Sweet, tart, seasonal and satisfying, these Vegan Cranberry Orange Muffins are the make-ahead breakfast and after-school snack of your dreams. Made with just 10 easy-to-find ingredients in only 30 minutes, these healthy orange cranberry muffins are simple enough for weeknight baking and tasty enough for any time your tummy gets a little rumbly.
Now that the days are growing shorter and colder and the mornings are darker, I’m finding that I need a little extra incentive to drag myself out of my cozy, warm bed in the mornings. Luckily, these ridiculously flavorful and sneakily healthy cranberry orange muffins are just what the doctor ordered.
Packed with whole-grain goodness and bright, juicy pops of fruit, these perfectly portioned bites of heaven are crave-able enough to defeat the warm embrace of my favorite flannel sheets. Paired with a mug of earl grey tea spiked with a splash of creamy oat milk as I gaze out on the autumnal splendor? Mornings might just be my favorite part of the day now — at least until I run out of my vegan cranberry muffins, that is.
As promised, you only need 10 simple ingredients to make this easy recipe for cranberry orange muffins. Here’s what to grab:
- Cranberries - Either fresh or frozen work here! Also, pro tip: I recommend you stock up on fresh cranberries while you can. Their season is short, they’re typically quite cheap (I found a bag for less than $1.75 just yesterday!), and they’ll last for 3-4 weeks in the fridge or up to a year in the freezer.
- Whole Wheat Flour - For a boost of protein, fiber, and essential minerals. You’re welcome to swap in either white whole-wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour (or any combination thereof) instead.
- Baking Powder & Baking Soda - For leavening. Yes, you need both.
- Salt - For seasoning. I typically use Diamond kosher salt in the kitchen. Please refer to this conversion chart if you use another variety (e.g. sea salt, table salt, pink salt).
- Non-Dairy Milk - I prefer using unsweetened vanilla or unflavored plant-based milk here. Some days I use almond, others I use oat. Any that is in your fridge will do the trick!
- Maple Syrup - This is my preferred liquid sweetener, especially this time of year. Feel free to swap in agave nectar, brown rice syrup, or date syrup instead.
- Neutral Oil - Avocado is usually my top choice, but grapeseed, peanut, canola, corn, or vegetable oil will all work just as well.
- Vanilla Extract - For warmth and depth. You can also use an equal amount of vanilla paste or powder, or half as much ground vanilla.
- Apple Cider Vinegar - For a touch of acidity to activate the leavening, plus a faint hint of fall flavor. Feel free to use the juice of your orange instead.
- Orange Zest - Remove only the bright orange part of the rind. The white pith is quite bitter.
Pro Tips for Vegan Cranberry Orange Muffins
- Store fresh cranberry muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days.
- To freeze: cool completely, and pack in freezer-friendly containers for up to 3 months. Let defrost at room temperature for 10-15 minutes and/or toast to warm through.
Can I substitute dried cranberries for fresh when I make muffins? Sure thing! I suggest reducing the amount you use by about ⅓ cup and soaking them in the juice from your orange first to replump them.
Also, please note that most dried cranberries are sweetened, so this will change the overall nutrition values of the muffins.
Do you have to cook cranberries before baking? Nope! Just toss them in a touch of flour before adding them to the muffin batter so they don’t sink to the bottom.
Can I use frozen cranberries instead of fresh? Yep! You don’t even need to defrost them first.
Are cranberry orange muffins healthy? While I’m not a licensed nutrition professional, I’d venture to say that these muffins fit at least *some* definitions (of which there are many) of what healthy means.
This cranberry orange muffins recipe is made with whole-grain wheat and vitamin-c packed fresh fruit, and without any refined sugar. That’s gotta count for something, right?!?
Preheat your oven to 425°F and grease and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or silicone liners.
In a mixing bowl, mix together the cranberries with 1 tablespoon of flour until the cranberries are coated in the flour. Set aside.
Add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) to the blender and blend for a few seconds until mixed together.
Add the wet ingredients (milk, maple syrup, oil, vanilla extract, and apple cider vinegar), and the orange zest to the blender and blend until smooth.
Pour the cranberries into the blender and give it a mix with a spoon or rubber spatula until the cranberries are well incorporated into the batter.
Pour the batter evenly amongst the 12 muffin cups until they are ¾ths full. Sprinkle the course sugar overtop if using.
Place the muffins in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Then, without opening the oven, reduce the heat to 375°F and bake for another 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Remove from the oven, and allow the muffins to cool slightly before moving them to a cooling rack to cool for another 5-10 minutes.
I love these simple cranberry and orange muffins just the way they are, but there is always plenty of room for customization here at BSV! Here are a few variations to consider:
- Gluten-Free Cranberry Orange Muffins - While I haven’t tried it myself, research leads me to believe you can swap in a cup-for-cup gluten-free flour blend in place of whole wheat flour. Just make sure to let the batter rest for 30-ish minutes before baking to prevent a grainy texture. If you try this, let me know how it goes in the comments!
- Try A Different Citrus - Go with a little tart-on-tart action and make cranberry lemon muffins, perhaps? Cranberry lime also sounds pretty tasty if you ask me.
- Add Nuts - Orange cranberry walnut muffins? Yes, please. Pecans would also be lovely.
- Use Dried Fruit - Make these orange cranberry muffins with dried cranberries instead of fresh to use what you have on hand. Bonus points if you soak them in the fresh orange juice for an hour to re-plump them first.
- Extra Rich - Swap vegan butter for the oil for more of a cranberry-orange cupcake experience. Feel free to add a simple glaze of powdered sugar and plant-based milk to further the dessert-for-breakfast vibes.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
As with the other baked goods recipes on this site, making these cranberry orange muffins vegan doesn’t take any crazy pastry skills! They’re simple enough for even the most novice vegan baker to nail on their first go.
This vegan cranberry orange muffins recipe is:
- Made In Only 30 Minutes - You only need 10 minutes of prep and 20 minutes of baking time to get these sweet treats on the table.
- Wholesome & Nutritious - Fresh fruit, whole-grain flour, and refined sugar-free, these muffins are ideal for fueling your body for the day ahead.
- Only 10 Ingredients - Most of them are pantry staples.
- Meal-Prep, Freezer & Budget-Friendly - Make a dozen portions in just 30 minutes for less than $5. They’ll keep for up to 3-4 days at room temperature or a whole month in the freezer, so a satisfying snack is never far from reach.
Let me know if you try out these vegan cranberry orange muffins and if you do, I would love it if you left a rating and review below! Make sure you also follow along on Instagram and Pinterest for more food inspiration.
More Vegan Snacks to Try:
- No-Bake Granola Bars
- Protein Cookie Dough Bites
- Starbucks Copycat Egg Bites
- Funfetti Protein Bites
- Strawberry Rosemary Scones
- Frozen Yogurt Bark
- Puppy Chow
- Homemade Popcorn Seasoning
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