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.

My family loves a good muffin as breakfast or even an after school snack. It’s one of those warm, feel-good treats that fills a hungry tummy. I especially love how festive these ones turned out- They are absolutely perfect for Christmas morning! These Lemon Blueberry Muffins (Healthy Recipe) and Pancake Muffins are always a hit too.

Quick and Easy Cranberry Orange Muffins With Liner Partially Removed on White Background

How to make cranberry orange muffins recipe from scratch? 

  1. Whisk together ingredients- This includes flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.
  2. Add remaining ingredients-This includes eggs, oil, milk, vanilla extract, orange extract, orange zest.
  3. Mix– Until combined.
  4. Fold in cranberries– With a spatula. 
  5. Pour batter– In prepared muffin pan.
  6. Sprinkle sparkling sugar- On top of each muffin.
  7. Bake– Until cooked through.

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, especially in this recipe.

Can you substitute cranberries for blueberries in muffins?

Yes! Blueberries are a great alternative.

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 because it knocks out the air from batter.
  • Measure ingredients correctly so that you don’t over-add any of the dry ingredients.

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

No, they are not the same. Sparkling sugar are large grained crystals and they don’t melt and dissolve during baking. It’s different than granulated sugar and cannot be used interchangeably.

Fluffy Orange Muffins- Overhead Shot

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 flavor profile.

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

Serve with a topping- Such as Whipped Cream, honey butter, frosting, jam, preserves, Crockpot Apple Butter.

Tips and techniques for orange muffins

Don’t omit sparkling sugar- Because it adds sweetness and crunch 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. The muffins will be chewy. 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 lighter.

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.

Don’t replace sparkling sugar with granulated sugar- They are not the same and cannot be used interchangeably.

Use whole milk- Or at least 2%, because your muffins will be richer and more moist.

Grease and flour pan- Because otherwise the muffins will stick to pan and they will be difficult to remove.

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

Use room temperature ingredients– Because they blend together better.

Soft Cranberry Muffins With One Bite Removed on White Background


Room Temperature- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container for 2-3 days.

Fridge- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container 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

Quick, Soft, Fluffy, Easy Cranberry Orange Muffins on White Background
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Cranberry Orange Muffins

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
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



  • 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

21 comments on “Cranberry Orange Muffins {So Soft}”

  1. Can I use orange juice instead of extract?

  2. Hello. Can the milk be substituted with oak milk?

  3. Can I bake it in a log pan. Like a cranberry orange bread? 

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