What Are Orange Cranberry Muffins?

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  • Written By: Megan Shoop
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 23 October 2019
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Orange cranberry muffins are muffins usually infused with orange flavor and studded with fresh or dried cranberries. The orange flavor may come from orange extract, juice, or even liqueur. Popular in the fall months, these baked goods are often seasoned with cinnamon and sometimes with poppy seeds. Many recipes for orange cranberry muffins exist, including low-fat versions that may replace oil and butter with yogurt.

Cafes and pastry shops often include orange cranberry muffins among their selections because they’re a popular treat. Those with a sweet tooth who still want some nutrition with their snack may choose orange cranberry muffins because they contain fruit. Some shops also stud these muffins with walnuts, pecans, or almonds, adding protein to the nutrients already present in cranberries. If the shop uses orange juice, instead of imitation extracts, these muffins may also contain vitamin C.

Cinnamon, nutmeg, and powdered sugar are popular additions to orange cranberry muffins, especially around the winter holidays. Nutmeg and cinnamon frequently make an appearance in holiday cookies, and powdered sugar is often used to mimic snow. Other holiday additions to these muffins may include chocolate chips and a little food coloring to make them red or pink in color.


Baking recipes for these muffins often begin with enriched white flour, butter, oil, and refined white sugar. While delicious, those watching their figures or trying to avoid fat may not be able to enjoy orange cranberry muffins made with this kind of recipe. Healthier substitutions include whole wheat or oat flour, yogurt, applesauce, honey, sucralose, or powdered stevia. Home bakers may use just one of these substitutions or all of them, depending on one’s health concerns and tastes.

When substituting yogurt and applesauce for butter and oil, one has many options. Plain yogurt is perfectly acceptable, but one may add extra flavor by using orange, lemon, or vanilla-flavored yogurt instead. Greek yogurt is thicker than ordinary yogurt and may produce a denser muffin. Cinnamon applesauce can create a slightly spicy muffin, while cranberry-flavored applesauce gives the muffins an extra touch of color and flavor.

Many cooks find that oat flour makes a more pleasing substitute than wheat flour. Oat flour has a similar texture and flavor to ordinary white flour, meaning the muffins made with it will typically be light and moist. Orange cranberry muffins made with wheat flour may be dense and somewhat dry if the baker doesn’t add an extra dollop of butter or yogurt. Another solution involves substituting just half the amount of white flour in the recipe for wheat flour. This typically gives the muffins a nutty flavor.


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