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This fluffy, easy cranberry orange muffins recipe is a perfect blend of tangy and sweet! These super moist muffins are bursting with the vibrant flavors of fresh orange zest and tart cranberries in every single bite. These muffins are a delicious treat that will brighten up any breakfast or snack time!
These moist cranberry orange muffins are not just delicious, they’re also incredibly easy to make. With basic ingredients like flour, sugar, and olive oil, you can whip up these bakery-style muffins in no time. The addition of unsweetened almond milk gives these muffins a light, fluffy texture that’s simply irresistible.
What sets these muffins apart is the clever use of orange zest and dried cranberries. The bright orange zest adds a refreshing citrusy note, while the dried cranberries provide a delicious tartness that perfectly balances the sweetness of the muffins.
These easy orange cranberry muffins are also incredibly versatile. Enjoy them as a quick breakfast on the go, an afternoon snack, or a sweet treat after dinner. They’re also a great addition to your holiday baking list, making them a festive treat for Christmas morning or any other special occasion.
The best part about this recipe is the freedom it offers to customize according to your preference. If you prefer your muffins a bit more tart, feel free to add more cranberries. Or, if you’re a fan of citrusy flavors, go ahead and add some extra orange zest. Use regular flour or gluten free flour depending on your dietary needs. No matter how you make them, these festive muffins are sure to be a hit with your family and friends!
👩🏽🍳 Why You’ll Love These Orange Cranberry Muffins
- Moist, Fluffy Muffins: Packed with orange flavor, this bakery style muffin recipe is fluffy and tastes just like your favorite bakery’s version!
- Quick And Easy: With just a mixing bowl and spatula, you can whip up these healthy cranberry muffins in just 30 minutes! The simple steps and easy-to-follow instructions make this an ideal recipe for both beginner cooks and bakers. It’s great as a simple make-ahead breakfast too, because you can make a big batch and enjoy it all week!
- Naturally Vegan & Gluten-Free: This orange and cranberry muffin recipe is completely plant-based, making it a perfect choice for vegans and vegetarians. It’s made with almond milk, olive or vegetable oil, and no animal products. Made with a gluten-free flour blend, these muffins are also a delicious treat for those with gluten sensitivities or anyone looking to reduce their gluten intake.
- Simple Ingredients: This recipe uses basic ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry. From almond milk to orange zest, each ingredient contributes to the delightful flavor of these muffins.
- Holiday-Ready: Infused with the festive flavors of cranberry and orange, these muffins are a great addition to your holiday breakfast or brunch table. They’re sure to be a crowd-pleaser during the cranberry season and on Christmas morning.
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Whipping up this recipe for cranberry orange muffins is a breeze, thanks to the easy-to-source ingredients. You’ll find all these basic ingredients at your local grocery store, making this muffin recipe a convenient choice for your next baking adventure!
- Gluten-Free Flour or All Purpose Flour: This is the backbone of our muffin recipe, providing structure and substance to our healthy orange cranberry muffins. Either gluten free flour or all purpose flour works, so you can customize this depending on your dietary needs. 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.
- Sugar: A touch of sugar adds a subtle sweetness to our muffins, balancing out the tartness of the cranberries and the bright orange zest. 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.
- Baking Powder And Baking Soda: These leavening agents work together to give our orange and cranberry muffins their delightful fluffy texture.
- Olive Or Vegetable Oil: This gives our muffins a moist and tender crumb. You can use either olive or vegetable oil, depending on your preference.
- Vanilla Extract: A dash of vanilla extract enhances the flavors of the muffins, adding a hint of warmth and depth.
- Orange Zest: The addition of fresh orange zest infuses our muffins with a bright citrus flavor, complementing the tart cranberries perfectly. 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.
- Dried Cranberries: These add a delightful tartness to our muffins. For a sweeter muffin, use dried cranberries. Fresh juicy cranberries will also work (see our substitutions notes below).
- Unsweetened Almond Milk: This adds moisture to our muffins, ensuring they’re soft and not dry. Almond milk also adds a subtle nutty flavor to these easy muffins.
- Vinegar: A touch of vinegar reacts with the baking soda, helping our muffins rise and become beautifully fluffy.
