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.

Make these muffins with either fresh or frozen cranberries. Here in Canada at least, frozen cranberries are regularly found with the frozen fruit these days, so we can enjoy these lovely muffins any time of year.

Simply Perfect Cranberry Orange Muffins

Cook’s Notes

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.

You can use fresh or frozen cranberries here. If using frozen, do not thaw. Toss in 1 tsp of flour before adding to the batter to keep them from clumping together.

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.

If you only have 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.

Simply Perfect Cranberry Orange Muffins

cranberry orange muffins in muffin tin

Get the Recipe: Simply Perfect Cranberry Orange Muffins

Light and fluffy 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 18 ratings
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Yield: 10 muffins


  • 1/2 cup (122 ml) milk, whole milk recommended
  • 1 1/2 tsp (7.39 g) lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 cups (312.5 g) all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp (19.72 g) baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp (2.46 g) fine table salt
  • 1/2 cup (109 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 g) white sugar
  • 2 (2 ) large eggs
  • Zest of one orange, about 1 Tbsp
  • 1 tsp (4.93 g) vanilla or vanilla bean paste
  • 1/4 cup (62 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups (150 ml) fresh or frozen cranberries

For topping:

  • 2-3 Tbsp (29.57 g) white sparkling sanding sugar, demerara sugar, turbinado sugar or white sugar


  • Preheat oven to 425F (220C) 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 (220C) for 5 minutes, then reduce the oven temp to 375F (190C) 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.
Cuisine: American
Course: Snack
Author: Jennifer
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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