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Gluten-Free Orange Cranberry Muffins

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Let’s make Gluten-Free Orange Cranberry Muffins! These light, fluffy cranberry muffins are packed with fresh cranberries and bright citrus flavor. (Dairy Free, too!) 

Orange Cranberry Muffins from One Lovely Life

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 gluten-free orange cranberry muffins are one of our most recent projects and we’ve been eating them on repeat ever since. They taste amazing! With their fluffy texture & sweet-tart flavor, 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 gluten-free 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!

Gluten Free Dairy Free Orange Cranberry Muffins from One Lovely Life

Simple Ingredients For Gluten-Free 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 milk or cashew milk are my go-to’s. Rice milk, oat milk, dairy milk, coconut 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 use another gluten-free flour blend, make sure it contains xanthan gum or the muffins won’t turn out properly!
  • 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 on top of the muffins 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.
Gluten Free Dairy Free Orange Cranberry Muffins from One Lovely Life

How To Make Gluten-Free Cranberry Muffins, Step By Step:

  1. Preheat Oven & Prep Your Pan. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with parchment paper liners or grease to prevent sticking.
  2. Start Wet Ingredients. 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.
  3. Finish Wet Ingredients. Add avocado oil, honey, eggs, and vanilla to the orange/milk mixture, and whisk until smooth.
  4. Combine Dry Ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, combine gluten free flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk to combine.
  5. Add Wet Ingredients To Try Ingredients. 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).
  6. Fold In Cranberries. 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).
  7. 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)
  8. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with turbinado sugar.
  9. 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 wire rack to finish cooling.
  10. Serve & Store. Enjoy warm muffins right away or store in an airtight container at room temperature 1-2 days, in the fridge for 3-4 days, or in the freezer up to 2 months. 

A Great Muffin Trick:

If you have the time, you can let the batter rest 30-60 minutes before scooping it into the muffin cups. This will give your muffins a much higher rise!

Gluten Free Dairy Free Orange Cranberry Muffins from One Lovely Life

FAQ + Tips For The Best 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.

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.

More Gluten-Free Brunch Recipes To Try:

WE SUGGEST:

⭐ Don’t forget to leave a star review and comment below when you make our Gluten-Free Cranberry Orange Muffins recipe. I can’t wait to hear how it goes!

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Orange Cranberry Muffins from One Lovely Life

Orange Cranberry Muffins (Gluten Free & Dairy Free)


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.6 from 10 reviews

  • Author: One Lovely Life
  • Total Time: 28 minutes
  • Yield: 12 muffins 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

These light fluffy muffins are packed with fresh cranberries and bright citrus flavor. They’re perfect for the holidays! (Gluten free & dairy free) 


Ingredients

Scale
  • Zest of 1 orange (about 12 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 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups gluten free measure-for-measure flour blend (240 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/41/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries*
  • 1/21 Tablespoons coarse Turbinado sugar (sometimes sold as Sugar in The Raw)

Instructions

  1. Preheat Oven & Prep Your Pan. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with parchment muffin liners or grease to prevent sticking.
  2. Start Wet Ingredients. 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.
  3. Finish Wet Ingredients. Add avocado oil, honey, eggs, and vanilla to the orange/milk mixture, and whisk until smooth.
  4. Combine Dry Ingredients. In a large bowl, combine gluten free flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk to combine.
  5. Add Wet Ingredients To Try Ingredients. 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).
  6. Fold In Cranberries. 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).
  7. 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)
  8. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with turbinado sugar.
  9. 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 wire rack to finish cooling.
  10. Serve & Store. Enjoy right away or store in an airtight container at room temperature 1-2 days, in the fridge for 3-4 days, or in the freezer up to 2 months.

Notes

  • Frozen Cranberries. You can substitute frozen cranberries, if needed. Keep them frozen (don’t thaw) when adding to the muffin batter.
  • A Great Trick. If you have the time, you can let the batter rest 30-60 minutes before scooping it into the muffin cups. This will give your muffins a much higher rise!
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18 minutes
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

26 Comments

      1. I have made your cranberry orange muffins in past and they were delicious. I used dried cranberries. Is it better to use fresh cranberries?

        1. I love the texture & flavor fresh cranberries, but several people have made them using dried cranberries. If you can, I recommend letting the dried cranberries soak in a little orange juice or warm water for a few minutes to plump up a bit, then drain them before adding them to the batter. That way they don’t absorb as much moisture from the muffin batter itself. Wishing you so much luck!

    1. 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 🙂

  1. 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!!!






  2. 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?

  3. 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.






    1. 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.

  4. 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?






    1. 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!

  5. 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.






  6. 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

  7. 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.






  8. 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!






  9. 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.






  10. Great flavor and texture ( I used King Arthur GF flour). I did add another 1 tsp of orange zest, and agree with another poster that the muffin isn’t too sweet – if you like yours sweeter then add more sweetener of choice. I heat mine up in the toaster oven then split it open and add a pat of butter- perfect with my tea.






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