variety of delicious muffins.

Try other extracts- There are many different extracts you can use to change up the flavor. For example, you may want to try almond, vanilla, maple, mint, raspberry, strawberry, or whatever is your favorite!

Blueberry Muffins- Follow the recipe except substitute the cranberries with blueberries, fresh or frozen.

Make jumbo muffins- Get out the jumbo muffin tin and make a batch of jumbo muffins! Just be aware that baking time will vary and take longer than the regular muffins.

Make mini muffins- You can also make mini muffins with a mini muffin tray. Keep an eye on these, because baking time will likely be shorter than normal.

Try other fruit- You can also try using raspberries, blackberries, or other small fruit. Just be aware of differing cook time and moisture content.

Serve with a topping- Such as whipped cream, honey butter, frosting, jam, or streusel. Check out these recipes for more topping ideas:

Tips and techniques for orange muffins

Don’t omit sparkling sugar- Because it adds sweetness and gives that special bakery style appearance.

Fresh, frozen, or dried cranberries– Do not use dried cranberries, because the texture of the muffin as well as the flavor will not be as delicious. Also, if you put in the same amount of dried cranberries listed in the recipe there will be too many and it will be overpowering. Fresh cranberries are preferred, because it helps keeps the muffins moist, gives a burst of warm gooey flavor, and it makes it look more appealing. Frozen cranberries can also be used.

Butter vs Oil- It is best to use oil, because melted butter leads to slightly denser texture and oil keeps the muffins moist.

Don’t remove warm muffins from pan- I know it’s hard to resist, but don’t do it, because they will break and make a mess. Let them cool first for 5-10 minutes.

Use Sparkling Sugar- Not granulated sugar, because sparkling sugar gives the best look and is not the same as granulated sugar.

Use Whole Milk- Or at least 2%, because your muffins will be richer.

Grease and flour- Muffin tin or use liners, because otherwise the muffins will stick and they will be difficult to get out of the tin.

Test doneness- By inserting a toothpick into the center of the cooked muffin. If it comes out clean and tops are golden brown, then your muffins are ready to be removed from the oven.

Use room temperature ingredients– For the best texture and results in your muffins.

Use Unsalted Butter- If you are using it instead of oil, because otherwise your muffins will be salty tasting.


Room Temperature- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Fridge- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. 

Freezer- Keep in an airtight container for up to 1 month, then thaw and enjoy.

More easy bakery style muffin recipes

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Cranberry Orange Muffins

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Easy cranberry orange muffins recipe, homemade with simple ingredients in 30 minutes. Soft and fluffy! Full of fresh or frozen cranberries, orange zest and a topping of sparkling sugar.
Yield: 12 Muffins


  • 2 cups All-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Granulated sugar
  • 1.5 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking soda
  • 2 Eggs, Large
  • 1/2 cup Oil, Or melted unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup Milk, Whole or 2%
  • 1.5 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Orange extract, Optional
  • 1 tbsp Orange zest
  • 2 cups Cranberries, Preferably fresh but frozen can be used
  • 1/4 cup Sparkling sugar, For topping, Not the same as granulated sugar


  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda until evenly combined.
  • Add eggs, oil, milk, vanilla extract, orange extract, orange zest and mix until just combined.
  • Fold in the cranberries gently with a spatula.
  • Pour batter in a greased and floured muffin pan or you can use liners instead.
  • Sprinkle sparkling sugar on top of each muffin. You may have some sugar leftover that can be used in other baked goods.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 22-25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick in the center comes out clean and tops are golden brown.
  • Remove pan from oven and let muffins cool for 5-10 minutes and then enjoy!


  • Read all my tips above.
  • Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. 


Calories: 256kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 29mg, Sodium: 64mg, Potassium: 136mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 19g, Vitamin A: 76IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 56mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Calories: 256
Author: Abeer Rizvi
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