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VEGAN CRANBERRY ORANGE MUFFINS

Soft and tender on the inside with a crispy top (thanks to a little sugar) and full of orange and cranberry flavors, these Vegan Cranberry Muffins are my favorite in the winter months!

side angle view of freshly made oil free cranberry orange muffins.

Muffins are a great way to start the day and light snack for a quick pick me up during the day.

You’ll find these sweet and flavorful muffins are made dairy and refined sugar free using wholesome, everyday ingredients!

They’re oil-free too, using applesauce instead, making them a healthy addition to your muffin routine.

Whether making for family and friends, a holiday gathering or just because, these delicious Cranberry Orange Muffins will not disappoint!

This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.

top down view of ingredients used to make healthy vegan cranberry orange muffins.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Here’s a list of everything you’ll need, plus ideas for substituting when needed.

  • Cranberries – Fresh or frozen work well, so use whatever is most accessible. If using frozen, there’s no need to thaw them before adding to the batter.
  • Orange Juice + Zest – Use fresh squeezed or your favorite bottled brand. I highly recommend adding orange zest as it adds so much flavor and it looks pretty too!
  • Flour – Use unbleached all-purpose, light spelt flour or whole wheat pastry flour for best results. For GF, use a 1-to-1 gluten free flour blend.
  • Sugar – I used organic pure cane sugar, but coconut sugar or date sugar would be great too. You may even be able to get away with using half and half of sugar and pure maple syrup. Adding a sprinkle of sugar before baking will yield a nice crunchy muffin top!
  • Applesauce – Unsweetened applesauce is preferred. Make your own homemade applesauce (it’s so easy using an Instant Pot or slow cooker) or use store bought. If you don’t have applesauce on hand, use light flavored olive oil (or your favorite neutral flavored oil).
  • Baking Powder – This double acting leavening agent is a must to ensure a good rise and spread.
  • Baking Soda – This ingredient helps rise and helps give the muffins tops a nice golden color. If you don’t have baking soda on hand, use HEAPING teaspoons of baking powder.
  • Salt – My favorite everyday salt is pink mineral salt (affiliate link) which naturally contains essential minerals and trace elements the body needs.

top down view showing the process of making healthy cranberry orange muffin batter.

How To Make Vegan Cranberry Orange Muffins

Making cranberry orange muffins is super easy and requires just a few simple steps. (Note – The full printable recipe is at the bottom of this post)

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with parchment liners or lightly grease with oil.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the orange juice and applesauce, mix well until just combined, don’t overmix. Gently fold in the cranberries and orange zest, as pictured above.

top down view of cranberry orange muffin batter in muffin tin and ready to bake.

  • Spoon the batter into the muffin tin holes, filling to the rim (shown above). Optionally, top with a few cranberries and sprinkle of sugar.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Once done (shown below), let cool a few minutes and enjoy!

Top Tips

  • When measuring the flour, don’t scoop it out of the container with the measuring cup. Instead, spoon it into your measuring cup, leveling it off with the back of a knife.
  • Don’t overmix the batter, as overmixing can cause muffins to be tough and bake unevenly.
  • Add a sprinkle of sugar overtop each muffin just before baking. The sugar hardens and will create a nice crispy muffin top.
  • Place muffins on the center rack when baking.
  • To test for doneness, insert a wooden toothpick into center of one of the center muffins in the pan. The toothpick should come out clean or with a few moist crumbs clinging to it.

top down view of freshly made healthy vegan cranberry orange muffins in a muffin tin.

How To Store Leftover Muffins

  • Counter: Once completely cooled, store the muffins in an airtight container, lined with a paper towel, on the counter for up to 3 – 4 days. The paper towel will soak up moisture and keep them from getting too moist. They also do fine loosely covered for 1 – 2 days.
  • Refrigerator: Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  • Freezer: Store in the freezer for up to 2 months stored individually wrapped in a freezer safe container or bag. When ready to eat, let the muffins come to room temp and warm in a toaster oven before eating if you like.

