Small Batch Cranberry Orange Muffins

These Cranberry Orange Muffins use up any leftover cranberries you might find yourself with and make just enough to satisfy your craving without leaving you with an abundance of muffins.

Maybe you made homemade CranApple Sauce or bought extra cranberries because you were planning on serving Cranberry Brie Bites. Whatever the reason for the leftover cranberries, these small batch muffins will use them up and extend the holiday flavors into the new year. 

Our household consists of only two muffin eaters (while the dogs can have cranberries, they can’t have the muffins so they don’t count) so using a 6-cavity muffin tin rather than a 12 provides us with a sufficient amount of muffins without so many muffins we become tired of eating them. 


Cranberry Muffins

This cranberry muffin recipe uses only a handful of everyday ingredients and the combination of juicy cranberries and zest orange is a delightful flavor combo that just screams holiday. The cranberry with hint of orange flavor and zest embody everything a breakfast muffin should be, though I’m not judging if you want to have one as an afternoon snack.

The subtle orange glaze is a lovely addition, though optional. 

 I also like cranberry with apple as was the case with this CranApple Breakfast Bread. But because apples have had their turn, I decided to whip together these muffins instead. 

Cranberry Muffins

Cranberry Muffins

Small Batch Cranberry Orange Muffins

Yield: 6 muffins
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Bursting with cranberries and citrus in every bite, these Cranberry Orange Muffins brighten up breakfast and jazz up afternoon coffee time.


  • 4 Tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 medium orange
  • 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (do not thaw)
  • Glaze:
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon orange juice


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 6-count muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray or line with cupcake liners.
    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg, sour cream and vanilla extract. Beat for another minute until fully combined. Add in the orange zest.
    In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Replace the paddle attachment with the whisk attachment and add the dry ingredients to the cream mixture a little at a time. Add the orange juice and milk whisking until just combined.
    Fold in the cranberries.
    Spoon batter into prepared muffin pan, filling them to the top. Press additional cranberries on top, if desired.
    Bake for 15-18 minutes; or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
    Allow the muffins to cool while making the glaze.
    To make the glaze: Whisk together ingredients until smooth and well combined. Drizzle over warm muffins.

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions you may be wondering about: 

Can I use frozen cranberries? Yes, but you’ll want to leave them frozen. If you thaw them, you’ll turn your batter red when adding them. 

What about using dried cranberries? You can, but I wouldn’t. The beauty of these muffins is the bursts of juicy cranberries in each bite. Dried cranberries won’t have the same level of moisture. 

How do I store leftovers: Store the muffins in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 

Can the cranberry muffins be frozen? I doubt you’ll have muffins to freeze, but yes, once cooled you can place the muffins in a freezer-safe container or ziplock bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw the muffins overnight before you want to indulge then reheat in the microwave. Do not glaze any muffins you plan to freeze. 

How about some variations? You can use raspberries or blueberries interchangeably in this recipe. 

Can I double the recipe? You sure can! 

Cranberry Muffins

These muffins are so quick and easy, don’t be surprised if you find yourself making them throughout the year with other fruit.

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Happy Holidays!