gluten-free cranberry lemon muffin recipe

Cranberry Lemon Muffins

My favorite taste tester is going on a diet. This is not good news.

This diet deal will require some serious re-inventing of the wheel over here. New standards will need to be implemented. No more –he ate two whole trays of that so it must be good– type ratings.

My favorite taste tester is also my best friend and has been for 16 years. He does not like it when I call him my “partner,” says it makes us sound like lesbians. I say it makes us sound like partners. Alas, he actually is my husband. And he is turning 41 tomorrow.

After all these years, I still love to just be with him. Still feel excited when he walks into the room. And of course feel irritated when he runs out of the kitchen leaving every single cupboard door open behind him. What can I say? Nothing. He has had to live with my “cleaning disorder” for years now, so why fret over a few open cabinets and such.

I’m going to make him these Cranberry Lemon Muffins tomorrow for a warm breakfast birthday treat.

Cranberry Lemon Muffins
Serves: 12 muffins
  1. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda and cranberries
  2. In a smaller bowl stir together oil, eggs, agave and lemon zest
  3. Stir wet ingredients into dry
  4. Spoon batter into a paper lined muffin pan
  5. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes
  6. Cool and serve

These gluten-free, dairy-free muffins are on the sweeter side and make a nice festive dish for a brunch or a healthy dessert for a potluck. Because they are more “liquidy” than usual they will sink just a tad after you remove them from the oven.


  1. Rebecca Greenwood` says

    These are wonderful……I have a hard time staying away from them. I only used 1/2 C. honey and they were plenty sweet!
    I also used unsweetened dried cranberries. I have been imagining all sorts of flavor substitues!

  2. says

    My teenage son adores these, and he’s not that big a fan of almond flour or dried cranberries. I substituted orange zest and butter. He’s cryin’ for more and says thank you, Elana!

  3. Becky says

    These are amazing on so many levels! I love that they are gluten and dairy free but yet still pack a punch. I added Chia Seeds to mine and am in love :) Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  4. Joanna says

    Hi Elana!

    I stumbled across your website the other day which is where I first learned about the Paleo diet. So far I have tried your Paleo breakfast bars which my mum and myself absolutely loved. I just made a batch of these muffins and they came out beautifully, without sinking either! My flatmates were surprised about how something so healthy and nutritious could taste so good. Thank you for these recipes, I love being able to eat treats without having the guilt afterwards. You’ve definitely inspired me to cook more and eat better without having to worry about cutting out delicious food!

  5. SwissMiss says

    Excellent! I used orange zest and cranberries. Honey and olive oil bc I didn’t have the grape seed oil on hand. They turned out perfect! No falling or anything!! Will make again and again!

  6. Gail Ahart says

    These are fantastic. I have “played” with these 2 weeks in a row now. My 17 year old son loved a couple of these before he heads out to work. I added a Tablespoon of coconut floor to help the “falling” problem. I am also type 1 Diabetic and found the honey too sweet so I reduced that to a 1/3 cup and added more lemon juice……yummo!
    Thanks for a wonderful recipe; it will be added to the memorized section of my brain

  7. Ari says

    Can you use honey or another sweetener rather than agave? Obviously taste will change slightly…and if honey is a yes, 1:1? Thanks!

  8. Susanne says

    This is the best muffin recipe ever!!
    I changed it a bit though, because I do not like honey or agave in my baking. I substitued the agave with 1/4 cup water, 1 1/2 tbsp. stevia powder and 1/4 tsp. cider vinegar. They brown lovely, rose nicely and tast heavenly.THEY TURNED OUT PERFECT!!!
    I even think the stevia substitue may be beter for diabetics(?)
    Thank you so very much for this site and charing these amazing recipes.

  9. Mona says

    I’m living in Ecuador and I’ve just decided to go dairy free to see if it helps my eczema. I’m so happy I found your site because everything else seems to think that dairy free=vegan, and I am not down with that! Also I’m just learning how to cook because I finally have my own apartment and control over all the food I buy and cook. Thanks again! Wish me luck in the kitchen!

