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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Healthy Orange Cranberry Muffins (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

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This fluffy and healthy orange cranberry muffins recipe is made with gluten-free flour and vegan ingredients. Dotted with dried cranberries and infused with orange zest they’re super flavorful and make for a sweet breakfast or snack!

easy healthy vegan gluten free orange cranberry muffins recipe on a wire rack

One of my favorite sweet treats from Panera is their orange cranberry muffins. However, they are full of sugar, and are high in calories. Not to mention, they don’t suit other dietary restrictions such as those that are gluten-free and/or vegan.

These healthy orange cranberry muffins have a light and fluffy texture, but they are made with almond flour, and without eggs making them suitable for all dietary restrictions.

Latest Recipe Video!

These bakery muffins took some experimentation but after quite a few attempts I got the taste and texture just right! They are everything you want in a muffin! Lightly sweetened, moist, and fluffy with tart cranberries throughout, and a hint of orange flavor in the crumb. Next time I make these I will likely sprinkle them with sliced almonds!

They are perfect to make during cranberry season which runs in the late fall, or as a special treat on Christmas morning. These festive muffins are especially welcoming warm and toasty out of the oven when you need something quick and easy for breakfast, any time of year!

👩🏽‍🍳 Why This Recipe Works

  • Simple Ingredients: These homemade muffins are made with simple pantry ingredients that you can find at all grocery stores.
  • Super Easy to Make: They whip up quickly with a mixing bowl, and a spatula!
  • Light and Fluffy Muffins: These vegan cranberry muffins bake up with a light and fluffy crumb. They are super moist, and flavorful.
  • Healthier than Starbucks: These muffins are much healthier than the one you’ll find at Starbucks. They are lower in calories and fat, lower in sugar, and it’s vegan and gluten-free.
  • These truly are the best cranberry orange muffins ever!

🥘 Ingredients

These gluten free orange muffins require just a few basic ingredients! See the recipe card below for the full ingredients list and nutrition information.

ingredients for easy healthy vegan gluten free orange cranberry muffins recipe

Gluten-Free Flour: There are many different types of gluten-free flour, but the type you choose can make a big impact on the way your muffins turn out. Make sure you use a 1:1 gluten-free flour mix for the best results. I recommend using Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten-free flour mix. If you don’t need these to be gluten free, you can use a white whole wheat flour or all purpose flour (but they won’t be as healthy!)

Organic Sugar: Use organic granulated sugar if you follow a vegan diet, as not all regular granulated sugar is vegan because it could be processed with bone char. Whereas, organic granulated sugar is not. If you’d like to use refined free sugar, you can use coconut sugar.

Vegan Buttermilk: Combine unsweetened almond milk and vinegar to create vegan buttermilk. Make sure to use unsweetened dairy-free milk. If you are not vegan, you can go ahead and use regular buttermilk, or even sour cream.

Cranberries: Dried cranberries work the best for this cranberry orange muffins recipe. However, you can use fresh cranberries or frozen cranberries. Be aware that using fresh or frozen juicy cranberries will be quite tart, as dried cranberries often have added sugar to make them sweeter. If you use frozen berries there is no need to defrost them.

Oil: I used olive oil as a vegan friendly alternative to butter, but any vegetable oil (like canola oil or melted coconut oil) will also work.

Bright Orange Zest: The zest of the orange has a more distinct citrus flavor than using fresh orange juice. You’ll need the zest of one whole medium-sized orange. Wash the orange thoroughly, then use a zester to get use the first layer of the orange. You don’t want to get the white part of the peel.

🔪 Instructions

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350F/ 170C. Line your muffin tin with muffin liners or spray with cooking spray. Mix together the almond milk and vinegar in a medium bowl. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes to curdle. It will become vegan buttermilk.

vegan buttermilk in a bowl

Step 2: In a large mixing bowl, add the flour mixture, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and orange zest and whisk until well combined.

dry ingredients combined in a bowl

Step 3: Add the remaining wet ingredients to the large bowl, including the buttermilk, vanilla extract, and vegetable oil. Stir until smooth. Do not over mix. Add in the dried cranberries, and carefully fold them together. You can do this in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, but a mixing bowl and wooden spoon will also work just fine!

wet and dry ingredients mixed together in a bowl

Step 4: Spoon batter evenly among 12 paper liners and bake for 20 minutes, or until an inserted skewer or toothpick comes out clean. For an added crunch, sprinkle the top of the muffins with sliced almonds before baking.

batter in a muffin tin

Step 5: Remove the gluten free orange cranberry muffins from the oven. Allow to cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes, then remove to cool completely on a wire rack.

