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You’re going to love the perfect balance of tart and sweet in this cranberry cupcake recipe. The fluffy light cupcakes pair beautifully with the gorgeous white chocolate buttercream frosting on top, and the sugared cranberries finish them off wonderfully. They are filled with a delicious cranberry filling. Not only are these cranberry cupcakes pretty to look at but you’ll fall in love with the flavor at first bite!

Christmas party cupcakes with white chocolate cranberry dessert.

Whether you’re planning your Thanksgiving or Christmas party baking list, or you simply want to make some seasonal cupcakes, these cute cupcakes with sugared cranberries are easy to make and sure to be a hit!

For cupcake lovers, check out these lemon stuffed cupcakes, carrot cake cupcakes or even these chocolate peanut butter kitchen sink cupcakes for a twist! Or what about these reindeer Rice Krispie treats? Or gingerbread sandwich cookies?

Christmas cupcakes with sugared cranberries and icing are on a table.

Why You’ll Love Them

Easy:  There are easy cupcake batter recipes and complicated ones, and this one definitely falls into the easy camp. Even newbies to home baking should find the recipe straightforward.
Festive: These would be great for Thanksgiving or Christmas. They’d also be a nice treat if someone has a birthday during the holidays.
Delicious: The combination of tart yet sweet sugared cranberries, frosting and fluffy cake makes these cranberry vanilla cupcakes seriously mouthwatering.

Cranberry cupcakes with sugared cranberries and whipped cream.

Ingredients for this White Chocolate Cranberry Dessert

For the cupcake batter you need unsalted butter, sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla extract, milk, baking powder, salt, and flour. The sugared cranberries are made with cranberries and sugar.

Various ingredients for cranberry cupcakes including flour, butter, eggs, and sugar.

And then you have the frosting which is a delicious mixture of butter, powdered sugar, salt, vanilla, white chocolate, cream, cranberries, and sugar. A sprig of rosemary makes a festive garnish but this is optional.

White chocolate cranberry cupcakes with sugared cranberries on a marble table.

How to Make Cranberry Cupcakes

For more detailed instructions with weights and measurements, jump to the printable recipe card.

Make the cupcake batter:  Cream the butter and sugar together with a stand mixer, then add the eggs, oil and vanilla extract. Next add the milk, then the flour, salt and baking powder.
Bake the cupcakes: Transfer the batter into a cupcake pan with cupcake liners and cook for about 15 minutes in a preheated oven or until the edges are golden.
Make the cranberry cupcakes filling: Heat the fresh cranberries and sugar in a saucepan until you have a thick sauce, and then let it cool completely.
Prepare the frosting: Mix the unsalted butter, salt and powdered sugar, and then mix in the vanilla extract.
Make the white chocolate cream: Melt the white chocolate with the cream in the microwave.
Make the sugared cranberries: Toss rinsed cranberries with the sugar and let them dry.
Finish the frosting: Pour the white chocolate mixture over the vanilla frosting and mix it in, then transfer it into a frosting bag.
Fill the cupcakes: Remove a piece from the middle of each cupcake, then pipe some frosting into each one and replace the cutout pieces.
Decorate them: Now frost the tops and add sugared cranberries and a sprig of rosemary before serving.

Cranberry rosemary cookies on a cooling rack, perfect for a Christmas party.

Substitutions and Variations

You might like to tweak this Christmas cranberry cupcake or Thanksgiving cranberry cupcake recipe. If you have another frosting recipe you prefer or you want to use readymade frosting, you can. You could even use a boxed cake mix for the cake batter. Another idea is to make cranberry orange cupcakes by adding a little orange zest to the cake batter.

Cranberry cupcakes with whipped cream and sugared cranberries.

How to Serve Cranberry Cupcakes

There’s no wrong way to serve these lovely cranberry and white chocolate cupcakes. They’re just as good with a cup of coffee or tea as with a festive beverage like mulled wine fireball jello shots. If you’re looking for more festive snack ideas, you might like frosted cranberry cookies or cheese stuffed pumpkin bites.

Christmas cupcakes with sugared cranberries and icing are on a table.

