Orange Muffins

Orange Muffins are tender, lovely, and easy to make from scratch, with delicate flavors of vanilla and citrus from fresh orange juice and zest!

Orange Muffins with text overlay.


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Muffins have always been one of my favorite things to bake and -- let's face it -- eat. So I love coming up with new variations of my tried-and-true recipes! And these Orange Muffins are just that.

Awhile back, I converted my longtime favorite Classic Blueberry Muffin recipe into Whole Wheat Lemon Blueberry Muffins. And since those turned out so yummy, I decided to experiment and see if that same base recipe would work with flavors of orange and vanilla.

Fresh Orange Muffins on cooling rack.

Fresh Orange Muffins

And wouldn't you know it? It did! These Orange Muffins didn't just work...they turned out absolutely delicious. They're soft and tender but not too light, with a moist crumb. The fresh squeezed orange juice and orange zest lends them just the right amount of citrus flavor. And that citrus punch is nicely balanced by a generous amount of pure vanilla extract.

Orange Vanilla has long been one of my favorite scents for a candle, so I'm happy to report that the combo works equally well as a muffin flavor! 😉 Ha.

Aerial view of pan.


It seems that orange muffins are typically peppered with cranberries. And while those are certainly delicious, I have to admit that I love the simplicity of these "plain" Orange Muffins. That being said, it would be easy to jazz them up with a variety of add-ins:

  • Fresh berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries
  • Dried fruit, such as cranberries, cherries, or raisins
  • Chocolate chips or chunks
  • Chopped toasted nuts
  • Shredded coconut
  • Poppy seeds
Aerial view of Orange Muffins sprinkled with fresh zest.

Ideas for Toppings

  • These muffins are perfectly delightful plain and simple. I did sprinkle the tops with a bit of additional fresh orange zest after they cooled, but that was more to make them pretty for photos than anything. 😉
  • I typically love sprinkling my homemade muffins with coarse sparkling sugar before they go into the gives the tops a nice, sweet crunch. Alas, I couldn't find my sparkling sugar when I made these -- ha.
  • These muffins would also be yummy drizzled with a nice orange glaze.
    • It's super quick and simple to make one by squeezing 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice into a bowl.
    • Gradually stir in about 1 ⅓ cups of powdered sugar, adjusting the proportions (if necessary) until the right consistency is reached.
    • Then mix in ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract and generously drizzle the glaze over the tops of the muffins!
Close-up on mini cupcake stand.

Make 'em Healthy(-ish)

If you'd like to make these Orange Muffins a bit more wholesome, you may substitute whole wheat pastry flour for the all-purpose flour.

Whole wheat pastry flour is 100% whole wheat, but it lends baked goods a light taste and texture that's more akin to that of white flour. It's an all-star pantry staple at my house and I adore baking with it.

Orange Muffin with a bite missing.

Tips, Tricks, & Equipment

  • This recipe comes together quickly in the bowl of a stand mixer, but you can also mix it in a bowl by hand if you prefer.
  • I finally broke down and bought some spiffy new muffin pans to replace the rusted-out ones that I've been using for years. So in case you're in the same boat and like the pan pictured in this post, here ya go! 😉
  • I like to use a cookie scoop to neatly fill my cupcake liners, because otherwise, I make a total mess.
  • When I made this recipe, the juice and zest from 2 large naval oranges was plenty.
  • This is the whole wheat pastry flour that I usually buy.
  • Vanilla is very expensive these days, but I maintain that it makes such a difference to the flavor of baked goods to use a good quality pure vanilla extract. I used to be a Nielsen-Massey snob --- and I still looooooove  the stuff -- but I just can't stomach the price of the 32-ounce jug (that used to cost $30-something!). So now I just buy whatever real vanilla extract comes at the best price.
  • Muffins are best enjoyed fresh. Completely cool leftover muffins may be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to two days. After that, transfer any leftovers to the refrigerator. And hey, even a slightly stale muffin is delicious reheated in the microwave for a few seconds, particularly if it's been sliced open and spread with a pat of salted of butter. 😉
Orange Muffins on cooling rack with fresh oranges in background.

Orange Muffins

Orange Muffins are lovely and easy to make from scratch, with a soft, tender texture and delicate flavors of vanilla and fresh citrus!
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 16 muffins
Calories: 203kcal
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  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ cup milk, at room temperature
  • ½ cup orange juice, fresh-squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest


  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 16 muffin cups with paper liners.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Work in the softened butter with an electric mixer or fork. Blend in the eggs, milk, orange juice, vanilla, and orange zest until all ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat. Evenly divide the batter between the 16 prepared muffin cups.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the muffins just test done with a toothpick, taking care not to overbake. After a few minutes, remove the muffins from the pans and cool on a wire rack, or eat them warm out of the oven with a pat of salted butter.



  • I made this recipe using the juice and zest from 2 large naval oranges.
  • Muffins are best enjoyed fresh. Completely cool leftover muffins may be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to two days. After that, transfer any leftovers to the refrigerator.


Calories: 203kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 172mg | Potassium: 133mg | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 235IU | Vitamin C: 4.4mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 1.3mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

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4.85 from 66 votes (21 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 4 stars
    Really good muffins. While mine didn't turn out sublime, amazing or fantastic, they did have nice, soft, spongy texture and delicious orange-vanilla taste. I certainly recommend them for an afternoon treat. My kids devoured them quickly and husband liked them too, which is the best compliment - as my husband can be really picky.

  2. 5 stars
    These muffins are AMAZING!!! I've made them for my husband and I several times already. Literally the best muffin I've ever had! And easy to make too. Thank you for the recipe!

    1. Hi Jennifer! You'll just need to reduce the baking time. I'd keep an eye on your mini muffins the first time you try it and check them at 8 to 10 minutes to make sure they don't overcook. Check them every minute after that until a toothpick test done. 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    Wow! These are fantastic, thank you for this delicious recipe! Turned out beautifully. For sure I'll bake these again, added blueberries to them, and they are to die for good! Very fluffy, moist and delicious.