These big and fluffy cranberry white chocolate muffins are such a treat for winter mornings. Every bite is packed with flavor from tart cranberries and sweet, caramelized bits of white chocolate. Combined with their tall, bakery-style muffin tops, you’ll feel like you’re having breakfast at your favorite coffee shop. Make them in just 15 minutes!
Here’s my recipe for the perfect December morning - cozy clothes, a good book, a steaming cup of coffee, and a warm cranberry white chocolate muffin. Heck, maybe go all out and make that coffee a homemade peppermint white mocha. Trust me when I say that you won’t regret the splurge.
Cranberries and chocolate - whether white, milk, or dark - are always an incredible pairing, and in these soft, tender muffins, all I can say is WOW.
Highlights of This Cranberry Muffin Recipe
- Made in 15 minutes - We love an easy recipe!
- Perfect Texture - The creaming method gives these muffins such a buttery, fluffy crumb.
- BIG, Bakery-Style Muffin Tops - Because flat muffins are not what we’re about here. I’ll share all my tricks below!
- Bursting with Flavor - Between the tangy bites of fresh cranberries, the sweet notes of white chocolate, and a light vanilla backdrop, this flavor combination is completely irresistible.
- Perfect Holiday Breakfast - You could easily make these muffins year-round, but the cranberry white chocolate combo makes them particularly festive for Christmas time!
Ingredients You’ll Need
Here’s what you’ll need to gather to make a batch of these cranberry white chocolate chip muffins:
Some important notes:
- As with most of my recipes, you can make this one with regular or gluten-free all-purpose flour. I can confirm both options work perfectly!
- Make sure your butter, cream cheese, sour cream (or yogurt), and eggs have all been brought to room temperature before you start baking. This is important to ensure the butter and sugar cream together properly and all of the wet ingredients emulsify. In the winter months, I usually leave my ingredients on the counter for a few hours ahead of time.
- If you want to use salted butter, just reduce the added salt in the recipe to ¼ teaspoon.
- Cream cheese may seem like an unusual ingredient to add, but like butter, its fat content helps keep these muffins soft and tender, while its tang (though subtle!) pairs sooo well with the cranberries. For this recipe, use brick-style cream cheese, rather than a whip or spread.
- You can make these muffins with sour cream or Greek yogurt. This is one of my secrets for making moist muffins that also have tall, domed muffin tops. Either of these ingredients will keep the batter moist without thinning it out too much, and thick batters rise better. Bonus - a thick batter will also prevent the cranberries from sinking to the bottom of the muffins!
- I used fresh cranberries for these muffins, but frozen cranberries should work as well. Don’t defrost them; just throw them straight into the batter. If you want to use dried cranberries (like Craisins), reduce the amount to 1 cup.
- Although I’m a dark chocolate girl through and through, white chocolate has its place - in white chocolate peppermint cookies, white chocolate cherry scones, and of course, these muffins. Give it a chance if you’re on the fence. And if you’d rather make chocolate cranberry muffins with milk or dark chocolate, go for it. You really can’t go wrong! Chocolate chips or chopped chocolate will work.
- Sparkling sugar is optional, but adds a sweet, crunchy finish to the muffin tops that I highly recommend. Any coarse sugar will work; sparkling sugar just tends to be extra coarse and extra glittery!
Step-by-Step Instructions for Cranberry White Chocolate Muffins
Preheat your oven to 400ºF and grease a standard 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. (This recipe makes too much batter for muffin liners unless you plan to make more than 12 muffins.)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Wiping down the bowl and beater with a rubber spatula as needed, beat in the eggs one at a time until well-incorporated. Then, beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract until the mixture is light, creamy, and smooth.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix in on low speed until the flour is mostly incorporated - the batter’s texture will still be a bit uneven. Add the white chocolate chips and cranberries and fold them in with your spatula just until everything is evenly combined. Avoid overmixing, which can lead to tough muffins that don’t rise as well.
Transfer the batter to your muffin tin, dividing it evenly between each muffin cup. This is a thick batter; press it down slightly to make sure it fills each muffin cup, and do your best to gently smooth out the tops. Sprinkle the muffins with sparkling sugar just before baking.
Transfer the muffin pan to the oven, immediately reducing the temperature to 350ºF. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean and the tops are golden. Let the muffins cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before carefully transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Storing and Freezing Fresh Cranberry Muffins
Once the muffins are cool, they can be stored in an airtight container or zip-top plastic bag. Keep them at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. Dried cranberry white chocolate muffins can keep for up to 5 days at cool room temperature.
If you refrigerate your muffins, I recommend warming them in the microwave for 30- 40 seconds before eating.
To freeze these muffins, wrap them individually in plastic wrap and store them inside of a freezer-safe zip-top bag. Freeze for up to 3 months and defrost at room temperature.
More Cranberry Recipes
Whether you use fresh or dried cranberries for these muffins, you’ll almost certainly have extra! Here are a few other recipes you can use them with:
Cranberry White Chocolate Muffins
These light and fluffy bakery-style muffins are loaded with fresh cranberries and creamy white chocolate chips for a sweet take on breakfast - perfect for the holiday season!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 12 muffins 1x
- Category: muffins
- Method: oven
- Cuisine: American
- 2 ½ cups (300 grams) all-purpose flour (regular or gluten-free)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 ounces (57 grams) brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- ⅔ cup (132 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 ¼ cups (301 grams) sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (170 grams) white chocolate chips
- 1 ½ cups (156 grams) fresh cranberries
- sparkling sugar, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. Grease a standard 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a bowl and handheld electric mixer), cream together the butter, cream cheese, and sugar on medium speed until smooth and fluffy.
- Wiping down the bowl and beater as needed, beat in the eggs one at a time until well-incorporated. Beat in the sour cream/yogurt and vanilla extract until creamy and smooth.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix in on lowest speed until mostly incorporated. Add the white chocolate chips and cranberries and fold into the batter just until all ingredients are evenly combined; be careful not to overmix.
- Divide batter between the prepared muffin cups - the batter will be thick. Press it down slightly to make sure it fills each muffin cup, and smooth out the tops lightly if needed. Sprinkle the tops with sparkling sugar if using.
- Transfer the muffins to the oven, immediately reducing the oven temperature to 350ºF. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the muffins comes out clean and the muffins are golden on top. Cool in pan briefly, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- If using salted butter, reduce the added salt to ¼ teaspoon.
- Frozen cranberries can also be used, and don't need to be defrosted. Alternatively, you can use 1 cup of dried cranberries.
- These muffins can also be made with milk chocolate or dark chocolate.
Storing and Freezing
- Once cool, store muffins in an airtight container or zip-top bag. They'll keep at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. If refrigerated, warm in the microwave for 30-40 seconds before serving.
- To freeze muffins, wrap individually in plastic wrap before placing in a freezer-safe bag or container. Freeze for up to 3 months and defrost at room temperature.
- If you use muffin liners, you'll have too much batter to fit in a basic 12-cup muffin pan.