Light, tender and moist, these Cranberry Orange Muffins are bursting with fresh orange and cranberry flavor. Featuring warm spices and even a sweet and zesty crunchy top, these muffins are perfect all around. The best part? You’d never know they were healthy!

cranberry orange muffins in a muffin tin with cranberries scattered around

Ingredients Needed

overhead of ingredients measured out for cranberry muffins

How to Make Cranberry Orange Muffins

  1. Pulse cranberries in a food processor until finely chopped.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients (whole-wheat flour, cornstarch, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and cloves).
  3. Whisk together wet ingredients until smooth (yogurt, oil, maple syrup, eggs, orange zest, and vanilla extract).
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until mostly combined.
  5. Fold in chopped cranberries.
  6. Divide batter between muffin cups. Combine turbinado sugar and orange zest; sprinkle evenly over each cup.
  7. Bake muffins 5 minutes at 425°F then, with muffins in the oven, reduce oven temperature to 350°F and bake, 16–18 minutes more. (This temperature trick will create that gorgeous dome.)

Or watch the Web Story on how to make these Cranberry Orange Muffins!

Baking with Greek yogurt

Any kind of quick-bread recipe (banana bread, zucchini bread, carrot bread) benefits from a creamy dairy-based product. Why? For one, the acid in the dairy activates with the baking soda. And two, dairy helps to create a baked good that’s tender and airy. 

Common dairy products used in quick breads and muffins include yogurt, Greek yogurt, sour cream and buttermilk. This healthy cranberry muffin recipe calls for Greek yogurt, which makes the muffins tender and moist, but also packs them with protein and calcium. 

How to Create a Tall, Domed Muffin

The trick to getting that lovely domed muffin top (that we all love about bakery muffins) is to jumpstart their baking at a high temperature in the oven (this activates the leavener). After a few minutes, drop the temp down to a medium heat (350ºF or 375ºF) to encourage even baking.

That’s it. That’s the big secret. 

The key is to get the batter to rise, and rise quickly at the beginning of baking. Once the height has been achieved, it’s important to drop the temp back down to ensure the batter cooks through. Otherwise you’ll end up with over-baked outsides and under-baked insides. 

Another thing to keep in mind—don’t be afraid to fill your muffin cups to the top! The same can’t be said for cupcakes as they often have a thinner batter. But with a thick batter like this one, it’s important to fill the cups full. 

cranberry orange muffins in a muffin tin with cranberries scattered around

Can you use frozen cranberries in these cranberry muffins?

I recommend using fresh cranberries if you can find them. However, you can definitely use frozen cranberries in a pinch. It’s best to use them still frozen, not thawed. Process the frozen cranberries in the food processor as directed, then add the chopped frozen berries right to the batter.

Be sure to check the doneness of the muffins before removing them from the oven, they may need a couple extra minutes in the oven.

More muffin recipes…

cranberry muffin topped with butter and drizzled with honey

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Healthy Cranberry Orange Muffins

5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Yield 12 standard muffins
Category Breakfast
Cuisine American
Author Lauren Grant


Tender and moist, these whole-wheat Cranberry Orange Muffins are bursting with fresh orange and cranberry flavor. Featuring warm spices and even a sweet and zesty crunchy top, these muffins are a delicious, healthy treat! 


  • 2 cups (200g) fresh cranberries
  • 2 cups (226g) white whole-wheat flour or regular whole-wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons (14g) cornstarch or arrowroot starch
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon (3g) baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5g) kosher salt
  • teaspoon cloves, optional
  • 1 cup (227g) plain whole-milk Greek yogurt*
  • cup (67g) extra-virgin olive oil, or melted coconut oil
  • ½ cup (156g) pure maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs (100g)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh orange zest, divided
  • 2 teaspoons (9g) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar


