Grab that leftover cranberry sauce and make these sweet and tart cranberry sauce muffins. They make a great breakfast or brunch!

Last year I got fed up with all the leftover cranberry sauce so for months after, I tried sticking it in and on everything trying to find the best ways to use it. You can only eat leftover Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches for so many days before you’re totally burned out. In fact, our leftover Thanksgiving turkey sliders is a fabulous way to use leftover cranberry sauce, but I still wanted to find something different. These heavenly cranberry sauce muffins with streusel crumb topping were born.

a photo of a cranberry sauce muffin topped with a crumb streusel topping in a white muffin liner

Recommended Equipment

Before You Begin…

Make sure you have your cranberry sauce ready to go. Hopefully you have leftovers from Thanksgiving so this step is already done. You can make it homemade or use store bought cranberry sauce. I’ve linked to our homemade cranberry sauce recipe in the recipe card.

a photo of a jumbo muffin tin with baked cranberry muffins with streusel topping in 5 of the cups with the 6th cup full of fresh cranberries

What Do I Need to Make Cranberry Sauce Muffins?

I’m going to divide the list of ingredients up between the streusel topping and the muffin batter. Jump on the streusel topping first…

For the Streusel

  • All-Purpose Flour: gives the streusel topping structure
  • Light Brown Sugar: adds sweetness and rich flavor
  • Kosher Salt: enhances all the flavors
  • Cinnamon: adds warmth and that classic fall flavor
  • Ground Cardamom: I love the flavor of a little cardamom with cranberry sauce!
  • Butter: binds the streusel together, the key to a good streusel

For the Batter

  • Sugar: adds sweetness and balances out the tart cranberry sauce
  • Vegetable Oil: adds needed fat and moisture to the muffins
  • Eggs: give the muffins structure and rise
  • Vanilla Extract: adds flavor
  • Flour: just regular all-purpose flour is all you need
  • Baking Powder: acts as a leavening agent to add fluffiness
  • Salt: enhances all the flavors
  • Buttermilk: adds a tangy flavor and activates the baking powder to give the muffins a nice moist crumb
  • Cranberry Sauce: adds flavor, color and tartness

Keep scrolling to the end of the post for all the measurements and details. This is just meant to be an overview of the ingredients and what their purpose is in the recipe.

a photo of all the ingredients for cranberry sauce muffins in separate bowls including butter, eggs, sugar, flour, vanilla, cranberry sauce etc.

How to Make Cranberry Sauce Muffins

I like to make the streusel first so that it’s ready to go once the batter is ready. Then I move on to the muffins! Here are the basic step-by-step instructions:

For the Streusel

  1. Add all the ingredients to a bowl and stir to combine. Get in there with your hands and clump it together.

For the Muffins

  1. Wet Ingredients:
    • Add the oil and sugar to a stand mixer and beat until combined.
    • The eggs and vanilla get added next, and mix to combine.
  2. Dry Ingredients:
    • In a separate bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients, then add them to the wet ingredients and mix until almost incorporated.
    • The last ingredient you will add is the buttermilk (I know that’s a wet ingredient!). Stir everything together until just combined. Be careful to not overmix!
  3. Preheat the oven and let the batter rest. Prep the muffin tin by filling every other muffin cup with a liner.
    • PRO TIP: Spacing out the muffins for baking allows for better air circulation so that the muffins can get a nice rise. It’s optional but I have found that it makes a difference.
  4. Layer the muffins starting with a layer of muffin batter, then cranberry sauce, then another layer of batter and finally a layer of cranberry sauce.
  5. Top with a sprinkle of the streusel mixture.
  6. Bake.
    • PRO TIP: To test of the muffins are done, stick a toothpick into the middle of one. It should come out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.

The complete instructions can be found in the recipe card down at the end of this post.

a photo taken over of the top of a baked cranberry sauce muffin topped with golden streusel and the muffin liner peeled off

Can I Make Them in a Jumbo Size Muffin Tin?