  10. Brad begining Baker says

    Thank you for your tips, recipes and your site. I’ve made 1 of the breads that you suggested. While it tasted pretty good but I found it was a little dry and course. I used Almond Flour ( not Bob’s Red Mill )so is there something I can add to make bread, muffins ( made those to ) more moister ? perhaps less crumbly also ?



    I’m a diabetic looking to cut out the carbs & have my cake too.

  11. Aubrey says

    I am fifteen years old and love baking!!! have been searching and searching for a great muffin recipe, as it is my favorite breakfast, and these smell pretty durn delicious baking in my oven right now! thank you so much for healthy recipes everyone can enjoy

  12. J'Anna says

    Wow these are great. Both kids loved them… both are very picky eaters. I’ve been scouring the web for gluten / starch free recipes for my husband, he loved them too. I’m trying your Paleo bread now, making lunch for him is so much easier with bread…

    • says

      My daughter, J’anna shared this site with us… Wow! I can’t wait to try some of your excellent sounding breads. My husband and I love Almonds. Do you share where you actually buy the flour on line anyplace? I have been buying a very small amount at the health food store. It is very costly.

  13. Geri says

    I agree with Jasika. I was also a bit taken back by the comment. But I appreciate the muffin recipe :)

  14. says

    I must say I am a little frustrated reading the comment you posted about how your husband doesn’t want to be called your partner cause it makes you two sound like lesbians. I am sure you meant no harm by posting that, and I certainly cannot take issue with what your husband said because it is his opinion, but I do take issue with the fact that you decided to mention it in your blog post. Please consider the feelings of people like me reading your blog; a real life 32 year old lesbian, who has no choice but to use the word “partner” because me and the woman I have been with for almost 6 years are not allowed to get married at a federal level, therefore calling her my “wife” is out of the question.
    I think that your writing this comment on your blog, even meant as a joke, was pretty insensitive, because your audience stretches far and wide and the littlest things you say here, things you might joke around about with your friends or your husband in private, can have a huge impact on the virtual strangers that follow your blog religiously. Furthermore, it might be important to remember that the word “partner” is not just relegated for use by gay couples, but also by many married heterosexual couples seeking solidarity with the queer population, hoping to bridge the gap between “us” and “them” and make lifelong commitments between two people just that- a commitment, nothing more, nothing less.
    Again, I understand that you meant no harm by posting that comment. But I think it is important for you to know that your words have had an effect on me, and perhaps a few other people who have read this entry. I am a strong supporter of your work and your impact on the community, both in culinary arts and eco-awareness, and I will continue to buy your cookbooks and share your recipes with my friends. I think that is why I was so hurt to read that comment on your blog- it is hard to see a woman that I have looked up to and talked about so much for the past several months pass on a homophobic remark like that as a joke.
    Thank you for reading. Whether or not this comment makes you feel differently about what you wrote matters much less than me having a voice in this kind of situation, and I thank you for allowing your readers space to comment in this way.

    • says

      Elana, I’m replying because the writer was respectful and because I think she has a point worth considering. I’m an old married lady with kids and a husband, like you, and I think we all need to lighten up AND be able to say what this writer said….all at the same time…that’s possible, right? Anyway, Elana, when I read your comment, I cringed a little. Having said that, I put my foot in my mouth a dozen times a day, but (mostly) privately.

  15. Lynnette says

    Elana could you reveal in general what baked goods freeze well and how to revive them best? Thank you. You make my holiday goers ask what was in that recipe every time.

  16. Norma says

    Thank you for this wonderful and healthy recipes! I just tried the one above but used coconut oil and dried cherries instead because was what I had on hand, and the result was delicious! I will try the original ingredients next time!

    Thanks a lot!!

  17. says

    These were amazing! I subbed whole cranberries and reduced the oil a bit and replaced it with fresh squeezed lemon juice (from that lemon I zested). I also subbed 1/2 cup of the almond flour for coconut flour. My daughter and I have nearly downed the whole dozen in minutes! Thank you Elana.

