These fresh and moist mandarin orange muffins made with healthy Greek Yogurt make a great breakfast on the go, dessert, or snack. A light glaze adds an extra punch of mandarin flavor and sweetness.
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Phil's boss knows where in the city to find - and how to choose - the best mandarin oranges. When they're in season, we get a bagful on almost a weekly basis! They are super sweet and and juicy, and far superior to what I find at my local grocery store.
It's always a treat, and we eat as many as we can just like that, but sometimes it's fun to put them in stuff too. Last week, I put some in an awesome chicken stir fry from the new Half-Baked Harvest book.
This week I used them to make these mandarin orange muffins.
The original recipe, which I found in this Williams Sonoma baking book, is for regular orange muffins and uses just the orange zest to flavor the muffins. I found using mandarin oranges instead of regular oranges gave the muffins a delicate, almost floral flavor that I loved.
That being said, you could definitely use regular oranges, clementines, tangerines or some other sweet citrus. You would probably need to add some additional sugar for lemon muffins. Maybe this is something I'll experiment with!
Zesting citrus, believe it or not, is one of my very favorite kitchen tasks. The scent of fresh citrus zest is unbeatable as far as I'm concerned.
The tool that makes this task so easy though is a microplane zester. Do you have one of these? If not, I highly recommend it.
You can use it for anything you need finely grated. I love it for Parmesan cheese, for instance. It captures everything you're grating with it's special shape, so there's no mess.
I used Greek yogurt because I love the texture of muffins made with yogurt. The crumb is slightly less dense than my sturdy bakery-style cranberry orange muffins, but still great for a quick breakfast on the go.
The glaze on top is optional but adds a little extra sweetness.
These are the perfect snacking muffin, in my opinion. After a day or so, the glaze kind of sinks into the muffins, making them super moist.
A Few More Favorite Muffins
Everyone's favorite banana pecan muffins (pecans optional). Seriously, they are so good.
These perfect one bowl apple cinnamon muffins are soft and cakey cinnamon-scented amazingness
Or try these cherry muffins with coconut streusel. A long-time favorite!
Sound good to you? If you make this recipe, I would love it if you would take a pic and tag me on Instagram @ourhappymess!
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Mandarin Orange Muffins with Greek Yogurt
Mandarin orange muffins
- 6 mandarin oranges or 3 regular oranges
- 2 tablespoons water
- ½ cup granulated sugar separated
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter plus a little extra for greasing
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup plain greek yogurt
- ¾ cup milk
Orange Glaze (optional)
- 1 cup icing (confectioner's) sugar
- 2 tablespoons mandarin orange juice freshly squeezed
- 2 teaspoons mandarin orange zest
- pinch salt
Mandarin Orange Muffins
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a standard muffin pan. This recipe makes enough batter for 16-18 muffins, so you can bake in batches and re-use the same pan, or grease an additional six cups in separate muffin pan, if you have one.
- Finely grate enough mandarin oranges to get about ¼ cup (30 grams) of zest. For me this was about 6 mandarins. You can also peel a long strip of zest with a vegetable peeler and julienne into small thin pieces for an optional garnish, as in my photos.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the zest, ¼ cup of the sugar, and the water. Heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved completely. Stir in the butter until melted. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, remaining ¼ cup of the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the Greek yogurt, eggs, milk and orange sugar mixture until well combined.
- Add the flour mixture to the yogurt mixture and stir until just combined.
- Fill the prepared muffin pan(s) to ¾ full. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes back clean. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then remove from the pan to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Glaze (optional): In a small bowl, stir together the icing sugar, mandarin juice, zest and salt until smooth. If too thick for pouring, add a little juice until a pour-able consistency is achieved.
- With a spoon, drizzle the cooled muffins with the glaze, and garnish with thin slices of mandarin peel if desired.
I would say the glaze is definitely NOT optional. These muffins were pretty bland without it. With that being said, the muffins AND glaze together were delicious 🙂
I should add that they are really fluffy & moist though, so I’ll be making this recipe again with a couple small changes to add a touch more flavor & sweetness.
Yes, they aren't the sweetest muffins without the glaze! You can definitely add some extra sugar to make them sweeter 🙂
Hi - what is icing sugar?
Also known as confectioner’s sugar or powdered sugar! It’s just very finely ground, powdery sugar. Hope that helps!
Hi, can I replace sugar by honey, use almond flour and add more greek yogurt instead of milk? Thanks!
Hi Tarah! Those are pretty heavy modifications, none of which I've personally tried, so I really can't make any promises! I would say that you should be ok subbing the all purpose flour for almond flour in equal quantity. If you do, I would add an extra egg as almond flour doesn't bind as well as all-purpose. Subbing the sugar for honey should also work in theory. Honey is sweeter, so you might want to cut the quantity down by a tablespoon or two, but this recipe isn't overly sweet to begin with so I think you'd be fine keeping it to 1/2 cup. For the milk, this batter is already very thick, so I would personally go with almond milk instead of regular, rather than more Greek yogurt. Let me know how it turns out! 🙂
My family LOVES these muffins! The flavour is incredible. I replace the water with freshly squeezed orange juice, since I used regular Cara Cara oranges.
Thank you for this delicious recipe!
Awesome Jenna!! I’m so glad you liked them. Love cara caras too 🙂
Leanne | Crumb Top Baking
I love adding orange zest to baked goods, and I bet the greek yogurt helps keep these muffins moist! Glad to see someone else likes to add a bit of icing to their muffins! I usually do that when I'm making muffins for a special occasion. These look awesome!
Thanks so much Leanne! They are super moist and the glaze makes them extra special for sure 🙂