These bakery-style Muffins with cranberries are tender, moist and bursting with flavor! Loaded with tart, fresh cranberries and decadent (white or semi-sweet) chocolate chips, then sprinkled with glittery sparkling sugar, this cranberry muffin recipe with chocolate is so delicious and impossible to resist!
Featured comment: Really good! I added some chopped pecans.” – Irene
These muffins with fresh cranberries are the perfect addition to your holiday breakfast, brunch, or dessert table. Plus, they store beautifully for easy grab-and-go snacking! Continue to read on for helpful tips, and don’t miss the in-depth step-by-step photos and recipe video at the bottom of the post!
Update: This post was originally published in December 2015. I took new photos photos and made updates to the post below to include more information about winter muffins with fresh cranberries. Plus, I’ve added step-by-step photos and a recipe video to show you exactly how easy these muffins are to make right at home!
Happy week of Christmas – to those of you who celebrate the holiday! I certainly hope everything at your house is looking merry and bright! Today we are going to add to the holiday cheer by baking up something sparkling and totally delicious. Trust, this glorious recipe for cranberry muffins will have you feeling jolly and jovial all holiday season long.
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About this cranberry muffins recipe
This bakery-style muffins with cranberries recipe yields a quick bread with a tender, moist crumb and PLENTY of flavor! Basically, one of these fresh cranberries muffins will give ANY brick and mortar bakery a run for their money. (Sorry, not sorry.)
These muffins are positively overflowing with tart fresh cranberries, bursting with melty, sweet chocolate chips and finished with sparkly decorative sugar! They are beyond delicious and definitely worth getting out of bed for.
Not only do these muffins with fresh cranberries make a perfect addition to your Christmas morning table or spread, but they also make a fabulously festive dessert! And, they are perfect for homemade gift giving.
But, not only are these holiday muffins absolutely divine in the taste department, they also couldn’t be any easier to whip together! Did I mention, there’s no stand or handheld mixer necessary! If you have two mixing bowls and 10 minutes of time to spare then you can easily make these utterly delicious cranberry muffins with fresh cranberries. Seriously, you simply mix a few ingredients together, go pour yourself a cup of coffee or eggnog, and snuggle by the fire. Twenty minutes later, you will have perfectly warm, slightly steamy, moist cranberry muffins that will make your heart go pitter patter!
Why you will love this easy muffin recipe
- Moist and tender! These whole cranberry muffins feature a moist, tender crumb and plenty of yummy mix-ins.
- Delicious! This homemade cranberry muffin mix is made with fresh cranberries, rich chocolate, and sanding sugar for the best tart and sweet flavor that really lets the cranberry flavor shine.
- Jumbo or Standard! You can easily make this recipe for cranberry muffins in a standard muffin tin or jumbo muffin tin, depending upon your preference. (I say, go big or go home!)
- Perfect anytime treat! Fresh cranberries muffins are the perfect winter treat – serve them for breakfast, brunch, dessert or every snack-time in between.
- Holiday favorite! Homemade baked goods are always a welcome gift at the holidays, especially these sparkly red and white muffins!
- Best part of all – there’s no mixer required! Make the best cranberry muffins easy at home with this simple recipe.
What is a cranberry muffin?
A muffin is a single-serving quick bread which rises with the help of chemical leavening agent, such as baking soda and baking powder, instead of yeast. While both muffins and cupcakes are made of batter containing flour and egg, and baked in a pan with cup-sized indentations (muffin tins), muffins are heavier in texture.
Cranberry muffins are prepared with fresh cranberries which result in a muffin that’s both sweet and tart in flavor. These muffins can also include a variety of tasty mix-ins, such as chocolate chunks, cream cheese or nuts. Additionally, the warm, freshly baked winter muffins can be finished with powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, honey or a smooth, rich glaze.
What do I need to make muffins with fresh cranberries?
These bakery style muffins are made with simple, easy-to-find ingredients, plus fresh or frozen cranberries and white or semi-sweet chocolate! The ingredient list may be basic; however, when combined they yield irresistibly delicious craisin muffins!
Ingredients in this recipe
- Flour: All-purpose flour is the foundation of this muffin recipe. It helps the batter remain sturdy and thick.
- Substitution: Swap in a gluten-free flour blend if need be, just make sure you use a brand that can be swapped in a 1:1 ratio for regular flour.
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda: Both chemical leavening agents provide lift and help the muffins rise.
- Salt: A touch of coarse kosher salt is needed to enhance all the flavors!
- Cinnamon: Ground cinnamon adds a touch of warm, inviting flavor.
- Eggs: Two large eggs provide structure and moisture, plus they help bind everything together.
- Sugars: Granulated sugar adds the perfect touch of sweetness and keeps the muffins light. You can substitute a portion of the granulated sugar for brown sugar; however it tends to weigh the muffins down.