🍲 Ingredient Substitutions
- Gluten-Free Flour: You can substitute the gluten-free flour with almond flour or any other flour you prefer. However, keep in mind that different flours have different absorbencies, so you may need to adjust the amount of liquid in the recipe.
- Sugar: These tender muffins will work with any type of sugar. Try coconut sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, or any other natural sweetener you prefer. Remember, the sweetness level may vary, so adjust according to your taste buds.
- Oil: Olive or vegetable oil can be replaced with canola oil or melted coconut oil. Both are neutrally flavored oils that work well in this healthy cranberry orange muffins recipe.
- Cranberries: If you want more tart muffins, you can use frozen or fresh cranberries instead of dried ones. If using frozen cranberries, do not defrost them before adding to the muffin batter. If you’re making fresh cranberry muffins, you may need to adjust the sugar depending on how tart you want the muffins to be.
- Almond Milk: Any non-dairy milk like soy milk, oat milk, or rice milk can be used in place of almond milk. If you’re not following a vegan diet, regular cow’s milk can also be used.
- Vinegar: If you don’t have vinegar, you can use fresh lemon juice. It acts as an acid and helps in activating the baking soda, which makes the muffins fluffy.
🔪 How To Make Cranberry Orange Muffins
Ready to make these homemade cranberry orange muffins? This easy muffin recipe will guide you step by step. For more detailed instructions and nutrition facts, see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Preheat The Oven: Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F / 170 C. This is an essential step to ensure your muffins bake evenly. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with muffin liners.
Create Vegan Buttermilk: In a small bowl, combine the almond milk and vinegar. Let this mixture sit for about 5 minutes until it curdles, creating a vegan buttermilk.
Mix Dry Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and bright orange zest. Whisk these ingredients together until they are well combined.
Add Wet Ingredients: Now, add the remaining wet ingredients to the flour mixture. This includes the vegan buttermilk, vanilla extract, and oil. Mix until the batter is smooth, but remember not to over-mix.
Fold In Cranberries: Add the dried cranberries to the muffin batter. Carefully fold them in to distribute them evenly throughout the batter. You can do this in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, but a mixing bowl and wooden spoon or rubber spatula will also work just fine!
Spoon Batter Into Muffin Tin: Divide the batter evenly amongst 12 muffin cups lined with paper liners.
Bake Muffins: Bake your cranberry and orange muffins for about 20 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. For an added crunch, sprinkle the top of the muffins with sliced almonds before baking.
Cool Muffins: After removing the warm muffins from the oven, let them cool in the muffin pan for about 5 minutes. Then, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy these delicious, moist muffins as a perfect way to start your Christmas morning or any day during the cranberry season!
💭 Expert Tips
- Use Vegan Buttermilk: For this cranberry orange muffins recipe, mix together almond milk and vinegar to create a vegan buttermilk. Let it sit for 5 minutes before using to allow it to curdle.
- Combine Dry Ingredients First: Whisk together your dry ingredients like flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and orange zest in a large mixing bowl first. This ensures even distribution of the ingredients throughout the muffin batter.
- Don’t Overmix: When adding the wet ingredients to the dry, mix until just combined. Overmixing can lead to dense rather than fluffy muffins.
- Choose Your Cranberries: For a sweeter muffin, use dried cranberries. You may need to increase the amount of sugar if you use fresh or frozen cranberries.
- Let The Muffins Cool: After baking, let these healthy orange muffins cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack. This helps them maintain their shape and makes them easier to handle.
- Glazed Muffins Or A Streusel Topping: For an extra special touch, try adding a sweet orange glaze on top of the muffins. Combine powdered sugar, fresh orange juice, and a little orange zest in a small bowl and drizzle it over the cooled muffins. For even more indulgence, add a streusel topping to the tops of the muffins!
- Mini Muffins: You can turn this orange cranberry muffin recipe into mini muffins! Add the batter to a mini muffin pan lined with mini cupcake liners. The main thing you’ll need to adjust is the baking time, which I would recommend checking at the halfway mark for doneness and remove as soon as a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.
