On plenty of weekends throughout my childhood, my family drove to a neighboring city to eat at one of our favorite local brunch restaurants. Sometimes, we even went two days in a row if my Arizona grandparents were visiting… They loved the food as much as we did, and they always bought a 5-pound bag (or two!) of the restaurant’s famous tea to pack in their suitcases and take home!
During our early years, my brother and I only ordered off of the kids’ menu. We picked the same dish every time: the Mickey Mouse pancakes! It was one humongous pancake, as large as a dinner plate, in the shape of a mouse’s head silhouette with whipped cream and blueberries for eyes, along with a big honeydew smile.
Once I turned twelve and graduated to the “adult” menu, I opted for scrambled eggs with cheese or a ham and cheddar omelette. Each of those came with a side of toast or coffee cake, and for a few visits, I selected the toast… Because I thought the coffee cake actually contained coffee!
Finally, my parents convinced me that the cake only earned its name because it was typically served alongside coffee, so I bravely decided to order a slice during one of our Christmastime visits. But unlike the rest of my family who swore by the blueberry coffee cake and never ordered anything else, I chose the seasonal cranberry—and they nearly ostracized me from the table!
Don’t worry… I learned my lesson and ordered blueberry coffee cake the following day. 😉
But I’ve always had a soft spot for that bright red tangy berry, and every year when the weather turns cooler, I want to create recipes with it almost as much as with pumpkin and chocolate. (And since I published a chocolate cookbook, that’s definitely saying something!)
So on our first true chilly fall day this year, I whipped up a batch of these Ultimate Healthy Cranberry Orange Muffins! They’re as tender as cupcakes and full of sweet citrus flavor, which perfectly complements the zing of the fresh cranberries. They’re one of my favorite autumn and winter breakfasts—and they’re just 96 calories!
Which means I never feel guilty enjoying another as a mid-morning snack! 😉
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST HEALTHY CRANBERRY ORANGE MUFFINS
To make these wholesome muffins, you’ll start with white whole wheat flour. Yes, such a thing actually exists—and it’s not a combination of white flour and whole wheat flour! It comes from a special type of white wheat, and that has a lighter taste and texture compared to traditional red wheat, which is what regular whole wheat flour is made from. However! White whole wheat flour still has all of the same health benefits (think extra fiber!) as regular whole wheat flour. It’s a main staple in my pantry!
With just 1 tablespoon of butter or coconut oil (yes, that’s it!), the rest of these muffins’ tender texture comes from… You guessed it: Greek yogurt! You know how much I ♡ Greek yogurt! It adds the same moisture as extra butter or oil to your muffin batter, and it gives these baked goodies a big protein boost, too.
To sweeten your muffins, you’ll use another one of my favorite ingredients: liquid stevia. Stevia is a plant-based, no-calorie sweetener that contains nothing artificial or overly refined (aka it’s clean eating friendly!). A little goes a long way… You just need 1 ½ teaspoons for all 12 muffins! This is the kind I use because I love its sweet flavor and don’t notice any strange aftertaste. You can find it at many health-oriented grocery stores, but I buy mine online here because that’s the cheapest price I’ve found. (And you’ll use it in all of these recipes of mine, too!)
Now with those ingredients taken care of, let’s focus on the stars of the show! First up, the oranges! You’ll need both freshly squeezed orange juice and orange zest for these muffins. The latter actually provides the majority of that bright sunshiny taste, so be sure to use the full amount!
And I saved the best for last… The cranberries! Both fresh or frozen and thawed will work in these muffins. My grocery store actually carries frozen cranberries all year round, which means I can get my cranberry orange muffin fix any time of the year—not just in the winter. Hooray!
Tip: Instead of spending the time to dice them with a knife and cutting board, I just pop them in my food processor and pulse until they’re about ¼ to ⅛ of their original size. It just takes a few seconds! Easy peasy!
Sweet, cozy, tender muffin bliss! ♡ And when you make your own, remember to snap a picture and share it on Instagram using #amyshealthybaking and tagging @amyshealthybaking IN the photo itself! (That guarantees I’ll see your picture! 🙂 ) I’d love to see your healthy cranberry orange muffins!
The Ultimate Healthy Cranberry Orange Muffins
- 2 cups (240g) white whole wheat flour or gluten-free* flour (measured like this)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp (14g) orange zest (about 2 large)
- 1 tbsp (14g) unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 large egg whites (room temperature)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ½ tsp liquid stevia
- ½ cup (120g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup (60mL) freshly squeezed orange juice (about 1 large)
- ½ cup (120mL) nonfat milk
- 1 ½ cups (165g) fresh whole cranberries, finely diced
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, and coat 12 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and orange zest. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter or coconut oil, egg whites, vanilla extract, and vanilla stevia. Stir in the Greek yogurt, mixing until no large lumps remain. Stir in the orange juice. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, and stirring just until incorporated. (For best results, add the flour mixture in 3 equal parts.) Gently fold in the cranberries.
- Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350°F for 19-22 minutes or until the tops are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the muffin cups for 5 minutes before carefully transferring to a wire rack.
View Nutrition Information + Weight Watchers Points
You may also like Amy’s other recipes…
♡ Healthy Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Muffins
♡ Healthy Cranberry Orange Mini Muffins
♡ Healthy Cranberry Orange Scones
♡ Healthy Greek Yogurt Cranberry Orange Pound Cake
♡ The Ultimate Healthy Blueberry Muffins
♡ The Ultimate Healthy Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
♡ The Ultimate Healthy Chocolate Mini Muffins