Healthy Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Muffins that are fluffy, delicious and low carb; perfect for whenever you need a quick snack.
Looking for a sweet treat that’s full of nutrition and won’t SPIKE your glucose? These fluffy, low-carb cranberry orange muffins are perfectly sweet and tangy, full of healthy ingredients and gluten free; just what you need to satisfy your sweet tooth.
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As a diabetic, finding alternatives to your favorite high carb foods, like muffins, is a challenge. The alternatives almost always are never as good as what you’re used to and you end up disappointed.
I hate when that happens!
These muffins are different. Are they going to taste EXACTLY like your favorite cranberry orange muffin recipe that uses white flour and a ton of sugar? No.
Gotta keep it real.
That’s because they’re made with almond flour and coconut flour, so there’s added flavor and a sliiightly different texture. BUT they are delicious and totally worth making.
BONUS – you’re getting a healthy treat packed with nutrition from natural, real-food ingredients.
Cranberry Orange Muffin Ingredient Swaps
Both almond flour and coconut flour are used to give a soft and fluffy texture similar to all purpose flour.
Problem – No coconut flour.
Solution – Replace the coconut flour with 1/2 cup of almond flour or all purpose flour.
Note – Using all purpose flour will add gluten and make each serving higher in carbs; nutritionally empty and blood-sugar-spiking carbs.
Problem – No almond flour.
Solution – Almond flour and all purpose flour swap 1 for 1, so you can replace it with all purpose flour, but that adds gluten and more carbs. Coconut flour is very absorbent and requires much less. Swap 1 cup of almond or all purpose flour for 1/4 cup of coconut flour. However, because coconut flour is so fine, using only coconut flour might make the muffins too delicate, resulting in them falling apart.
This recipe uses real sugar, but a small amount.
Problem – I want to use an alternative to sugar.
Solution – If you’re using a sugar alcohol that’s made to replace sugar, follow the package’s instructions to see how much to use in place of sugar.
Problem – I want to use a liquid sweetener.
Solution – Liquid sweeteners CANNOT be swapped 1 for 1 with sugar, EVER, because they’re liquid. The amount of liquid sweetener to use will change in each recipe! In this recipe, I recommend using 1 to 2 tablespoons of (raw) honey or 100% pure maple syrup to replace the sugar. Mix it in with your wet ingredients. Personally, I’d use maple syrup here because the flavors pair nicely.
Note – Raw honey is lower glycemic than honey, but honey is still lower glycemic than sugar, and maple syrup is too. So in replacing the sugar, these muffins become healthier in general and better for your blood sugar.
Problem – I don’t want to use butter.
Solution – You can replace the butter with any non-fragrant oil. Using a fragrant oil will overpower the other flavors. However, the flavor from coconut oil would be a delicious compliment to the flavors already present.
Fragrant oils are normally labeled virgin or unrefined.
This recipe uses fresh orange juice for two reasons. 1) You’re already zesting an orange. 2) Fresh orange juice has less carbs than store bought OJ because the stuff in stores is a concentrated formula.
Problem – I don’t have oranges but I do have store bought orange juice.
Solution – You can swap the orange juice 1 for 1 in this recipe. Don’t worry about the zest in this case because the concentrated orange juice has a stronger flavor.
Note – This swap will raise the carb count per serving.
Fresh (or raw) cranberries are best for this recipe because dried cranberries are normally sweetened. Even if they aren’t sweetened, the dehydrating process naturally makes foods higher glycemic.
The fresh cranberries also provide the tang to the muffins to balance out the sweet.
One small (8 oz) bag of cranberries is enough for this recipe. There’s about 3 and 1/2 cups of cranberries in each 8 oz bag.
Cranberry Orange Muffin Variations
To make these muffins dairy free, replace the butter with any non-fragrant oil.
If you want to get funky and try another flavor combination, I’d recommend blueberry lemon. Replace the orange zest and juice with lemon, but cut the required amount in half because lemon is so powerful. Then swap the cranberries for blueberries, 1 for 1.
Cranberry Orange Muffin Additions
Hemp seeds are a great addition here for added protein because they won’t alter the batter or significantly alter the texture or taste, and they’re low carb. Add 3/4 cup to the dry mix.
Chia seeds are a popular addition, but they’ll add a pebbly texture which may not be desirable. But if you don’t mind that, throw them in; just be mindful of the carbs they add, because they’re a bit higher carb than hulled hemp seeds.
Vanilla flavored protein powder will likely replace the almond flour 1 for 1 here, but check the package just to make sure. If you use it to replace the coconut flour as well, scroll up to read about swapping flours in this recipe.
Cranberry Orange Pecan Muffins
Adding chopped pecans are a great way to add texture, bulk and a little extra protein to these muffins. Depending on what you like, add up to 1 cup of chopped pecans to the batter before stirring in the cranberries.
Or use the pecans as a topper/garnish after you’ve scooped the mixture into the muffin pan. Plain pecans can be pretty bland if used as a garnish, so check out the stovetop candied pecans – they’re also great as a snack.
Other Healthy Treats
Low Carb and Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Muffin Recipe
- 2 cups Almond Flour finely ground and blanched
- 2 tablespoons Coconut Flour
- 2/3 cup Sugar
- 1½ tablespoons Baking Powder
- ½ teaspoon Cardamom
- ¾ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon Salt omit if using salted butter
- 4 tablespoons Butter unsalted or salted, melted
- 1 teaspoon Orange Zest about 1 medium sized orange
- ¼ cup Orange Juice fresh (about 2 oranges squeezed)
- 3 each Eggs large
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1½ cup Cranberries fresh
- Preheat the oven to 375°. If using cupcake liners, place them in the muffin pan.
Combine the Dry Ingredients
- In a large bowl, add the almond flour, coconut flour, sugar, baking powder, cardamom, cinnamon and salt (if using). Mix well with a whisk or fork.
Combine the Wet Ingredients
- In another bowl, microwave the butter until melted.
- Zest the orange into the bowl with the butter.
- Juice the orange(s) until you have ¼ cup of juice.If you come just short of ¼ cup, top it off with water.
- Add the orange juice, eggs and vanilla extract to the butter and beat well with a fork.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture bowl. Mix it with a fork, just until all the wet and dry have combined.
- Add the cranberries and mix to incorporate them.
- Spoon the mixture into the muffin pan. Do not overfill the
- Bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.