- Oil: Oil provides moisture which creates tender muffins and prevents them from drying out. You can use canola, vegetable or coconut oil in this recipe.
- Greek Yogurt: Full-fat plain Greek yogurt helps keep the muffins ultra-moist and tender.
- Substitution: You can use full-fat sour cream if you prefer a tangier flavor.
- Milk: Buttermilk provides even more moisture and helps lighten up the muffins crumb. You can use whole milk if you prefer.
- Vanilla Extract: Two teaspoons of vanilla adds tons of flavor!
- Cranberries: It wouldn’t be a cranberry muffin without the cranberries! You can use fresh or frozen cranberries in this recipe.
- Chocolate: Chocolate and cranberries go together beautifully! You can use white chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate in this recipe. I like a mix of textures, so I tend to use both chocolate chips and chocolate chunks; however you can use whatever you prefer!
- Substitution: Feel free to substitute the chocolate with more cranberries or a different tasty mix-in you love! (See below.)
Not a fan of the combination of cranberries and chocolate? No worries! You can add any type of mix-in you love! Get creative and create a bakery-style muffin chock full of the ingredients you and your family love. Below are a few substitute ideas to help inspire:
- Cranberry Walnut Muffins: If you prefer your muffins with Cranberries and Nuts, swap in 1/2 cup of any variety you love. Walnuts, hazelnuts and pistachios pair best here. For the best flavor, I highly suggest toasting your nuts first!
- Raisin or Craisin Muffins: Swap the chocolate for chewy raisins or dried cranberries if you are looking for a healthy muffin recipe! (See below for tips on using dry cranberries in muffins.)
- Cranberry Orange Muffins: Cranberry and orange is a classic combination for a good reason! Increase the amount of cranberries to 1 3/4 cup. Zest two large oranges and stir the orange zest into the batter when you add the yogurt.
- Ginger Muffins: Candied ginger and cranberries are seriously delicious together. To try this winter muffin combination, increase the cranberries to 1 1/2 cups and finely chop 1/4 cup of crystallized ginger. Add the ginger to the muffin batter when you add the cranberries.
- Jumbo Cranberry Muffins: Take charge and go large with your muffins! The recipe card below includes instructions to bake this winter muffin recipe in large-size muffin tins (versus the standard pan).
Types of cranberries for muffins
How to prepare fresh cranberries in muffins?
For the best taste and most flavor, I recommend coarsely chopping the cranberries before adding them to the muffin batter. By cutting the cranberries you are essentially doubling the amount of cranberries, which gets you a better cranberry to batter ratio! I like to cut large cranberries in half and leave any tiny cranberries whole for a variety of textures!
Pro-tip: Looking to save time? Use a food processor – very carefully and quickly process the cranberries until just coarsely chopped.
Can I use frozen cranberries in this muffins recipe?
Absolutely! Both fresh and frozen cranberries work in this easy muffin recipe!
Do I need to thaw frozen cranberries?
There is no need to thaw frozen cranberries before making muffins! Simply remove the berries from the freezer, give them a quick rinse with cold water and let them sit at room temperature on the counter while you grab the rest of the muffin ingredients.
Can I use dried cranberries in muffins?
If you can’t find fresh or frozen cranberries you can substitute dried cranberries instead. However, please note that you will need to make some minor adjustments to the recipe. As well, the taste and texture will be slightly different – Fresh cranberries in muffins lend a juicy texture; while dried cranberry muffins will lend a much chewier taste.
Muffins with dried cranberries recipe adjustments
- Dried cranberries are much smaller than fresh; therefore, more dry berries will fit in a cup measure than fresh. To make up for the discrepancy, I recommend using 1 cup of dry cranberries, instead of 1 1/4 cup of fresh.
- Also, I encourage you to rehydrate and plump the dry cranberries by soaking them in hot water for 10-12 minutes. Then, drain the berries and pat them thoroughly dry before proceeding with recipe.
- Tip: Dried cranberries are typically already sweetened. Therefore, I recommend slightly reducing the amount of sugar (by 1-2 tablespoons) in the recipe. But, if you prefer a sweeter muffin, my all means, do you!
Do you have to cook cranberries before baking in muffins?
You don’t need to cook the fresh cranberries before baking. Just make sure you give the cranberries a quick rinse before adding them to the cranberry muffin batter.
How to make cranberry muffin recipe
These fresh cranberry muffins are so easy to make and only require 10 minutes of hands on preparation! Best part of all – there is no mixer required! Follow these simple, fool-proof instructions for perfectly moist muffins every single time!
Tip: Make sure your eggs and milk are at room temperature. Room temperature ingredients bond together more easily than cold ingredients, resulting in an evenly textured and smooth batter. (Don’t forget to scroll down for the detailed measurements in the complete printable recipe at the bottom of the page.)
Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients and whisk well. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Set the bowl aside.
Wet Ingredients: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs and oil. Add in the milk, yogurt and vanilla extract. Whisk until well combined and pale yellow in color.
Add Wet to Dry: Add the wet ingredients to the well in the dry ingredients. Fold together and gently mix until everything just comes together.
Add Cranberries + Chocolate: Gently fold in the cranberries and white chocolate.
- Fill muffin tins. Divide the batter into muffin cups, filling each nearly all the way to the top. Optional: Sprinkle with more chocolate chips or chunks and gently press them slightly into the muffin batter. Generously sprinkle coarse sugar all over the tops.
- Bake. Bake the muffins for 5 minutes at 425 degrees F. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F. Bake for an additional 15-16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Cool: Remove from the oven and place muffin pan on a wire rack. Allow muffins to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from the pan and transfer them onto the wire rack to cool completely.
- Serve: Serve your beautiful winter muffins warm or at room temperature and enjoy!
Step-by-step photos: making cranberry muffins easy
(Don’t forget to scroll down for the detailed instructions in the complete printable recipe card at the bottom of the page!)
Expert tips for preparing the best cranberry muffins
While these cranberry muffins with yogurt are incredibly easy to prepare, below are a few simple tips and easy tricks to ensure they turn out perfect every single time!
Tips for muffins with cranberries
- Properly measure ingredients: This seems obvious, but properly measuring your ingredients is key! To properly measure flour, use a spoon and lightly spoon the flour into your measuring cup. Then, use the flat, straight edge of a knife (or similar object) to level off the top of the flour.
- Cranberries: You can use fresh or frozen cranberries in these muffins. If using frozen, just be sure to rinse them with cold water first and then let them thaw on the counter while you grab the rest of the ingredients.
- Milk: I highly recommend buttermilk for the moistest texture. However, you can use whole milk. Or, if you are in a pinch almond milk or 2% works as well. Do not use skim milk! For homemade buttermilk, combine 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice or white vinegar.
- Decorative Sugar: The sparkling sugar is completely optional, but it adds a delicious touch of crunchy texture and sweet flavor. You can find decorative (or sparkling) sugar in the baking aisle of major grocery stores.
- Use the muffin method to mix: The muffin method for mixing batter helps create a better muffin! Make sure you mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another bowl. Then, mix the two together until just combined.
- Don’t over-mix: Don’t over-mix when combining the wet and dry ingredients! Over-mixing the batter will produce tough muffins! You want to gently fold the ingredients until they are just combined – the batter should be lumpy!
- Fill the muffin tins: Use an ice cream scoop to transfer the batter from the mixing bowl into the muffin tins. Fill the tins almost all the way to the top – don’t worry, the muffins won’t spill over.
- Start with a blast of heat: To help the muffins rise quickly and develop the perfect domed top – bake the muffins for 5 minutes at 425°F degrees. Then, reduce the temperature to 350°F and continue to bake for an additional 15-17 minutes. The initial blast of heat lifts the muffins quickly, so don’t skip this step!
Serving cranberry muffins with fresh cranberries
These festive muffins are perfect for breakfasts on the go, afternoon snacks and easy desserts! Or, serve them as a part of your holiday Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year brunch spread with monkey bread, sausage egg casserole and bottomless pomegranate mimosas!
This cranberry muffin recipe is delicious served freshly baked and warm straight from the oven. Or, make them in advance, then serve them at room temperature or lightly toast them in the oven!
You can enjoy these muffins plain, drizzle them with honey or smear them with soft butter! Or, if you prefer a sweeter muffin, try drizzling them with a sticky, rich glaze!
If you’re a huge fan of cranberries, throw a berry theme party and pair your muffins with Baked Camembert with Cranberry Compote, The Best Cranberry Chicken Salad, Chicken Rice with Cranberries, Cranberry Orange Relish, and Cranberry Margaritas!
How long will muffins keep?
Leftover muffins do not need to be refrigerated! Muffins will keep and stay soft, fresh and moist at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Alternatively, you can extend the shelf life of muffins by storing them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
To store muffins: Before storing muffins, make sure you allow the muffins to cool completely on a wire rack. Transfer the muffins to an airtight container lined with a sheet of paper towel. Arrange the cooled muffins in a single layer and cover the top with another sheet of paper towel before sealing the container with a tight-fitting lid. Pro-tip: The paper towels will absorb the excess moisture from the muffins and allow them to stay fresher for longer.
Can I freeze this muffins with cranberry recipe?
This cranberry muffin recipe freezes beautifully! I always double the recipe just to have a few muffins to store in the freezer for easy grab-and-go breakfasts!
