Cranberry Muffins with Crumb Topping

Cranberry Muffins

As you probably know by now, I am totally muffin obsessed.  I eat some kind of muffin pretty much every day for breakfast, unless I have some homemade Pop Tarts in the freezer.  Most of them are based off of one recipe, but now that I’m baking for you, my blog readers, I don’t want you to get bored with the muffins I make.  So I went in search of a few different recipes, and this is one of my favorites.

The reason I stick to variations of one muffin recipe, very loosely adapted from Sunny Anderson’s Sunny Morning Muffins, is that I don’t eat any dairy in the morning for fear it will weigh me down the rest of the day.  No butter and milk laden muffins to start out my day.  Seeing Sunny not rely on butter and only a little milk, allowed me to use my creativity to create a healthy, delicious breakfast.  And while there will be plenty of versions of that muffin posted, I wanted to expand my horizons and yours with something entirely different.

My search led me to a recipe by Grace Parisi from Food and Wine.  The batter itself relies only on canola oil, for which I substituted vegetable, instead of butter.  It also calls for ¾ cup whole milk.  There was no getting around that, so I bought Blue Diamond Original Unsweetened Almond Milk.  It worked perfectly in the muffins, and I don’t even mind drinking a little of it.  Cold, it tastes kind of like a milkshake!  It’s low in calories, has all the nutrients milk does, and is lactose and soy free.  It’s one of my new favorite products.

Unbaked Muffins

The topping did call for 6 tablespoons of melted butter, but I substituted 4 of vegetable oil and found it worked amazingly.  The original recipe also used blueberries, but I have a bunch of bags of cranberries in the freezer that I froze around Thanksgiving when they were in season that have been calling my name.  I used a whole 12 ounce bag in the batter, unthawed.  It is very important to not thaw the berries or the muffins will never bake as they will have too much liquid.


Muffins with Topping

The wet ingredients were really liquid, which worried me a little, but the batter came together very nicely.  I made 12 rather large muffins in a regular muffin tin, packing the topping on top of them.  I put Reynolds Wrap under the tin in case of any spill over since the cups were really full.

The end result was better than I ever imagined.  The cake is light, white, and fluffy.  They bake up much softer than the other muffins I make, giving them an almost cakelike texture and taste.  The cranberries add a nice tartness to the muffins without being too assertive.  The tops of the muffins did not brown much at all, and the crumb topping remains crumbly, having a sandy texture with a few larger clumps and a fabulous brown sugar – cinnamon taste.

When thawed in the oven they are perhaps even better, with the same great attributes and just a hint of crunch.  Who doesn’t love a great muffin for breakfast?

Cranberry Muffins

Cranberry Muffin

5.0 from 2 reviews
Cranberry Muffins with Crumb Topping
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs (pasteurized if you like)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup almond milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 12 ounce bag cranberries, fresh or frozen, unthawed
Crumb Topping
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Generously oil a 12 cup muffin tin, including the top.
  2. Make the muffins. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and ginger. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, oil, milk, and vanilla until fully combined. The mixture will be very liquid. Add in the flour quickly while stirring. Stir until a smooth batter is formed. Add in the cranberries, and mix to combine.
  3. Make the topping. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt using a spoon until combined. Then add the oil and stir to form about pea-sized clumps.
  4. Scoop the batter into the muffin tin using a regular sized ice cream scoop, dividing any remaining batter among the cups. The cups should be very full. Take a tablespoon full of topping and place it on top of each muffin, gently pressing it into the batter so it does not fall off. Divide any remaining topping among the muffins.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating halfway through if necessary, until a toothpick comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Cool muffins completely in pan. To remove, gently loosen tops of muffins from pans; then using a spatula go down the side of each muffin cup and gently and swiftly push the muffin out.
  6. The muffins may be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil, placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for several hours or in a 350 degree F oven for about 20 minutes.
Recipe adapted from Grace Parisi, courtesy of Food and Wine



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  1. Debbie Eccard says:

    Wow!! Scott and I think these look fantastic!

  2. These look like perfection. I love cranberry at any time of year. And crumb topping on ANYTHING has me sold!

    • I love cranberries too. They’re perfect in baked goods because the tanginess complements the sweetness so well. This was one of my favorite crumb toppings; it has such a wonderful texture.

  3. This really came in handy. I was trying to find a dairy free crumb topping for a muffin recipe I already had but didn’t want to use grains/granola.. Now I know I can try with the margarine spread I have and if not, I can use the oil!

    • I’m so glad you like it, Sammie! It is one of my favorite toppings! Thanks for leaving a comment 🙂

  4. These came out great! Not too sweet, with a great tang from the cranberries! I was a little worried about the number of cranberries in the batter, but it all worked out. I had a 32 oz bag of cranberries that was about 2/3rds full and I had to try and calculate how many cups the 12 oz in the recipe was. I put in 3 cups of cranberries. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Oh good, I’m glad you enjoyed them, Lisa! I love muffins that are loaded with fruit – 3 cups sounds like a great amount.

  5. Used the oil instead of butter, muffins are stuck in the (greased) muffin tin
    Really bummed out about the topping too. Butter would be better I guess, though I’ve baked successfully for like 40 years, used oil in muffin recipes many times.. don’t know what happened here. : (

    • I’m sorry you had an issue, Jen. I loved the topping and didn’t have an issue with getting them out. You could definitely try butter or muffin liners, that always makes it easier to get muffins out.


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