Light, fluffy, and bursting with fresh citrus flavor, these glazed Orange Muffins are the perfect way to start your day! Make them ahead for quick grab-and-go snacks throughout the week, add them to a special holiday buffet, or enjoy them with brunch on a lazy Sunday morning. Best of all, you can stir together the easy homemade muffins from scratch in just 15 minutes!
Orange Muffins with Orange Glaze
Kids and adults go crazy for this simple orange muffin recipe. While they're easy to make with basic ingredients like buttermilk, orange juice and fresh orange zest, the bakery-style treats are bursting with sweet citrus flavor. They're light, tender, fluffy, and smothered in a thick orange glaze. Grab a cup of coffee and sink your teeth into the best orange muffins ever!
Flavor and Texture
These fresh orange muffins with orange glaze have a cake-like texture -- similar to a citrus pound cake. They're moist, light, and tender, thanks to the rich batter that's made with plenty of buttermilk and oil. You don't need an electric mixer -- just a couple of bowls and a wooden spoon. By folding together the batter (but not over-mixing), you'll keep the muffins fluffy and avoid a dense, dry baked good.
The buttermilk adds an acidic element that helps the muffins rise. It also gives them a moist, tender texture. Do not substitute regular milk for buttermilk. Instead, if you don't have buttermilk in your fridge, you can make your own buttermilk by stirring together ½ cup of regular milk + either lemon juice or white vinegar. To do so, pour your milk into a small bowl. Add either ½ tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice or ½ tablespoon of white vinegar. Give it a stir, let it sit for about 5 minutes, and then use it in the recipe as directed.
Tall Muffin Tops
There are a few key steps to creating that nice, high dome on the muffin top:
- Use a thick batter (you've got that here!)
- Fill the muffin cups to the top (I like to use an ice cream scoop, large cookie dough scoop, or 2 ¼-inch dough scoop like this to equally measure the same amount of batter into each cup)
- Start the oven at a high temperature to help the tops rise, and then lower the heat after 5 minutes to allow the rest of the muffins to cook through.
How to Make Orange Muffins from Scratch
These homemade muffins come together in just minutes, using the standard process of combining the dry ingredients, combining the wet ingredients, and then folding everything together. Once they're cool, I like to dip the tops of the muffins in a sweet, thick, orange glaze that really sets these treats over the top. The glaze is optional, but highly recommended!
- All-purpose flour
- Granulated sugar
- Baking powder and baking soda
- Orange zest
- Orange juice
- Vanilla extract
- Vegetable oil
Step 1: Whisk Dry Ingredients
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add the orange zest and set aside.
Step 2: Whisk Wet Ingredients
In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, orange juice, vanilla, egg and oil.
Step 3: Combine
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Do not over-mix (it's fine if the batter is slightly lumpy).
Step 4: Bake
Divide the batter evenly between lined muffin cups. Bake at 400 degrees F for 5 minutes, and then at 375 degrees F for 11-13 more minutes. The muffins are done when the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
How to Make a Glaze for Orange Muffins
Once the muffins are completely cool, prepare the glaze by whisking together confectioners sugar and orange juice until smooth. The glaze should be very thick. If it seems too thin, add a bit more sugar. If it seems too thick, add a little bit more juice.
Dip the tops of the muffins in the glaze, then place on a wire rack until the glaze sets.
Orange muffins are such a versatile little treat. You can offer them for a quick grab-and-go breakfast on busy mornings (just pull one from the freezer and reheat it in seconds); pile some in a basket as a part of a special brunch buffet; set out a few with a glass of lemonade or iced tea for an afternoon snack; or even add them to your bread basket as a side dish with dinner. We love the variety of a bread basket that includes some homemade bread, a few warm muffins, and a couple wedges of cornbread. It turns an ordinary weeknight meal into a special restaurant-worthy occasion -- and you can pull each of these items from your freezer with almost zero effort!
Enjoy the easy homemade muffins at room temperature or serve them warm. They're best with a smear of soft butter or a dollop of homemade jam!
If setting out a larger brunch buffet, here are a few easy options that go well with the orange muffins:
- Scrambled eggs or a Baked Ham and Cheese Omelet
- Overnight Sausage Breakfast Casserole
- Fresh Fruit Salad
- Ham Steaks with Brown Sugar Glaze
- Cheese Grits
Allow the muffins to cool completely. Store in a large Ziploc freezer bag or other airtight container. The muffins will last for 2-3 days at room temperature, or you can freeze the muffins for up to 3 months. The glaze may become slightly runny if frozen and thawed, so if you plan to freeze the muffins right away, skip the glaze and add it later (after you thaw the muffins).
Recipe Variations - Fresh Orange Muffins
- Skip the glaze and sprinkle the muffin tops with coarse sugar before baking.
- Blood Orange Muffins: If you can get your hands on some bright red blood oranges, use those instead! They'll turn the glaze a lovely shade of pink.
- Orange Chocolate Chip Muffins: Fold ½ - 1 cup of chocolate chips into the batter.
- Dried Cranberry Muffins: Stir ½ cup sweetened dried cranberries (such as Craisins) into the muffin batter.
- Orange Blueberry Muffins: Gently fold about 1 ½ cups of fresh or frozen blueberries into the batter.
- Orange Bread: Bake the batter in an 8½ x 4½-inch loaf pan at 350 degrees for about 45-60 minutes. Add the glaze when the bread is cool.
Tips for the Best Orange Muffin Recipe
- When zesting the oranges, be sure that you’re only scraping off the outer layer of the peel (this is where the essential oils and delicious flavor can be found). Be careful not to grate any of the white pith from the fruit, because that is bitter and definitely not what you want in your muffins.
- Fresh orange juice is best if it's available, but you can certainly use store-bought orange juice here, too.
- The key to a perfect muffin is just barely mixing the ingredients. You want them to come together, but a few lumps are fine. This way they’ll stay moist and tender!
- This recipe yields 11-12 standard-size muffins (depending on how full you fill the cups). If you only have 11 muffin cups filled, add water to the remaining empty muffin cup before baking. This will help the muffins cook evenly.
- To check if the muffins are done, insert a toothpick into the center and make sure it comes out clean. Don’t cook them for too long, or they can dry out.
More Muffin Recipes You'll Love
- Chocolate Muffins
- Corn Muffins
- Easy Blueberry Muffins
- Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Old-Fashioned Cranberry Muffins
- Bran Muffins
- Brown Sugar Cinnamon Muffins
FOR THE MUFFINS:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- ½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- ½ cup orange juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
FOR THE GLAZE:
- 1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
- 2-3 tablespoons orange juice
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk in the orange zest. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, orange juice, vanilla extract, egg and oil.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Be careful not to over-mix the batter.
- Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
- Bake for 5 minutes at 400 degrees F. Without opening the oven, lower the temperature to 375 degrees and bake for 11-14 more minutes, or until the toothpick inserted into each muffin comes out clean and the tops are golden.
- Cool muffins completely before glazing.
FOR THE GLAZE:
- In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners sugar and 2 tablespoons of orange juice until smooth. The glaze should be pretty thick. If it seems too thin, add a bit more confectioners sugar. If the glaze is too thick, add another teaspoon or so of orange juice at a time until it reaches the desired consistency. Dip the tops of the cool muffins in the glaze. Rest on a wire rack until the glaze sets.