Cornbread and cranberry sauce are synonymous with the holidays and they go beautifully together in these delicious muffins. The olive oil adds a fruity note that complements the citrus zest and cranberry sauce, which are swirled into the batter before baking. The Greek yogurt keeps the muffins tender and the cornmeal adds a lovely texture. Plus, they bake up with gorgeous, rustic tops. Feel free to use leftover cranberry sauce in this recipe if you’d like! These muffins are a great way to start the day and especially festive for the holiday season.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
For the cranberry sauce (see Cook's Note): Stir together the cranberries, sugar, orange juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan and cook, covered, over medium heat for 5 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook until the cranberries have broken down into a chunky sauce, about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, make the batter: Whisk together the sugar and eggs in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and yogurt and whisk to combine. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest and reserved orange zest and whisk until combined. Whisk in the vanilla extract.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt. Add to the wet ingredients and fold with a rubber spatula until just combined.
Scoop the batter into each well of the prepared muffin tin, 3/4 of the way full, with a cookie scoop or 1/2-cup measuring cup. Top each muffin with 1 tablespoon of the cranberry sauce and swirl into the batter with a toothpick; cover with any remaining batter. If desired, top each with 1 fresh cranberry and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 5 minutes. Without opening the oven door, reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F and continue to bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes.
Immediately after baking, gently turn the muffins out of the tin and let them cool, bottoms up, to avoid soggy bottoms. Serve or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Feel free to swap out the homemade cranberry sauce for one 14-ounce can of whole berry cranberry sauce.