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My baking enthusiasm is inversely related to the temperature outside. The more the temp drops, the more I want to be in the kitchen with a hot oven and good company. The perfect recipe for my mood: bright, festive Cranberry Orange Muffins.

Iced cranberry orange muffins

When the itch to bake increases near the holidays, it’s tempting to always opt for a sweet or decadent dessert (my Grandma Dorothy’s Orange Cookies with Cranberries are a treasured favorite this time of year).

But, we need balance (and breakfast!) too.

Boasting traditional festive flavors of cranberry and orange, these muffins bring holiday flavors to healthy snacks or breakfasts.

Holiday Flavors at Breakfast

Don’t let desserts have all the fun!

Cranberry orange muffins with icing

The Best Cranberry Orange Muffin Recipe

  • Delicious and Nutritious. Unfortunately, most bakery muffins (like the cranberry orange muffins at Starbucks and Panera) are loaded with ingredients that essentially make them cake. No offense to cake intended, but when I am craving a muffin, I prefer it to be delicious AND nutritious.
  • Wholesome Ingredients. This healthy muffin recipe, made with simple ingredients you likely have in your pantry right now, is a standout far and above what you’ll find in a box.
  • Fresh Flavors. The pop of fresh orange zest and honey baked together taste like sunshine bursting on a winter day, as these Orange Muffins with Poppyseed and Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins prove.
  • Cranberry! I anxiously await cranberry season each fall because I adore fresh cranberries in baking! There’s something special about taking a fruit that’s fresh and in-season this time of year and making magic.
Healthy cranberry orange muffins

5 Star Review

“Seriously one of the best muffin recipes I’ve ever made. There are so much better than anything store bought. The recipe is simple and they don’t take long to make.”

— Ashley —

How to Make Cranberry Orange Muffins from Scratch

I promise these easy cranberry orange muffins will be a delightful baking activity destined to satisfy.

I tested several iterations to get them precisely right for you.

Some muffin musts:

  • Moist and Fluffy. It’s the standard for all of my healthy muffins recipes.
  • Healthy. These muffins are sweet enough to balance the tartness of the cranberries, but not too sweet that they lose their appeal as a wholesome breakfast. (For the best of both the cake and muffin world, check out these Carrot Cake Muffins.)
  • Easy. You don’t even need a stand mixer!
  • Substantial without Being Heavy. While these muffins are tender, their texture is still sturdy enough to support the cranberries and stand up to their fresh, bright flavor.

Cranberry orange muffins are simply wonderful to have around.

Enjoy them as a care-free snack, grab-n’-go breakfast amidst busy holiday errands, or make them a part of a brunch spread.

The Ingredients

  • Cranberries. A jewel of holiday baking. I love fresh cranberries here for their extra burst and luster.
  • Milk. You can use any kind you like. If you have some leftover from other holiday baking, you can even make these cranberry orange muffins with buttermilk.
  • Orange Zest + Fresh Orange Juice. These two are the secret to that stellar orange flavor. The zest is combined with sugar to maximize its oomph.
  • Greek Yogurt. Greek yogurt helps make these muffins extra fluffy and moist while keeping them on the healthy side.
  • Butter. It’s better to use butter than oil in muffins for richness. A little goes a long way, and I promise it’s 100% worth it.
  • Flour. All-purpose flour helps keep the muffins light and fluffy, while white whole wheat flour packs an added nutrition punch.
  • Cinnamon. Adds a hint of coziness and spice.
  • Honey. A delicious way to add natural sweetness and a fantastic pair with the orange.
  • Orange Glaze. The finishing touch you don’t want to skip. It looks beautiful and makes the muffins taste extra festive.


Having the milk, yogurt, and eggs at room temperature with make the muffins extra light and fluffy and help the ingredients best incorporate.

