Healthy Cranberry Orange Carrot Muffins
These healthy cranberry orange carrot muffins just taste like the holidays! Loaded with whole grains, the perfect amount of tang from cranberries balanced out by the sweetness of orange, carrot, and maple syrup or honey.
These muffins are pure magic, TNNers. And you all asked for it! I love that you all still want to veggie-loaded….even during the holidays.
These muffins are bursting with fresh cranberry and orange flavor. And the grated carrots add this amazing moistness and touch of sweetness that totally ties them all together into one delicious little muffin package.
Added bonus, they are loaded with good-for-you ingredients: whole wheat flour, oats and Greek yogurt. Plus, they’re naturally sweetened with honey or maple syrup. They are seriously good and something you can feel so good about serving to your crew for breakfast any morning.
Mixed up in one bowl, these healthy cranberry orange muffins not only get veggies in at breakfast, but they are easy to make.
Frequently asked questions
Can I reduce the amount of sweetener in these cranberry orange muffins?
I found these muffins had the best balance of flavors with the 2/3 of a cup of maple syrup or honey. I tried them with less sweetener (1/2 cup) and found the tang of the cranberries to be a touch overpowering.
Can I use frozen cranberries?
Yes, but be sure to thaw them so you can chop them! And also drain of an extra water they release.
Do I have to chop the cranberries or can I leave them whole?
I definitely say chopping them is key! When you roughly chop the cranberries in these healthy orange cranberry muffins, you get the perfect amount of cranberry in every bite. Leaving them whole would be bites of too much cranberry and other bites without.
Can I use something other than whole wheat flour?
White whole wheat flour or a cup-for-cup gluten free flour mix (I like this one) will work. All purpose flour might also work, but I haven’t tested this recipe with it to be sure.
I only have regular rolled oats and not quick-cooking oats. Can I use those?
You can make your own “quick” oats by pulsing the regular rolled oats in your blender or food processor to break them down. To do this, add 1 1/4 cup of rolled oats to the food processor or blender and then pulse a few times until the oats are chopped but some larger pieces remain. Stop before your oats become a fine powder.
Once the oats are chopped, measure the amount needed into the cranberry orange muffin batter. Save the rest for later or to toss into a batch of stovetop oatmeal.
How do you grate the carrots for these muffins?
I use the small holes of a box grater and it works perfectly. No need to squeeze out any of the excess moisture before adding them to the muffin batter! And the small grate helps the carrot texture to almost melt into the muffins!
Will these muffins work without eggs?
I haven’t tried them egg-free, but “flax eggs” work great in a similar recipes.
To make a “flax egg”, I use the ratio of 1 tablespoon ground flax meal + 2.5 tablespoons water = 1 egg.
So, for this recipe, I use 2 tablespoons of ground flax meal + 5 tablespoons water to replace the eggs. Be sure to let the flax/water mixture sit for about 5 minutes to allow it toe “gel” before adding it to the batter.
How can I make these muffins dairy-free?
You could replace the Greek yogurt with your favorite plant based yogurt. If the yogurt is pretty thin, the muffins might not rise as much.
Can I use regular sugar instead of maple syrup or honey?
Sorry, TNNers. The wet ingredients to dry ingredient balance in a muffin recipe is a delicate and replacing the liquid sweetener with a dry granulated one would leave you with dry muffins. Boooooooo.
Tips for the best muffin
- Let the muffins cool for at least 15 minutes. Muffins continue to bake even after they are removed from the oven and will firm up as they sit. Let the muffins hang out in the muffin tin for 5 minutes before transferring them to the cooling rack. And then let them cool there for another 10 minutes before sinking your teeth into a seriously delicious holiday treat. TIP: If you are not using liners when baking your muffins, let them cool the full 15 minutes in the muffin tin….otherwise they might stick or fall apart.
- Use parchment paper muffin liners. I love this brand and find they are the best for easy peeling muffin liners. Another great (no waste) option is silicone muffin liners. Also a little oil in the muffin tin compartment works great for preventing these healthy cranberry orange carrot muffins from sticking.
Wondering how to store your carrots so they stay fresh as long as possible? Check out my post on How to Keep Cut Carrots Fresh and get the most out of your produce buck!
Other holiday recipes to keep your celebrations delicious and veggie-loaded
- Gluten Free Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins
- Soft Carrot Gingerbread Cookies
- Veggie-Loaded Vegetarian Stuffing
- Green Grinch Smoothies
- Healthy Hot Chocolate (with veggies)
Loving these cranberry carrot muffins and are hungry for more?
Healthy Cranberry Orange Carrot Muffins
- 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup quick oats, not rolled oats. See FAQ above for how to make your own quick oats.
- 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2/3 cup maple syrup or honey
- 1/3 cup avocado oil, or a neutral tasting oil
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 1/2 cups roughly chopped cranberries, I found pulsing the cranberries my food processor with the "S" blade made this easy and quick, But you can do this by hand with a knife as well.
- 1 cup finely grated carrots, I don't suggest using a large grate. Small grate helps the carrots almost melt into the muffin.
- Preheat your oven to 400℉ and line a 12-hold muffin tin with liners.
- In a medium bowl, mix together flour, oats, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add maple syrup/honey, oil, orange zest, orange juice, vanilla, eggs, and Greek yogurt to the bowl. Mix until batter is smooth, but do not over mix.
- Fold in grated carrots and chopped cranberries.
- Portion the batter out even between your 12 prepared muffin tin compartments. Top with a sprinkle of extra oats or some granulated sugar (if desired).
- Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
- Let cool for 5 minutes in the muffin tin before transferring them to a cooling rack. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before enjoying!
- Let leftovers cool completely before transferring to an air tight container. Store at room temperature for 2 days or in the fridge for up to 4 days. Freeze leftover muffins for up to a month.
- To make gluten free, use a gf cup-for-cup flour blend and use certified gluten free gf quick oats.
- To make dairy-free, sub Greek Yogurt with your favorite plant based yogurt. Thinner yogurt might impact the rise of the muffin.
- To use frozen cranberries, thaw and drain off excess liquid before chopping and adding to batter.
- If making for a child under the age of 1, use maple syrup instead of honey.
- Recipe adapted from Happy Kids Kitchen