Cranberry Orange Muffins

12 Servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 33 minutes

Cranberry Orange Muffins are the perfect holiday sweet treat made with dried cranberries, orange zest and a super tender bakery-style muffin.

There’s just something about certain flavors, like Pumpkin Muffins and Cranberry Orange Muffins, that taste just like the winter holidays. Like some of the other treats on my Holiday Recipe Page, Cranberry Orange Muffins are quick to make and perfect to enjoy during busy family gatherings. 


Cranberry Orange Muffins have a rich, natural sweet citrus orange flavor, and is absolutely irresistible. There are few things that go better with coffee than a golden brown, warm, fresh out of the oven muffin. They’re the ultimate yummy brunch and breakfast food, light and tasty especially with some butter or jam spread on them.

One of my favorite muffins are Cranberry Orange Muffins during the holidays, they are like bringing the coffee shop into your kitchen. The tartness of the cranberries goes so well with citrusy orange and these muffins are bursting with a classic Christmas flavor combination in every bite. 

Another thing I love about this muffin recipe is all the fresh flavor. Using fresh orange zest really balances the sweetness of the cranberries. If you love the little pops of fresh berry juice when you bite into a warm muffin, swap out the dried cranberries for fresh ones. Use about half as many fresh cranberries when swapping dried fruit.



  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Soak the dried cranberries in the orange juice for 10 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl add the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt and whisk it together.
  4. Add in the egg, vegetable oil and orange zest along with the soaked cranberries and orange juice.
  5. Whisk together until smooth.
  6. Using an ice cream scoop, fill your muffin liners ¾ full.
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes.


  • Fruit: Change the flavor of your Cranberry Orange Muffins by swapping the fresh cranberries or orange for another kind of berry or citrus. Try lemon cranberry muffins or orange blueberry muffins for a refreshing spring treat.
  • Nuts: Mix in some chopped or sliced pecans or walnuts to give your muffins a little crunch.
  • White Chocolate: Cranberry and white chocolate are another classic holiday flavor combination. Add some white chocolate chips if you’re looking to give your muffins a coffee shop classic taste. 
  • Toppings: You can dust the tops with sifted sugar or confectioner’s sugar to give them a beautiful “snowy” look. 
  • Lighten Up: Swap out the oil in this recipe with some light sour cream will make your Cranberry Orange muffins melt in your mouth moist, as well as make them lighter in calories.  


  • Can you use dried cranberries instead of fresh in muffins? Yes, but there will be a difference in the flavor and texture. Fresh cranberries have more moisture and you will use about half the amount if you make that swap.
  • Do you have to cook cranberries before baking? No, if you used fresh cranberries, they will cook during the baking process. This recipe uses dried cranberries so you definitely don’t need to cook them beforehand.
  • How do you tell if the inside of a muffin is cooked? Insert a toothpick into the middle, and if it’s clean when it’s pulled out then the insides are solid, and they’re ready to come out.



  • Serve: You can keep Cranberry Orange Muffins at room temperature for up to 2 days. I recommend keeping the muffins in an airtight container or in plastic wrap to keep them moist. 
  • Store: You can keep Cranberry Orange Muffins in the fridge for up to 1 week. Always let the muffins cool down to room temperature before you put them away, and keep them covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container. 
  • Freeze: Properly sealed in the freezer, Cranberry Orange Muffins will stay good frozen for up to 3 months in the freezer. Just be sure to keep moisture out. 

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Cranberry Orange Muffins

Cranberry Orange Muffins are the perfect holiday sweet treat made with dried cranberries, orange zest and a super tender bakery-style muffin.
Yield 12 Servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 33 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 orange , zested


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Soak the dried cranberries in the orange juice for 10 minutes.
  • In a large bowl add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk it together.
  • Add in the egg, vegetable oil and orange zest along with the soaked cranberries and orange juice.
  • Whisk together until smooth.
  • Using an ice cream scoop, fill your muffin liners ¾ full.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes.


Calories: 225kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 149mg | Potassium: 116mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 75IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg

Cranberry Muffins with Orange Zest

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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  1. I only changed a couple of things, so I could use what I had.
    I had mandarin oranges to use up, so I used the juice and zest from them.
    I have homemade vanilla and korinttje cinnamon, so I added a little bit of both…because I couldn’t resist.
    I also took the advice of a couple other people and sprinkled sugar-in-the-raw on top before baking.

