These healthy cranberry orange oatmeal muffins made with no sugar and contain lots of healthy fiber from oatmeal and oat flour are the perfect cold weather muffin.
Moist and fluffy, naturally sweet from honey and whole orange, the tangy, tart flavour is a cranberry lover’s dream.
Whole fresh cranberries are a common ingredient to have left over from Thanksgiving and Christmas festivities.
The berry of the cranberry shrub is not a commonly used ingredient at other times of the year but it deserves it’s time in the limelight.
Sweet and tart, those who enjoy a more punch than typical overly sweet desserts and preserves love the acidic sharpness that cranberries bring to the table.
With all the rich, fatty, and sugary foods eaten during the holidays, cranberries help to bring some balance.
These cranberry orange oatmeal muffins are a nutritious snack and contain 15% of your daily Vitamin D (3mcg)! An important nutrient during the cold, dark months of winter.
(Another recipe high in vitamin D and antioxidants is this Red Velvet Cheesecake Energy Smoothie)
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What Can I Do with Raw Cranberries?
Besides cranberry sauce, what can you do with raw cranberries?
Cranberries pair very well with citrus and therefore are perfect for cranberry orange muffins and sweet breads. Other ideas are:
- Sweet rolls
- Cranberry sauce tucked inside turkey-mayo sandwiches
- Cranberry compote on top of ice cream
- Add them to protein oatmeal for extra nutrition
- Use raw cranberries inside healthy brownies
- Bake them into oatmeal in place of some of your other favourite berries
Can You Use Raw Cranberries in Muffins?
Raw cranberries can be used in muffins.
Using raw cranberries in your muffins is how you get the juicy, tart bursts of flavour that make these muffins so good.
You do not need to dry them or cook them before baking.
Can I Use Dried Cranberries Instead of Fresh?
You can use dried cranberries instead of fresh in these cranberry orange muffins.
However, you will miss out on the juicy burst of flavour. Dried cranberries are less intense and are almost always sweetened.
You may wish to adjust the amount of sweetener you use in your baking if you choose to use dried cranberries over fresh in your cranberry orange muffins.
Should I Soak Dried Cranberries Before Baking?
You don’t have to soak dried cranberries before baking but you can do so if you wish. If your cranberries are very dry and hard, it is best to replace them with fresh. However, you can try to revive them.
How Do You Revive Dried Cranberries?
- Place dried cranberries in a large heat proof bowl
- Pour boiling water over the cranberries to cover
- Soak cranberries for about 30 minutes
- Strain the cranberries and pat dry for use in your healthy cranberry orange muffins.
What Are the Health Benefits of Cranberries?
Cranberries are highly nutritious. Related to blueberries and the lesser known bilberries and lingonberries, cranberries are also high in antioxidants and vitamins.
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K1
- Vitamin E
Cranberries are high in fiber, with 4.6 grams per 100 gram serving.
The fiber in cranberries is mostly insoluble, meaning it passes through your gut. This can contribute to good gut health but also can possibly cause constipation or other digestive issues if eaten in access.
Are Cranberries Anti-Inflammatory?
Cranberries have been shown to be anti-inflammatory.
Cranberries act on the gut microbiome to help prevent systemic inflammation.
They are also anti-microbial, affecting bacterial adhesion (not allowing bacteria to stick and instead they wash away) — helping to prevent urinary tract infections, particularly with E. Coli bacteria.
Are Cranberries Good For Your Kidneys?
In the same way cranberries help prevent UTIs, they also help with kidney health.
UTIs can travel up to the kidneys, leading to kidney infection called pyelonephritis. Cranberries prevent the most common bacteria, E. Coli, from sticking to the bladder wall and traveling up to the kidneys.
Are Cranberries Good For Diabetics?
Many cranberry products are full of added sugars. If you want a low sugar cranberry product, raw cranberries are the way to go.
You can make these healthy cranberry orange muffins with a diabetic approved sweetener of choice as well.
Check for no sugar added cranberry juice instead of cranberry cocktail, which is sweetened with sugar and other fruit juices.
Some scientific research has shown that the polyphenols in cranberries help to improve insulin levels in overweight and non-obese insulin resistant subjects.
Are Cranberries Good For Your Skin?
Cranberries contain salicylic acid, which is a known ingredient to help improve acne.
Cranberry seed oil is often used for improving skin appearance and preventing blemishes. More research is needed for proof.
Antioxidants such as those found in cranberries — vitamin C, manganese, etc., are excellent for general health, including skin health.
Some antioxidants in cranberries include:
- Quercetin (cranberries are the main fruit source for this antioxidant)
- Ursolic acid (highly anti-inflammatory)
- A-type proanthocyanidins
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How to Make Gluten Free healthy cranberry orange oatmeal Muffins
What Are Gluten Free Muffins Made Of?
There are many options for gluten free flour to use in baking muffins:
- Oat flour
- Almond flour
- Sorghum flour
- Cassava flour
- Tigernut flour
- Teff flour
- Amaranth flour
- Arrowroot flour
- Tapioca flour
- Brown rice flour
- Coconut flour
- Chickpea flour
- Corn flour
For more information on a few of these flours, see my article on The 25 Healthiest Foods for Weight Loss.
Often, gluten free flours will need to be combined for the best results.
These healthy cranberry orange oatmeal muffins are naturally gluten free, meaning it is more by accident than design that they do not contain gluten.
I am not following a gluten free diet, but I know that having gluten free options for traditional recipes such as cranberry orange muffins is nice to have for those that are sensitive or allergic to gluten.
I prefer using oatmeal and oat flour simply because it is highly nutritious and full of gut friendly fiber.
In fact, the other muffin recipes on my site such as these Cinnamon Apple Spice Muffins with Oatmeal and Walnuts are made the exact same way.
