Copycat Panera Orange Cranberry muffin recipe

Apart from the Fuji Apple Salad with Chicken, one of the things I love about Panera Bread is its baked goods. However, multiple Panera trips in a week can get expensive really quickly and I knew I could figure out how to make a copycat recipe for their Panera orange cranberry muffins.

I’ve got the recipe that I think most closely matches Panera Orange Cranberry Muffins. It’s made with ingredients that are easy to find including fresh cranberries which makes them nearly as good as the real thing. 

panera orange cranberry muffin recipe on counter

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Panera Orange Cranberry muffin recipe

Making these on a Sunday morning is the perfect way to start the week, especially during cranberry season. If it’s outside the fall and winter, you can pick up a bag of frozen cranberries to use in this recipe.

Cranberry orange muffins are the perfect balance of tart and sweet. Adding orange zest to the muffin batter gives them an additional burst of flavor.

Ingredients

Unsalted butter: Allow butter to soften and get to room temperature

Sugar

Brown sugar

Large eggs: Allow eggs to get to room temperature

Greek yogurt

Vanilla extract

Orange zest

Flour: I used a combination of all purpose flour and whole wheat flour

Baking soda, baking powder

Cinnamon, salt

Orange juice: I squeezed the orange that I zested

Milk

Cranberries (fresh or frozen)

How to make the orange cranberry muffins 

In a large bowl, cream butter with a hand or stand mixer until it is light and fluffy.

Add both sugars to the butter. Scraping the sides down as needed.

panera orange cranberry muffins recipe mix

Add the eggs, yogurt or sour cream, vanilla and mix on high for about 1 minute.

Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat until the batter is fully incorporated.

panera orange cranberry muffins recipe orange zest

Mix in the orange zest. After you zest the orange, cut it in half and save for the juice later in the recipe.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients – flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

panera orange cranberry muffins recipe wet and dry ingredients

Mix the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and with a spatula or wooden spoon; mix together.

panera orange cranberry muffins folding in cranberries

Add the milk and orange juice to the batter. Fold in the cranberries.

Heat oven to 350F. Line muffin cups with paper liners. You will need a 12-cup muffin tin.

Spoon batter to the top with cranberry orange batter. The batter for these muffins is really thick so let settle before putting in the oven.

Bake the orange cranberry muffins for a total of 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center and your muffins are golden brown.

panera orange cranberry muffin recipe on counters

Let your orange cranberry muffins cool on a wire rack.

copycat panera orange cranberry muffin recipe

Copycat Panera Orange Cranberry Muffins

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Copycat Panera Orange Cranberry Muffins are easy, moist and flavorful. Filled with fresh cranberries and infused with orange zest they’re perfect for breakfast or a snack.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tbsp orange juice
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 1/2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter with a hand mixer until it is light and fluffy.
  3. Add both sugars to the butter. Scraping the sides down as needed.
  4. Add the eggs, Greek yogurt, vanilla and mix on high.
  5. Beat until the batter is fully incorporated.
  6. Add in the orange zest. Mix.
  7. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients - flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  8. Mix the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and with a spatula or wooden spoon; mix together.
  9. Add the milk and orange juice into the batter. Fold in the cranberries.
  10. Spoon batter to the top with cranberry orange batter.
  11. Bake the orange cranberry muffins for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center and your muffins are golden brown.
  12. Let your orange cranberry muffins cool on a wire rack.

Notes

There’s no need to defrost your cranberries if they are frozen.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 12 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 231Total Fat 9gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 52mgSodium 255mgCarbohydrates 34gFiber 1gSugar 18gProtein 4g

How to store orange cranberry muffins

  1. Store: You can store these at room temperature in an airtight container for up to three days.
  2. Fridge: You can store these in the fridge where they will stay fresh for up to a week. Warm up the muffins in the microwave for about 30 seconds or in the oven at 350F for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Freeze: If you cannot eat them all within a week, place them in a freezer-safe container or ziplock bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to consume, thaw overnight in the fridge or on the counter for an hour. Then reheat in the oven at 350F for 10 minutes to freshen up the muffins.

Orange cranberry muffins FAQ

Do I have to use fresh cranberries?

You can use fresh or frozen cranberries. If frozen, you do not need to defrost before baking.

Can I substitute other fruit?

Yes, you can substitute your favorite berry for cranberries (such as blueberries). You can also use frozen berries.

Can I make these muffins in a mini 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. 

Wrap up

You’ll enjoy how each bite of muffin gives you a taste of cranberry and orange flavor. This easy muffin recipe can be made during your meal prep on Sunday or for a special occasion.

It is perfect for a delicious breakfast or snack. The combination of flavors of the tart cranberries and fresh orange zest is perfect.

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