Cranberry Orange Muffins, easy from scratch jumbo muffins recipe with fresh cranberries, orange zest, and buttermilk! These copycat Panera Cranberry Orange Muffins are the best and can be made into mini or regular size as well.
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These copycat Panera Cranberry Orange Muffins are the best for holiday brunches, gifts, and just for snacking. After my popular copycat Panera Pumpkin Muffins, I knew I wanted to give the cranberry and orange muffins a try. And they didn’t disappoint!
We are big Panera fans here as I’ve mentioned before. If you are too, you might like these other copycat recipes including Kitchen Sink Cookies, Broccoli Cheddar Soup, White Cheddar Mac and Cheese, and Pumpkin Muffins.
These jumbo Cranberry Orange Muffins are full of fresh cranberries, fresh orange zest, and buttermilk. Topped with a little turbinado sugar which gives these muffins a nice crunch just like you get from a bakery.
So these are very similar to the ones you get at Panera. Not EXACTLY the same, but really close. Regardless, they are delicious!
How to Make Cranberry Orange Muffins
(For the full recipe card, ingredient list, and print option scroll to the bottom of this post.)
So I checked out the ingredient list for the Panera Cranberry Orange Muffins and tried to keep them as similar as possible. Since they don’t list the exact amounts (obviously) I had to guess a bit but think these muffins turned out great.
To get started, preheat your oven. Line a jumbo muffin pan with jumbo paper liners. I love making these in a jumbo muffin pan with jumbo paper liners but you can make them any size. More on that a little further down.
In a medium bowl mix together the dry ingredients including the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a different mixing bowl, mix together the oil and sugar, then the eggs and vanilla.
Alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk to the mixing bowl with the oil and sugar. Then stir in the fresh orange zest and cranberries.
You can toss your cranberries in a little flour if you’d like before adding them to the batter to help them a little from sinking in your muffin batter. Totally optional though.
Spoon the muffin batter into the paper liners in the muffin pan. Then press the remaining cranberries about halfway down into the top of the muffin batter.
That way when the muffins come out of the oven you’ll see some of the cranberries right on top!
The Cranberry Orange muffins I got from Panera only seemed to have cranberries on top but the photos of them on the Panera website have the berries throughout the muffin batter so not sure what they do at various locations.
You can just mix all the cranberries in the batter (none on top) if you prefer or you can also just put cranberries on top (none in the batter). I did a little of both.
If you put the cranberries ONLY at the top of your muffins, you may not have enough batter to fill all 6 liners though and will probably need less than the 1 1/2 cups of cranberries listed in the recipe.
Sprinkle the turbinado sugar on top of the muffin batter and cranberries.
Carefully place the muffins in the middle of your oven and bake at 375 degrees F for about 25-30 minutes.
Although I’d start checking on the muffins at about 20 minutes just to be sure! You’ll know they are done when they are golden brown around the edges and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Cool the muffins for a few minutes then remove them from the pan and place on a cooling rack to finish cooling.
These Cranberry Orange Muffins are best the same day while that sugar topping is still crunchy!
Cranberry Orange Muffin FAQ
Please know that making ANY substitutes to the recipe can change your results quite a bit. Here are a few popular questions that may help you out:
Can I substitute butter for oil?
Yes, you can try substituting melted butter or creaming softened butter with the granulated sugar. Just know the texture of the muffin may be slightly different.
Can I substitute other fruit? Can I use frozen fruit?
Yes, you can substitute your favorite berry for the cranberries (such as blueberries) and your favorite citrus for the orange (such as lime or lemon). You can also use frozen berries. I just personally like using fresh cranberries when available.
How do you store muffins? Can I freeze muffins?
These muffins are best the same day as they are baked, however, if you have leftovers you can place them in a resealable plastic bag or airtight container and store at room temperature for about 2-3 days. You can also freeze the muffins but wrapping them tightly in foil, then place in freezer bags and freeze for about 2-3 months. However, please know the texture of the muffins will change and the crispy sugar topping with not be crispy generally after the first day.
Can I substitute granulated sugar for the turbinado sugar?
Yes, you can in theory, BUT the tops of the muffins will not have the same texture. Turbinado sugar is a large cut sugar and generally works better on the top of muffins to give that nice crunch like what you would get a bakery.
Can I make these muffins in a mini muffin pan? regular muffin pan?
Yes, you can definitely make these muffins in any shape pan you’d like but you will need to adjust the baking time. Since fresh cranberries can be rather large, if you’re making mini muffins you may want to chop the cranberries first. I’m guessing here, but think you would probably get about 24 mini muffins and about 12 regular size muffins with this recipe. I’d think the mini muffins would take about 8-15 minutes to bake and the regular size about 15-20 minutes. A lot will depend on how much you fill the muffin cups so be sure to check on them.
Can I make my own buttermilk? Can I substitute milk for buttermilk?
Yes for both, but just know the taste will vary a bit from using regular buttermilk. To make your own 1/2 cup of buttermilk, add about 1 1/2 teaspoons of vinegar, lemon juice, or even orange juice to a 1/2 cup of milk. Let it sit at room temperature for about 5-10 minutes.
Would love to hear what you think about these muffins in the comments! Or take a pic and post on social media with #SnappyGourmet so I can see.
Quick video to see these homemade muffins coming together…
Cranberry Orange Muffins
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons fresh orange zest
- 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries divided
- 2 Tablespoons turbinado sugar
- In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the dry ingredients including the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the oil and sugar until well combined. Mix in the eggs one at a time then mix in the vanilla.
- Alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the large mixing bowl with the oil and sugar mixing after each addition.
- Stir in the fresh orange zest and 1 cup of the cranberries. Spoon the muffin batter into prepared pan. Press the remaining 1/2 cup of cranberries into tops of each muffin. Sprinkle turbinado sugar on top of the muffins.
- Bake muffins in the middle of your oven at 375 degrees F for about 25-30 minutes (but I'd suggest start checking on them at about 20 minutes) or until golden brown around edges and toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean. Cool slightly, then remove muffins from pan and place on wire rack to finish cooling.