    1. Wow! Sounds so good! Thank you Debbie for the great ideas and for the 5 star review!

  2. Cranberry orange muffins are good, no matter what time of the year it is. It’s hard to get fresh or frozen cranberries outside of November and December. Thanks for this recipe that uses dried cranberries, which are available all year long. The recipe as written is delicious. I might try a variation where sanding sugar is sprinkled on top just before baking. It might be a good idea to add the zest to the dry ingredients first then work them in with your fingers, as they tend to clump together.


    1. Same temperature
      Same time; however, check 5 minutes early just to make sure your “toothpick” test comes out clear a little early. Let us know how your muffins turned out!

  4. I had some fabulous cranberry sauce my neighbor made, I subbed in half and half for dried cranberries (used a little less sugar)Also had no orange zest, they are pink and wonderful! Topped them with raw sugar for a crunchy too

  5. I followed your recipe with no substitutions. The muffins are yummy. So easy to put together for that afternoon cup of coffee or tea. The orange flavor really comes through and the dried cranberries make these muffins easy anytime of year. Thank you

    1. Thanks for taking time to let us know how your muffins turned out. You’re right, Cranberry Orange Muffins would be good any time of year!

  6. Second time we made. Like the orange flavor and cranberries. Hubby wants to know what to add so they aren’t so dry. This is true for all muffins says the man.

    1. Here’s a few tips to keep your muffins moist.
      Keep Wet and Dry Ingredients Separately.
      Add All Flavorings Last.
      Consider Paper Liners.
      Don’t Overfill the Muffin Cups.
      Check the Temperature of Your Oven.
      Test if Muffins Are Fully Cooked.

      Hope that helps and thank you for the five star review!

  7. Just made these yummy muffins. I made an oinker out of myself because they were so good. I did add pecans and sprinkled a little sugar on top before baking them. They were very good with orange marmalade and butter on them

  8. These muffins were great and easy! I used white whole wheat flour and fresh juice from a large zested orange to soak the cranberries.

  9. A big hit! Muffins were moist and flavorful. I used some leftover frozen cranberries, about 2/3 cup, and fresh squeezed orange juice. Perfect balance of flavors. Thanks for another great recipe Sabrina!!!

  10. These muffins turned out so pleasant and flavorful, never thought cranberry and orange would be a perfect pair.

  11. There is something SO good about cranberry and orange together, especially in these muffins! So good, and a favorite!

  12. EXCELLENT MUFFIN—One thing that might help: I used the zest of one large orange and it seemed a bit strong. Because oranges come in all sizes, maybe it would help to state that measurement in TBLS or a metric measurement.

  13. Very flavorful with orange and cranberries. Light texture. I added 1/2 cup chopped pecans. Instead of the oil I added 1/4 cup butter and 1/3 cup yogurt. Will make again.

  14. Do I need to soak fresh cranberries or coat them in sugar? I’m planning on making mini muffins for bite-size poppers at a get together. Would you suggest chopping the cranberries? Thanks for your help!

    1. fresh cranberries do not need to be soaked. but i like to chop them and coat in sugar since they are very tart

  15. Just made these ,they turned out really well!
    I used 1/2cup of sugar and had no fresh oranges for the zest but they are still yummy!

    1. Hi Donna. I don’t have exact answers because I don’t know exactly where you are, but if you google baking in high altituide there are lots of helpful websites that can lead you in the right direction.

    1. Thank you for catching that. Yes, you should add it in with the baking soda. I’ve edited the recipe card to read correctly now. Enjoy!

  16. Full of flavor, easy, and delicious. I was looking for a recipe to use the dried cranberries since they are around all year. My entire family loved the muffins and this recipe will be used often. Thank you.

  17. We love these muffins for breakfast, for snacking and even for dessert. I always make a double batch so that I can freeze some!

  18. I made these muffins this morning using fresh cranberries as I had some in ths fridge I needed to use up. I used one and three fourths cups of fresh cranberries (coated them in a little flour to prevent them sinking) and they were absolutely the best muffins I have ever made. You would not find a better muffin in a top class bakery…they are so good. Not too sweet with a burst of tart from the cranberries. They rose beautifully and the texture was perfect. Thank you Sabrina.

  19. hi Sabrina, if i use frozen cranberries, will i need to defrost them first and how much can i use for these muffins? Thank you for sharing these festive looking muffins. i bet they will knock the socks off my coworkers!