Cranberry Vanilla Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting

Prep Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 12 cupcakes

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Vanilla cupcakes, filled with homemade cranberry filling and topped with a swirl of white chocolate frosting — the perfect festive holiday treat!

white chocolate cranberry cupcakes with sugared cranberries

White chocolate and cranberry  just scream “Christmas” to me.

And around the week before Halloween, I start thinking about Christmas.

I know, you probably think that’s ridiculous, but I just love everything about Christmas and the months leading up to it.

The snow (I’ll take the snow and leave the cold!), the long evenings, the lights, and how much more enjoyable cooking and baking is when it’s absolutely frigid outside.

The way people gather to enjoy all of these things (although not as much this year). Shopping and picking out gifts for loved ones. Seeing how my toddler’s face lights up over a tube of Lipsmackers or a new pair of socks.

cranberry vanilla cupcakes cut in half and lying on paper liner

But now that we’re getting closer to December, it’s finally acceptable for me to share with you all of the Christmas treats I’ve been dreaming up (and devouring!) lately.

These cupcakes are totally indulgent.

They are perfect for making and sharing, as the recipe produces quite a few. And since they’re individually portioned, you can feel better about indulging right? Even if you happen to have 2.. or 3… individual portions.

overhead image of cranberry vanilla cupcakes with one cut open

Also, they freeze perfectly, so feel free to make a batch and stash them in the freezer, even if you don’t have a crowd to feed this holiday season.

No one’s judging here.

hand holding up cranberry cupcake revealing filling

Variations on these Cranberry Vanilla Cupcakes:

  • Not into frosting? Feel free to serve with whipped cream or whipped white chocolate ganache if you’re feeling fancy (no recipe here, just find a recipe for whipped ganache and use white chocolate)
  • Swap the cranberries for another berry you love
  • Swap the vanilla cupcakes for chocolate if you’re digging that dark chocolate and tangy cranberry vibe
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Cranberry Vanilla Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting

4.93 from 14 votes
Perfectly sweet and fluffy vanilla cupcakes filled with sweet, tart cranberry filling and topped with a silky white chocolate buttercream — perfect for the holidays!
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Dessert
Servings 12 cupcakes
Calories 429cal



  • 1/2 cup melted butter 1 stick
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk 1%, whole milk, buttermilk — I use 1%
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (195 grams)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Cranberry Filling

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup cranberries I used frozen, but fresh would also work
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp corn starch


  • 1/3 cup chopped white chocolate or chips
  • 1 tablespoon cream (any kind)
  • 1/4 cup butter softened
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  • Cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, oil and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, and beat until combined. Add milk and vanilla and beat until combined.
  • Add flour, baking powder, and salt and beat just until combined.
  • Fill muffin cups about ⅔-¾ full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean or with moist crumbs.
  • Set aside to cool.
  • Filling: In a medium pot, combine sugar, water, cranberries, vanilla and corn starch (make sure there are no lumps of corn starch before you begin cooking). Bring to a simmer and cook 3-5 minutes, until cranberries start to soften and burst, and the sauce has thickened.
  • Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  • Frosting (make just before using — this frosting firms up nicely so it's difficult to pipe after it's been refrigerated)Combine white chocolate and milk in a medium bowl or measuring cup and microwave on high in 20-30 second intervals, stirring each time, until melted. Set aside to cool slightly.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until smooth and fluffy.
  • Add chocolate, icing sugar and vanilla and beat on low for 1-2 minutes until the sugar is incorporated. Beat on medium-high for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Set aside.
  • Assembly: Using a sharp knife, cut a small hole into the top of each cupcake, making sure not to cut through the bottom or any of the sides. Set cake pieces aside for another use (they're great for trifle, or just for munching!)
  • Spoon about 1 tsp of filling into the top of each cupcake.
  • Spread or pipe frosting on top of cupcake, completely covering the filling. If desired, garnish with additional cranberries and colored sprinkles or sugar.
  • Refrigerate if not serving for quite a while. Remove from the fridge 20 minutes before serving to allow the frosting to soften slightly, as it firms up quite a bit in the fridge.


