These delicious vegan cranberry orange muffins are super easy and quick to make, plus they make for such a nice winter treat. Made with fresh cranberries and freshly pressed orange juice, they are so full of flavor! Perfect holiday breakfast or brunch idea and makes for a tasty afternoon snack.
These vegan cranberry orange muffins are right in time for the holiday season! Fresh cranberries aren’t just meant to make cranberry sauce or cranberry drinks once a year during the holiday celebration, they are AMAZING in baked goods too!
I originally wanted to make some vegan orange muffins because I am so obsessed with orange desserts and sweet recipes. I like sneaking in extra zesty orange flavor especially in chocolate recipes such as this dark chocolate orange cake and these chocolate orange overnight oats.
But then I saw a bag of fresh cranberries at our local market and decided to also include them in my orange muffins. And wow, the result was exactly what I was looking for: super festive, bold in flavor, very winter-y and makes for such colorful and delicious muffins!
The combination of orange and cranberry flavors are obviously a classic and definitely work amazingly together when making vegan muffins. I just cannot get enough of that nice pop of red tart bite from the fresh cranberries.
Also, we are using whole oranges (zest + juice) to get that powerful orange zesty flavor, more nutrients and extra natural sugar. Use store-bought freshly pressed orange juice if in a pinch, but I highly recommend juicing your own oranges for best flavor. It is worth the extra effort!
They are unbelievably fluffy, perfectly sweetened and make for a perfect breakfast or snack with a cup of milk tea. They have that nice soft and tender texture, even if made without vegan butter and completely dairy-free.
I bet these vegan cranberry muffins are going to be your new favorite plant-based treat once it's winter time! What a great way to take full advantage of the short season of fresh cranberries.
Hope you like them! ❤️
Ingredients you will need
- Fresh cranberries: available a little bit everywhere in the produce section usually once November comes. If you cannot find them, then simply use frozen cranberries (no need to thaw them first)!
- Fresh oranges: I highly recommend choosing Navel oranges for this recipe. They are sweet and juicy, which works great for baking. You will need 1 ¼ cup of freshly pressed orange juice, which means about 2-3 large oranges, more if using small oranges.
- Flour: I used unbleached all-purpose flour to make them. I haven't tried using whole wheat flour yet, but usually, you can substitute up to 50% of the amount of flour with a whole wheat version. The muffins will be more dense and a little less fluffy in that case.
- Baking soda and baking powder: both leveling agents. Make sure you use an aluminum-free baking powder to avoid a metallic flavor. Also check the expiration date!
- Brown sugar: you won't need a lot to make this recipe since the fresh oranges bring lots of natural sweetness, only ½ cup for the whole recipe!
- Ground flax seeds: act as a binder to replace the eggs.
- Coconut oil: use refined coconut oil to avoid a coconut flavor. I haven’t tried using any other kind of oil yet, so try not to swap.
How to make them
Pre-heat the oven to 350º and line a muffin pan with 12 paper muffin liners.
Prepare the fruits
Start by zesting a whole orange and set aside. Also, juice and measure 1 ¼ cup of orange juice and set aside as well.
Then, clean and dry the cranberries. Taking them one by one, slice in half and then roughly chop them.
Make the batter
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, and salt.
In a medium bowl, combine the flax seeds with the 2 tablespoons of water. Let it sit for about 5 minutes: it will thicken/form a gel while resting similar to beaten eggs.
Then, add the melted coconut oil to the flax mixture as well as the orange juice and orange zest. Stir well to combine.
Pour the wet ingredients over the flour mixture and stir until "just" combined. Then, add the chopped cranberries and fold them in the batter without over mixing.
Divide the batter in between the 12 muffin liners (I like using my medium size ice cream scoop to do that) and bake for 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let them cool down for 5-10 minutes before enjoying.
Watch how to make them
- As described above, make sure not to over mix the batter. Over mixing a batter can remove/crush the bubbles of air forming, which would result in dense and heavy muffins. Simply fold/stir the batter with a spatula until you cannot see any dry spots of flour anymore and then stop, that way you will have fluffy and light delicious muffins!
