Cranberry Lemon Muffins

by Becky
Published: Updated:

Cranberry lemon muffins are the perfect blend of sweet and tart in one bite. Combined with a sweet and salty lemon drizzle, they are great for breakfast, a snack, or dessert!

Soft and moist cranberry lemon muffins with a cream cheese drizzle.

Rarely do I ever come up with a good recipe on the first try but these cranberry lemon muffins were a winner. With six taste testers in our home, I get some good feedback on recipes.

Usually it’s not verbal feedback, the real feedback is in the actions. I made these to have some snacks for the freezer and they were consumed before any got in the freezer! That is a good way of saying these muffins are binge worthy.

Ingredients for Cranberry Lemon Muffins

All Purpose Flour: We use unbleached all purpose flour. For a gluten free alternative, use gluten free all purpose flour blend.

Lard: We use lard that is homemade and it is delicious! Unfortunately, lard from a grocery store may not be as tasty. In that case, you can substitute butter or a mild flavored oil, like avocado oil.

A glass container filled with lard that has been softened.
Softened lard

Lemon: Use fresh squeeze lemons or canned.

Sour Cream: If you want to make this recipe dairy-free, use applesauce or a dairy free cream like coconut cream.

Preserved Lemon Juice: This is the leftover liquid from the bottom of a jar of preserved lemons. I have a recipe for preserved lemons. They are ferment for 3 weeks so if you don’t have any for this recipe there are options for substitutions. You can use fresh squeezed lemon juice or canned and add a pinch of salt. 

Cranberries: Fresh or frozen whole cranberries work well. The recipe was tested using frozen cranberries. Blueberries are a good substitue for cranberries.


Two muffin trays filled with cranberry lemon muffin batter in muffin cups.

What are preserved lemons?

Preserved lemons are lemons that have salt added then are fermented for several weeks. After fermentation, the result is a pickled lemon that has a salty flavor and a soft, edible rind.

Preserved lemons are fermenting in mason jars with airlock fermentation lids.

How do I freeze muffins?

Let the muffins cool to room temperature. Then place in an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 4 months.

A child's hand grabs a cranberry lemon muffin in anticipation of eating it!

Cranberry Lemon Muffins

Cranberry lemon muffins are the perfect blend of sweet and tart in one bite. Combined with a sweet and salty lemon drizzle, they are great for breakfast, a snack, or dessert!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cranberry, lemon, muffins
Servings: 24 muffins
Calories: 222kcal


  • 3 ½ cups all purpose flour 465g
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup lard or butter softened
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar 150 grams
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar 150 grams
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups frozen cranberries do not thaw

Preserved Lemon Glaze (Optional)

  • 1 tablespoon cream cheese softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons preserved lemon juice


  • Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line two 12-count muffin pans with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment: mix together lard, dark brown sugar, and granulated sugar until creamed (medium speed for 3 minutes). With the mixer on low speed, add eggs one at a time. Then add sour cream, lemon juice, water, and vanilla extract.
  • Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix on low or stir by hand until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in cranberries. Divide the mix evenly between muffin cups filling each cup almost completely full.
  • Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 to 22 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make the glaze (optional but yummy) by whisking together cream cheese and sugar. Add 2 teaspoons of preserved lemon juice, mix. Drizzle over muffins.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.


 Lemon juice can be substituted for preserved lemon juice.


Calories: 222kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.003g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 162mg | Potassium: 80mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 199IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 1mg

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Jenna Julianne February 28, 2024 - 12:10 pm

Horray! Thanks Becky!! <3

Gabrielle April 7, 2024 - 6:44 pm

My daughter is on milk & egg ladders for allergies, so we’ve been making lots of muffins lately. We did omit the cream cheese, but they’re so good! Thanks for the recipe!


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