To freeze muffins: Allow the muffins to cool completely on a wire rack before wrapping them individually in plastic wrap. Transfer wrapped muffins to an airtight, freezer-safe resealable bag and store in the freezer for up to 2 months.
When ready to eat: Thaw muffins at room temperature on the counter, or gently warm the muffins in the oven. Alternatively, you can reheat muffins in the microwave at 50% until slightly warmed if desired. Do not over-microwave the muffins or they will become extremely hard and unappetizing. Pro-tip: Warm the muffins and drizzle them with honey or slather them with butter for an utterly delicious muffin experience!
So, what are you waiting for? Grab your muffin pan and mix together these marvelous Bakery Style Cranberry Muffins. They are good for the soul and for your stomach! Plus, your family will love you for it!
Until next time, cheer! To soulful baking.
More simple muffin recipes!
If you are searching for more muffin recipes, check out these easy favorites:
- Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins
- Lemon Muffins Recipe
- Walnut Banana Muffins
- Leftover Stuffing Muffins
- Chocolate Chocolate Muffins
- Doughnut Muffins
The best Cranberry Muffins Recipe, plus step by step video 👇
Chocolate Cranberry Muffins
- 1 Standard 12-Cup Muffin Tin (or Jumbo Muffin Pan - SEE NOTES)
- 2 Mixing Bowls
- 1 Whisk
- 2 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour – spooned & leveled
- 2 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
- ½ tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 2 Large Eggs – at room temperature
- ½ Cup Canola Oil (can substitute Vegetable Oil)
- 1 Cup Buttermilk (or Whole Milk) - at room temperature (SEE NOTES)
- 2/3 Cup Full-Fat Greek Yogurt - at room temperature
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 ¼ Cups Cranberries (fresh or frozen) – coarsely chopped (about 4.5 ounces) (SEE NOTES)
- ¾ Cup Chocolate Chips - plus more for topping, optional (5 ounces) (SEE NOTES)
- Coarse Decorative Sugar – for topping, optional (SEE NOTES)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners OR spray the cavities of the muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
- Dry Ingredients: In a large sized bowl combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Mix well. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Set the bowl aside.
- Wet Ingredients: In a medium sized bowl whisk together the sugar, eggs and oil. Add in the milk, yogurt and vanilla extract. Whisk until well combined and pale yellow in color.
- Add Wet to Dry: Add the wet ingredients to the well in the flour mixture. Fold together, using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to gently mix everything together. Be careful to mix until flour is just combined. (Note: The batter should still be lumpy)
- Add Cranberries + Chocolate: Gently fold in the cranberries and white chocolate.
- Fill Muffin Tins: Pour the muffin batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling each tin all the way to the top. Optional: Sprinkle a few chocolate chips onto the top of the batter. Very gently press the chips slightly into the batter. Sprinkle the tops of batter with decorative sugar.
- Bake: Bake the muffins for 5 minutes at 425 degrees F. Keeping the oven door closed, reduce the oven temperature to 350 F. Bake for an additional 15-16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean – a few small moist crumbs is fine.
- Cool: Remove from oven and place muffin pan on a wire rack. Allow muffins to cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove muffins from the pan and transfer them onto the wire rack to cool completely.
- Serve: Serve the muffins warm or at room temperature plain or dusted with powdered sugar. Enjoy!
- Cranberries: You can either use fresh or frozen cranberries in these muffins. If using frozen, just be sure to rinse them with cold water first and then let them sit on the counter while you grab the rest of the ingredients. There is no need to defrost them first.
- Milk: I recommend using buttermilk for these muffins for the moistest texture; however, whole milk works as well. Or, you can substitute almond milk or 2% milk. I do NOT recommend skim milk!
- Yogurt: Full-fat Greek yogurt will produce the best flavor; however, you can use full-fat sour cream for a tangier taste.
- Chocolate: You can use white chocolate (pictured in post) or semi-sweet chocolate for these muffins. I like to use chocolate chips in the muffin batter and then add chopped chocolate to the top of the muffin batter before baking - just make sure you gently press the chocolate into the batter and then proceed with sprinkling on the decorative sugar.
- Decorative Sugar: I used decorative sugar for topping the muffins before baking, which is completely optional, but highly recommended! Decorative sugar is simply coarser, and has a larger crystal than granulated sugar. You should be able to find decorative (or sparkling) sugar in the baking aisle of most major grocery stores.
- Jumbo Muffins: Use a jumbo muffin pan. Bake at 425°F for 5 minutes, then reduce oven to 350°F and bake for 22-25 minutes. Recipe makes about 6 jumbo muffins.
- Storage: While these muffins are best eaten the same day they are prepared, they can be stored at room temperature (in an airtight container) for up to 4 days. These muffins freeze well (and can be frozen for up to 2 months), so I recommend making a double batch and keeping some in the freezer!
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