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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  • Reply
    March 22, 2022 at 1:17 pm

    Made this recipe to a T. As I am not a Baker, just learning some new skills!! These are. so easy a quick! They are very good!! Light and fluffy!! However next time Iwill not use as much almond extract. As it was very prominent in the initial bite. I did use pure not imitation . Would that make a difference? Thanks for a great recipe that I could make!!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      March 22, 2022 at 3:37 pm

      Glad you loved these Denise, and different people do respond to almond extract differently, so definitely reduce it next time.

  • Reply
    January 12, 2022 at 1:41 pm

    5 stars
    Tried mixing with whisk but way too thick. Put in kitchen aid and it went together so easily. thanks

  • Reply
    Sandra Walter
    January 8, 2022 at 11:43 am

    5 stars
    Great recipe….I replaced the milk with all orange juice….used the almond along with some vanilla…super light muffin…I didn’t need the sugar on top, it was delicious just as it was…..Next time I will add 3 cups of cranberries…loved that hit of tartness…Overall, a total win for me.

  • Reply
    January 5, 2022 at 8:26 am

    5 stars
    I just want to say this is the best cranberry muffin recipe I’ve ever used. My family loves it. These muffins always come out perfect and delicious. Thank you for sharing it!!!

  • Reply
    December 30, 2021 at 9:14 am

    Good morning Sue! Hope your Christmas was a beautiful one! I’ve made your cranberry breakfast cake, cranberry sugar cookies for Christmas and they were absolutely DELICIOUS!! I want to make these muffins and know they will be delicious as well but want to put then in large muffin pans. Would they take longer to bake and what do you suggest?
    Happy New Year to you and yours!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      December 30, 2021 at 11:11 am

      I haven’t tried that Susan, and it really depends on your exact pan size. I’d check them after 25 minutes and go from there.

      • Reply
        April 7, 2022 at 10:14 am

        Can I use the cranberries from a frozen or do I need to thaw first? Also, do I leave them whole or do I need to cut them into pieces?

        • Reply
          Sue Moran
          April 7, 2022 at 2:04 pm

          They can be fresh or frozen, and I use them whole. No need to thaw frozen berries.

  • Reply
    December 26, 2021 at 8:57 pm

    5 stars
    I made these muffins with some frozen cranberries that I had and added some walnuts. Definitely topped them with our sparkling sugar! My husband announced that these were some of the best muffins that I’ve ever made and I make quite a few muffins. Quite a compliment to your great recipe. I especially liked that it didn’t call for too much sugar. It is a keeper.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      December 27, 2021 at 10:09 am

      I think I’ll make them with walnuts next time, love that combo 🙂

  • Reply
    December 22, 2021 at 10:46 am

    5 stars
    Did anyone try this with sour milk or buttermilk? I have some expired milk I’d like to use for this recipe (not too far gone, just definitely sour)

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      December 22, 2021 at 4:46 pm

      Buttermilk would work fine, so I say go for it!

  • Reply
    December 11, 2021 at 8:43 pm

    3 stars
    I love almond extract but I found 1 1/2 teaspoons was far too much and distracted from all other flavors. I suspect 1 1/2 t of vanilla would be perfect but if using almond extract again I think 1/2 t. Would gives greater results

  • Reply
    December 6, 2021 at 5:09 pm

    5 stars
    This was so so yummy. I replaced some of the milk with orange juice and added some lemon zest. I also baked this in a loaf pan instead, doubling the cooking time. Topped this with an orange glaze and It came out so moist and delicious.

  • Reply
    December 5, 2021 at 11:01 am

    5 stars
    Amazing! Fluffy muffin with tart bursts of cranberry.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      December 5, 2021 at 3:39 pm

      Thanks Maddie ~ hope you have a wonderful holiday!!

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