Leftover Cranberry Sauce Muffins

We hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving filled with good food and fun. Is your refrigerator overflowing with Thanksgiving leftovers? If you are wondering what to do with your leftover cranberry sauce, try our cranberry orange muffins. Fresh cranberry sauce is the secret ingredient inside these delicious muffins.

The muffin batter is easy to whip up and leftover cranberry sauce is hidden inside each muffin. Before baking, you add a big spoonful of cranberry sauce in between the muffin batter. I also sprinkled the muffin tops with turbinado sugar to add sweetness and a sugary crunch. I love the deep cranberry red color that is in the middle of these marvelous muffins! They are tart, sweet, and delightful!

If you still have guests to feed this weekend or need a sweet treat after your Black Friday shopping, make a batch of leftover cranberry sauce muffins. And don’t worry if  you didn’t make cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving this year, you can still make these muffins. Our fresh cranberry orange sauce is a breeze to make and these muffins are worth it.

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Leftover Cranberry Sauce Muffins


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup fresh cranberry orange sauce about 2 tablespoons per muffin


  • 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or grease well. Set aside.
  • 2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Rub in sugar and orange zest together. Whisk into dry ingredients.
  • 3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk canola oil, egg, milk, and vanilla together.
  • 5. Incorporate the wet ingredients into flour mixture. Add slowly and gently stir together. The batter will be thick.
  • 6. Place half the batter at the bottom of six muffin cups. Spoon about two tablespoons of fresh cranberry sauce on top of the muffin batter. Top muffins evenly with remaining muffin batter. Sprinkle each muffin generously with turbinado sugar.
  • 7. Bake muffins for 15-17 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the pan and let cool on a cooling rack.
  • *Note-if you don't have leftover cranberry sauce, it is easy to make a fresh batch. This recipe makes only six muffins-if you need more, feel free to double it!

Have you tried this recipe?

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If you like these leftover cranberry sauce muffins, you might also like:

Yogurt Cranberry Coffeecake from Elle’s New England Kitchen
Cranberry Salsa from Savoring the Thyme
Cranberry Applesauce from Simply Recipes

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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    1. I made these after getting tired of cranberry sauce cans in my pantry..and I had to make something to go along with soup for lent at church tonight..I added sour cream to mine and doubled the recipe. These are the best muffins ever..not sweet..just right. THANK YOU

  1. Terrific Thanksgiving as usual. I have managed to bake a last minute pear walnut cake and nothing was left of it. Even if I didn’t made muffins, this sure is worthy to bake for next week. Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. This is such a great/creative idea for leftovers! I love cranberry sauce. In fact, I’m thinking of making more ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe I will use some for these delicious muffins.

  3. Perfect timing! I have gallons of leftover cranberries in my fridge that are just begging to be made into muffins.

  4. Mmm. What a great idea! I love cranberry sauce but made way too much this year. And we didn’t have too much leftover turkey.

  5. I love how perfect the cranberry sauce looks tucked in there. I’ll have to whip some up for easy breakfasts this next week.

  6. i will DEFINITELY be making these. i’m one of the few that likes homemade cranberry sauce, so i have a ton leftover. this is such a great idea!

  7. Mmm these are so much fun! I adore cranberry sauce and always have some cranberries stashed in the fridge for great ideas like this.

  8. What a great idea for leftover cranberry sauce! And I made extra cranberry sauce just so I could have some all weekend long!

  9. maria, don’t be alarmed, but your muffin is smiling at me. it’s almost as if it doesn’t know that it’s fate is to wind up in someone’s belly… ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Yes, you can make a loaf instead of muffins. This recipe would probably make a mini loaf, but you can easily double the recipe for a regular size loaf. Enjoy!

  10. Family really enjoyed these with made with our leftover cranberry/pineapple sauce:) I did substitute lemon for the orange…just ’cause that’s what I had…turned out great!

  11. These muffins are a fantastic way to use up leftover cranberry sauce! I usually use leftover cranberry sauce as a condiment on various types of sandwiches or as a topper to oatmeal & toast, but never thought to bake with it. Love it!

  12. I made a batch of these muffins a couple of hours ago, and they are excellent! I had to make some adjustments to the measurements, because I wanted to make 12 regular size ones. They still turned out wonderfully. I just found your blog recently, and this is the second recipe of yours that I’ve tried. My family and I loved both of them!