- For best result, measure the flour using the spoon and level method. Here is a quick visual showing how to do that. If you over pack the measuring cups with too much flour, then you will end up with muffins that are too dry.
- Mine are perfectly done after 25 minutes in the oven, but every oven is different! So, check for doneness using a clean toothpick by pocking into the muffins: it should come out clean!
- Surprisingly, fresh cranberries can be tricky to chop as they just bounce around when you try to grasp them with the knife. For that reason, you will have to go one-by-one and slice them in half first before chopping them a little more (see video). You could use a food processor to chop them, but the batter might turn a little pink-ish and you will end up with more dishes to clean. If using, then only pulse a few times so it is not over processed and you still have some larger pieces of fruit.
As for most baking recipes, there are not much room for modifications. But here are some things that you can do:
- Add some vanilla extract or a pinch of cinnamon if you love these flavors. I think they would both pair well with the orange and cranberries.
- Fold in some chopped nuts into the batter for added texture with a nice crunch. Walnuts and pecans would especially work great for this recipe.
- Sprinkle some coarse sugar over the muffins just before baking them, especially if you want sweeter muffins. The sugar would also create a nice little crust.
I think these muffins are amazing as an afternoon snack with a cup of tea as they are light, just a little sweetened and not overly filling. Perfect to calm down a mid-day sweet craving!
Also great for breakfast with a cup of coffee. Our kids loved them with a chilled glass of plant-based milk and some vegan butter spread over.
I kept my muffins on the counter top covered for about 3 days. They didn’t last longer than that!
For longer storage, then transfer in the fridge for up to 7 days.
You can also freeze them for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and even microwave for a few seconds to help loosen them up before enjoying.
I haven’t tried making them without using coconut oil, but I often swapped oil for apple sauce in baking and that usually worked fine. The result will be muffins that are a little more dense, but probably will still work. Let us know in the comment section if you try them oil-free!
I think that would be great too, although the flavor would vary slightly from using fresh fruits. If using dried fruits, then use about ½-3/4 cup instead of a whole cup.
For most baking recipes, you can swap the regular flour for this 1:1 gluten-free flour from King Arthur.
More vegan muffins you might like
- Vegan peach muffins
- Chocolate and beet muffins
- Zucchini raisin muffins
- Almond flour banana muffins
- Vegan strawberry muffins
- Vegan blackberry muffins
Also try these holiday recipes
- Lentil mushroom meatloaf
- Vegan millionaire shortbread
- Vegan meatballs in gravy
- Mashed purple sweet potatoes
- Vegan cauliflower gratin
- Cranberry orange fizzy mocktail
- Vegan "beef" tempeh stew
- Vegan onion gravy
- Kale aple salad
- Vegan cheese ball
- Cranberry coulis
I hope you like these vegan cranberry orange muffins recipe as much as we do! If you try them, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how they were. Your feedback is so helpful!
Vegan Cranberry Orange Muffins
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ cup brown sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp ground flax seeds + 2 tbsp water
- 1¼ cup freshly pressed orange juice - about 2-3 large Navel oranges
- ⅓ cup refined coconut oil - melted
- zest from 1 orange
- 1 cup fresh cranberries - roughly chopped
- Pre-heat the oven to 350º. Line a muffin pan with 12 muffin paper liners.
- Start by preparing the fruits: zest 1 orange and set aside. Also juice the orange and measure 1 ¼ cups, set aside. Chop the cranberries.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar and salt.
- In a medium bowl, combine the ground flax seeds with the water and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the coconut oil using the stove or the microwave.
- Pour the melted coconut oil over the flax mixture and add the orange juice and orange zest. Stir until combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients over the flour mixture and stir until just combined (do not over mix). Then, fold in the chopped cranberries.
- Divide the batter in between the 12 prepared muffin tins and bake in the oven for 25 muffins. Let them sit for 5 minutes before unmolding. Enjoy!
- I recommend to follow the scoop and level method to measure the flour.
- Keep the muffins on the counter covered for up to 3 days. Transfer to the fridge for storage up to 7 days. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months.