Orange Cranberry Muffins (Gluten Free & Dairy Free)
Orange Cranberry Muffins – These light, fluffy cranberry muffins are packed with fresh cranberries and bright citrus flavor. (Gluten Free & Dairy Free, too!)
Sometimes, a person just needs a really good baking project.
Sunday baking has become a sort of unofficial tradition at our house, whether that means a treat (cookies, endless rounds of brownies, gooey scotcheroos, etc.), some rosemary focaccia for dinner, or something fun for a slower-paced breakfast.
These light, fluffy orange cranberry muffins are one of our most recent projects and we’ve been eating them on repeat ever since. They’re perfect for a holiday breakfast, weekend brunch, or a fun fall baking project. The ingredients are pretty simple and straightforward, but they’re packing BIG flavors and gorgeous colors you won’t want to miss.
Before we dive into the cranberry muffin recipe, I just need to tell you these orange cranberry muffins are AMAZING paired with a dollop of leftover cranberry sauce or a smear of honey butter (or cinnamon honey butter!). Good? Ok, let’s dive in!
WHAT’S IN ORANGE CRANBERRY MUFFINS:
LOTS OF FRESH ORANGE FLAVOR. Just like in our Triple Berry Muffins, I use a combination of orange zest and orange juice for LOTS of bright, fresh orange flavor. If you don’t have a fresh orange to zest, just know the orange flavor will be less pronounced (you may want to increase the cinnamon or vanilla to compensate).
MILK. You can use whatever you drink. We’re dairy free, so unsweetened almond or cashew milk are my go-to’s. Rice milk, oat milk, dairy milk, etc. will all work!
AVOCADO OIL + HONEY + EGGS + VANILLA. The rest of our wet ingredients really play up the orange and cranberry flavors and give these a light, delicious texture that’s SO AMAZING fresh out of the oven!
GLUTEN FREE FLOUR BLEND. I make my orange cranberry muffins gluten free using a measure-for-measure gluten free flour blend. My two favorites are this one from King Arthur Flour and this one from Bob’s Red Mill. (If you’re not GF, see the FAQ!)
BAKING POWDER, SODA, SALT, CINNAMON. I finish up the dry ingredients with plenty of light, fluffy puffiness and just enough salt and cinnamon to round things out and give these a holiday feel. (Like more cinnamon? Add more!)
FRESH CRANBERRIES. Fresh cranberry season is the perfect time to make these orange cranberry muffins! I love them with fresh cranberries best, since they don’t make the muffins quite as wet. In a pinch, you *can* use frozen cranberries. (See the FAQ for more details!)
A LITTLE COARSE SUGAR. IF you want to send these over the top, sprinkle on a little coarse turbinado sugar before baking. It only takes about 1/2-1 Tbsp. for the whole recipe, but that delightful crackly crunch on top makes it seem like you got these orange cranberry muffins from a bakery.
FAQ + TIPS FOR PERFECT ORANGE CRANBERRY MUFFINS
LET’S TALK MUFFIN PANS! If you like some nice browning along the edges, you’ll probably be happiest with a metal muffin pan + parchment muffin cups. If you like super easy clean-up, we love these silicone muffin pans. (After the first 1-2 uses, they’re completely nonstick and don’t require liners or spray! The edges don’t brown as much, but the clean-up couldn’t be easier!)
CAN I USE FROZEN CRANBERRIES INSTEAD OF FRESH? Yes, though they will affect the texture somewhat. Don’t thaw them before using, and know that the muffins will be slightly more wet and dense.
HOW DO YOU STORE ORANGE CRANBERRY MUFFINS? They’ll be okay for a day or so in a bag on the counter, but they’ll keep 3-4 days in the refrigerator and at least a month in the freezer. You can reheat them in the oven, toaster oven, or even microwave!
I’M NOT GLUTEN FREE. CAN I MAKE THESE WITH REGULAR FLOUR? Yes! I made my orange cranberry muffins using a gluten free measure-for-measure substitute, meaning you’d use the same amount of white flour.
CAN I USE ALMOND FLOUR OR COCONUT FLOUR INSTEAD? Neither almond nor coconut flour are a direct substitute for gluten free flour, and unless you play with the ratios of liquid to flour, the muffins will not turn out the same. I don’t recommend them for this cranberry muffin recipe.
LOVE THESE MUFFINS? MAKE IT A MEAL WITH ONE OF THESE OTHER FAVES…
- BLT Quiche
- Gluten Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Paleo Mini Quiche
- Orange Triple Berry Muffins
- Superfood Blueberry Pomegranate Smoothie
HELPFUL FOR THIS RECIPE:
Orange Cranberry Muffins (Gluten Free & Dairy Free)
- Total Time: 28 minutes
- Yield: 12 muffins 1x
These light fluffy muffins are packed with fresh cranberries and bright citrus flavor. They’re perfect for the holidays! (Gluten free & dairy free)
- Zest of 1 orange (about 1–2 tsp.)
- 1/4 cup orange juice (from the orange, or from a carton)
- 3/4 cup milk (we like unsweetened almond or cashew milk)
- 1/3 cup avocado oil (or another neutral-tasting oil)
- 1/3 cup honey (can sub agave or maple syrup)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 cups gluten free measure-for-measure flour blend
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4–1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries*
- 1/2–1 Tbsp. coarse Turbinado sugar (sometimes sold as Sugar in The Raw)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Line a muffin pan with parchment muffin cups or grease to prevent sticking.