Optional add-ons: To make these more of a treat, you can drizzle a light sweet orange glaze to the tops of the muffins. To turn these into mini muffins, use a mini muffin pan and bake for half the time. Or feel free to add some nuts into the batter – chopped pecans or walnuts would taste great!

muffins fresh out of the oven in a muffin tin

❓Recipe FAQs

What makes these orange cranberry muffins healthy?


Low in Calories and Fat: These healthy orange muffins have under 100 calories, and only 1 gram of fat. Compared to Panera muffins that are 490 calories and 19 grams of fat.

Gluten-Free: These are made with gluten-free flour rather than all-purpose flour which makes them suitable for those with celiac or gluten sensitivity.

Vegan: Made with almond milk, and without eggs, these are suitable for vegans and those with a dairy sensitivity.

Lower in Sugar: One muffin contains 11 grams of sugar which is a quarter of the amount of sugar in the Panera muffin.

Can you make these muffins ahead of time?

Yes, you can make this easy muffin recipe ahead of time. They are good for up to 5 days, and can also be frozen.

How do you store vegan orange cranberry muffins?

The muffins are good for up to 5 days when kept in the refrigerator. However, they taste the best when enjoyed fresh, or within 1-2 days kept at room temperature. Make sure to transfer the muffins to an airtight container to retain moisture.

Can you freeze cranberry orange muffins?

Yes! You can freeze these muffins. Place baked and cooled muffins in a freezer-safe airtight container. Label with the date. They will be good for up to 2 months.

How do you thaw frozen muffins?

When ready to enjoy, remove the muffins from the freezer, and allow them to defrost at room temperature for up an hour. Or place in the refrigerator to thaw overnight. You can warm them in the microwave or toaster oven before eating!

💭 Expert Tips

  • Make a well in the center of the whisked together dry ingredients before adding the wet ingredients.
  • Use a spatula to carefully fold the dry and wet ingredients together. Mix until just combined. Don’t overmix. The batter will be a bit lumpy, and that’s okay!
  • For sweeter vegan cranberry orange muffins, use dried cranberries. For more tart muffins use fresh or frozen cranberries.
  • If using frozen cranberries do not defrost them before adding them to the muffin batter.
easy healthy vegan gluten free orange cranberry muffins recipe on a wire rack

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📋 Recipe Card

easy healthy vegan gluten free orange cranberry muffins recipe on a wire rack
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Healthy Orange Cranberry Muffins (Gluten-Free)

These fluffy and healthy orange cranberry muffins are made with gluten-free flour. Dotted with dried cranberries and infused with orange zest they're super flavorful and make for a sweet breakfast or snack! They're vegan friendly too!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 12 muffins
Calories: 132kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

  • cup gluten-free flour 1:1 blend
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ¾ tbsp vinegar

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F / 170 C.
  • Mix together the almond milk and vinegar in a small bowl. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes to curdle. It will become vegan buttermilk.
  • Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and orange zest in a mixing bowl and whisk until well combined.
  • Add the remaining wet ingredients including the buttermilk, vanilla extract, and oil. Mix until smooth. Do not over mix. Add in the dried cranberries, and carefully fold them together.
  • Divide batter amongst 12 cupcake liners and bake for 20 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven. Allow to cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes, then remove to cool completely on a wire rack.

Video

https://youtu.be/bsJIE8gejsM

Notes

Tips for Making Orange Cranberry Muffins
  • Make a well in the center of the whisked together dry ingredients before adding the wet ingredients.
  • Use a spatula to carefully fold the dry and wet ingredients together. Mix until just combined. Don’t overmix. The batter will be a bit lumpy, and that’s okay!
  • For sweeter muffins use dried cranberries. For more tart muffins use fresh or frozen cranberries.
  • If using frozen cranberries do not defrost them before adding them to the muffin batter.
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Store at room temperature in an airtight container for 1-2 days.
  • Freeze for up to 2 months. When ready to defrost thaw at room temperature for an hour, or overnight in the refrigerator. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1muffin | Calories: 132kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 158mg | Potassium: 5mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 11g

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Breakfast ·

Whether it’s a quick smoothie or indulgent (but guilt-free) pancakes, my breakfast recipes have everything you need to start your day off right.

These recipes are healthy, filling, and easy to make!

10 responses to “Healthy Orange Cranberry Muffins (Gluten-Free, Vegan)”

  1. Oooh! These look sooo good! Been waiting for this recipe!
    Will be trying this tonight.
    Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful and easy recipes. Love watching your cooking videos, too. You make it look so easy!
    Thanks, Shanny

  2. Beautiful muffins! And perfect for the chilly weather- love cranberry and orange together. Thanks so much for the recipe!5 stars

  3. I love cranberries in sweets and these muffins look so delicious and perfect for a little midday snack and even for a sweet breakfast ♥

  4. Such a refreshing citrus flavor! I love how you made the muffins with made with gluten-free flour and vegan ingredients. They look so good!5 stars

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