These moist, delicious, bakery-style cranberry orange muffins are bursting with lots of fresh orange flavor, and are a fantastic treat when citrus is in season. Studded with plump dried cranberries and brimming with sour cream and buttermilk, then topped with sweet streusel and an orange sour cream glaze, this cranberry orange muffins recipe makes for a delightful breakfast or afternoon snack!
Homemade Muffins Brimming with the Flavor of Sweet Orange and Cranberries
When winter moves in, the precious little orange tree in our backyard proudly begins to offer us the most delicious, sweet and juicy oranges that one can imagine!
Her fruit is so abundant, hanging like big, beautiful ornaments from her branches, that I always feel compelled to put those fresh oranges to good use.
We love to snack on these oranges freshly-picked off the branch, cutting them up and adding them in bowls of fruit. We also love to juice them into freshly-squeezed orange juice, to enjoy as part of breakfast or brunch!
And because I love to bake in the colder months, this year I got a craving for some moist, bakery-style muffins filled with the fresh aroma of our oranges, so I baked up these jumbo-size cranberry orange muffins to indulge in with our afternoon tea.
My cranberry orange muffins recipe is filled with fresh orange zest and a touch of orange juice to create that irresistible aroma, plus plump dried cranberries for a sweet-tangy bite, which are a natural partner to oranges, of course.
Super easy to mix up and bake, these fragrant cranberry orange muffins topped with a sweet, crumbly streusel and a orange sour cream glaze are just perfect to enjoy when those fresh oranges are abundant in our markets, or on our own trees, if we're so lucky!
My Recipe For Cranberry Orange Muffins
To give these jumbo, homemade muffins that wonderfully moist texture that we love, I like to use all-purpose flour along with a combination of both buttermilk and sour cream.
The buttermilk and sour cream provide not only a tenderizing effect on these cranberry orange muffins, but provide a touch of natural tang which works great here.
I also add in unsalted, melted butter for that lovely aroma, along with lots of freshly-grated orange zest and a kiss of the juice.
As for the cranberries, I opt for dried cranberries because those are always easy to find, as opposed to fresh cranberries which are only typically available in markets October through December. (You can substitute fresh cranberries if desired, when they're available.)
I like to use unsweetened cranberries if I'm wanting to cut back on the sugar a bit, but sweetened cranberries are usually what I use, especially since they're a bit easier to find.
And a moist, delicious muffin would not be complete without a sweet streusel topping and a bit of glaze or icing, and these are no exception! I make a simple streusel out of a little sugar, melted butter and flour, and prepare a rich glaze out of a touch of fresh orange juice, sour cream and powdered sugar—what a sweet treat!
Here's a glance at my cranberry orange muffin recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I mix together my streusel topping ingredients, and keep the crumble nice and chilled in the fridge while I prep my muffin batter.
- To prepare the cranberry orange muffins, I whisk together my dry ingredients in a medium bowl, and set those aside.
- Next, I whisk together my wet ingredients and add those into my dry, then gently fold them together, along with the cranberries, just until combined.
- I spoon my cranberry orange muffin batter into my prepared jumbo muffin tins, and bake according to temperature instructions until the muffins are baked through.
- While the muffins bake, I whisk up my orange sour cream glaze, and set that aside.
- Once the cranberry orange muffins are cool, I drizzle the glaze over top of each muffin and allow that to set before serving.
Cranberry Orange Muffins
by Ingrid Beer
These moist, bakery-style cranberry orange muffins have a deliciously sweet aroma, and are drizzled with an orange sour cream glaze!