  18. Melanie says

    I was so excited to make these muffins for my daughter who is on a restrictive diet thanks to a gazillion food sensitivities however I think I made a mistake somewhere. The batter was very dry and crumbly. i subtituted honey and olive oil for the agave nectar and grapeseed oil. Could this be why my batter was so crumbly?

    • Jessica says

      Any time you’re substituting ingredients there’s bound to be some experimenting ahead… But I know a lot of people sub honey for agave in Elana’s recipes with great results, however, every recipe is different so I’m sure it can’t be said for all of them. I don’t believe I’ve seen olive oil as a sub for grapeseed oil though…

      What kind of almond flour did you use? Was it blanched?

      Maybe someone in the Forums has a suggestion?

  19. KSM says

    My husband and I make these all the time, and we experiment with the recipe quite a bit. We do use about 2 tablespoons less grape seed oil than the recipe calls for, and we like it better. But we put in whatever nuts and dried or fresh fruits we have in the house, and they always turn out GREAT. Last week I made them with fresh blueberries and dried cranberries. Today I made them with my homemade trail mix: dried cranberries, dried apricots, walnuts and dried apples. I chopped the apricots and apples. They’re DELICIOUS. Elana, thank you so much for this recipe! It is versatile, nutritious and delicious. :)

  20. Carolina says

    Hi Elana! My name is Carolina, I am 16 and I am chilean. I got diabetes since I was 10 and it has been very difficult for me to change my habits. But visiting your blog has been a light of hope, because I never thought that I could do SO DELICIOUS treats and at the same time being healthy.
    I will travel to U.S for my winter vacations (in Chile, winter is now) and one of the first things I will do, will be to visit a Barnes § Noble to buy your cook book.
    Thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks for sharing all your recipes, I admire so much your work and your dedication!
    Wherever I go (parties, birthdays, dinners…) nobody thinks on having special food for people with diabetes, and I suffer a lot when I was younger and I couldn’t eat cake on my friend’s birthdays… I couldn’t even do sports without been worried of my sugar levels!
    I am sure that something similar happened to you…
    That’s why I feel so identified with you and your son!
    Thanks again,

    • says

      Dear Carolina,

      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your story. I would love to meet you someday if when you come to the US you are in Colorado :-)


  21. Janice says

    Hi Elana,

    This is the first recipe I’ve made from your website. My muffins taste a little bit oily and they browned a bit too much on top and the sides. I’m wondering if the problem with the browning is the type of muffin pan I used. The flavor is great! I just wish they weren’t so brown.

    Thanks for any advice.

    • KSM says

      We leave them in the oven for 25 minutes and they are quite brown on top, but they’re delicious. Also, we use 2 tablespoons less grape seed oil. They turn out much less oily and they’re GREAT. Hope it helps.

  22. zab says

    I love baking muffins and cupcakes– and yours look so good– but I cannot eat eggs, finding it hard to get some light recipes. Suggestion?

  23. Wade says

    WOW! These are delicious! I was recently diagnosed as gluten intolerant and thought I would have to end my love affair with muffins. Not so! My wife, who was very skeptical, asked how much butter I used. She couldn’t believe there was no butter, sugar, or flour. We both are amazed at how good these are. I’m so glad I found your website. This is the first recipe of yours that I’ve tried, but certainly not the last. Thank you!

  24. Jose says

    Just amazing. I can’t believe how good these are. I don’t think I’d ever want to go back to wheat-flour muffins again. I didn’t have a lemon or dried cranberries so I used orange peel and dried cherries (and a shake or two of cinnamon). So good. These are a new favorite. Thank you Elana.

  25. Susan says

    Great recipe. I tried these tonight with a few changes and were the most amazing muffins I have tasted. I substituted lemon olive oil for the grapeseed oil, added a 1/2 cup of pecans, and used 1/2 cup cranberries and 1/2 cup blueberries. Thank you so much for this site. I am loving experimenting with these recipes.

  26. Ben says

    Thanks so much for sharing your recipe!

    I did several substitutions, but the results were very good.