- Whole Wheat Cranberry Muffins: Use whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour instead of all purpose or gluten free flour to add a healthy dose of whole grains to this recipe!
- Blueberry Orange Muffins: For a fun twist on the traditional cranberry orange muffins, swap out the cranberries for blueberries. The sweet blueberries will balance the tartness of the orange, giving you a deliciously sweet muffin.
- Cranberry-Orange Muffins With Nuts: Add a crunchy twist to your homemade muffins by adding a handful of chopped nuts. Walnuts or pecans would work wonderfully with the tart cranberries and bright orange zest.
- Protein-Packed Muffins: If you’re looking to add a protein punch to this recipe for orange cranberry muffins, consider adding a scoop of your favorite plant-based protein powder to the dry ingredients. Just ensure to add an extra splash of almond milk to ensure your muffins have a moist texture.
🍽 Serving Suggestions
These gluten-free cranberry orange muffins are not just for breakfast! They can be enjoyed in a variety of ways throughout the day. Here are some of our favorite serving suggestions:
- Breakfast: Start your day right with these orange cranberry muffins paired with a fresh breakfast fruit salad or a smoothie. The tart cranberries and bright orange zest will wake up your taste buds, setting the tone for a refreshing day.
- Brunch: This cranberry orange muffin recipe is a perfect addition to any brunch menu. Serve them with a tofu scramble or a stack of mochi pancakes. They also pair well with a cup of freshly squeezed orange juice for a citrusy twist.
- Dessert: These sweet and tart muffins can double as a light dessert. Serve them after dinner with a dollop of vegan ice cream or a drizzle of sweet orange glaze for a delightful treat.
- Christmas Morning: Make your Christmas morning special with these festive cranberry orange muffins. They’re a perfect way to celebrate cranberry season and bring a little holiday cheer to your breakfast table.
🙌 Dietary Adaptations
This cranberry orange muffins recipe is already vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free so it can accommodate most dietary restrictions! The use of gluten-free flour, olive or vegetable oil, and unsweetened almond milk ensures that it adheres to these dietary needs.
Nut-Free Option: If you are looking to make this recipe nut-free, you can substitute the almond milk with nut-free non-dairy milk such as soy milk or oat milk.
- To Refrigerate: After you’ve enjoyed these vegan cranberry orange muffins, any leftovers should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator. They will keep fresh for up to 3-4 days.
- To Freeze: These cranberry and orange muffins can indeed be frozen! Just pack them in a freezer-safe ziplock bag or airtight freezer-safe container. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months, perfect for those times when you need a quick snack or unexpected guests arrive.
- To Reheat: If you’ve stored your muffins in the fridge, simply bring them to room temperature or give them a short zap in the microwave. If they’re coming from the freezer, thaw them in the fridge overnight and then warm them up in the microwave or in the oven at a low temperature. Your cranberry orange muffins will taste as fresh as the day they were baked!
Yes, you can. This recipe is versatile and works well with both gluten-free and regular all-purpose flour. Just make sure to measure it correctly to ensure your muffins turn out fluffy and moist.
Absolutely! If you prefer a more tart flavor, fresh or frozen cranberries can be a great substitute for dried ones in this recipe. Just remember, if you’re using frozen cranberries, there’s no need to defrost them before adding them to the muffin batter.
Mixing almond milk and vinegar and allowing it to sit for a few minutes creates a vegan buttermilk. This adds a nice tang to the muffins and helps to make them tender and moist.
The key to fluffy muffins is not to overmix the batter. Once you’ve added the wet ingredients to the dry, mix until just combined. The batter will be a bit lumpy, and that’s perfectly fine!
🧁 More Muffin Recipes!
- Matcha Muffins
- Peanut Butter Muffins
- Birthday Cake Muffins
- Dairy Free Blueberry Muffins
- Gluten Free Banana Muffins
- Apple Carrot Muffins
- Cinnamon Streusel Muffins
- Blueberry Sourdough Muffins
Love this plant based breakfast recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating 🌟 in the recipe below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page!
📋 Recipe Card
🎥 Watch How to Make It
Cranberry Orange Muffins
- 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.
- 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.