Yield: 6 jumbo muffins
Nutrition Info: (671 calories per muffin (or 336 calories per half of a muffin)
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes
Cranberry Orange Muffins Ingredients:
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk, room temp
- 2 large whole eggs, room temp
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream, room temp
- 1 ½ tablespoons fresh orange zest
- 2 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons orange juice (preferably from a fresh orange)
- ½ cup melted, unsalted butter
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons dried cranberries (sweetened or unsweetened)
Streusel Topping Ingredients:
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons melted, unsalted butter
- ¼ cup plus 1 (scant) tablespoon all-purpose flour
- Pinch salt
Orange Sour Cream Glaze Ingredients:
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
- 1 tablespoon orange juice (preferably from a fresh orange)
- ¼ teaspoon fresh orange zest
- ¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted and lump-free
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your streusel topping ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- Preheat the oven to 425°, and mist a jumbo muffin tin (with 6 wells) with cooking spray. (Add paper muffins liners, if desired.)
- Prepare the streusel topping by combining the sugar with the melted butter. Then, add in the flour and pinch of salt, and using a fork, mix/fluff together until a moist crumble forms (texture will be a bit like wet sand). Place into fridge to keep chilled.
- Next, gather and prep all of your muffin ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- To prepare the muffins, add the flour, the sugar, the baking powder, and the salt to a large bowl, and whisk together to blend. Set aside.
- In another medium size bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, sour cream, fresh orange zest, vanilla, and orange juice until blended. Add the melted butter, and whisk once more to blend until smooth.
- Add these wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and switching to a rubber spatula now, gently fold together for a moment to moisten. Add in the dried cranberries, and fold a little more just until combined, taking care not to over mix the batter.
- Remove the streusel from the fridge, and use your fingers to break it up a bit, if cold and firm.
- To bake the muffins, spoon the batter equally into the prepared muffin tins, then sprinkle equally with the streusel topping. Bake the muffins at 425° for 8 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°, and bake for additional 16 to 17 minutes (mine were perfect at 17), making for a total bake time of 25 to 26 minutes. (I like to rotate my muffin tin half-way through baking.)
- Allow the muffins to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then gently and carefully remove and allow them to cool on a wire rack.
- Meanwhile, gather and prep your orange sour cream glaze ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- To prepare the glaze, whisk together all of the ingredients for the glaze, and then drizzle over top of each muffin. (You can add 2 to 3 dried cranberries on top as an optional garnish.) Allow the glaze to set before serving and enjoying.
Tips & Tidbits for my Cranberry Orange Muffins recipe:
- High oven temperature to begin with: To achieve that taller, bakery-style look when it comes to muffins, cranking the oven temp to 425° for the first few minutes of baking is the key. It helps hasten the chemical reaction from the baking powder and gets things “puffing” and rising. After that, you will reduce the temp to 350°, to finish the muffins.
- Sweetened or unsweetened dried cranberries: Sometimes I like a little less sweetness in my baked goods, so I'll opt for unsweetened, dried cranberries in these tasty muffins. “Aurora Naturals” has organic, no sugar added dried cranberries (still a touch sweet, and quite nice), and I love this brand, which can be found at Whole Foods Market. But feel free to use sweetened dried cranberries if you prefer, since they're typically easier to find.
- Buttermilk and sour cream for tender crumb: When it comes to muffins, I find buttermilk and sour cream terrific ingredients with a tang that naturally highlights the citrus flavor in these. Both buttermilk and sour cream are “tenderizers”, which means that they help add moisture and create a natural tenderizing effect in the batter for a moist, light crumb. If you don't have buttermilk, substitute some half and half instead. And if you don't have sour cream, use yogurt, or more buttermilk.
- Keep the streusel topping cold: Keeping the streusel cold helps it to keep its crumbly shape intact, and melt or dissolve less over top of the muffin as it bakes. The streusel will look a bit like wet sand when you first mix it together, but if you sort of “fluff” it with your fork to create small to medium-size crumbles, and then place those into the fridge to chill, they'll become (and remain) nice and chunky/crumbly.
Craving more delectably sweet and cozy muffin recipes? Check out these Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins with Streusel, these Apple Muffins with Caramel Glaze, these rich Double Chocolate Chip Muffins, these Banana Nut Muffins, or these spiced Pumpkin Muffins!