*These can be made in stages. I made my cupcakes and filling one day, and I put my filled cupcakes into a container and in the freezer for about 3 days until I had time to frost them. I made the frosting the day I photographed and served them. You could definitely freeze them completely frosted, as long as they come close to room temperature before serving as the chocolate in the frosting sets up quite firmly when cooled.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 429cal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 174mg | Potassium: 102mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 48g | Vitamin A: 446IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1mg

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Cake recipe adapted from Add a Pinch.

Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Reader Interactions


  1. Sonia says

    I tried to do them today.
    I didn’t make the cranberry filling because I preferred to buy some jam already made (also because in Italy they don’t sell cranberries … you can only find them mixed in energy bars, jam, fruit juices, etc.) – I’m Italian .
    Anyway, I had trouble converting to grams …
    The white chocolate buttercream did not come out at all the same as yours in the picture.
    The melting white chocolate was the consistency of a melted marshmallow. So sticky.
    What white chocolate do you use?
    Searching the internet they recommend good white chocolate, because if taken at the supermarket the consistency changes …
    I used the chocolate chips.
    The basic cupcake dough tasted good, but I think it was just luck.
    If you ever could put weight in grams and liquids in milligrams it would be perfect.
    However in the future I will buy the measuring spoons in cups, tsp, etc.
    Thank you for sharing this recipe!
    I will definitely try to do it again.

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Sonia! You’re welcome, I am glad you were still able to make them. Ghirardelli white chocolate is a good brand to try.

  2. RCrowley says

    If 6 stars were an option that’s what I would give! These were literally thanksgiving in a cupcake in all the best ways! Thank you so much!

  3. kathy trusevitch says

    This is the second time I’ve made these and just love them, this year I switched the icing to a cream cheese icing, I have to say I’m not sure which I prefer but totally love this recipe. Just one last comment I don’t understand the other negative comments.

  4. Shari says

    Like one of the other commenters, I had a problem with the icing for this recipe. I probably used 1.5-2 kg of icing sugar before it got to a piping consistency, and by then it was so grainy and sweet it was unuseable.

    The cupcakes themselves were nice – not the best vanilla cupcakes I’ve ever had – but quite tasty, and the filling was spot on.

    With a different recipe for the icing, and one less egg in the cupcakes, I’d give these a 10/10. As written, for me it’s a 6.

  5. Valentina | The Baking Fairy says

    These are stunning! I am loving the cranberry white chocolate combo. Also, it must be a food blogger thing, because I also start thinking about Christmas in October (and fall recipes in like… August). I’ve just accepted it as part of the job! 😉

  6. Caitlin says

    Aprox how much does the frosting yield,? I am wanting to use this recipe but as a filling instead of icing and I’m not sure if I am needing to cut the recipe in half or leave as is..?

  7. Ashie D says

    I baked these last night in half of the quantity (one dozen) and replaced the eggs with 3 tsp. of soy yogurt (I was baking vegan) and they were baking very nicely but then they sunk like tart shells in the last two minutes. I took them out and let them cool as they were golden on the tops and although very moist, they still somewhat turned out. The egg replacement I use for vegan baking doesn’t usually fail me however for the purposes of this recipe, the sunken cupcakes worked in my favour! I also replaced the cranberries with frozen blueberries. Otherwise, they turned out very nicely for me!

    Thank you!

  8. Lauren says

    I am making these for my Christmas Eve gathering and for some reason, they didn’t set! Can you think of any reason why your cupcakes wouldn’t set? They overflowed everywhere, and didn’t puff up at all, and they didn’t set in the middle. I had to throw the whole batch away! All the dates on my ingredients are fine, and I’ve NEVER had this happen (and I’ve made LOTS of cupcakes in my day). I’m not mad or insulting your recipe, and I’m still going to use your filling and icing, but I’m definitely making my own yellow cake recipe, my go-to fail safe one. But can you think why this would happen? So disappointed 🙁

    • Ashley says

      I’m so sorry to hear that! I have no idea why that would happen. I’ve used the same recipe a few different times in cake and cupcake form and haven’t had any issues. I hope you enjoy the rest of the recipe!

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