Moist, fluffy homemade vegan gluten-free cranberry orange muffins made with fresh (or frozen!) cranberries. These easy-to-make muffins are filled with bright, vibrant flavours and they’re perfect to make for the holidays as snacks or as part of your holiday breakfast or brunch table.
I love baking with cranberries this time of year, which makes me wonder WHY I don’t have more cranberry recipes on my website?!
I do have a few:
Just three. I can do better than that, starting with these dairy-free, egg-free, vegan gluten-free cranberry orange muffins.
This was actually one of the first muffin recipes I made vegan and gluten-free many years ago but I never shared the recipe until now. I have no idea why because they have been a long time favourite in my home.
They’re so loved because the orange and cranberry flavours work so well together. Sweet, tangy, citrusy, tart…all combined into a soft, tender, delicious muffin!
Are you new to vegan gluten-free baking? If so, be sure to read all of my vegan gluten-free baking tips!
Ingredients You’ll Need
You’ll need just a few simple ingredients, all can be seen below.
A gluten-free flour blend (I use Bob’s Red Mill all purpose blend in the RED bag (NOT the blue bag!)), plain applesauce, orange juice and zest, sugar, oil, vanilla, a flax egg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
TIP: One medium-sized orange will give you the amount of juice and zest needed for this recipe.
Preparing the Cranberries
I usually use fresh cranberries to make this recipe and some of them can be quite large, so I cut them in half so every bite contains a perfect burst of cranberry. If you want smaller pieces of cranberries, feel free to cut them into quarters.
If you can’t find fresh cranberries, the next best thing is frozen, but you’ll need to take an extra step to get them ready, full details are in the recipe notes.
How to Make Them
(Note: I’ve outlined the step-by-step on how to make this recipe here, but find the full recipe, ingredients, and directions at the end of this post.)
You’ll start out by mixing the wet ingredients in one bowl and then in another bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients and then fold in the cranberries.
Next, using a large scoop or a spoon, add the batter to your muffin pan and then bake.
After they’ve baked, remove the muffin pan from the oven, let it sit for a minute or two, then remove and place your freshly-baked muffins on a cooling rack.
They can be served warm or fully cooled as snacks and they also make a great addition to your breakfast or brunch table, especially during the holidays.
Optional Recipe Variations
Cranberries go great with chocolate and oranges are perfect with chocolate, so if you want to change things up a bit, you can add a handful of mini chocolate chips to the batter when you add the cranberries.
These muffins are also great with walnuts, so you can add a half cup of chopped walnuts to the batter, if you’d like.
If you want to take these over the top for a special occasion, you can drizzle them with a little orange glaze. I’ve included info on how to make the glaze in the recipe below.
Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Flour Blend (the one in the RED bag) is the only flour I have tested this recipe with. I haven’t made them with any other types of flours, so I can’t say how well others would work.
If you do use a different gluten free flour blend, be aware that results will vary since ingredients and ratios are different between all of the brands and your results may not be the same as mine.
Any neutral flavoured oil can be used for this recipe. I have not tried making this recipe oil-free, so I can’t say whether substituting it with another ingredient, such as applesauce, will work out well.
I use organic cane sugar for this recipe because I wanted to keep the colour of the muffins light, but you can substitute with my regular go-to, coconut sugar, same amount, and still get a perfect result, the only difference will be that your muffins will be darker in colour. I would stay away from a liquid sweetener since major modifications will need to be made to the rest of the recipe to account for the extra moisture it would add.
No, the entire recipe would need to be adjusted to account for the extra moisture coming from the sauce. Stick to fresh or frozen cranberries for this recipe.
I’ve only used fresh and frozen cranberries for this recipe, so I can’t say for sure if dry would work. One thing to keep in mind is that dried cranberries have sugar added to them, so the sugar in the recipe will likely need to be adjusted to account for the extra sweetness. Without having tested myself, I can’t guide on how to adjust successfully. For the best results, I would stick with the recipe as it’s written.
Fresh cranberries are usually easy to find during the fall months and around Easter time at all grocery stores in the fresh produce section and frozen cranberries can be found year round. (I live in Canada, so it may be a little different where you live).