You can definitely make these in a jumbo sized muffin tin. In fact, jumbo muffins is what I made to photograph this recipe. Obviously, you will need to increase how much batter, cranberry sauce and streusel you add to each, but the process will be the same. Then you will increase the baking time to 25-27 minutes keeping the temperature the same.

a photo of a cranberry sauce muffin that has been broken in half and laid on its side so you can see the cranberry sauce layers inside.

How to Make Streusel Topping More Crumbly

If you want a very crumbly streusel, which we all do, the secret is in your grip. Squeeze the streusel right in the bowl so that you create multiple clumps in the bowl. When you’re ready to use the crumble just break it up over the muffins.

a photo of a cranberry sauce muffin topped with golden streusel topping still sitting in the muffin tin with whole cranberries scattered around it.

Do I Have to Use Muffin Liners?

No, you don’t have to use muffin liners. If you choose not to use them, then make sure to spray each muffin cup with cooking spray.


If you want to add a fun pop of citrus, try adding some orange zest and a dash of orange extract (or juice) to the batter. Orange and cranberries together have such a wow factor! Just like in our orange cranberry cake! Using lemon zest and extract (or juice) would also be fantastic!

a photo taken over the top of a baked cranberry sauce muffin in a muffin liner still sitting in the muffin tin.

How to Store Cranberry Muffins

  • Store: Keep these muffins covered in a container at room temperature for up to 2 days. If you want them to least a little longer, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  • Freeze: All the muffins to cool completely and then place them in a ziploc bag with as much of the air squeezed out as possible. They will keep for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat them, pull them out and let them come to room temperature and have at it! Warning: the streusel topping will not keep it’s crunch.
a photo of a baked cranberry sauce muffin with the muffin liner pulled off on the sides and the muffin sitting next to several other baked muffins

Your leftover cranberry sauce will go to waste no longer! Cranberry sauce muffins to the rescue!! This muffin recipe is perfect for that transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas! They have all the festive flavors you crave this time of year!

More Recipes for Using Thanksgiving Leftovers

Leftover Cranberry Sauce Muffins

5 from 2 votes
Servings: 18 muffins
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes


For the Streusel

  • 1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cardamom
  • 1/3 Cup Butter

For the Batter

  • 2 Cups Sugar, minus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Eggs, large, whisked
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 4 Cups Flour
  • 4 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Cup Buttermilk
  • 1 1/4 Cup Cranberry Sauce


For the Streusel

  • Add the all-purpose flour, light brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and butter into a bowl. Stir together to combine all the dry ingredients.
    1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour, 1/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar, 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt, 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cardamom, 1/3 Cup Butter

For the Muffins

  • In a standing mixer, beat the oil and sugar until combined.
    2 Cups Sugar, 1 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • Crack in your eggs and add the vanilla and then give the mixer a final turn before dumping in all dry ingredients.
    2 Eggs, 1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract, 4 Cups Flour, 4 teaspoons Baking Powder, 1 teaspoon Salt
  • Mix until almost incorporated and then add in the buttermilk and stir until barely combined.
    1 Cup Buttermilk
  • Fill every other muffin cup with papers. Heat oven to 350 and let the muffin batter rest on the counter for 15 min.
  • Spoon 1 tablespoon into the cups, pressing out flat and spread 1 teaspoon of cranberry sauce over. Add more batter then another 1 teaspoon of sauce, spread.
    1 1/4 Cup Cranberry Sauce
  • Now sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of crumb mixture. Bake for 12-15 minutes.


Serving: 1muffinCalories: 293kcalCarbohydrates: 59gProtein: 4gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 246mgPotassium: 161mgFiber: 1gSugar: 33gVitamin A: 162IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 67mgIron: 2mg
Author: Sweet Basil
Course: Over 200 Favorite Easy Breakfast Recipes

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a photo taken over of the top of a baked cranberry sauce muffin topped with golden streusel and the muffin liner peeled off