How to Store Cranberry Cupcakes

Store:  Although you can’t beat cranberry cupcakes served fresh, they will keep for a day or two in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Don’t decorate them until just before serving though.
Freeze:  You can freeze the undecorated cupcakes if you want but don’t freeze them after frosting and decorating.

Cranberry Christmas cupcakes with sprigs of rosemary.

Cupcakes with Candied Cranberries FAQs

Can you use frozen cranberries to make these cupcakes?

Although thawed or even dried cranberries can be used in the filling and frosting, since they’re combined with other ingredients, you will want to use fresh ones on top because they’re so much prettier than thawed ones.

How full should you fill the cupcake pan?

Don’t fill the cupcake liners more than 2/3-full because the cupcakes will rise during baking. If you want to make mini cupcakes, the same 2/3-full guideline applies: use four pans instead of two and trim a few minutes off the baking time. Once a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean, the cupcakes are done. I love these Wilton cupcake pans (here).

A plate of cupcakes with sugared cranberries.

Cranberry Cupcakes Recipe

5 from 32 votes

White Chocolate Cranberry Cupcakes

By: Bella Bucchiotti
Moist vanilla cupcakes are filled with a cranberry filling and then topped with white chocolate buttercream and sparkling sugar cranberries.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Inactive time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 24 Cupcakes


For the cupcakes:

  • ½ Cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ Cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ Cup oil
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ Cup milk
  • 1 ½ Teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ Teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ Cup flour

For the cranberry filling:

  • 2 Cup cranberries, fresh
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar

For the frosting:

  • ½ Cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 Cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 Cup white chocolate chips
  • 3 Tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 Cup cranberries, fresh
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • rosemary, fresh, to decorate (optional)


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the cupcake pan(s) with liners and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the softened butter and sugar. Cream until smooth.
  • Add in the eggs, oil and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
  • Add in the milk and mix to combine. The mixture will look curdled – that’s normal.
  • Add in the flour, salt and baking powder. Mix thoroughly.
  • Divide the cake batter between each of the liners, filling until they’re about one half to ⅔ full.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for about 14 to 16 minutes, or until edges are just slightly golden brown. Allow to cool completely before decorating.
  • For the filling: while the cupcakes bake, make the filling. In a small saucepan, combine the fresh cranberries and the granulated sugar. Heat over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. They sauce will begin to thicken so keep the mixture moving to prevent it from scorching. Allow to cool while making the frosting.
  • For the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the softened butter, salt and powdered sugar. Mix until smooth. Add in the vanilla and mix to combine. Set aside.
  • In a microwaveable safe bowl, combine the white chocolate chips and heavy cream. Heat for one minute and stir well. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, rinse the fresh cranberries – do not dry. Toss in a bowl with the additional sugar. Spread on a plate to allow the sugar to dry.
  • Once the ganache has cooled slightly, pour the ganache over the frosting and mix well. If the ganache is too warm, it will melt the buttercream.
  • Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip.
  • Once the cranberry filling is cool enough to touch, transfer it to a piping bag.
  • To assemble: use a teaspoon to scoop out the center of each cupcake. Retain the cupcake piece, do not discard.
  • Cut the end off the cranberry piping bag and pipe a dollop into the center of each cupcake. Replace the cupcake piece on top.
  • Pipe a dollop of frosting on each cupcake, using a spiral motion to create a mound.
  • Top with a couple sugared cranberries and a sprig of rosemary.


Calories: 336kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 171mg | Potassium: 79mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 39g | Vitamin A: 304IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 1mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

Everyone will be impressed with the beautiful little cranberry cupcakes. They’re light and fluffy and sweet, topped with rich, creamy frosting and fresh cranberries. This is an easy recipe to follow and these vanilla cupcakes with cranberries are perfect for your Thanksgiving or Christmas party.

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Bella Bucchiotti

Bella Bucchiotti is a Canadian-based syndicated food, travel, and lifestyle writer, photographer, and creator at xoxoBella. She founded xoxoBella in 2015, where she shares her love for food, dogs, sustainability, fitness, crafts, outdoor adventures, travel, and philanthropy to encourage others to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places, and stand for a cause. Bella creates stress-free and family-friendly recipes for weeknight dinners and festive feasts.


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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    OMG! This cupcake is the best bite I’ve had in years. So delicate and the cranberry pairs beautifully with the white chocolate.