Mini Orange Cranberry Muffins (Vegan/Gluten-Free)

Mini Orange Cranberry MuffinsDo you stock bags of fresh cranberries in your freezer during the fall-winter cranberry season? They are permanent residents in my freezer. These little crimson fruits are freezer friendly. You can simply throw a bag of fresh cranberries in your freezer and use them later in cranberry baked goodies, such as today’s cranberry muffins. In fact, frozen cranberries work better than fresh or thawed in muffins and other baked goods.

Around thanksgiving, I always make cranberry sauce and freeze a few extra bags of cranberries for the rest of the year. After a short break from cranberry sauce, I’m happy to be back to using my frozen stocks to make these tart-sweet mini muffins with an addition of orange flavor.

Mini Orange Cranberry Muffins

Don’t you agree that seasonal foods always offer us good pairing selections in flavors and colors? It is especially true when cranberry and orange come together. I happened to have some clementines in the house. So I decide to use the whole peel from these little citrus fruits to add some extra zing and flavor to the cranberry muffins. Because the peel from clementines is very thin, it’s a fantastic ingredient when you grind it in a mini chopper or food processor.

Mini Orange Cranberry Muffins

After making four batches during the past month, the demand from my family is not getting any less. My husband, Brad, prefers his muffins or baked goods to be gum and psyllium husk free. If you have ever baked gluten-free, those ingredients, “gluing agents”, are typically used to help the dough stick together. However, I had to find another way to get around the “crumbling and falling apart dilemma” to get these muffins to stay whole. On top of that, no sugar and no eggs are used.

Mini Orange Cranberry Muffins

No worry! These mini muffins are a big hit at my house and also at a potluck party that had many eaters of regular muffins (contains wheat, sugar, and eggs). We love these healthy little guys because they are truly:

Moist and soft

Not crumbly at all


Tart & sweet

Sugar free

Low calories



No added gum and psyllium husk

If I serve Brad a regular size muffin for breakfast, he always cuts it in half and then smears a chunk of natural peanut butter on the cut side. This has been his typical breakfast-muffin-routine. Without using any “gluing agent”, eggs, and sugar, it is often hard to cut without having it crumble all-over the place, especially when the muffin is slightly cold.

Having said all that, I introduce to you the mini muffins. Because they are the perfect bite size, Brad doesn’t need to cut it anymore. He still can enjoy smearing his favorite peanut butter on as a topping. Oh, by the way, here is his genius way to stir natural peanut butter without any mess; check out this video.

Besides peanut butter, our son, Leo prefers chocolate butter, or sometimes both. You can’t go wrong with those choices for these moist, tart-sweet cranberry muffins. If you like, you can add other seasonal fresh fruits or vegetables in the muffin batter, such as squash or pumpkin. They can really make these mini muffins fun and interesting. Let me know if you find any other fun combinations to your frozen cranberries.

Mini Orange Cranberry Muffins

Mini Orange Cranberry Muffins (Vegan/Gluten-Free)
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
Tools: Knife and cutting board, food processor or mini chopper, two mixing bowls, spatula, measuring cups and spoons, 24-cup mini muffin pan, wire cooling rack.
Course: Muffins
Cuisine: Gluten Free/Vegan
Servings: 22 mini muffins
Author: Joyce @ Light Orange Bean
  • 5 tablespoon vegan butter
  • 3/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 4 tablespoons flax meal or ground flax seeds
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed from lemon
  • 1-1/4 cups 183 grams homemade all-purpose gluten-free flour (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder Aluminum free preferred
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pure stevia extract powder Now brand
  • ½ cup frozen cranberries thin sliced
  • 2 tablespoons clementine peel
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Grease the mini muffin pan with approximately 1 tablespoon softened vegan butter.
  2. In a small mixing bow, combine together the flax meal and lukewarm non-dairy milk. Set aside for 5 minutes and then add lemon juice.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together dry ingredients, except the frozen cranberry and clementine peel. Set aside.
  4. Thoroughly wash clementine to remove any dirt or dust on the outside. Use a food processor or mini chopper to grind the clementine peel.
  5. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined. Stir in sliced cranberries (save 1 tablespoon for garnishing) and ground clementine peel.
  6. Use a cookie scoop to fill the prepared mini muffin cups, approximately 1-1/2 tablespoons of muffin batter for each mini muffin cup. Garnish with sliced cranberry on top of each mini muffin, if desired. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until the muffins are springy. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 2 minutes, and then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Serve warm.
Recipe Notes

For homemade gluten-free all-purpose gluten free flour (yield 40 oz all-purpose gluten-free flour)
8 oz brown rice flour
8 oz millet flour
8 oz sweet rice flour
8 oz white rice flour
3 oz cornstarch
3 oz tapioca starch
2 oz potato starch
Mix all flour well in a container or a gallon zip-lock bag. Store in freezer.

The store-bought all-purpose gluten-free flour may work for this recipe as well.


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