Fresh Cranberry Muffins

cranberry muffins in a muffin pan

Fresh Cranberry Muffins are loaded with tangy pops of cranberry ~ they’re a delicious way to celebrate the unique color and flavor of my favorite winter fruit. This easy one bowl recipe proves that comfort food can definitely be bright and fresh!

Fresh cranberry muffins in a muffin tin.

Fresh cranberry muffins are a winter holiday tradition

Baking with fresh cranberries is one of the great joys of the fall and winter season for me. I adore them for their super tart, bright flavor, and that color! I use them in everything from smoothies to pork roast.

If you’re a lemon lover, I think you’re bound to be a cranberry lover too, the two fruits share a tart tang like no other. (My mouth waters just looking at that bright pink juice dribbling out of the muffins!)

Cranberry muffins in a muffin tin on top of a baking rack.

My basic muffin recipe is no fail and so adaptable

I’ve used this same basic batter for many of my recent muffin recipes on the blog because when something works, I go with it. It’s got a super fluffy texture, rises well, and is very easy to adapt to different flavors and add-ins.

A fresh cranberry muffin sprinkled with sparkling sugar in a muffin tin.

A dusting of sparkling sugar makes these cranberry muffins Christmas morning material

I love my sparkling sugar when I want a little bit of a finishing touch for cakes, muffins, or pies, but I don’t want to fuss with making a separate crumb topping or glaze. It gives a sparkle and crunch to the top of these muffins, and the little extra sweet with the tart berries is perfect.

Sparkling sugar

Sparkling sugar is a decorative sugar that has a large crystal structure. You can add it before baking, or sprinkle it on just as your baked goods come out of the oven. Often I’ll do both 😉

Cranberry muffins on a baking rack.

You can use fresh or frozen cranberries for these muffins

Be sure to save some cranberries for these muffins, and when you finally run out of fresh, dig into your frozen stash. When baking with frozen berries it’s best not to thaw them, because they can become watery: I like to use them straight from the freezer instead.

A cranberry muffin in a piece of wax paper in a muffin tin.

variation suggestions

  • add the zest of an orange to the batter – orange and cranberry is an incredible combination!
  • add sliced almonds or chopped walnuts for extra flavor and crunch
  • use any other kind of berries – fresh or frozen – that you like in place of the cranberries
  • add some winter spices like cinnamon and clove
A cranberry muffin being broken open.




cranberry muffins on a cooling rack
4.87 from 74 votes

Fresh Cranberry Muffins

Fresh Cranberry Muffins are loaded with tangy pops of cranberry ~ the color and flavor of fresh cranberries are unrivaled in the food world, if you ask me. This easy one bowl recipe proves that winter food can definitely be bright and fresh!
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Yield 12 muffins
Calories 216kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • 12 cup muffin pan


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup milk, or half and half
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond extract (or substitute vanilla extract)
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 3 Tbsp sparkling sugar, for topping (optional) Find sparkling sugar online here


  • Preheat oven to 350 and butter a 12-cup muffin tin, or line with muffin tin liners.
  • Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the vegetable oil, milk, and eggs, and almond extract, and whisk everything together until well blended.
    Making cranberry muffin batter
  • Add the cranberries and fold to combine.
    cranberry muffin batter in a bowl
  • Divide the batter into the muffin tins, and top with the sparkling sugar. Bake for about 25 minutes until risen and just starting to turn golden on top.
    cranberry muffin batter in pan
  • Allow to cool in the muffin tins before removing.
    cranberry muffins in a muffin pan


Calories: 216kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 161mg | Potassium: 134mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 74IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    Eeshan Mushtaq
    December 23, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    1 star
    Just tried the recipe. Too tart for my liking and can smell the baking powder. It needs something more to cut the tartness. Otherwise it’s moist and light.

    • Reply
      December 23, 2020 at 3:50 pm

      Sorry these weren’t to your taste Eeshan. You might prefer dried cranberries, which aren’t as tart.

  • Reply
    Judi JJ
    December 22, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    5 stars
    I made this recipe this morning–so easy and very delicious. I wanted a cranberry recipe with little preparation required. Specifically, I didn’t want to chop cranberries! Your recipes are always solid and dependable. I trust them. I liked all the ideas for variations. I used frozen cranberries and had some sliced almonds that I tossed in. I used just a little sparkling sugar on top and enjoyed the crunch it gave. This recipe is a keeper, but I’ll also try it with different variations–orange is up next.

    • Reply
      December 22, 2020 at 1:48 pm

      Thanks so much Judi ~ happy holidays to you and your family 🙂

  • Reply
    gloria vanhorn
    December 14, 2020 at 1:26 pm

    5 stars
    Imade these using Bob red mill GF flour(1 to 1), these were the best muffins , I passed them out to my neighbors and they were surprised when I told them they were GF free. Thanks for the recipe

    • Reply
      December 14, 2020 at 5:48 pm

      Thanks Gloria, that’s great info for gluten free readers.

  • Reply
    December 8, 2020 at 4:52 am

    5 stars
    I’ve been looking for a “breakfast” cookie recipe for my autistic grandson. He has food aversion and most have things like seeds nuts and fruits that are chopped or odd ingredients that would affect flavor. Would you like a challenge to create something a 6 year old would eat that is a healthy version of a cookie? I’m betting I’m not the only person who would benefit.he doesn’t have allergies.

  • Reply
    December 7, 2020 at 5:56 pm

    I bought 2 bags of fresh cranberries on sale and put them in the freezer. Should I just put a bag in the refrigerator when I’m ready to bake these? Thanks

    • Reply
      December 7, 2020 at 7:04 pm

      I think you should use them frozen, Judy, that’s best. Just fold them in hard from the freezer.

  • Reply
    December 5, 2020 at 1:22 pm

    Can I substitute Bob’s Red Mill GF 1to 1 baking flour for wheat flour in this recipe?

    • Reply
      December 5, 2020 at 2:43 pm

      That should work Janet. Let us know!

  • Reply
    December 5, 2020 at 12:37 pm

    These look so good! I’d like to make mini muffins, but would roughly chop the cranberries for the smaller muffins. Might there be any issues with this approach?

    • Reply
      December 5, 2020 at 2:45 pm

      Yes, I’d rough chop them, but I would only use fresh in that case. I did that with my cranberry orange cookies (here) and they came out great.

  • Reply
    December 5, 2020 at 7:41 am

    Love cranberries and love one bowl recipes. I am convinced you are a New Englander at heart with all your cranberry and maple recipes, two of my favorite flavors. Keep them coming.

    • Reply
      December 5, 2020 at 10:25 am

      Totally a new Englander at heart <3

  • Reply
    December 5, 2020 at 6:16 am

    5 stars
    Can I put cook this in a loaf pan?

    • Reply
      December 5, 2020 at 6:19 am

      I haven’t tried, and generally I find that muffins have a unique texture that works best as muffins. I do have a cranberry orange bread that’s delicious, here.

  • Reply
    December 5, 2020 at 5:56 am

    Thank you for posting a cranberry -lemon muffin recipe! I’ve been looking for the perfect one forever, I can’t wait to try this recipe!

    • Reply
      December 5, 2020 at 6:21 am

      Just to clarify C, this recipe doesn’t include lemon, but you can certainly add the zest of a lemon, and even a little lemon juice in place of some of the milk, to lemon it up 🙂

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