  • Heat oven to 425°F (218°C). Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners then coat liners with nonstick spray. 
  • In a food processor, process cranberries until chopped, about 10 pulses; set aside.
  • Whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and cloves in a large bowl, set aside.
  • Whisk together yogurt, oil, maple syrup, eggs, 2 teaspoons orange zest, and vanilla until smooth.
  • Add yogurt mixture to flour mixture and mix until mostly incorporated but some pockets of flour remain.
  • Gently fold chopped cranberries into batter just until combined.
  • Divide batter (it will be thick) between prepared muffin cups, about a heaping ¼ cup per muffin cup. Combine turbinado sugar with remaining teaspoon orange zest and sprinkle evenly over cups of batter.
  • Bake muffins 5 minutes at 425°F (218°C) then, keeping muffins in oven, reduce oven temperature to 350°F (177°C) and bake until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean, 16–18 minutes more. Total bake time is about 21–23 minutes.
  • (For mini muffins, bake 11–14 minutes at 350°F (177°C).
  • Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and cool 5 minutes, then transfer muffins from pan to wire rack to cool completely.
  • Store cooled muffins at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 


*Greek yogurt: I recommend whole-milk Greek yogurt, but you can use any fat content you prefer, just be sure to use Greek yogurt. Sour cream can also be substituted. 
Make these Egg Free: Substitute flax eggs for regular eggs. To make a flax egg, combine 1 tablespoon ground flax (flax meal) with 3 tablespoons water. Let mixture soak for 10 minutes before using.
Make these Vegan: Replace eggs with flax eggs (see note above). Replace Greek yogurt with 1 cup thick vegan yogurt, or replace with 2/3 cup vegan buttermilk (⅔ cup non-dairy milk + 2 teaspoons white vinegar). Let buttermilk rest 5 minutes before using.
Make these Gluten-Free: Swap the whole-wheat flour for a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend, such as Bob’s Red Mill.


Serving: 1muffinCalories: 178kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 5gFat: 7.5gSaturated Fat: 1.5gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 114mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4.5g
Like this? Leave a comment below!I love hearing from you and I want to hear how it went with this recipe! Leave a comment and rating below, then share on social media @zestfulkitchen and #zestfulkitchen!
cranberry muffin topped with butter and drizzled with honey

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine,,, and more.

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  1. Hi Lauren

    These look so yummy. I can’t wait to try them but do you have measurements in metric for people in other parts of the world. Oh, and do the muffins stick to the cupcake liners? It does with some other recipes. Thanks

    1. Hi Eleanor, I just updated the recipe with gram measurements. These do tend to stick to the paper liners. I haven’t tested these without the paper liners, but if you grease the muffin tin well you could avoid the sticking to the paper.

      Let me know how it goes!

  2. 5 stars
    These muffins are delicious and it’s awesome that they are healthy too! I used whole wheat flour, coconut oil and honey instead of maple syrup. At first I was worried the batter was going to too thick, but they came out perfect! Thank you for the recipe!

    1. Hi Karly, I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed these muffins!! Thanks for sharing your substitutions, those will be helpful for other readers.

    1. Can you find frozen cranberries? I would recommend using frozen cranberries in place of fresh. Fresh or frozen will add some much needed moisture, while dried will create a very thick, dry batter.
      You can either use the cranberries frozen, or thaw them ahead of time. Either way should work!

      I hope that helps!

  3. These look delicious, but could I suggest that you remove the links for equipment with photos from the printable recipe? There is no way to take that out of the printable version and it adds almost half a page of wasted space. I understand the need for affiliate links, but the photos take up excess space wasted when printing the recipe.

    1. Hi Stacy,
      We are in the process of updating the design of our recipe card on our site, but each and every card needs to be updated manually to ensure all of the information is transferred correctly. As you will see in our new recipe cards (like in this whole wheat muffin recipe those equipment images are not there for this exact reason.
      Thanks for your comment and patience as we work through and update 700 recipes.

  4. 5 stars
    I subbed the syrup with honey and instead of the sugar topping I made an orange glaze with orange zest and juice and powdered sugar…. These muffins are amazing!!!! Love them ❤️

    1. Hi Mia, I haven’t tested this, but I think it should work. I would use 1/2 cup buttermilk instead of 1 cup Greek yogurt. If the batter seems overly thick, add additional buttermilk by tablespoon as needed. Let me know how it goes!