Loaded with nutty crunch in both the muffin and streusel topping, cranberry walnut muffins are a filling grab and go meal that is incredibly easy to whip up.
Tender muffins loaded with dried cranberries, walnuts, and a hint of orange are just the thing you need to make you smile while enjoying a bit of homemade breakfast.
This simple recipe makes use of basic pantry ingredients and skips all the fuss for what is always a tasty muffin.
I chose walnuts here and included them both in the muffin batter and the streusel topping for extra crunch.
Substitute pecans or any other nut for that matter as desired.
Skipping the nuts altogether is an option if you don’t have any on hand or need to avoid them for other reasons.
Do roughly chop the nuts going into the muffin batter. It’s nice to have them in small to medium chunks for texture here.
For the topping, the nuts should be very finely chopped. I use a hand crank nut chopper / grinder for this and it works ideally. A knife will, of course, work but take it slow and have patience to get them very fine.
Don’t Skimp on the Orange Zest
The zest is where most of the flavor will come from in these orange muffins. Use the zest of an entire large orange for best results.
The orange juice provides some flavor but more moisture than orange flavor – truly it’s the zest don’t skimp.
You could probably use lemon or even lime instead of orange for different flavors, if desired.
Don’t Have Oranges on Hand?
Substitute milk for the juice and skip the zest – you’ll have some delicious muffins as an end result just slightly different than the recipe as written.
This recipe was tested with dried cranberries – I cannot guarantee that it would work with fresh cranberries.
The unsweetened cranberries if you can find them will allow the tartness of the cranberries to shine through – however they can sometimes be more difficult to find in the grocery stores. Use the sweetened, dried version if that’s all you can find.
The topping is optional but a delightful touch.
Skip it, if you’re not in the mood to make it or simply want to speed up the process on a busy morning.
Omit the nuts and just use the flour, sugar, and butter for a delightful streusel topping.
Make double the streusel amount and freeze the extra. This way you can just top muffins easily later.
How to Serve
Cranberry muffins can be a meal in and of themselves. Serve with coffee, tea, or milk for a simple but filling snack or breakfast on the run.
Eat them with eggs or fresh fruit for a more complete and larger meal or brunch.
Tuck them into lunch boxes as a mid-afternoon treat or have some with tea for an afterschool snack.
Definitely share these in gift baskets to share the taste of home with folks who need a little extra love and care for some reason.
How to Store
Store muffins in an airtight container where they should stay fresh for up to 4 days at room temperature.
For longer term storage, place baked and cooled muffins into a freezer bag or other container and freeze for up to 6 months.
Let frozen muffins thaw on the counter prior to serving.
These fluffy muffins do freeze delightfully so don’t be afraid to make a double batch just to keep some in the freezer for later.
Looking for more cranberry recipes? Try these favorites from our archives:
- 2 1/2 Cups Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 6 Tablespoons Butter, melted
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1/2 Cup Honey
- 1/2 Cup Orange Juice
- 1/2 Cup Sour Cream
- 2 Tablespoons Orange Zest, grated
- 1 Cup Dried Cranberries
- 1/2 Cup Walnuts, Chopped
- 3 Tablespoons Butter, softened
- 1/2 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 Cup Walnuts, finely chopped / ground
Make Optional Streusel
- Combine everything in a small mixing bowl and using a fork mash together until small crumbles form.
- Set aside until muffin batter is complete.
Make Muffin Batter
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grease muffin tins.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the melted butter, eggs, honey, orange juice and sour cream until completely emulsified and combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well.
- Add the dried cranberries and chopped nuts. Mix until everything is completely combined. The batter will be thick.
- Divide the batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full.
- Sprinkle a generous spoonful of streusel on each of the muffin tops, if using.
- Bake the muffins in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, the edges will be golden brown and an inserted toothpick will come out clean.
- Let cool in baking pan on wire racks for 5 minutes.
- Remove muffins from muffin tin to cool completely on wire rack.Grease muffin tins.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 muffin
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 301Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 223mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 2gSugar: 23gProtein: 5g
I try but cannot guarantee this nutritional information is 100% accurate.