These light and tender cranberry muffins are filled with fresh berries and orange zest, then topped with streusel and a simple orange glaze. A delicious treat that’s perfect for breakfast or after school snacks, and also makes a festive holiday dessert.
Muffins are always a hit in my house – some of our favorites include cherry muffins and blueberry muffins. During the winter months I make a ton of these cranberry muffins and also cranberry bread. These treats are the perfect blend of sweet and tart flavors!
When fresh cranberries are in season, I bake with them almost every week. I just can’t get enough of that sweet-tart flavor combination. These cranberry muffins taste like they came from a fancy bakery, but they’re actually super easy to make.
How do you make cranberry muffins?
This is a simple muffin batter made with flour, sugar, buttermilk, butter and orange zest. A generous amount of chopped cranberries are stirred into the batter and an easy streusel goes over the top. I top my cranberry muffins with a 4 ingredient streusel that takes about 5 minutes to make. If you’re pressed for time, you can skip the streusel, although I love all the extra flavor and texture it imparts to the muffins. The streusel is what really makes these muffins taste like they came from a bakery! The finishing touch is a drizzle of orange glaze after the muffins have baked and cooled.
Can you use fresh cranberries in muffins?
You can absolutely use fresh cranberries in muffins! I recommend cutting your berries into smaller pieces, I either halve or slice my cranberries. That way the berries are more evenly distributed throughout the batter and you won’t get a huge bite of tart cranberry, just small amounts interspersed. You can also use frozen cranberries in this recipe with great results.
Tips for the perfect muffins
- No buttermilk on hand? You can make your own for this recipe by combining 1 1/4 cups milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, then proceed with the recipe as directed.
- I use a microplane to zest my oranges, it works so much better than a typical box grater.
- These muffins stay fresh at room temperature for up to 3 days in an airtight container. If you need to store the muffins for a longer period of time, I’d recommend keeping them in the fridge or the freezer. You can microwave refrigerated muffins for about 10-15 seconds to make them taste like they were freshly baked.
Can you freeze cranberry muffins?
Cranberry muffins freeze beautifully, although I’d recommend waiting to add the glaze until the muffins are thawed and ready to serve. You can freeze the muffins after they’ve been glazed, but the glaze can sometimes get watery after it’s been thawed.
Cranberry muffin variations
There are so many different ways to add new flavors to these muffins, here are a few of my favorites.
- White Chocolate Chips: Add 1/2 cup white chocolate chips to the batter.
- Lemon: Swap out the orange zest and orange juice for lemon zest and lemon juice.
- Apple: Add 1 chopped, peeled apple to the batter.
- Coconut: Add 1/2 cup flaked coconut to the batter.
These cranberry muffins are so festive and delicious. They’re perfect for a holiday brunch, or sometimes I even package them up in tins and deliver them to family and friends for an unexpected yet welcome edible gift. Once you try these cranberry muffins, you’ll be as hooked as we are!
More sweet treats
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Peach Crumble Bars
- Berry Chantilly Cake
- Lemon Bundt Cake
- Greek Yogurt Cheesecakes
Cranberry Muffins with Orange Glaze
For the muffins
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 1/4 cup butter melted
- 1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries coarsely chopped
- cooking spray
For the streusel
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup butter cold, cut into small pieces
For the glaze
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
- For the muffin batter. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Coat a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
- Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, butter, orange zest, vanilla extract and egg.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the cranberries.
- Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin tins.
- For the streusel. Place the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a bowl. Stir to combine. Add the butter and use two forks or a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour mixture until a crumbly dough forms.
- Sprinkle the streusel mixture over the tops of the muffins.
- Bake the muffins for 16-18 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove muffins from pan; cool on a wire rack.
- For the glaze. In a small bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and orange juice. Drizzle the glaze over the muffins, then serve.
This post was originally published on November 29, 2018 and was updated on October 15, 2019 with new content.