These Almond Flour Cranberry Orange Muffins are easy to make, perfectly moist, and gluten-free. The classic cranberry-orange combo is so tasty in the colder months and great for festive occasions. They can also be made ahead and frozen to make holiday or weekend breakfasts even easier. They’re simply loaded with fresh cranberries but not too tart thanks to the maple syrup that pairs perfectly with the orange. Then to top them off there’s a refined sugar-free orange glaze that rounds out the flavors.
The classic cranberry and orange combo is one we never get tired of. And these muffins are the perfect festive option all winter long.
They’re light and fluffy but perfectly moist with tart cranberries rounded out with a hint of orange. You’ll find a coconut butter glaze that’s refined sugar-free.
Or you can go with the powdered sugar option as well as serving these warm with softened butter and a drizzle of honey.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Almond flour – look for finely ground almond flour for the best texture.
- Tapioca starch – is essential to combine with the almond flour for a fluffy texture. Arrowroot and cornstarch both work as well.
- Maple syrup – is my favorite natural sweetener for baking, but honey also works. You may need to warm your honey up first so it mixes well. Also, be careful to check the muffins near the end of the baking time because honey browns faster.
- Orange zest – is what makes these muffins so good in combination with the cinnamon. I use a microplane grater for superfine zest. I also use orange juice in the optional glaze.
- Cranberries – both fresh and frozen cranberries work equally well, just use what you have available.
- Butter – melted ghee, avocado oil, and melted coconut oil all work in this recipe.
- Eggs – together with the tapioca starch to bind the almond flour together and create a fluffy muffin. I haven’t personally tried flax eggs as an egg replacer but I heard from readers it works in these muffins.
- Baking powder & baking soda – I use both in my almond flour muffin recipes and have found it makes the perfect fluffy texture.
How to make this recipe step by step
Step 1: Start by preheating the oven, then whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Add the orange zest and mix well to distribute it.
Step 2: Then add the cranberries, mix to combine then add the wet ingredients to the bowl.
Step 3: Stir together until combined and no lumps remain.
Step 4: Next line a muffin tin with muffin cup liners. Portion the muffin batter equally between the 12 liners. I use 2 spoons to portion it out, but a large cookie scoop works well too.
Bake until puffed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs.
Ways to serve this
- Serve these muffins for any winter breakfast and festive holiday occasions.
- Make it a full breakfast by adding my Sausage Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole.
- Or serve these muffins with my Veggie Scrambled Eggs and Turkey Breakfast Sausage or my (no mess) Air Fryer Sausage Links.
- Make it a large brunch menu by adding my Winter Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Dressing.
I don’t recommend substituting gluten-free flour for almond flour because the texture will be off. Almond flour naturally contains healthy fats and protein which adds to the moisture in this recipe. If you want to use gluten-free flour I recommend using any blueberry muffin recipe made with all-purpose flour and then subbing in your choice of gluten-free flour. Coconut flour also does not work in this recipe.
Yes, I have found that almond flour does rise less. It has to do with the lack of gluten for structure. These muffins still have a wonderful fluffy texture because of the tapioca starch. The tapioca starch provides the much-needed structure along with the eggs and you won’t miss the gluten.
- To store – place any leftover cranberry muffins into an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 3 days, or 1 week in the refrigerator.
- Make ahead – these freeze well, so they’re wonderful made ahead. The glaze will have a duller appearance after 1-2 days, or if refrigerated or frozen. If you want them to be freshly baked, try mixing the dry ingredients to speed up the prep time.
- Reheating – place room temperature or refrigerated muffins into an oven at 200ºF until heated, about 10 minutes.
- To freeze – place the leftover muffins into an airtight container for storage, and store them in the freezer for up to 6 weeks. Defrost in the fridge overnight or on the counter and reheat if desired.
Tips & Tricks
- Swap out the cranberries for fresh raspberries or diced strawberries.
- Add some mini chocolate chips or white chocolate chips for another fun variation.
- Don’t worry if the coconut butter glaze clumps at any time! It simply means you need to add a touch more liquid. Every jar of coconut butter seems to be slightly different so the quantities listed in the recipe are a starting point. Sometimes you’ll need a bit more orange juice, maple syrup, or even water to make the glaze come together and be smooth.
- If you don’t want to mess with coconut butter, try mixing together some sifted powdered sugar with freshly squeezed orange juice until it has a drizzle texture. Or serve these muffins plain with butter.
- Coconut butter is not the same thing as coconut oil. Coconut butter is like almond butter but made with coconut. Coconut oil is just straight oil and will not produce a glaze.
Dietary Options & Substitutions
I hope you enjoy these Almond Flour Cranberry Orange Muffins! If you do get a chance to make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Almond Flour Cranberry Orange Muffins
- 2 cups fine almond flour
- 1/2 cup tapioca flour - also called tapioca starch
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon - I like to use Vietnamese
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp baking powder - see notes
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp orange zest - grated with a micro-plane grater
- 2 cups frozen cranberries - 7 ounces
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup melted ghee - butter, coconut oil, or avocado oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup coconut butter - at room temperature
- 2-4 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1-2 tbsp maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a muffin tin with 12 muffin cup liners.
- In medium sized mixing bowl, stir together the almond flour, tapioca flour, cinnamon, sea salt, baking powder, baking soda, and orange zest until combined and no lumps remain.
- Bake the muffins until they’re puffed in the middle and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes for frozen cranberries. If you use fresh cranberries the muffins will cook faster.
- Remove the muffins from the oven and place them on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Then carefully remove the muffins from the tin to cool further on the rack.
- While the muffins are cooling, melt the coconut butter over low heat in a small saucepan. When the coconut butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the orange juice and maple syrup until you reach thin frosting consistency.
- Don’t worry if at first the coconut butter breaks or becomes too thick, simply whisk in a bit more orange juice until it comes back together and is the right consistency. Coconut butter varies greatly from jar to jar, so just add the liquid called for until it’s glossy and ready to drizzle.
- When the glaze is ready, drizzle it over the muffins and serve. I like to use a squeeze bottle to make drizzling easy. This glaze never fully sets up like a powdered sugar glaze does, so after glazing you can serve immediately or wait for it to partially dry over the next hour or so.
- If you’d like to freeze these, it’s best to leave the glaze off, and then glaze them when you’re ready to serve.
This recipe was originally published in 2018 and updated in 2023 with more tips, information, and photos.