The Directions

Citrus zest in a bowl
  1. Add the sugar to a large bowl, then zest the orange over the top.
Citrus zest and sugar in a bowl
  1. Rub the two together.
A measuring cup with orange juice and milk
  1. Combine the orange juice, milk, and yogurt.
  2. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture.
Eggs being added to a measuring cup
  1. Add the rest of the wet ingredients to the milk mixture.
Eggs being whisked
  1. Whisk until smooth.
Cranberries in a bowl of batter
  1. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir gently until combined. Add the cranberries.
Muffin batter in a muffin pan
  1. Bake cranberry orange muffins at 400 degrees F for 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool completely, then finish with the glaze if desired. DIG IN!

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Store muffins in a paper towel-lined airtight container at room temperature on counter for up to four days.
  • To Freeze. Freeze muffins in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to three months. Thaw and enjoy as desired. I like to individually wrap the muffins first, so I can use them for quick breakfasts and snacks.

Storage Tips

For even more tips on storing your leftovers, check out this post on How to Store Muffins.

What to Serve with Cranberry Orange Muffins

Two cranberry orange muffins
  • Muffin Pan. A must-have tool for making muffins.
  • Batter Scoop. For even baking and a better rise.
  • Whisk. I love the smaller size of this whisk.
  • Measuring Cups. With these, you can mix and measure in the same cup!

Essential Muffin Scoop

For even baking and the highest possible muffin rise, use a batter scoop like this one! Plus, it does double duty for cookie dough and ice cream.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Need to Pre-Cook Cranberries for Cranberry Orange Muffins?

No, you do not need to pre-cook the cranberries before baking the cranberry orange muffins.

Can I Substitute Dry Cranberries for Fresh Cranberries?

In a pinch, you can use dried cranberries instead of fresh in muffins. Since dried cranberries are more compact and sweeter than fresh, I recommend using half of the amount (in this recipe, that’s about 1/2 cup dried).

Can I Add Nuts to Cranberry Orange Muffins?

If you are a fan of nuts in your muffins, feel free to add up to 1/2 cup. I think walnuts, pecans, or almonds would be nice additions. I recommend toasting them prior to mixing into the muffin batter.

Cranberry Orange Muffins

4.85 from 13 votes
These easy cranberry orange muffins with sweet orange glaze are moist, fluffy and brightly flavored. Delicious for breakfast and snacks!

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 22 minutes
Total: 37 minutes

Servings: 12 muffins



  • Zest and juice of 1 orange about 1 tablespoon zest and ½ cup juice
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk plus additional as needed, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt at room temperature
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour or additional all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries if frozen, do not thaw

FOR THE ORANGE GLAZE (optional but delish!):


  • Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat a standard 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray or fit with paper liners.
  • Place the sugar in a large mixing bowl. Zest the orange in directly over the bowl.
  • With your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar until fragrant.
  • Juice the zested orange into a large (liquid) glass measuring cup. If making the glaze, reserve 1 tablespoon of the juice in a small bowl and set aside. Into the measuring cup, pour enough milk to make 1 cup of liquid (the amount of milk you need will vary based on the juiciness of your orange). Whisk in the Greek yogurt. Set aside while you measure the rest of the dry ingredients (it will thicken up a bit).
  • To the bowl with the sugar, add the all-purpose flour, white whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk to combine.
  • To the bowl with the rested orange juice and milk mixture, add the eggs, melted butter, and honey.
  • Whisk to combine.
  • Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold gently to combine, stopping as soon as the flour disappears. The batter will be lumpy. Very gently stir in the cranberries. With a muffin scoop, large spoon, or measuring cup, divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
  • Bake the muffins for 20 to 22 minutes, until the tops are golden, the muffins spring back lightly when touched, and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes, then gently remove each muffin from the pan and place on the rack to finish cooling completely (don’t leave the muffins in the pan for longer or they may start to steam and become soggy). The muffins will be very delicate at first but will firm up as they cool.
  • While the muffins cool, make the glaze: to the bowl with the reserved orange juice, add the powdered sugar. Whisk until smooth. Drizzle over the cooled muffins.



  • TO STORE: Store muffins in a paper towel-lined airtight storage container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze muffins in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw and enjoy as desired. I like to individually wrap the muffins first, so I can use them for quick breakfasts and snacks.