    1 cup of hazel nut flour
    1 cup of buckwheat flour
    2 eggs
    1/4 teaspoon of xanthum gum
    5/8 cup of brown rice syrup
    1 cup of blueberries
    Left the salt, baking soda, zest, and oil the same.

    This reduced the cooking time by at least 5 minutes. I really enjoy buckwheat and blueberries, and I had to make do with what ingredients were around too. :)

  27. Julia says

    Another great recipe Elana! I used orange rind instead, and fresh cranberries- their tartness blended beautifully with the sweet muffin. As usual I also cut back some of the almond and used brown rice flour instead. And I used olive oil in place of grape seed oil. I can never notice a difference in taste.

  28. Jim says

    I made this recipe using fresh blueberries instead of cranberries and I used Splenda instead of agave nectar. The result was one big WOW. Not only are these the best muffins Iv ever had, but yaay for low carbs!

    Thanks for sharing your recipes. Youve opened up a whole new world of great tasting wheat/gluten free food for me.

    • Bets says

      I buy shredded coconut from Tropical Traditions and make my own Coconut Milk & Coconut Flour with this.
      Recipes for either can be found everywhere – pretty simple.

  29. says

    Dear Christianne-

    You always leave the best comments; they make me smile. Thanks for sharing your creativity and experimentation with all of us.


  30. Christianne says

    I couldn’t wait until they cooled down a bit… Burned my fingers but who cares when eating these! What a great muffin! I put in lime zest instead of lemon zest (a sunday with closed shops increases the need for experimentation) and used a mixture of dried blueberries and cranberries… They are lovely and a sure staple on an upcoming glutenfree afternoon tea! Thanks again Elana, hope you (and family) are very well… :-)

  31. Birgitte says

    Thanks for this recipe! I just made my first batch and it was so easy! I used sweetened (cane sugar) dried cranberries because that was all I had, but they are still so yummi.
    Thanks again. You just might have turned me into a “I bake all my breads and deserts myself” person :-)

    • Lana says

      Could you tell me how much sugar you used instead of the agave nectar? I can’t have agave nectar as it is high in fructose.
      Looking forward to trying to make these, but don’t know how to substitute the agave (can’t have honey either). Sugar is fine, but how much is the thing I am not sure about.

  32. says

    Dear Josey,

    I use grapeseed oil as it is the oil that best replicates the taste of butter and I am on a dairy-free plan. I suppose you could experiment with butter, though am not sure how that would work out. You could also try adding flax meal to the muffin to increase fiber, though again not sure how that would work. Of course, experimentation is welcome! That’s what it’s all about! Let me know how it goes and thanks so much for stopping by.


  33. josey says

    Elana…I am new to gluten free and am on a budget. What can I use instead of grapeseed oil? What can I add to increase the fiber/muffin? Thanks for your help.

  34. says


    Thanks for stopping by. If you end up making this muffin, let me know how you like it and what you think of these alternative ingredients.


  35. says

    Elana, that looks like a good muffin. I don’t have a problem with gluten, but the ingredients in this muffins are just so all-around wholesome! I might have to go buy some agave nectar.

    • Sharron Arnold says

      Although agave nectar is included in a lot of recipes (especially in the USA) realise that it is extremely high in sugar and will affect your insulin levels like nothing else! (Insulin is a fat storing hormone).

  36. says

    Mare – No offense taken whatsoever! Thanks for stopping by.

    Sally – Thanks for the comment, yes that is what I think makes almond flour for everyone –it is so high in protein and extremely nutritious

    Jason – Thanks for the sweet comment and happy birthday!!!

  37. says

    These sound delicious! I’ll also be turning 41 in a few weeks time, so since you gave us (your readers) this recipe, I’ll consider it an early gift. ;-) Happy birthday to your “partner.” Everyone should be so lucky to have one.

  38. mare says

    Your use of nut flour is mouthwatering. But, no offense…none what-so-ever…I’d offer to be your new taste tester but I think I’d have to go on a diet too! TWO cups of almond flour!! YI bet they’re delish.

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