You can make yourself a cranberry orange loaf, BUT rather than adjusting this recipe, use my orange cranberry loaf recipe, instead.
You can also make them as mini muffins, but bake them for less time, around 8-10 minutes.
No, because the baking powder and baking soda will become inactive and your muffins will end up flat and gummy. What you can do is combine all the dry ingredients in advance and store it in an airtight container. When ready, mix the wet ingredients together, add it to the dry ingredients, fold in the cranberries and you’ll be all set!
What’s the Texture Like?
Have a look at the picture below to get an idea.
They’re soft, fluffy, and moist, just like you would expect a really good and proper muffin to be.
No one will know they’re vegan AND gluten-free!
How to Store Leftovers
Store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, after that, move them into the refrigerator for another 3-4 days. When you’re ready to serve, bring them up to room temperature, and you can warm them up slightly, if you’d like, before serving.
To freeze, fully cool and wrap them tightly so they are airtight. Place in an airtight container and freeze for up to one month.
When you’re ready to serve your amazing, delicious your vegan cranberry muffins, thaw them at room temperature and serve. Just before serving, you can warm them up a bit in the microwave.
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Vegan Gluten-Free Cranberry Orange Muffins
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
- 6 tablespoons water
- 1 ¾ cups (245g) gluten free flour blend **see important note about flour below**
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup (80ml) melted coconut oil (plus extra for greasing muffin pan, if needed)
- ½ cup (100g) sugar
- ½ cup (123g) plain unsweetened applesauce
- 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (100g) fresh cranberries (chopped, if needed) see note below
Orange Glaze (Optional)
- 1/2 cup (60g) powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- ¼ teaspoon orange zest
- Preheat oven to 350° F (177° C).
- Prepare your flax eggs by whisking together ground flax seeds and water. Set aside to thicken.
- Line a muffin tin with liners or generously grease the inside of each cup with coconut oil.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a medium bowl, mix the coconut oil, sugar, applesauce, orange juice, orange zest, vanilla, and flax eggs together until blended.
- Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir until combined. Fold in the cranberries.
- Using a spoon or a large scoop, divide batter into the 12 muffin cups.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle of the largest muffin comes out clean.
- Let muffins cool in muffin pan for a few minutes and then remove and place them on a cooling rack.
To Make Orange Glaze (Optional):
- Add the powdered sugar to a small bowl and a little at a time, add the orange juice and whisk until you have a smooth glaze. You may not need the full tablespoon of orange juice, depending on how thick you want it. If you add all the juice and it's too thick, add a little more orange juice, if it's too thin, add a little more powdered sugar. Add the orange zest and mix until it has been incorporated into the glaze.
- Drizzle onto muffins just before serving.
- Please read all of the information and FAQ info above and below before making this recipe.
- It’s important to know that different gluten-free flour blends use different ingredients and ratios, so results will always vary if you substitute. I have never used any other brand of flour to make this recipe (other than Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour (Amazon link) with the red label, NOT the blue label), so please know that your results may not be the same as mine if you substitute with another gluten-free flour blend. The weight listed above is for this specific brand of flour.
- Make sure you measure your flour correctly.
- If your cranberries are large, you can chop them, I usually just cut them in half (see pictures above).
- Frozen cranberries can be used if fresh cranberries are not available. Simply thaw them on a paper towel. When thawed, pat any moisture away and then chop, if needed.
- This recipe will NOT work with coconut flour.
- Any type of neutral flavoured oil can be used in place of the coconut oil, such as avocado or safflower.
- Store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, after that, move them into the refrigerator for another 3-4 days. When you’re ready to serve, bring them up to room temperature, and you can warm them up slightly, if you’d like, before serving.
- To freeze, fully cool and wrap them tightly so they are airtight. Place in an airtight container and freeze for up to one month. When you’re ready to serve them, thaw at room temperature and serve. Just before serving, you can warm them up a bit in the microwave.
- Nutrition info is based on 1 muffin. Nutrition info is only to be used as a rough guide. Click to learn how nutrition info is calculated on this website.