Light, tender and moist, these healthy Cranberry Orange Muffins are bursting with fresh orange and cranberry flavor. Featuring warm spices and even a sweet and zesty crunchy top, these muffins are perfect all around. The best part? You’d never know they were healthy!
INGREDIENTS IN HEALTHY Cranberry Orange MUFFINS
- Fresh cranberries
- white whole-wheat flour
- baking powder and baking soda
- ground cinnamon
- kosher salt
- whole-milk Greek yogurt
- extra-virgin olive oil
- pure maple syrup
- large eggs
- pure vanilla extract
- orange zest (added inside the muffin and on top for bold orange flavor)
- turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)
How to make Healthy Cranberry Orange Muffins
- Pulse cranberries in a food processor until finely chopped.
- Whisk together dry ingredients (whole-wheat flour, cornstarch, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and cloves).
- Whisk together wet ingredients until smooth (yogurt, oil, maple syrup, eggs, orange zest, and vanilla extract).
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until mostly combined.
- Fold in chopped cranberries.
- Divide batter between muffin cups. Combine turbinado sugar and orange zest; sprinkle evenly over each cup.
- Bake muffins 5 minutes at 425°F then, with muffins in the oven, reduce oven temperature to 350°F and bake, 16–18 minutes more. (This temperature trick will create that gorgeous dome.)
Baking with Greek yogurt
Any kind of quick-bread recipe (banana bread, zucchini bread, carrot bread) benefits from a creamy dairy-based product. Why? For one, the acid in the dairy activates with the baking soda. And two, dairy helps to create a baked good that’s tender and airy.
Common dairy products used in quick breads and muffins include yogurt, Greek yogurt, sour cream and buttermilk. This healthy cranberry muffin recipe calls for Greek yogurt, which makes the muffins tender and moist, but also packs them with protein and calcium.
HOW TO CREATE A TALL, DOMED MUFFIN
The trick to getting that lovely domed muffin top (that we all love about bakery muffins) is to jumpstart their baking at a high temperature in the oven (this activates the leavener). After a few minutes, drop the temp down to a medium heat (350ºF or 375ºF) to encourage even baking.
That’s it. That’s the big secret.
The key is to get the batter to rise, and rise quickly at the beginning of baking. Once the height has been achieved, it’s important to drop the temp back down to ensure the batter cooks through. Otherwise you’ll end up with over-baked outsides and under-baked insides.
Another thing to keep in mind—don’t be afraid to fill your muffin cups to the top! The same can’t be said for cupcakes as they often have a thinner batter. But with a thick batter like this one, it’s important to fill the cups full.
Can you use frozen cranberries in these cranberry muffins?
I recommend using fresh cranberries if you can find them. However, you can definitely use frozen cranberries in a pinch. It's best to use them still frozen, not thawed. Process the frozen cranberries in the food processor as directed, then add the chopped frozen berries right to the batter.
Be sure to check the doneness of the muffins before removing them from the oven, they may need a couple extra minutes in the oven.
More muffin recipes...
- Healthy Lemon Blueberry Muffins
- Gluten-Free Blueberry Mascarpone Muffins
- Actually Healthy Bran Muffins
- Fennel Pear Muffins
- Healthy Banana Bread Muffins
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Tender and moist, these whole-wheat Cranberry Orange Muffins are bursting with fresh orange and cranberry flavor. Featuring warm spices and even a sweet and zesty crunchy top, these muffins are a delicious, healthy treat!
- 2 cups (200g) fresh cranberries
- 2 cups (226g) white whole-wheat flour or regular whole-wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons (14g) cornstarch or arrowroot starch
- 1 teaspoon (4g) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon (3g) baking soda
- ½ teaspoon (2.5g) kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon cloves (optional)
- 1 cup (227g) plain whole-milk Greek yogurt*
- ⅓ cup (67g) extra-virgin olive oil, or melted coconut oil
- ½ cup (156g) pure maple syrup
- 2 eggs (100g)
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh orange zest, divided
- 2 teaspoons (9g) pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (also called sugar in the raw), for sprinkling on top
Heat oven to 425°F (218°C). Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners (or grease the cups with nonstick spray).
In a food processor, process cranberries until chopped, about 10 pulses; set aside.
Whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and cloves in a large bowl, set aside.
Whisk together yogurt, oil, maple syrup, eggs, 2 teaspoons orange zest, and vanilla until smooth.
Add yogurt mixture to flour mixture and mix until mostly incorporated but some pockets of flour remain.
Gently fold chopped cranberries into batter just until combined.
Divide batter (it will be thick) between prepared muffin cups, about a heaping ¼ cup per muffin cup. Combine turbinado sugar with remaining teaspoon orange zest and sprinkle evenly over cups of batter.
Bake muffins 5 minutes at 425°F (218°C) then, keeping muffins in oven, reduce oven temperature to 350°F (177°C) and bake until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean, 16–18 minutes more. Total bake time is about 21–23 minutes.
(For mini muffins, bake 11–14 minutes at 350°F (177°C).
Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and cool 5 minutes, then transfer muffins from pan to wire rack to cool completely.
Store cooled muffins at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
*Greek yogurt: I recommend whole-milk Greek yogurt, but you can use any fat content you prefer, just be sure to use Greek yogurt. Sour cream can also be substituted.
Make these Egg Free: Substitute flax eggs for regular eggs. To make a flax egg, combine 1 tablespoon ground flax (flax meal) with 3 tablespoons water. Let mixture soak for 10 minutes before using.
Make these Vegan: Replace eggs with flax eggs (see note above). Replace Greek yogurt with 1 cup thick vegan yogurt, or replace with ⅔ cup vegan buttermilk (⅔ cup non-dairy milk + 2 teaspoons white vinegar). Let buttermilk rest 5 minutes before using.
Make these Gluten-Free: Swap the whole-wheat flour for a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend, such as Bob’s Red Mill.
- Serving Size: 1 muffin
- Calories: 178
- Sugar: 4.5g
- Sodium: 114mg
- Fat: 7.5g
- Saturated Fat: 1.5g
- Carbohydrates: 23g
- Fiber: 2g
- Protein: 5g
- Cholesterol: 29mg
Keywords: cranberry orange muffins, healthy muffins, cranberry muffins, orange muffins