These dried cranberry muffins are moist and fluffy with the perfect combination of sweet and tart flavors. They're a delicious treat for a Fall or Winter breakfast and only take 30 minutes to make!
Cranberry is such an underrated holiday flavor. They're so juicy and vibrant and deserve more attention! These moist dried cranberry muffins are perfect to make for Fall or Thanksgiving if you're over all things pumpkin. They're fluffy and tender thanks to buttermilk and have tart dried cranberries in every bite!
With a handful of simple, pantry-staple ingredients, these will be a breakfast staple during the holiday season. The recipe only requires 2 bowls and no mixer! Serve them with sprinkled with sugar or drizzled with icing at brunch for a little extra sweetness.
Here are notes about some of the ingredients used. For quantities and full instructions, see the recipe card below.
- Flour- All purpose flour works best. Measure it in grams with a kitchen scale for the most accurate results. If you don't have a scale, fluff up the flour in the bag before gently spooning it into your measuring cup. Once overflowing, swipe off the excess.
- Baking powder- Baking powder reacts with the oven's heat and makes the muffins rise, getting those tall muffin tops! Make sure it isn't expired before using.
- Melted butter- I prefer unsalted butter to add fat, a rich buttery flavor, and to control the amount of salt in the muffins. Muffins don't rely on the structure of creamed butter like cupcakes do, so melted butter is perfectly fine to use.
- Oil- Muffins made with only butter can be a bit dense. Using oil with butter keeps them soft and moist! Use flavorless neutral oil like canola oil, avocado oil, or vegetable oil.
- Eggs- 2 large eggs bind everything together and add extra lift. Make sure they're at room temperature so they mix in easily- take out of the refrigerator an hour before baking.
- Buttermilk- The acid in this ingredient tenderizes the gluten strands from the flour and makes muffins super fluffy and light. Make sure it's room temperature too- take it out of the refrigerator with the eggs.
- Dried cranberries- I prefer unsweetened dried cranberries (or craisins), but sweetened work too.
Substitutions & Variations
- To make the muffins gluten free, substitute the all purpose flour with Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten Free Baking Flour.
- An equal amount of plain kefir, Greek yogurt, or sour cream can be substituted for buttermilk.
- Add a tablespoon of lemon zest or orange zest to the batter for a bright juicy flavor! You can add warm spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom too.
- If you don't like craisin muffins, you can use raisins, chopped pitted dates, açaí berries, or any other dried fruit.
- You can use fresh or frozen cranberries too! Chop fresh cranberries before adding to the batter. If you use frozen ones, I recommend coating them with a little flour before folding in to keep them from sinking to the bottom of the muffin liners.
- Drizzle with glaze or spread frosting on top for a special touch! I highly recommend this small batch cream cheese frosting.
Step by Step Instructions
Before you start, prepare a muffin pan with liners and set aside. Preheat a convention oven to 425°F/220°C.
STEP 1: First, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
STEP 2: In a separate large bowl, whisk cooled melted butter, oil, eggs, and vanilla together. Do this vigorously until well combined with no lumps.
STEP 3: Next, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with a rubber spatula, stopping when there are still a few dry patches of flour. It's ok if there are lumps!
STEP 4: Fold in the dried cranberries until the dry flour streaks just disappear. Don't overmix at this stage because it can make the muffins gummy and dense.
STEP 5: With a large cookie scoop or spoon, scoop batter into each muffin liner, filling nearly full. Top with more craisins and coarse sugar and bake at 425°F/220°C for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to 400°F/200°C and bake for 15-20 more minutes until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Baking the muffins at an initial high heat helps the tops rise rapidly and get that domed look!
STEP 6: Remove the muffins from the oven and let them cool in the hot pan for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack. Don't leave them in longer because condensation can form from the heat and make the muffins soggy.
Let them cool on the rack for about 30 minutes or until they reach room temperature and enjoy!
Expert Baking Tips
- Use room temperature ingredients. Room temperature eggs and buttermilk mix in more evenly and create a uniform batter.
- Fill the muffin cups almost all the way! For sky high muffin tops, fill each muffin liner almost all the way full.
- Don't overmix. Fold in the dried cranberries just until the dry patches of flour disappear. It's ok if there are some lumps. Mixing too much makes for tough, gummy muffins.
Storage & Freezing
Store the dried cranberry muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. You can store them in the refrigerator for up to 6 days, but they might dry out sooner because of the dry environment.
Place the muffins in a freezer safe, airtight container or zip-top bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Let them thaw in the refrigerator or on the counter for a couple hours before eating. You can also microwave for about 20 seconds or reheat in the oven for 5 minutes at 350°F/180°C.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can't swap regular milk for buttermilk. The acid in buttermilk is super important for creating fluffy, tall muffins!
Yes! You can swap the same amount of fresh cranberries for the craisins. Slice the berries before adding them to the batter and keep an eye on the muffins in the oven. Fresh berries release moisture, so the muffins might take a bit longer to bake.
Yes, you can make the muffin batter the night before. Make sure to cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator. I don't recommend making it any further in advance because the batter can dry out in the fridge.
More Muffin Recipes to Try
Dried Cranberry Muffins
- Line a muffin pan with liners and set aside. Preheat a conventional oven to 425°F/220°C.
- Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.320 grams all purpose flour, 250 grams granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt
- In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk the melted butter, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract together until well combined. Add the buttermilk and whisk until smooth with no lumps.56 grams melted butter, 50 grams oil, 2 large eggs, 2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 160 grams buttermilk
- Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with a rubber spatula or large spoon until a few dry pockets of flour remain.
- Gently fold in the dried cranberries until the dry streaks of flour just disappear. It's ok if there are some lumps.180 grams dried cranberries
- Scoop the batter into the muffins liners evenly, filling each nearly full. Sprinkle coarse sugar and extra craisins on top if desired.
- Bake the muffins for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to 400°F/200°C and continue baking for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center comes out clean with a few moist crumbs.
- Remove the muffins from the oven and let cool in the hot pan for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack. Let cool completely and enjoy!