Cranberry orange oatmeal muffins on white plate next to oranges

Healthy Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Muffins

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These healthy cranberry orange oatmeal muffins are fluffy, chewy, and tasty. The orange juice plus a little sugar perfectly balance out the tart fresh cranberries. Add a nice cup of coffee or tea and fresh fruit for a great light breakfast or snack!

Look for fresh cranberries in the fall or winter: it’s the fruit that people may just think about during Thanksgiving week, but they are too good for just one week!

If you’re craving a fresh-baked muffin for breakfast but don’t have much time, just plan ahead. You can mix up the dry and wet ingredients separately. Then, place the wet ingredients in the fridge, and mix them together in the morning to bake fresh in a relatively short time as you get ready for your day.

Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Muffins on white plate with fresh cranberries, orange slices, oats nearby

These cranberry orange muffins are vegan and a wonderful breakfast addition for a healthy diet. I like to add oatmeal to baked goods like muffins and cookies to increase the fiber and add more nutrients like phosphorus and protein to a recipe. Rolled oats in particular add a little pleasant chewiness to muffins and cookies.

Ingredient Notes

Egg substitutes: I used homemade applesauce instead of an egg for these muffins. There are several other ways you can replace eggs:

  • Mashed bananas
  • Ground flaxseed (See my banana bread with dark chocolate chunks for an example) or whole chia seeds mixed with warm water
  • A commercial egg replacer
  • Aquafaba (the liquid from canned chickpeas)

Here are some more ideas for replacing eggs from PETA.

The applesauce has a very light background flavor in these muffins. Instead of the dairy milk in most muffin recipes, I made these with some orange juice for more orange flavor. The recipe has half orange juice and half soy milk.

Cranberries: This is a great way to use up any leftover fresh cranberries from Thanksgiving. They can be used right from the freezer. I love the sour tang of fresh cranberries, but dried cranberries are another option.

Plant-based milk: Feel free to substitute any plant-based milk. I also tested them using all vanilla soy milk plus the zest of one orange instead of orange juice, which came out delicious too.

Oatmeal: Rolled oats will provide a chewier texture, but either rolled or quick oats are fine to use. I suggest organic oatmeal due to the amount of glyphosate found in oatmeal from the Environmental Working Group’s research. Organic oats were found to have a significantly lower glyphosate content.

Sugar in Muffins

A lot of muffins from commercial bakeries and coffee shops are very high in sugar, with 40 – 50 gm or 10 – 12 teaspoons in a large-size muffin. I used only a half of a cup of sugar for the whole recipe. In 12 muffins, that is only 2 teaspoons of added sugar per muffin! The American Heart Association recommends just 6 teaspoons per day of added sugar for women and 9 teaspoons for men at the most.

Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Muffins: Variations

blueberry oatmeal muffin broken open
Blueberry lemon oatmeal muffins
  • Add 1/2 cup of chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts in the last step of mixing
  • Substitute (ideally unsweetened) dried cranberries for the fresh cranberries.
  • Sprinkle the top of the muffins with a little organic granulated sugar
  • Add 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips
  • Use fresh or frozen blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or quartered strawberries
  • Out of oranges? Use lemon or clementine zest
orange cranberry oatmeal muffins in baking tin with cranberries and orange slices nearby

Preparation Tip

The key to tender muffins is to not over-mix them. Just use a wooden spoon or tablespoon and combine your wet and dry ingredients until the ingredients are mixed. Don’t overbeat the batter or use a whisk or a mixer, or the muffins will have tunneling (long air pockets) and be tough.

Wrapper or No Wrapper?

If we’re just eating these at home, I often don’t bother with a wrapper. I do think it looks nice if I am giving them as a gift or bringing them someplace, though. Plus, then it is easier to wash out the pan. I recommend nonstick spray if you are not using a wrapper.


Store these muffins in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer storage, I recommend freezing in a plastic bag or sealed container for a few months at most. To defrost, place in a pan in a 300-degree F oven for about 10 minutes.

More Recipes You May Enjoy

orange cranberry oatmeal muffins on white plate with oranges next to it

Healthy Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Muffins

Melissa Altman-Traub
Try these easy muffins with fresh cranberries and orange zest for a delcious light breakfast or snack! Nutritious with oatmeal and reduced in fat and added sugar. Vegan recipe.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 23 minutes
Total Time 38 minutes
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 12 muffins
Calories 167 kcal


  • Oven
  • Muffin tin
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Medium mixing bowl


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour unbleached
  • ¾ cup whole-wheat flour
  • ½ cup rolled or quick oats organic
  • ½ cup brown sugar organic
  • teaspoons baking powder aluminum free
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup soy milk vanilla or plain
  • ½ cup orange juice fresh squeezed or bottled
  • ¼ cup light olive oil
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ teaspoon orange zest


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, Place liners into a muffin tin or spray with non-stick spray.
  • Add the dry ingredients: whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt, to a large bowl. Combine with a large spoon.
  • Mix the soy milk, orange juice, canola oil, applesauce, orange zest together in a medium bowl with a whisk.
  • Pour the liquid ingredients into the large bowl with the dry ingredients. Add the cranberries. Stir with a large wooden spoon until the ingredients are just combined. Do not overmix batter.
  • Divide the batter evenly into muffin cups – about 1/3 of a cup of batter per muffin.
  • Bake the muffins for about 22 to 24 minutes until lightly browned on top.
  • After the muffins have cooled for a few minutes, move them to a cooling rack to cool thoroughly.


Measure the flour by lightly spooning them into measuring cups for dry ingredients and leveling off at the top with a knife.
Mashed banana can be used instead of applesauce.
Store in a sealed container for up to 2 days at room temperature or freeze for up to a few months.
The nutrition data is from Spoonacular, which is based mainly on USDA data.


Serving: 1muffinCalories: 167kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 3gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 145mgPotassium: 108mgFiber: 2gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 67IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 79mgIron: 1mg
Keyword After-school snack, Breakfast, Cranberry, Muffins, Oatmeal, Orange, Reduced Sugar, Vegan
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Updated 12/13/2020

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