These healthy cranberry orange muffins are perfect for holiday brunches or any time you need a healthy, seasonal muffin! Fresh cranberries along with fresh orange juice & zest make these wholesome muffins burst with flavor in every bite.
Inspired by my raspberry lemon muffins, these healthy cranberry orange muffins are incredibly tender and festive for the holiday season. Make a batch for breakfast or brunch so that your loved ones can enjoy a wholesome treat with their morning coffee! Or, meal prep these muffins throughout winter for a healthy and quick breakfast that tastes like a treat.
These muffins are made entirely with wholesome ingredients and unrefined sugars and flours, yet they are so flavorful and moist. You're going to love them!
- White whole wheat flour - one of my favorite unrefined flours for making tender baked goods.
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Fine salt
- Coconut oil
- Maple syrup
- Plain Greek yogurt - preferably 2% or whole milk to yield the most tender, moist texture.
- Orange - for both fresh juice and zest.
- Vanilla extract
- Fresh cranberries
- Coarse turbinado sugar - Optional, but highly recommended for sweet crunch and sparkle!
To make these muffins, start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees and lining a 12-cup muffin tin with parchment liners.
Then, whisk together the white whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in bowl, and set aside.
Melt the coconut oil in the microwave and allow it to slightly cool (so as not to cook the eggs). In a separate large bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, pure maple syrup, eggs, vanilla extract, plain Greek yogurt, orange juice, and zest. Make sure to whisk it together until you get a smooth, uniform texture.
Then, add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and gently mix until just combined.
Now, it's time for cranberries! Combine the fresh cranberries with just a bit of flour to keep them from sinking to the bottom of the muffin cups when baked. Then, fold the cranberries into the batter.
To get ready to bake, spoon the batter evenly into your prepared 12-cup muffin tin. I highly recommend lining the muffin tin cups with unbleached parchment paper, but you could also grease the muffin tin for easy muffin removal.
Also, I recently realized I do love using a cookie scoop (affiliate link) for this task! It ensures evenly sized scoops, and most of all, it's much easier to get this thick batter off the spoon when you can eject it. A cookie scoop does just that!
Optional, but highly recommended for a sweet little crunch with each bite, sprinkle the tops of the muffin batter cups with a bit of coarse turbinado sugar before baking. Alternatively, you add this post-baking by dipping warm muffins in melted coconut oil or butter, and then dipping in the coarse sugar.
Bake at 425 for five minutes, then reduce your oven heat to 350 degrees, and bake for another 14-16 minutes, depending on your oven. You'll know they're done when the tops are slightly browned, and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with just a couple tender crumbs.
Once they're done baking, remove the muffins from the oven and allow them to cool just enough so that you can safely remove them from the pan. If they're still too hot, you can gently dump them onto to a table or counter. The muffins will continue to cook in a hot muffin tin, so it's important to take them out of the pan early to avoid dry texture.
Hint: For super tender muffins, it's important not to over-mix the batter! When you add the dry ingredients into the wet, gently stir them together until just combined (no visible flour). Over-mixing the batter can yield dry muffins, and we definitely don't want that!
Substitutions & Variations
Below are some substitutions you can make to accommodate dietary needs or flavors you'd like to explore.
- Gluten free - Feel free to sub the white whole wheat flour for a gluten free flour blend at a 1:1 ratio. Make sure it's a gluten free flour blend that's specifically for measure-for-measure substitutions.
- Nuts - Adding chopped walnuts or slivered almonds to these muffins would be delicious!
- Sweetener - You can sub agave or honey for the maple syrup in a 1:1 ratio.
- Vegan* - I have not tried to make these muffins vegan yet, but if you would like to try it, you could test it out by swapping a plant-based yogurt in for the Greek yogurt, as well as flax eggs for the real eggs. I can't vouch for results just yet, but I would love to hear how it goes if you try it!
Store healthy cranberry orange muffins on the countertop in an airtight container for a few days before transferring them to the fridge. They are moist, so they can get moldy when left on the counter in a container for more than a few days.
To freeze these muffins, place them in an airtight container or reusable storage bag (one that seals tightly), and store them in your freezer for up to three months. Thaw on the countertop until they come back to room temp.
Oven times truly do vary, so I recommend is baking the muffins at 425 for 5 minutes, then at 350 for another 13 minutes. At minute 13, toothpick test a few muffins to see if the toothpick comes out dry with a few crumbs on it. If so, you can take the muffins out and allow them to cool in the pan for two minutes until you take them out. If the toothpick comes out with batter on it, bake the muffins for 2-3 more minutes. This will help you avoid drying out your muffins!
Cranberry Orange Muffin FAQs
See my Top Tip above to avoid over-baking, which is notorious for drying out muffins! Additionally, make sure not to over-mix the batter. When you combine dry and wet ingredients, stir until the flour is just dissolved, then gently fold in the cranberries.
Use a gluten free measure-for-measure flour such as the kind from Bob's Red Mill. This flour is your best option for this recipe since it can be substituted in a 1:1 ratio, whereas other gluten-free flours (such as almond flour, coconut flour, oat flour, etc.) would need to be tested with other ingredient ratios.
The cranberries sweeten up as they bake and burst into the muffins, but they're still too tart for your tastebuds, you can chop them up a bit before adding them to the batter.
Healthy Cranberry Orange Muffins
- These healthy cranberry orange muffins are fluffy and bursting with fresh cranberry and orange flavor! Made with wholesome ingredients and naturally sweetened, they're the perfect brunch or breakfast treat for the holidays.
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 18
- Total Time: 28 minutes
- Yield: 12 muffins 1x
- Category: Breakfast, brunch
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
- 1 ½ cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup virgin coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
- ¾ cup pure maple syrup
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- ¾ cup plain Greek yogurt (2% or whole milk for richest flavor!)
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice (from one orange)
- orange zest from one orange (~2 tsp; same orange as above)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups fresh cranberries (leave whole or roughly chop)
- Optional: coarse turbinado sugar for sparkling tops
- Preheat & prep. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees, and line a 12-cup muffin tin with unbleached parchment liners (or grease the muffin tin).
- Mix dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in bowl.
- Mix wet ingredients. Whisk together the melted and cooled coconut oil, pure maple syrup, eggs, yogurt, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla extract in a separate, large bowl. Make sure to thoroughly whisk these together so that the maple syrup is fully incorporated into the other ingredients.
- Combine dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients mixture to the wet ingredients mixture and mix until just combined, taking care not to over-mix. Gently fold in the cranberries.
- Fill muffin tin. Spoon the muffin batter evenly into each muffin cup, and sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired.
- Bake muffins. Bake the muffins at 425 degrees for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake at 350 for 13-16 more minutes. I recommend testing the muffins with a toothpick at minute 13 of baking at 350 degrees (minute 18 of total baking time). If the toothpick comes out dry with a couple tender crumbs, take the muffins out. If not, allow them to bake for a couple more minutes before removing them from the oven. Carefully remove the muffins from the tin and allow them to cool for five minutes.
- Storage & Freezing: Store cranberry orange muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days, then transfer to the fridge. To freeze, place muffins in an airtight container or freezer-friendly bag, and freeze for up to three months.
Keywords: healthy cranberry orange muffins, cranberry orange muffins