Serving: 1(of 12) without glazeCalories: 186kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 4gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 43mgPotassium: 171mgFiber: 2gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 266IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 72mgIron: 1mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

Learn more about Erin

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  1. This sounds wonderful. I really like the use of fresh cranberries. I love the dried cranberries, but they contain so much sugar. The only change I think I might make is to add walnuts. I jump at the chance to add nuts to any recipe! Even almonds would be good…

  2. Seriously one of the best muffin recipes I’ve ever made. There are so much better than anything store bought. The recipe is simple and they don’t take long to make5 stars

  3. The muffins were fantastic! A bit labor intensive but definitely worth it. My hubby loved them as did I. Thanks, Erin, you are truly gifted!!5 stars

  4. Yum! These muffins came out beautifully and were well worth the time and effort. I made them as written… I highly recommend your recipe, Erin! I made half the amount of Orange icing to save on some calories but to allow us the treat of some having that “little extra” pizzazz.5 stars

  5. Wow these are truly amazing! Light, fluffy, sweet (even without the glaze!) and so festive. Every bite I either got a burst of cranberry, orange, or both at the same time.

    Side note-I cooked them for about 18 minutes and would not have cooked them any longer, but I believe my oven runs slightly hot.5 stars

  6. Erin, this was scrumptious!! It is the smell of Christmas!!
    They not only are fragrant, and delicious, but are so pretty to look at!
    Thank you! This is a keeper not only for Christmas but for any day of the year!
    Merry Christmas ?5 stars

  7. Very easy to make. Very tasty. I will definitely make them again. We had them for our afternoon tea before Christmas Eve. So festive.5 stars

  8. Several times now and they’re delicious. However the last two times I’ve made them, the bottom sticks to the paper cup that I bake them in. I take them out of the pan after 5 minutes like you suggest but they seem to be soggy at bottom. Any suggestions?4 stars

    1. I’m so happy that you’ve enjoyed them, Lynne! You may want to try lightly coating the paper liners with nonstick spray to help keep the muffins from sticking and removing them a little earlier than 5 minutes. I hope this helps!

    1. Hi Nidhi! I haven’t tried any egg substitutes in this recipe, so you’d be experimenting. If you decide to play around with it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  9. I am glad that dried cranberries are an option. It appears that in my grocery store, cranberries are only available around the holiday season. Fresh or frozen. The dried cranberries are always available. I hope to try it this week.

  10. Hi Erin,

    Planning on making two batches of these muffins at one time. I see you can double the recipe but the amount of orange juice is the same. Also it appears that the directions do not adjust for the doubling of the recipe especially with the amount of milk to use. Can you please advise if more orange juice and milk are required?

    1. Hi Lynne! Yes, you will want to double the orange juice amount and adjust the numbers in the recipe directions accordingly (to double the recipe). I hope you enjoy the muffins!

    1. Hi Vanessa! I’m sorry to hear the recipe wasn’t to your taste. I know it’s disappointing to try a new recipe and not enjoy it, so I truly wish it would have been a hit for you.

  11. These muffins are delicious with coffee for breakfast or just right for a late night snack.

    I did double the orange zest because I like a burst of citrus flavor. I love that the sugar content is so low.

    Will be making again next week!5 stars

  12. Love this recipe!! The fresh cranberries and orange zest makes a great combo..the use of honey to balance out the tardiness of the cranberries yet not overly sweet. This is a great and healthy recipe especially if you like the cranberries/orange combo. Don’t forget to add little bit of glaze if you are on the sweet side. Although it tastes as good without the glaze!5 stars

  13. Love these and so does the rest of my family! I use all white whole wheat flour, and cook at 375 degrees for like 2/3 of time the recipe says, and they turn out great! Definitely a keeper.5 stars

        1. Hi John! No, I’m sorry, I have only tested the recipe as written, but you could probably make it in a loaf. If you decide to experiment, let me know how it goes!

  14. Hi Erin, these are my go to muffins!

    Wondering if I can make using Lemons and Blueberries instead of orange and cranberries.? Just to change up a bit.

    Have you ever tried?

    1. Hi Lynne! I haven’t but those are pretty standard substitutions and should work. If you decide to experiment, let me know how it goes!