This post was created as in partnership with Imperial Sugar. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Got leftover cranberry sauce from a holiday meal? These Cranberry Sauce Muffins are our favorite way to use it up. Easy to make and ready in right around 30 minutes, these festive muffins with sweet-tart bursts of real cranberry flavor are sure to be a hit!

Cranberry sauce muffins in a muffin pan.

Table of Contents
  1. What You'll Need
  2. How to Make Leftover Cranberry Sauce Muffins
  3. Recipe FAQ's
  4. Tips for Success
  5. What to Serve With Muffins
  6. How to Store Muffins
  7. More Cranberry Recipes

Looking for a way to use up leftover cranberry sauce after Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner? These Cranberry Sauce Muffins are moist and delicious, with bursts of that sweet-tart cranberry flavor that make them extra special.

Our leftover cranberry sauce muffins recipe is different enough from our Cranberry Orange Muffins that it deserves it's own post. Instead of orange zest, we are subbing in just a bit of cinnamon for warmth, and these are slightly sweeter thanks to the cranberry sauce instead of whole, fresh cranberries.

Make them for breakfast, brunch, or a snack and enjoy one while they are still warm with a glass of cold milk. Or freeze them for a quick and tasty treat at a moments notice!

If you love muffins, be sure to try some of our other reader favorites like our Blueberry Muffins, Easy Apple Oatmeal Muffins, or One Bowl Banana Walnut Muffins.

What You'll Need

Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

  • All-purpose flour - I always use unbleached flour for the best results and the most tender crumb in my baked goods.
  • Cranberry sauce - You can use my homemade cranberry sauce or the whole berry cranberry sauce that comes from a can. I don't recommend the jellied cranberry sauce because it melts into the muffins more.
  • Eggs - These are for binding and give a nice texture and richness to the muffins.
  • Oil - You could also use melted butter, if you prefer, but I find that vegetable oil helps keep the muffins more moist.
  • Milk - This is my preferred liquid for making muffins, but if you want even more tanginess you could swap it for buttermilk.
  • Cinnamon - A little ground cinnamon pairs well with the burst of fruity cranberry you get in these muffins.
  • Baking powder - This leavening agent helps the muffins to rise and dome on top.
  • Salt - Don't forget this or your muffins will taste bland!
  • Vanilla extract - Balances out the muffins and adds depth to their flavor.
Ingredients for cranberry sauce muffins.

How to Make Leftover Cranberry Sauce Muffins

  1. Whisk dry ingredients. Start by combining your dry ingredients of flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl and whisking to combine.

A key to good muffins is to not overmix the batter and whisking the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately helps ensure all of the ingredients are evenly dispersed throughout the batter without needing to stir as much.

Dry ingredients for making muffins in a bowl.
  1. Whisk wet ingredients. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla extract.
  2. Combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and use a spatula or wooden spoon to mix the batter by hand, just until it is evenly moistened and no streaks of flour remain.
  1. Swirl in cranberry sauce. You might need to break up the cranberry sauce slightly before adding it to the batter. Gently swirl it into the batter so you can see streaks of cranberry sauce but it isn't mixed in entirely.
  1. Fill cupcake liners. Line a 12-count muffin pan with paper liners or spray with baking spray. Evenly divide the batter between the individual cups, filling them to the top. If desired, you can sprinkle the tops of each muffin with some coarse sanding sugar for a little extra sparkle and crunch on top.
  2. Bake. Slide the muffin pan into a preheated 400°F oven and bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown.
  1. Serve. Let the muffins cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan to finish cooling on a wire rack and enjoy!
A close image of baked cranberry sauce muffins in a muffin pan.

Be sure to visit Imperial Sugar's site for the FULL RECIPE and instructions.

Recipe FAQ's

Can I use jellied cranberry sauce?

Yes, you can use the jellied cranberry sauce that comes in a can and slides out with ridges around the edges, but it will melt into the muffins more and you won't get the pronounced bursts of cranberry flavor that you get with whole cranberry sauce.

Can I use frozen cranberry sauce?

Yes, if you have frozen leftover cranberry sauce in your freezer, just let it thaw on the counter for 1-2 hours first before using it in this muffin recipe.

Can I freeze muffins?

Absolutely! These freeze great for 2-3 months. Let them thaw on the counter at room temperature or pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds to warm them up to enjoy a quick snack whenever the craving strikes.

Tips for Success

  • Don't overmix the batter. If you have trouble with muffins turning out tough or dry, one common error is stirring the batter too vigorously. You want to stir it just until everything is evenly moistened, but don't do more than that.
  • Don't overbake. Another common mistake is baking the muffins too long. If you are unsure whether they are done, tap your finger in the center of one of the muffins while they are still in the oven. If the top bounces right back, they are done. If it leaves an impression, the muffins still need a little longer.
  • Measure your flour carefully. It's easy to add too much flour if you don't measure properly, so I recommend spooning it into the measuring cup and leveling it off. I have a post on how to measure flour accurately with helpful tips because it's so important, especially if you are new to baking!
  • Let the batter rest before baking. If you have time to let the batter sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before baking, it actually helps the flour absorb the liquid batter and you tend to get higher domes.

What to Serve With Muffins

If we are having muffins for breakfast, I like to make a batch of Oven Baked Bacon and a pan of scrambled eggs. But if it is a holiday meal, nothing is better than pairing these muffins with our Green Chili Egg Casserole.

How to Store Muffins

Let the muffins cool completely at room temperature before storing them in an airtight container. If you store them too early, moisture can condense in the container and make the muffins slightly soggy on top. They will stay fresh and tasty for 4-5 days if stored properly.

Leftover cranberry sauce muffins in a muffin pan with fresh cranberries nearby.

Be sure to stop by Imperial Sugar's site for the FULL RECIPE. I have partnered with them now for a few years and love their products for my baking needs!

More Cranberry Recipes

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. Hi Amy,
    Let me begin by saying how much my husband and I enjoy your website and your website. Thank you for all of your work to keep it going!
    I was very excited to see the recipe for cranberry sauce muffins this morning. When I was scrolling through to find out if I had all the ingredients I discovered they are listed but the amount wasn’t. Could you check, I might have missed it. Thanks again! pj in Colorado

    1. Hi PJ! I'm so glad you enjoy my recipes and site! That really means the world to me. This post was done in partnership with a brand I work with, called Imperial Sugar. I do one recipe for them each month and I share the post here, but the recipe actually lives over on their site. I linked to it twice in the post where it says "full recipe" but I will link again HERE because I know it can be tricky to find sometimes! I'm positive you'll love this one!