  13. Love this idea, not a huge cranberry sauce fan so there’s always leftovers. I’m sure it’s better in a muffin. What couldn’t be? ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. I made these tonight and they are in the oven. I was surprised at how thick the batter was. I am hoping they turn out yummy. I am a cranberry lover and i am always so sad when i toss the sauce after turkey day.

  15. Great use for cranberry sauce. I love this idea. Thank you for the inspiration.
    Although I greatly modified this recipe to boost the nutritional content and eliminate gluten and sugar and now they are guilt free and wonderfully nutritious.
    My substitutions were – blanched almond flour instead of wheat flour (2 1/2 cups), raw local honey instead of sugar, healthy organic cold pressed coconut oil instead of canola, and 2 eggs instead of 1. Yummy!

  16. I make lists for everthing! They help keep me organized, even though I don’t always get through all the items on them.

  17. I am baking these right now and they are still doughy in the middle. I have left them in the oven now for 20 min on 400. ??? What did I do wrong?

  18. You must have huge muffin pans! I made these tonight and got 12 full size muffins. They are the prettiest muffins ive ever made. I subbed in 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and applesauce for the oil

  19. I am so glad I came across this recipe! I made these a few hours ago and they are awesome! I made my own cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving, and I had plenty left over (and not much of anything else left over). I doubled the recipe and it made 12 medium size muffins. I don’t have a proper citrus zester so I had to use a cheese grater which resulted in huge chunks of orange zest; next time I’ll be sure to use a proper zester. However, those bites that had a combination of muffin, cranberry, and orange zest were HEAVENLY! I still have sauce left over and I think I just might have to make another batch. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing! ๐Ÿ˜€

  20. Yum! I just made these and they were delicious! I used white whole wheat flour because it’s what I always have in the house. I also used canned cranberry (organic full berry version) because I had it in the house. And I used half brown sugar and half white. So yummy! Thanks!

  21. I just made these muffins for breakfast. I doubled the recipe and used coconut oil instead of canola. I found that only about half the dry ingredients were incorporated and had to add almost 1 more cup of milk. Even then the batter was still very thick (like paste), but since the recipe said it would be thick, I went with it. They turned out beautifully. I ate three ๐Ÿ˜‰ I used coconut sugar to sprinkle the top, and it made it sweet and crispy. Will definitely be making again, maybe with a jam filling. Have you frozen them? Just wondering if they would taste the same after being frozen.

    1. I am glad you enjoyed the muffins. Yes, you can freeze them! Just store in an air tight container or freezer bag.

  22. What does “rub” mean in terms of the orange zest and sugar please? Someone….??? Im unsure of the Google results for the query…and I really want to make these.



  23. This is such a cute and clever way to use up leftover cranberry sauce! These muffins look absolutely delectable.

  24. Definitely needed more wet ingredients. I added more almond milk, but I would probably just do an equal amount of all wet ingredients next time. Very dense.

  25. I made these muffins tonight. They are very good. I doubled the recipe and made 24 standard size muffins. I followed the recipe except that I folded the cranberry sauce into the batter. I’ll be saving this recipe for next year.

  26. I just made these tonight for a breakfast tomorrow with my colleagues and I could not eat a full one but the little piece I had was tasty and moist. Batter will be thick as stated. I also gave a piece to my mom and she also liked it. Great recipe!

  27. Is this recipe for 6 large muffins (like the kind you get at the deli), or 6 regular size muffins. If it is for the large muffins, how long would ou bake them for if you wanted to just make the standard muffins?

  28. It’s the middle of summer, but I found a container of cranberry sauce in my pantry and was inspired to make these. They were delicious!!

  29. The batter was really thick. I should have made it in my Kitchen Aide mixer. Maybe b/c I used coconut oil instead of canola oil which thickened when I added the cold milk? Next time I will warm the milk to room temperature. I added a teeny bit more milk and it was still thick but no longer dry, too. Tastes delicious!

  30. There is no way this recipe as is worked. I tried it twice. The first time the batter was so dry it wouldn’t even stick together, even after adding more milk. The second time I was able to scrape what is more like biscuit dough into the tins, but man oh man were they the driest muffins I’ve ever had! I’m so sad I wasted the last of my delicious cranberry sauce on them ๐Ÿ™ Pinterest fail!