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Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Muffins


I’ve you’re looking for a breakfast recipe with a winter holiday vibe, these gluten free cranberry orange muffins are exactly what you need! 

Images shows a stack of gluten free cranberry orange muffins on a counter. The front muffin has a small bite taken out of it. Nearby are orange slices and cranberries with a text overlay that reads "Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Muffins"

We love this citrusy orange muffin, studded with juicy tart cranberries and topped off with a sprinkle of powdered sugar. 

Thanks so much to Judee’s Ingredients for sponsoring this recipe. I’m thrilled to partner with them to promote their high-quality gluten free baking products. As always, all opinions are solely mine. 

Muffins are such an easy way to feed a crowd during the holidays, and while I love gluten free chocolate chip muffins, these add a nice holiday touch. 

About the flours

When baking with gluten free flour, the question is always which ones will work best? 

There are a few things to consider: 

  • Nutrition
  • Flavor
  • Baking quality
  • Cost

Image shows a few cranberry muffins sitting on white parchment paper, sprinkled in powdered sugar. A small bowl of cranberries sit nearby, with slices of orange. One muffin sits in the center with a bit out of it.

In terms of nutrition, the nice thing about not automatically turning to wheat is that you have quite a variety to choose from. When we were struggling financially, I used rice flour that I ground myself almost exclusively. There’s nothing wrong with rice flour! But it tends to have a boring flavor and can be coarse if you buy a cheaper brand. 

What I’ve really grown to love is ancient grains. In these muffins, I use primarily quinoa, one of my favorite mild-flavored and highly nutritious flours. Another ancient grain I like to use is ivory teff. It has a stronger flavor, which works better in some recipes, like gluten free banana cupcakes, than others. But it results in a fantastic texture. 

When baking gluten free, you also need to add starches to your flour. 

In this recipe, I used arrowroot powder, which is very similar to cornstarch, and a fantastic non-grain alternative. 

The other starch I used is tapioca. Another non-grain starch is made from the root of the cassava plant. (Note: though it’s the same plant, it is NOT the same as cassava flour. Tapioca starch only uses the starchy pulp and not the whole root.)

You may know tapioca starch as the essential ingredient in Brazilian cheese bread, which Judee’s has a fantastic mix for. It helps create cohesion in your finished baked goods. 

These three flours blend together to create a balanced flavor and nice, springy, moist texture in these gluten free cranberry orange muffins. 

Image shows gluten free cranberry orange muffins, piled up with cranberries and orange slices

Baking tips

Another essential ingredient for making soft and springy muffins is buttermilk. The acid in the buttermilk reacts with your baking powder and salt to create fluffier muffins than regular milk. 

So if you don’t have any buttermilk on hand, Add a tablespoon of lemon juice to the bottom of your measuring cup, then add milk until you read the proper volume directed by the recipe, and let it sit for about 5 minutes to curdle. 

The two main flavors in these muffins are cranberry and orange. 

Unlike our cranberry orange scones, which are much drier, we’re using fresh or frozen cranberries, which give us nice, juicy, tart bits of flavor throughout the muffins. 

Recipes like this and gluten free cranberry kuchen are two of the reasons I stock up on cranberries during the holidays and freeze them to use throughout the year!

For this recipe, I like to chop them roughly – maybe in half – to get a nice, even texture of berries throughout. 

For the orange juice, you can use fresh-squeezed juice or bottled juice, depending on what you prefer, but I find that the best flavor comes from fresh squeezing. 

With all that said, let’s get baking! 

Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Muffins

The first step is gathering ingredients. 

Image shows the ingredients needed to make cranberry orange muffins- quinoa flour, tapioca starch, arrowroot powder, oil, sugar, cranberries and more

For the dry ingredients, you’re going to need:

  • 1 cup of quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 teaspoon 

Mix them all together and set them aside. 

Next, whisk together: 

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon almond or orange extract (I like the subtle flavor of the almond!)

Image shows a glass mixing bowl with the wet ingredients ready to be whisked together.

After that’s all mixed together well, stir in the dry ingredients. 

And last, but not least, stir in the cranberries. 

Image shows a glass mixing bowl with batter for gluten free cranberry orange muffins and a spoon

After that, divide the batter into a dozen muffins. 

I use paper liners with mine. 

Image shows a muffin tin full of paper cups and batter for gluten free cranberry orange muffins

Bake at 350 for 16-18 minutes until the edges begin to brown, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean – assuming you don’t hit a cranberry. 

Image shows a small muffin tin with three gluten free cranberry orange muffins, one tin holds cranberries, one holds orange slices, and the last holds a partially eaten muffin.

Remove from oven, and let cool. 

I like to sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top before serving. 


Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Muffins

This simple cranberry orange muffin recipe is perfect for breakfast or an afternoon treat. You’ll love them!

  • Author: Elise
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18 minutes
  • Total Time: 28 minutes
  • Yield: 12 muffins 1x


  • 1 cup of quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon almond or orange extract (I like the subtle flavor of the almond!)
  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen cranberries, roughly chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350º, and grease or line one dozen muffin cups with paper liners
  2. Combine flours, xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl and set aside
  3. Whisk eggs, and then whisk in oil, sugar, orange juice, buttermilk, and almond extract
  4. Add dry ingredients, and stir together until just combined
  5. Stir in cranberries
  6. Divide batter between a dozen prepared muffin tin
  7. Bake in center of oven for 16-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
  8. Remove from oven, and let cool
  9. Optional: sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving
  10. Enjoy!

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