Friday, January 15, 2021

Cranberry Orange Muffins - Small Batch

Wonderful bakery style muffins bursting with the sweet tart flavors of fresh cranberries and bright orange citrus.  The perfect winter breakfast treat!

Cranberry Orange Muffins

If you follow me then you know that MGG and I love our weekend breakfasts.  Since the pandemic has started baking has become a weekly pleasure.  The other day MGG was talking about how he misses Trader Joe's since he hasn't been in 10 months.  He mentioned a particular item, Cranberry Orange Bread, that was discontinued quite a while back.  He asked me to make him some because he loved it so much.  I was more than happy to oblige!  At first I was set on making a quick bread but then due to the cooking time (50-60 minutes) I decided to make muffin instead since he was hovering around the kitchen waiting to start cooking breakfast.  

Muffins only take 18-20 minutes to bake so they are a quicker item to throw together when the crowd is starving!  Not only are muffins great for breakfast or brunch, they are perfect for grab and go snacks, as well as a sweet with coffee or hot tea.  These muffins in particular use fresh cranberries that give you a bite or tartness and are filled with orange flavors from juice, zest, and a bit of orange extract.  Orange and cranberry are one of those perfect combinations like peanut butter and jelly, that just go together.  These muffins will leave you warm and satisfied, and possibly reaching for the next one!

What Ingredients do I need?

  • eggs
  • milk
  • orange juice
  • canola oil
  • flour
  • sugar
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • orange zest
  • orange extract - optional
  • fresh cranberries - you can use dried if you like but they won't give you as much flavor as fresh.  In the winter I buy bags of fresh cranberries and freeze them!

Substitutions and Variations

  • Walnuts, almonds, or pecans would be a good addition
  • You can leave out the extract, or use vanilla if you like
  • Store bought orange juice works well in this recipe
  • Dried cranberries will work but will not provide as much freshness or tartness.
  • Dried cherries can be substituted for the cranberries
  • Gluten free flour may be substituted
  • Sugar substitutes may be used instead of sugar
  • Use sour cream, yogurt, or buttermilk instead of milk

Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • 1st rule of them when making muffins is not to "overmix" the batter.  You want it batter to just come together.  Little spots of flour is okay.
  • To get high muffin tops turn your oven up to 400 degrees.
  • Make sure you are using fresh baking powder.  To test put 1/2 teaspoon into 1/4 cup of boiling water.  If it bubbles, you are good.
  • Purchase a 6 well muffin tin for small batches
  • Double the recipe for 12 muffins
  • Muffins can be frozen individually and kept for 3 months

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Cranberry Orange Muffins

yield:  6 muffins

1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons orange zest
1/2 cup fresh cranberries, rough chopped

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a 6 well muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.

To a large bowl add the egg, milk, orange juice, canola oil, and orange extract.  Whisk to combine.  Add the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and orange zest to the bowl.  Stir until just combined.  Do not overmix.  Fold in the chopped cranberries.

Using a large cookie scoop, distribute the batter evenly among the 6 muffin wells.  Place in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes until the tops are golden brown and set.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Remove from the pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.  Serve.

Other Muffin recipes you may like:


  1. In the "Variations" you've neglected to say if you can use butter instead of oil. Thanks.

    1. You can absolutely substitute butter for the vegetable oil. Use the same quantity specified in the directions (for example, if it calls for 1/4 cup of oil, use 4 tablespoons of butter). Melt it down, then let it cool a bit.

  2. Should these be made in a jumbo muffin can? I ask because I had a bit of leftover batter using a regular muffin pan. If not, then the recipe should say so...

    1. I use a standard 6 tin muffin pan. I actually have two of them. I typically fill my muffin tins all the way to the top but, if you do find you have extra batter you can fill another tin or a ramekin and make an additional muffin or two.

  3. I've made these per the recipe. There was enough extra batter for an extra muffin! This leads me to believe that maybe these should've been baked in "jumbo" muffin pan???

    Anyhow, they were tasty and tender although I think there was was a bit too much orange flavor. Perhaps a bit too much zest or orange extract but I guess it's all a matter of taste and preference. I also think they could use a bit more cranberries.

    Next time I'll half the orange extract and add the other half with almond extract for a nutty flavor. ;)

    1. I use a standard 6 tin muffin pan. I actually have two of them. I typically fill my muffin tins all the way to the top but, if you do find you have extra batter you can fill another tin or a ramekin and make an additional muffin or two.
      Glad you liked them. You can adjust the orange to cranberry ratios to suit your likings. Modify them so they please you.



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