- In a 2-cup measuring cup or small bowl, combine orange zest, orange juice, and milk. Stir to combine and let the mixture rest for at least 2-3 minutes while you prep your other ingredients.
- Add avocado oil, honey, eggs, and vanilla to the orange/milk mixture, and whisk until smooth.
- In a large bowl, combine gluten free flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk to combine.
- Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until mixture is just combined and there are no large powdery spots left (some small lumps are fine).
- Add cranberries to the batter and gently fold in, to combine. (If desired, reserve a few cranberries for the top of your muffins to make them extra pretty).
- Scoop the batter into 12 muffin cups (muffin cups will be full). (Add any reserved cranberries to the tops of the muffins and gently press into the batter, if desired)
- Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with turbinado sugar.
- Bake at 400 degrees F for 17-20 minutes, or until the muffins are puffed and golden.
- Remove from the oven and let cool 1-2 minutes in the muffin pan before transferring to a cooling rack.
*You can substitute frozen cranberries, if needed. Keep them frozen (don’t thaw) when adding to the muffin batter.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 18 minutes
- Category: Muffins, Breakfast, Brunch
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Cranberry muffins, orange cranberry muffins, gluten free muffins, gluten free cranberry muffins, gluten free orange cranberry muffins, dairy free muffins
I am happy to have found this recipe…it’s delicious!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!! Thank you so much for sharing and taking the time to rate the recipe. I appreciate it so much!
can I use dried cranberries
I haven’t made them with dried cranberries before, but you could try! You may want to slightly re-hydrate them in some water or orange juice for a few minutes so they can soften 🙂
OMG, these are AMAZING!! I used Craisins without rehydrating them and the muffins came out perfect. The cranberries were very moist. And I used Pillsbury 1 to 1 gluten free flour. And because I had no oil, I just used melted butter. I put a little butter and some marmalade on them while they were hot, and I was in heaven. Thank you so, so much for this recipe. Some gluten free recipes just don’t come out that great, this one is DELICIOUS!!!
Oh GOOD! I’m so glad to hear that Lori! 🙂
Mine were gummy and chewy not sure what went wrong, they looked beautiful but not such a good taste. Used Maple syrup not honey. Any thoughts?
Oh no! What flour blend did you use?
My muffins we’re also gummy and not light and fluffy like I had hoped they would be. I used the Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 baking flour and vegetable oil instead of avocado oil and frozen cranberries (kept these in the freezer until it was time to fold them in). Any ideas on what went wrong? I’d love for this recipe to work.
Marina – I’m so sorry you ran into trouble. The most likely culprit is the frozen berries. They seep moisture into the muffins and can make them wet/dense. You’ll get the lightest, fluffiest muffins with fresh cranberries. (Or even soaked and drained dried cranberries) The other thing to double-check is that you’re not packing your flour into your measuring cups. Sometimes even just a few tablespoons too much flour can lead to dense or gummy muffins. I use the scoop and level method which really helps me.
Fantastic recipe! I make these all of the time. Can I make a bread loaf with all the exact same recipe and just adjust the time?
I’m so glad to hear that! I haven’t tried this as a loaf, but often you can turn muffins into a loaf of bread by extending the bake time like you said. Love that idea! I’d love to hear how it goes if you give it a try!
Thank you for this recipe. I made a few adjustments, one being I used oats and ground them into flour – it’s a 1 cup flour to 1 1/3 cup oat ratio and they came out great. I also used coconut milk as thats what I had. Now, I assume due to the flour adjustment, the citrus from the orange juice was very strong, but still very flavorful.
Hey so Desperate to make these as I’m coeliac completely lost on what flower to use is it plain gluten-free or is it self raising gluten free flower sorry just getting my head round all this
Sam – I’m using a 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend. It’s not self-raising, but does contain xanthan gum. I hope that helps!
Excellent. Madeb2ith gf flr and frozen cranberries and was very happy with result.
So glad you loved them, Maggie. THANK YOU for leaving a review!
Overall the recipe makes good breakfast muffins. I’d like make a few suggestions to make them more flavorful: for a stronger citrusy flavor, I increased the OJ to 1/2 cup and reduced the almond milk accordingly. Also added the zest of 3 oranges. Also note, I would add a little more than the 1/3 cup maple/honey combo and skip the sugar topping. Lastly, I would not bake the muffins at 400 degrees for 17 minutes. They were slightly over baked. Next time I’d bake it at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Sounds like a great way to get them just the way you like them 🙂
Great muffin, and amazing taste and texture. My mom is gluten free, but I am not and I still loved these. They got a little stuck to the muffin paper, although that’s probably because I added an extra egg. I made the muffins with craisins, and they turned out wonderful. I would definitely make these again! Thanks for the great recipe!
M – LOVED hearing this! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review and share with me!
Just made these gluten free muffins, they were delicious.
I was didn’t have enough unsweetened almond milk so I made up the difference with hp milk. Ran short of honey and made up the difference with maple syrup. Great recipe.
I’m so glad your swaps worked! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review–I appreciate you!