This delicious recipe for cranberry pumpkin muffins is a family favorite – even amongst professed pumpkin haters. Some links in this article are affiliate links that may earn me a commission if you purchase through them.
Come fall, I buy cans of pumpkin puree every year. And every year, it’s fun to decide what to make with them.
The recipe I’ve made the most, however, is these cranberry pumpkin muffins. Much like my double chocolate zucchini muffins, my kids devour these almost as fast as I can make them.
They love these because the recipe makes a moist muffin, and they have hints of spice that don’t overpower the pumpkin. The little burst of sweetness from the cranberries helps, too.
Side note: while I generally just mix the cranberries into the batter, if I want to really shout that these are cranberry pumpkin muffins, add a few cranberries to the top of each muffin just before you bake them so they are easy to see.
Do I need to use dried cranberries?
While I wrote the recipe for dried cranberries, you can use fresh cranberries with a few modifications.
I like dried cranberries in this recipe mostly because they’re shelf stable. When I buy a one pound bag of cranberries, I don’t use them all for this recipe, and then I need to figure out what to do with the rest.
The tang of fresh cranberries is delicious, however, and it works well with this recipe. To use fresh cranberries, reduce the water to two tablespoons and make sure you mix the cranberries in by hand at the end. You don’t want to break them as you mix with an electric mixer.
Me being me, I might add more than the one and a half cups if I use fresh cranberries just because. But that’s your call.
What if I don’t have all the spices?
These muffins taste the best when you include all the spices in the recipe. However, if you don’t have one or two – especially if it’s cloves or cardamom – these muffins still taste great without them.
In fact, my spice grinder broke the last time I made these, and I had to leave out the cloves. I could definitely taste the difference, but my kids still loved them.
If you can add cloves and nutmeg and cinnamon and cardamom, do it. But don’t let this stop you from making these yummy cranberry pumpkin muffins.
Why should I use whole spices?
I preach this regularly. When you grind or grate your own spices, they have so much more flavor. If you purchase ground nutmeg or ground cloves, they tend to lose their flavor relatively quickly – or at least more quickly than I can use my entire container of ground cloves.
The whole spice lasts much longer in your pantry, which also makes it far more cost effective. No one likes having to throw out partially used bottles of anything.
I will make an exception for cinnamon, however, as I use cinnamon in so many things that it doesn’t lose its flavor. It’s also far harder to grind into a powder than nutmeg or cloves, for example.
For nutmeg, I use my zester and grate it directly into the bowl, and it works really well.
For cloves, I use a mini coffee grinder. When I’m only doing a small amount like I do for these muffins, I may have to turn it sideways a little or shake it gently to ensure it grinds the whole clove, but that’s easy.
What kind of pumpkin should I use?
Well, ideally you use a pie pumpkin you roasted yourself and… who am I kidding? Go the easy route, and use canned pumpkin puree.
So yeah, there’s a debate about pumpkin puree because it does contain winter squash, too, which helps smooth out the texture. That said, this is what we’re used to, and it works beautifully.
The one caveat: Do not use pumpkin pie filling. That’s an entirely different animal altogether, and it will not work well in this recipe or pretty much any recipe other than making pumpkin pie.
However, if you’re up for making your own pumpkin pie puree, go for it. Your taste buds will thank you!
How many cups is in a 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree?
For simplicity, this recipe asks for a 15 ounce can of pumpkin. However, if you’re like me, you buy the biggest can of pumpkin you can and dole it out from there.
A 15 ounce can of pumpkin is just shy of 2 cups.
If you want to play fast and loose, you could use two cups. If you want to be exact, however, measure out two cups, then remove two and a half tablespoons from that two cups.
Orrrrr be like me and put your pumpkin can on a digital kitchen scale and scoop out pumpkin until you have -15 ounces on your scale.
Why shouldn’t I spray my muffin tins with nonstick spray instead of using cupcake liners?
Nonstick spray has its uses. I won’t argue that, but spraying muffin tins is not one of them.
First, the nonstick spray tends to make the outside of your muffins slightly greasy, which is never ideal. I can deal with that if I have to, however.
The bigger piece is that the nonstick spray is ruining your muffin tins. Wherever you have spray that doesn’t get covered by muffin batter – so think all around the edges, for example – the nonstick spray bakes onto your muffin tins.
Over time, that’s why your muffin tins get sticky and stop releasing well and even get pitted, sometimes. That baked on nonstick spray just will not come off. Eww.
So go ahead and buy cupcake liners (or muffin papers, as I call them!) and just keep some on hand. If you’re concerned about the waste of throwing away the muffin papers each time, invest in a set of silicone liners instead. They work really well – as long as you remind people not to throw them away!
How to Make Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins
Beat the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until it’s lighter in color and has grown in volume. While still mixing, drizzle in the oil to ensure it emulsifies well.
Add the pumpkin puree and water, and mix again until it’s well combined.
Forget mixing all the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. This method is way easier and works perfectly. Add the baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, and salt to the bowl and mix well.
Then add the flour and stir slowly until mostly blended. While there are still some white streaks add the dried cranberries.
Bake in your 350 degree oven for 27-30 minutes, until a tester comes clean (or they spring back when you touch them – I go for the touch test when baking).
Let the muffins cool a couple minutes, then remove them from their pans and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Store the cranberry pumpkin muffins on your counter in a tightly sealed container for up to three days. After that, freeze them for up to a month.
What will you serve with your cranberry pumpkin muffins?
Try more of my favorite pumpkin recipes:
- Pumpkin swirl brownies
- Chocolate chip pumpkin bread
- Pumpkin cinnamon rolls
- Homemade pumpkin spice creamer
- Chocolate chip pumpkin muffins
- Pumpkin scones
- Pumpkin spice waffles
- Cinnamon sugar pumpkin donuts
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 c sugar
- 1/2 c oil
- 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
- 1/4 water
- 2 t baking soda
- 1 t baking powder
- 2 t cinnamon
- 1/2 t nutmeg
- 1/2 t cardamom
- 1/4 t cloves
- 1/2 t salt
- 3 c flour
- 1 1/2 c dried cranberries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper cups.
- Beat eggs and sugar in large bowl 2-3 minutes. Slowly drizzle in the oil while still mixing to ensure it emulsifies. Add pumpkin puree and water, and beat again.
- Add baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, clove, and salt to the bowl and mix well.
- Add flour and stir until mostly blended, then add the cranberries.
- Scoop the batter into muffin tins, filling fairly full.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 27-30 minutes, until a tester comes clean.
- Let the muffins cool a 2-3 minutes, then remove them from muffin tins and let cool completely on a wire rack.
- Store at room temperature in a tightly sealed container for up to three days. After that, freeze for up to a month.
- While this recipe calls for dried cranberries, you can use fresh cranberries. Just reduce the water to 2 tablespoons. You also may want to mix the cranberries in by hand to avoid breaking them.
- If you do not have all the spices, you can make the muffins without them, especially the cloves and cardamom. However, they taste much better with all the spices included!
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1 muffin
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 197Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 188mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 2gSugar: 20gProtein: 3g
This site uses an outside source to provide nutrition as a courtesy. If you need exact values, please calculate yourself.
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