Exactly what you expect when you crave cranberry orange muffins! These simply perfect cranberry orange muffins are light and fluffy, lightly sweet and chock full of fresh cranberries!

Cranberry Orange Muffins

These muffins are exactly what I think of when I think of cranberry orange muffins. They are light and fluffy, chock full of fresh cranberries and lightly sweet. On top is a sprinkling of sugar, for a lovely bit of crunch.

You can make these muffins with either fresh or frozen cranberries, so we can enjoy these lovely muffins any time of year.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Cranberries – you can use fresh or frozen cranberries for these muffins. For frozen cranberries, use from frozen and allow a bit of extra baking time, to account for the cold cranberries. I like to toss frozen cranberries in 1 tsp of flour before adding to the batter to keep them from clumping together.

If you only have access to dried cranberries, you can use them here (though it’s hard to replace the lovely tart fresh ones!). For dried cranberries, plump them by soaking in very hot water for 10 minutes, then drain and pat dry well. As dried cranberries are sweetened, you may wish to reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe by a few tablespoons.

Orange – as you will need both orange zest and freshly squeezed orange juice, you will need to start with a fresh orange.

Vegetable Oil – I prefer to use vegetable oil in baking, but any neutral-tasting cooking oil such as canola or sunflower will work here.

Simply Perfect Cranberry Orange Muffins

Recipe Tips

  • The muffins shown are the large size (yield of 10). You can make them regular size by dividing the batter between 12 cups, if you prefer.
  • Be sure you don’t over-mix your batter when you add the wet ingredients to the dry. Stir just until any traces of flour disappear.
  • You may notice that I am essentially making “homemade buttermilk” when mixing the lemon juice with the milk ahead. So yes, you could substitute buttermilk in the recipe. The reason I go this route is that it allows me to use whole milk, whereas buttermilk is just 1% base. So the lemon brings the tang of buttermilk, with a more substantial milk.

Simply Perfect Cranberry Orange Muffins

Tip Tip!

If you have empty muffin cups, be sure to fill the empty cups 3/4 full with water before putting your muffins in the oven. This will ensure that your muffins bake evenly.

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cranberry orange muffins in muffin tin

Get the Recipe: Simply Perfect Cranberry Orange Muffins

Light and fluffy cranberry orange muffins, that are flavoured with orange zest and juice and studded with lots of fresh cranberries. Can be made with fresh or frozen cranberries. 
5 stars from 21 ratings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 10 muffins


  • 1/2 cup milk, whole milk recommended
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and levelled
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine table salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • Zest of one orange, about 1 Tbsp
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or vanilla bean paste
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

For topping:

  • 2-3 Tablespoons white sparkling sanding sugar, demerara sugar, turbinado sugar or white sugar


  • Preheat oven to 425F. (regular bake setting/not fan assisted) Spray a 12 cup muffin tray with baking spray or line with paper liners. Set aside.
  • Add lemon juice to milk. Stir and let stand 5 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together well the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • *If using frozen cranberries, do not thaw. Toss with 1 tsp flour before adding to batter. Starting with frozen cranberries will add 5-8 minutes to your baking time.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk/lemon juice, the vegetable oil, sugar, eggs, orange juice, vanilla and orange zest. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients, mixing just until combined and no flour is visible. Fold in the cranberries.
  • Divide the batter amongst the 10-12 muffin cups (10 for large muffins, 12 for regular muffins). Sprinkle tops generously with sugar.
  • Bake at 425F for 5 minutes, then reduce the oven temp to 375F and bake for another 13-16 minutes if you started with fresh cranberries or 18-22 minutes if you started with frozen cranberries. Bake until lightly golden and a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pans. Remove from pans and store in an airtight container.


Be sure to read the notes above this recipe card, for more tips on making this recipe.
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Course: Snack
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 335kcal, Carbohydrates: 53g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 33mg, Sodium: 20mg, Potassium: 290mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 26g, Vitamin A: 90IU, Vitamin C: 5.4mg, Calcium: 112mg, Iron: 1.8mg
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