Healthy cranberry oatmeal muffins are the perfect combination of sweet and tart, with bursts of whole cranberries in each bite. They are a great way to enjoy tangy, healthy, and colorful cranberries.
Try topping these healthy cranberry muffins with some orange zest and a sprinkle of powdered sugar to create the perfect winter breakfast or a quick snack.
Who else has leftover cranberries from the holidays? I know I do! I bought two big bags of cranberries for a Thanksgiving cranberry sauce and only used one. Then, I got tired of seeing them in my freezer by the middle of December.
Since I don’t want any food to go to waste (but also have no room in my freezer), I decided to whip up some easy cranberry oatmeal muffins. Not that I needed an excuse to make these muffins. They are easy to throw together and have a deliciously tart flavor that is a real crowd-pleaser. Click here to jump to the cranberry oatmeal muffins recipe.
When was the last time that you enjoyed cranberries? Perhaps as a holiday dish? Or maybe you sipped on a refreshing glass of cranberry juice?
Cranberries are naturally very sour, which is why they are rarely eaten raw. In fact, we mostly consume cranberries in the form of cranberry juice, which is usually sweetened with added sugar. While I love fruit juices and believe that they can be part of any diet, I also try to enjoy the fresh versions of fruit whenever possible. Like those found in these cranberry oatmeal muffins
In addition to having added sugars, cranberry juice has virtually no gut-healthy fiber. While cranberries are an excellent source of insoluble fibers, including pectin, cellulose, and hemicellulose, these products are lost when making cranberry juice.
What else makes cranberries good for you? Well, cranberries are also a rich source of several vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
In particular, cranberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant and is essential for maintaining body tissues such as skin, muscle, and bones. Vitamin C is among the least stable vitamins and can be easily lost during storage and food processing, like cranberry juice production. Another reason to enjoy whole cranberries when possible.
In addition to vitamin C, cranberries are a good source of manganese, vitamin E, vitamin K, and copper. In particular, copper is essential for nerve, immune, and heart health and is frequently lacking in a typical western diet.
Cranberries are also an excellent source of antioxidants. Of particular note, cranberries contain antioxidants known as A-type proanthocyanidins, which may help prevent UTIs.
Many of these antioxidants are in the cranberry’s skin, meaning that there is some loss during juice production. The good news is that these cranberry oatmeal muffins call for whole cranberries. They are a great way to enjoy this healthy winter fruit.
Why Are Cranberry Oatmeal Muffins Good for You
In addition to the fresh cranberries, cranberry oatmeal muffins call for healthy ingredients, including oatmeal.
Oats are an excellent source of soluble fiber, which plays an essential role in maintaining a healthy digestive tract.
Soluble fiber is also associated with health benefits, including improved blood sugar control and lower cholesterol. The reason for this is because soluble fiber absorbs water as it moves through your digestive tract to form a viscous gel, which helps block the absorption of some dietary fats and carbohydrates (aka sugars) from the gut.
Additionally, this gel also binds tightly to bile salts, causing them to be excreted along with other waste. Bile acids are compounds that aid in digestion and are made from cholesterol. Therefore, the loss of these bile acids means that the body needs to make more of them using, you guessed it, cholesterol. Ultimately, this can help lower cholesterol levels.
Finally, these cranberry oatmeal muffins call for less added sugar. Of course, any recipe with cranberries will require some sugar since this fruit is naturally sour. However, I used just enough sugar to add some sweetness while still emphasizing the cranberries’ tangy, tart flavors. Plus, I added powdered sugar to the tops of these muffins. You can add more or less powdered sugar, depending on how tart you want your healthy cranberry muffins.
How to Make Cranberry Oatmeal Muffins
I love a good muffin recipe. I especially love starting my morning with a breakfast muffin. This is because I can bake a batch of muffins in advance and enjoy a healthy breakfast all week long.
Plus, these cranberry oatmeal muffins are simple to make. There’s nothing fancy about them- only a few simple ingredients to create the perfect winter breakfast or snack.
What You Need to Make Healthy Cranberry Muffins
To get started, grab two mixing bowls and a muffin tin.
You will also need the following for these cranberry oatmeal muffins:
- Quick cook oats
- All-purpose flour
- Brown sugar
- Baking powder
- Unsweetened almond milk- alternatively, you can use the milk or milk substitute of your choice, such as dairy milk, oat milk, cashew milk, or soy milk
- Canola oil
- 1 egg
- Vanilla extract
- Cranberries- You can use fresh or frozen cranberries. If you opt to use frozen cranberries, be sure to thaw and pat them dry before mixing them into the batter.
- 1 tablespoon orange zest (optional)- The orange zest pairs nicely with the cranberries in this recipe
- A sprinkle of powdered sugar (optional)- Use more or less depending on how sweet you want the muffins. Keep in mind that this recipe is meant to be deliciously tart, thanks to the cranberries.
How to Make These Muffins
In one of the large bowls, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Then use the back of a spoon to make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.
In the second bowl, whisk together the milk, canola oil, egg, and vanilla extract until they are well blended, and then pour the wet ingredients into the well of the dry ingredients. Stir until combined and fold in the fresh or thawed cranberries.
If you opted to use frozen cranberries, be sure to thaw and pat them dry before mixing them into the batter.
Spoon batter into lined muffin tins until the cups are about two-thirds full. Sprinkle the muffins with optional orange zest and then bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cranberry oatmeal muffin comes out clean.
I also sprinkled the muffins with powdered sugar once they were done cooking. Adding some additional sugar on top helps to balance the tartness of the cranberries. I love that these cranberry oatmeal muffins are a combo of sweet and sour, but you can adjust this recipe’s sweetness level to your personal preference.