Why Are My Gluten Free Muffins Crumbly?
Gluten is what makes flours stick together. So, it’s easy to see why a lack of gluten could cause these healthy cranberry orange muffins, and any other gluten free baked goods, to be more crumbly than traditional white flour muffins.
Using an extra egg, if desired, can help make your cranberry orange muffins or any other gluten free muffins bind together better and be less crumbly.
Personally, I prefer the traditional, less eggy taste of these muffins with a more crumbly texture. The crumbliness doesn’t bother me (or my kids!) at all.
If it bothers you, add an extra egg, or alternatively, you can add xanthan gum to help bind.
Another trick is to let your muffin batter sit for 30 minutes before baking. This can help prevent a gritty texture.
If your cranberry orange muffins are too dry (your batter is dry and you are concerned), you can add some extra liquid or sour cream, yogurt, or kefir.
For these healthy cranberry orange oatmeal muffins, I did not find these extra steps necessary. Feel free to experiment for yourself!
Do I Need Xanthan Gum for Gluten Free Baking?
You do not need xanathan gum for gluten free baking. If you do not like a crumbly texture to your muffins, you can experiment with adding xanthan gum as a binder.
Why Do You Need Xanthan Gum in Gluten Free Baking?
Xanthan gum is a binder to replace the affects that gluten has in traditional flour baking.
This video explains what xanthan gum is, what it’s used for, and how to use it.
Is Baking Soda Gluten Free? What About Baking Powder?
Baking soda is gluten free.
Baking powder can be gluten free or it can contain gluten. Be sure your baking powder is not made with wheat starch, which is contains gluten.
Is Oatmeal Gluten Free?
Oats and oatmeal are naturally gluten free. However, some brands can be manufactured in plants that also process gluten containing grains such as wheat.
Be sure that if you require absolutely gluten free oats for these healthy cranberry orange muffins, you choose certified gluten free oats and oat flour.
Why Are My Muffins Too Moist?
If your healthy cranberry orange oatmeal muffins are too moist, lower the temperature and go for a longer baking time.
If they are dense, add more leavener — baking soda and, or baking powder.
This recipe already compensates for the lack of gluten by adding extra leavener, but you may wish to experiment for yourself.
What Temperature is Best to Bake Muffins?
Can I Rebake Undercooked Muffins?
You can place muffins back into their tins and continue baking for an additional 5 to 10 minutes if required.
Gluten free muffins sometimes need to be baked even past the point where a toothpick comes out clean, in order to create the best texture.
How Do You Know When a Muffin is Done?
A muffin is done when the top is springy to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean.
As stated, gluten free muffins can differ in this regard. It will take some trial and error if you are very particular about muffin texture.
Why Do My Muffins Sink When They Come Out of the Oven?
This could be due to incorrect oven temperature.
In order for the chemistry of baking to work properly, the oven temperature needs to be correct.
Be sure to fully preheat your oven and use a thermometer if you are having a problem with muffins that sink in the middle after baking.
Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Muffins (healthy, gluten-free)
- 1 whole orange zested, peeled (see note)
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup coconut oil melted cooled
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups of oat flour
- 1 1/2 tbsp baking powder Less for regular flour (see note)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 1/2 cups whole fresh cranberries
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or two 6 cup muffin tins – or line with silicone or paper liners.
- Blend the orange, orange zest, with the honey, melted coconut oil, eggs, and vanilla.
- Whisk the oat flour with baking soda, powder, salt, and oats.
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients until just mixed. Don’t over mix and if there are a few lumps, it’s a-okay.
- Fold in the cranberries.
- Divide batter evenly, filling cups almost to the top. Sprinkle the tops with maple flakes or coarse sugar, if desired. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center, comes out clean.
- Take the muffin tin out of the oven and place on a wire cooling rack to cool for 10 minutes, before removing the muffins from the pan. Cool on the wire rack or enjoy a sneaky muffin warm, with butter.
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Doesn’t really explain how to put the orange itself into the dough. Should it be cut in tiny pieces, or just the zest goes in?
It gets blended in!
Wow, these are really good. The orange was very subtle, which I liked. I added enjoy life chocolate chips to make them a little sweeter.
I’m so glad you liked them!
Hardest part… waiting for them to cool lol
Can you substitute coconut oil and if so any suggestions
Yes you can. Butter should work just fine. Or any mild vegetable oil.
Thanks going to try making them now can hardly wait
Yay! Enjoy! 🙂
Could you use almond flour instead of oat?
Hi! Yes, you can. There’s a comment on one of the Pins for this recipe where someone reported using 1 cup of almond flour and 1 cup of oat flour. She said they were very yummy. I haven’t tried making them with only almond flour, but you could give it a shot! You’ll likely need to reduce the oil since ground nuts are full of fats. The muffins will be denser, and you’ll want to wait until they are completely cooled in the tin before removing and eating. Watch them closely in the oven as well. One last tip is… Read more »
I made these for the second time tonight. They are so lovely! I used regular flour, and some left over cranberries I froze after Christmas. Turned out great, nice texture. Thanks!
I’m so happy to hear that Marie! It’s nice to know that the regular flour worked out for you too 🙂 Thanks so much for your kind words.
I just made a batch and they seem really dry. Is there something I can do to make them a more moist muffin? Did this happen with using honey instead of sugar? Something else? I didn’t make them GF, I used regular AP flour.
I’m sorry this happened; how frustrating! This recipe is for oat flour, and oat flour is better with moisture. You can try adding more liquid ingredients, including oil. I’m going to try making these with AP flour myself as a test to see what will help because you aren’t the first person to want to try these with white flour!
Very tasty, very easy to make and a great way to use up cranberries left over from the holiday season! These go great with an afternoon coffee 😁