Thanksgiving Leftovers: Cranberry Sauce Muffins

Thanksgiving is one of the most food focused holidays, and the leftovers are just as important as the actual feast.  However, most of us start to grow a little weary of turkey sandwiches and reheated casseroles after several days.  Ashley shared earlier this month a creative way to use up leftover turkey, and now I want to tackle an often overlooked side/condiment: cranberry sauce.

I grew up loving my mom’s homemade cranberry sauce.  It is just 3 simple ingredients: cranberries, honey and orange juice and makes the most bright and fresh sauce to cut through all those rich dishes on Thanksgiving day.  I always make a batch (or 3!) for Thanksgiving now.  But after the big feast day it usually becomes neglected in the fridge, although I enjoy spooning it over plain yogurt for breakfast.  Many people have family staying with them for the holidays, so I came up with a breakfast item that everyone would enjoy, whether they are a fan of cranberry sauce or not.  In fact, my daughter hates cranberry sauce but has been eating these muffins for breakfast, lunch and snacks and loves them.

Now if you usually buy that jiggly can of cranberry sauce, no worries!  I tested that out in the recipe too, and it works just fine.  But I also included my mom’s super easy cranberry sauce recipe and urge you to give it a try.  The flavor of the homemade cranberry sauce really pops in the muffins.

L: Homemade Cranberry Sauce R: Canned Cranberry Sauce

Since a lot of time and effort goes into the Thanksgiving meal, I wanted to keep this muffin recipe quick and simple.  Who wants to slave over breakfast the next day with guests in town?  Almost all the ingredients are common pantry/fridge items.  But to really make the cranberries shine, a little fresh orange zest and crystallized ginger make the perfect background notes.  If you can’t find crystallized ginger (also called candied ginger) you could substitute 1 teaspoon ground ginger.

The Ankarsrum makes quick work of mixing up the muffin batter.  Make sure you thoroughly blend the crystallized ginger and orange zest into the flour mixture.  The flour will coat them and help the ingredients stay suspended in the muffin batter and not clump all together.

Make sure sticky ingredients distribute evenly

I prefer to use paper muffin liners because I can’t stand scrubbing muffin tins.  But if you don’t have any on hand, just be sure to spray your muffin tin with nonstick spray before filling with the batter.

Dishers are excellent for portioning out muffin batter

I bake these at a slightly higher temperature than muffins are normally baked at because it turns the tops a little crispy, which I love!

Browned and slightly crisp on top with a soft inside; perfect!

If you don’t like that, just drop your temperature down to 350° and add another 3-5 minutes to your baking time.  Also, if you enjoy nuts or seeds in your muffins, add it!  I always encourage people to think of a recipe as a guideline and not a list of rules set in stone.  Now in baking you don’t want to mess around too much with the main ingredients, but the flavor ingredients are usually not pertinent to the recipe.  Don’t have an orange?  Add a little lime or lemon zest.  Don’t like ginger?  Add some nutmeg or cinnamon or just leave it out altogether.

Adjust flavors according to personal tastes

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, full of family, food and fun!


Cranberry Sauce Muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 16-18 minutes


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

1 tablespoon finely chopped crystalized ginger

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup honey

2 eggs

1 cup homemade cranberry sauce* (or canned whole berry cranberry sauce)


If you need instructions on using the Double Whisk Bowl, click HERE.

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Line a standard size muffin tin with muffin paper liners.

Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, orange zest and crystallized ginger to the Ankarsrum Plastic Whisking Bowl with the Single Wire Whisks.  Beat on lowest speed until ingredients are thoroughly combined and the orange zest and ginger are coated with flour.

Add the remaining ingredients.  Increase the speed to medium (3 o’clock) and beat just until combined.  Scrape down the sides as necessary.

Divide batter evenly among muffin liners.

Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until the tops are browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.

Let cool in pan 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Serve warm, or thoroughly cool and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


Yield: 12 muffins


*Cranberry Sauce

1 1/2 cups honey

1 1/2 cups orange juice

4 cups fresh cranberries, washed

In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring the honey and orange juice to a simmer.  Let simmer for 5 minutes and then add the cranberries.  Cook for 10 more minutes on medium heat until the cranberries have burst and the mixture thickens; stirring occasionally.

Cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Yield: approximately 3 1/2 cups


Whole Wheat Version:

Hearty whole wheat works well with the robust flavor of cranberries

-Replace all purpose flour with equal parts whole wheat pastry flour.  If milling at home, use a soft white wheat and increase flour to 2 1/4 cups. 

-Follow recipe above. 


Gluten Free Version:

Sorghum and brown rice flour make a flavorful gluten-free substitute

-Replace the all-purpose flour with 1 cup sorghum flour, 1/2 cup brown rice flour, 1/4 cup tapioca flour, 1/4 cup potato starch and 1 teaspoon xanthan gum.

-Follow recipe above.


Featured Mixer Color: Light Creme


Published by

Carmi Adams

Carmi Adams has loved cooking from a very early age; requesting fondue pots and cookbooks for birthdays as a child. She further pursued her passion for food at the Art Institute of Atlanta and obtained a degree in Culinary Arts. Carmi landed a job on the show Good Eats, which aired on the Food Network. For seven years she did everything from food research, recipe development and testing, product testing to feeding a hungry film crew. Now living in the central coast of California, Carmi enjoys the bounty of agriculture, vineyards and farmers markets at her culinary disposal. She has been using the Ankarsrum mixer for over 15 years and feels that it is hands-down the best on the market for home cooks.