These dried cranberry muffins taste sweet, festive, and flavorful. The easy recipe is a great prep-ahead breakfast, Thanksgiving or Christmas side dish, and makes a tasty addition to your next Sunday brunch. Best of all, the recipe only needs one bowl and about 10 minutes of prep!
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Cranberry orange muffins with dried cranberries
With Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner, it’s time to break out all the delicious holiday recipes! And these dried cranberry muffins are some of my favorites this time of year!
Craisin muffins are the perfect treat to start your day off! They are moist with a tender crumb and have a wonderfully sweet, slightly tart and zesty flavor.
And the best part is that they come together in a pinch! One bowl and a few pantry staple ingredients, and your own your way to this cranberry goodness.
Serve a basket of warm cranberry muffins with mugs of hot coffee for a cozy winter breakfast. Or offer them as an afternoon snack alongside cups of hot chocolate or mulled apple cider.
Whether you make them as a Thanksgiving side or for Christmas morning, this easy cranberry muffin recipe doesn’t disappoint!
Let’s talk about the ingredients that you’ll need for a batch of homemade dried cranberry muffins. As always, you can find specific measurements in the recipe box at the end of the post.
- Dried cranberries: Making cranberry muffins with dried cranberries is a great option when fresh cranberries are out of season, and you can’t find frozen cranberries. Unsweetened dried cranberries are tart, so I recommend sweetened dried cranberries.
- Orange juice + zest pair beautifully with the cranberries and give the muffins a delicious citrusy aroma. Be sure to zest your oranges before juicing – it’s pretty hard to zest oranges otherwise.
- All-purpose flour makes up the base of the batter.
- Baking powder is the leavening agent that helps the muffins rise.
- Butter keeps the muffins moist and creates a wonderful rich, buttery flavor. I like to use salted butter to balance the sweetness. Yet, you can substitute unsalted butter or vegetable oil with a pinch of salt.
- Granulated sugar provides just the right amount of sweetness.
- Eggs give these craisin muffins structure.
- Yogurt adds a bit of tang and moisture. Use the full-fat variety for the most tender and moist crumb.
- Vanilla extract adds warmth and depth of flavor.
How to make dried cranberry muffins
This craisin muffin recipe is a great option for make-ahead breakfasts, a festive holiday side dish, or a weeknight breadbasket. With just a little prep, you’ll have tasty cranberry muffins baking in no time!
- Prep for baking. Preheat the oven to 375°F / 190°C / gas mark 5. Line a 12-count muffin tin with paper liners or spray with non-stick baking spray.
#2: Mix batter
- Cream sugar and butter. In a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer or in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.
- Add wet ingredients. Add the eggs, yogurt, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla extract. Mix on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes, until everything is well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Sift in dry ingredients. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until combined, but don’t overmix.
- Add cranberries. Fold the dried cranberries.
#3: Bake muffins
- Fill muffin pan. Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups, filling each all the way full.
- Bake. Bake the muffins for 18 to 23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
- Cool. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then transfer them to a wire rack to continue cooling.
Tips for the best craisin muffins
Here are some handy tips and tricks on making the best dried cranberry muffin recipe! I hope you love them just as much as I do. They are so festive and scrumptious!
- Room temperature ingredients: Let cold ingredients (like butter, eggs, and yogurt) come to room temperature by setting them on the counter for about 20 minutes beforehand. Doing so ensures they will incorporate better into the batter.
- Measure the flour: Always spoon and sweep the flour or weigh it on kitchen scales, but do not scoop it out of the bag. Scooping packs the flour too tightly into the measuring cup, resulting in dense, dry muffins.
- Don’t overmix: The key to perfect orange craisin muffins is to barely mix the ingredients. You want the batter to come together, but a few lumps are fine. This way, they stay soft and tender.
- Fill the muffin cups: I like to use a large ice cream scoop to fill the paper liners nice and full. This ensures each muffin cup holds an equal amount of batter and all muffins bake evenly.
- Check for doneness: To test the doneness, insert a toothpick or skewer into the center and make sure it comes out clean. Don’t bake the muffins for too long, or they might dry out.
There are serval ways you can adapt this easy dried cranberry muffin recipe to suit your taste. Check out these ideas:
- Sour cream: Feel free to replace the yogurt with the same amount of sour cream.
- Nuts: Fold 1 cup chopped walnuts into the muffin batter. Other tasty options include pecans, pistachios, and almonds.
- White chocolate chips: For a lovely mix of sweet and tart flavors, stir 1 cup white chocolate chips into the batter before baking.
- Crumble topping: Prepare the streusel topping from these muffins and sprinkle it on top of the muffin batter, pressing it gently down.
- Blueberries: Prepare the muffins with 1/2 cup dried cranberries and 1/2 cup frozen or fresh blueberries.
- Bakery–style cranberry muffins: Sprinkle coarse sugar on top of the muffins before baking to create those crunchy sugar muffin tops that you know from bakery muffins.
What do you serve with dried cranberry muffins?
Dried cranberry orange muffins are delicious on their own. Still, they are even better served warm and spread with butter, a drizzle of honey, or a dollop of orange marmalade.
They pair well with cozy winter drinks like hot chocolate, Christmas morning punch, and vanilla eggnog. We also love them as a side for fried chicken, meatloaf, and roasted turkey.
Can I use fresh cranberries in this recipe?
Yes! Fresh cranberries give a tart burst of flavor that is just wonderful in muffins. Halve or roughly chop large berries. Small cranberries that have the size of blueberries can be left whole.
You need 1 cup cranberries. Toss them with a tablespoon of flour before your stir them into the batter. Doing so helps the berries not sink to the muffins’ bottom while baking.
Also, there is no need to cook cranberries before adding them to the batter.
Can I make the muffins with frozen cranberries?
Sure thing! If using frozen cranberries, don’t thaw them before adding them to the batter. Otherwise, they will be overly soft and “bleed” into the batter, creating pink streaks of color.
How to store dried cranberry muffins
Let the muffins cool completely. Then place them in an airtight container or a large zip-lock bag. The muffins will keep at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.
Freeze cranberry muffins with dried cranberries
Store the muffins in a freezer-safe bag or freezer-friendly container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.
Reheat cranraisin muffins
To reheat, microwave 1 to 2 muffins at a time for 20 to 30 seconds or just until warm.
Alternatively, you can also reheat them in a preheated 350°F / 180°C / gas mark 4 oven. Room-temperature muffins require about 5 minutes in the oven; frozen muffins need 10 to 12 minutes.
More things to do with cranberries
With the holidays approaching fast, there are a few more cranberry recipes you’ve got to try! All of them are easy recipes my family loves, and I’m sure yours will too.
- Panera Cranberry Orange Muffins
- Cranberry Banana Bread
- Ocean Spray Cranberry Bread
- Pumpkin Cranberry Bread
- Cranberry Bliss Bars
- Cranberry Truffle Smoothie
Other muffin recipes to try
Warm, delicious, and full of flavor, muffins are one of my favorite foods to grab in the morning. And homemade muffins are the best! I’ve rounded up some more of our favorite muffin recipes for you to try. Your family will love them!