Can I make bread out of this muffin recipe? 

You sure can! Head on over to this Favorite Cranberry Orange Bread and give it a try.

More Easy Baking Recipes

top down view of cranberry orange muffin sliced in half on a small white plate.

If you try this vegan muffin recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.

Print

VEGAN CRANBERRY ORANGE MUFFINS

Sweet, fluffy, with an amazing orange aroma and juicy, tart cranberries in every bite, these Cranberry Orange Muffins are healthy, easy to make and so delicious!

  • Author: Julie | The Simple Veganista
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 12 muffins 1x
  • Category: Breakfast, Snack
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar (pure cane, coconut or date)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with parchment liners or lightly grease with oil.

Mix: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the orange juice and applesauce, mix well until just combined, don’t overmix. Fold in the cranberries and orange zest.

Fill Muffin Tin: Spoon the batter into the muffin tin holes, filling to the rim. Optionally, top with a few cranberries as desired and a sprinkle of sugar for a crunchy top.

Bake: Place on the center rack and bake for 30 minutes. Once done, let cool a few minutes and enjoy!

Store: Muffins will keep on the counter, loosely covered, for up to 3 days. For longer storage keep in the refrigerator for up to 6 days, or freeze for up to 2 – 3 months.

Notes

Flour: Use light spelt, unbleached all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour. You can play around with a mix of any of these. For GF, use 1-to-1 gluten-free flour blend.

When measuring the flour, don’t scoop it out of the container with the measuring cup. Instead, spoon it into your measuring cup, leveling it off with the back of a knife.

Don’t overmix the batter, as overmixing can cause muffins to be tough and bake unevenly.

Add a sprinkle of sugar overtop each muffin just before baking. The sugar hardens and will create a nice crispy muffin top.

If you don’t have baking soda on hand, make the teaspoons of baking powder heaping.

RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT: I love these parchment muffin liners for lining this 12-cup muffin tin (affiliate links). For more of my favorite cooking tools, shop my kitchen essentials!

Keywords: vegan cranberry orange muffins, cranberry orange muffin recipe, healthy oil-free muffins

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21 Comments

  1. These are delicious and I love that they are fat free. I replaced the flour with 1 cup GF flour and 1 cup oatmeal flour and they are wonderful.

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Love the flour adaptation! This will certainly help others. Thanks for sharing, Chelle!

  2. I used whole wheat flower which worked out great! I also used coconut sugar, definitely a delicious recipe! You want to sprinkle the top with sugar as it creates this beautiful crisp topping. Loved it.

  3. Marilynn Shymanovitz says:

    I made these today they were great. I processed fresh cranberries and used only one cup as I made mini muffins, the amount of cranberries was perfect. I cut baking time in half 15 minutes. I will definitely be making them again.

  4. Ann F Smitt says:

    I made these delicious muffins this morning as a gift. Fun recipe to make and give.

  5. Such a delicious muffin! So light, fluffy, and fresh, perfect for breakfast or bunch. I had a bottle of vegetable oil that needed to be used up so I used the oil instead of the applesauce and they came out fabulous! I also squeezed the OJ fresh from some oranges that had been sitting in my fridge and needed to be used up. (It took 6 oranges if anyone is considering doing this.) I didn’t have fresh cranberries so I used 1 cup of dried ones (that also needed to be used up) and soaked them in hot water while I was juicing the oranges and mixing the dry ingredients. Maybe next time I would knock a minute or two off of the bake time as they did come out a dark golden brown, and perhaps add in some vanilla, but still, they are lovely!

  6. Made these for Thanksgiving 2021, they were easy and so yummy, thank you so much!

  7. This is my favorite muffin recipe of all time. So easy and a crowd pleaser. I usually use about a cup of dried cranberries and 1/2 cup or so of walnuts.

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