Cranberry Pear Buttermilk Muffins

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Cranberry Pear Buttermilk Muffins with streusel topping and loaded with cranberries, pears and pecans. This easy muffin recipe makes the perfect treat on Christmas morning.

These buttermilk muffins are one of our favorite treats to serve for breakfast during the holidays. The sweet streusel and pears offset the tangy buttermilk and fresh cranberries, while the toasted pecans give the muffins a little crunch. Serve these for a Christmas brunch along with your favorite holiday coffee.

cranberry pear muffins in a pan

What does buttermilk do in baking?

Aside from its slightly tangy flavor, buttermilk is fantastic at producing moist muffins, and when paired with baking soda, it will increase the rise. Tall, fluffy, moist muffins are the best!

Note: Whenever you bake with buttermilk, be sure to add ½ teaspoon of baking soda to the recipe for each cup of buttermilk.

What is the best substitute for buttermilk?

No worries if you don’t have buttermilk on hand; here is an easy substitute for buttermilk.

For each cup of buttermilk that the recipe calls for, simply add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to 1 cup of milk. Stir to combine, then allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes. This is called clabbering. (Thanks to Cooks Illustrated for the new vocabulary word.) After 10 minutes, clabbered milk should appear curdled. If not, allow it to sit for another 2 minutes.

Note: This substitute for buttermilk works best with a higher-fat content milk such as whole or 2%, but it will work with 1% milk. Also, clabbered milk will not be as thick as real buttermilk.

Is there a non-dairy substitute for buttermilk?

Coconut milk is the best non-dairy substitute for buttermilk. Follow the same technique as described above, adding 1 tablespoon of acid for each cup of milk.

a collage of how to make muffin batter

How to Make Cranberry Pear Buttermilk Muffins

Here are some hints for making the best muffins:

  • Mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately.
  • Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. It’s important not to overmix muffin batter. Mixing too much overdevelops the gluten making baked goods chewier rather than soft. And no one wants a chewy muffin!
  • Gently fold in the fresh pears and cranberries. Again…don’t mix too much!
  • You can make regular size muffins or jumbo muffins. Scoop the batter into each muffin cup, filling the cup approximately 2/3 full.
  • Spoon the streusel over the top and bake.
  • Test the muffins with a toothpick to see if they are done. If you insert the toothpick in the center of the muffin it will come out clean.
spooning streusel over muffins

Can I use frozen cranberries in muffins?

We recommend using fresh cranberries for this recipe, but you can use frozen if you’d like. If you use frozen cranberries, add them to the batter while they are still frozen. Don’t worry about defrosting them and chopping them.

How to Store Muffins

Muffins are best stored at room temperature in a sealed container. They will keep at room temperature for 2-3 days. You can also freeze muffins by wrapping them in foil and placing them in a zippered bag. Store for up to 3 months in the freezer.

What can I make with buttermilk, besides buttermilk muffins?

Buttermilk is a tenderizer, so it is perfect to use as a meat marinade. For the best fried chicken on the planet, soak the chicken overnight in buttermilk. Buttermilk fried chicken is SO moist and juicy! We also use it to in our recipes for soft buttermilk sugar cookies and buttermilk country bread.

half of a cranberry muffin in a wrapper
half of a cranberry muffin in a wrapper

Cranberry Pear Buttermilk Muffins

4.41 from 5 votes
Buttermilk muffins studded with fresh cranberries, pears, toasted pecans, and a sweet streusel topping are a deliciously sweet breakfast or brunch treat! This easy muffin recipe is perfect for Christmas morning.
Servings 18
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

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Streusel Topping



  • Heat oven to 375º F. Line muffin pans with 18 paper liners (or 9 jumbo liners).
  • Combine all streusel ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and vanilla.
  • Add the buttermilk mixture and melted butter to the dry ingredients. Stir just until most of the flour has been incorporated.
  • Fold in the chopped pear, cranberries, and pecans. The batter will be thick.
  • Divide between 18 liners – approximately ⅔ full.
  • Evenly distribute the streusel topping on the batter in each cup, pressing down gently.
  • Bake 20-25 minutes, just until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of a muffin. Cool in pans on cooling racks for 10 minutes, then remove muffins from pans and allow them to cool completely.


The calories shown are based on the recipe making 18 muffins, with 1 serving being 1 muffin. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**


Serving: 1muffin | Calories: 191kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 133mg | Potassium: 86mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 230IU | Vitamin C: 0.9mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 0.8mg
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Calories 191
Keyword buttermilk muffins, christmas muffins, cranberry, pear, toasted pecans

About JulieJulie Clark

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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