Looking for a cozy and delicious Christmas morning treat? These delicious and healthy Christmas morning muffins are fluffy, gluten-free, and sure to be a family favorite this holiday season!
Our house is full of Christmas traditions. One of those traditions is making a big breakfast or brunch on Christmas Day. I invite you to try making these tasty Christmas morning muffins as part of your holiday traditions and see what you think.
Every year we tend to stay up late on Christmas Eve and sleep in on Christmas morning because I refuse to set an alarm on Christmas morning to make breakfast. Once we do get going for the day, my starting point for our holiday breakfast is typically to make homemade gluten-free cinnamon rolls, eggs, and grilled ham. You can get the recipe for the gluten-free cinnamon rolls and many others on my “Baked Treats” board on Pinterest but the rolls can be rather cumbersome.
That’s why I wanted to come up with a Christmas morning breakfast recipe that was easier to make but packed with the same warm flavors of cinnamon rolls. And since I’ve been on a muffin kick lately, I thought that it would be great to make a Christmas muffin recipe. I’ve been working on this recipe for a while now and it’s time for the grand reveal.
And just to give you an idea of how delicious these warm muffins are, my daughter said that it’s her favorite of my gluten-free muffin recipes thus far. And if that isn’t high praise, I’m not really sure what is!
Just so that you’re caught up, here are the recipes that she’s referring to:
By the way, it was the apple streusel muffins that prompted her brother to say that we should start a bakery. I really should watch him. He may be plotting to steal my recipes and make millions off of them one day.
Why My Family Loves These Christmas Muffins
Made ahead of time: The good thing about these muffins is that you can make them ahead of time. That way, you can wake up on Christmas morning, have some muffins and herbal tea, and leisurely open Christmas gifts. There’ll be time to make a grand meal later.
Taste like sweet bread: A friend said that these muffins taste like something known as sweet bread. Sweet bread is a sweet pastry or bread that we grew up eating in St. Thomas, especially around the holidays. That says a lot about this muffin recipe.
Dairy free & gluten-free: To finish the muffins off, they’re topped with a simple dairy-free glaze. I used culinary coconut milk and confectioner sugar (also known as icing sugar) for just the right consistency. Later, I added a splash of orange juice to amp up the flavor a bit. Spoiler alert, this works really well and helps to bring out the orange zest and flavors of cinnamon, ginger, dried fruit, and cardamom in the Christmas muffins. These flavors make this recipe taste like Christmas Cake in muffin form!
Packed with fruit: The muffins are jam-packed with fruit and jump out with every bite.
So are you ready to try your new favorite Christmas tradition? Try my Christmas muffins and see what you think.
Ingredients in Christmas Morning Muffins
- almond flour: I use super fine almond flour to help it mix better. It’s also helpful to sift the flour while adding it to avoid any clumps.
- tapioca flour: This helps to stabilize gluten-free baked goods.
- dried cranberries: These are easier to mix into muffins since they don’t release moisture like fresh cranberries.
- raisins: Regular raisins or golden raisins can be used.
- coconut sugar: This type of sugar has a lower glycemic index than brown sugar.
- baking soda: This helps the delicious muffins to rise.
- apple cider vinegar: Vinegar reacts with baking soda to also help the muffins rise.
- egg: Helps to bind the muffin batter.
- vanilla: Adds a buttery flavor and texture without actually adding butter.
- coconut oil: This keeps the recipe dairy-free.
- almond milk: Feel free to use any type of unsweetened, plant-based milk you like.
- spices: For this recipe, I use a lot of the same spices of gingerbread including cinnamon, cardamon, and ground ginger.
- zest of one orange: This beautifully compliments the warm spices, adding bright notes and a punchy orange flavor.
- pinch sea salt: Salt helps the flavors really pop.
- coconut oil cooking spray: Spray this into the muffin tin to make sure the muffins don’t stick. You could also use muffin cups instead.
- glaze (optional): If you want to make a glaze for these muffins, you will need confectioners sugar, coconut milk, and orange juice.
I’ve made these muffins a few different ways, but here are two of my favorite variations!
Nut Free Gluten Free Christmas Muffins
On one occasion, I substituted 1 cup of oat flour and 1/2 tapioca since I was making a batch for muffins for my children’s homeschool classmates and nut allergies were an issue. I also successfully swapped the almond milk for coconut milk in this case.
Regular Orange Cranberry Muffins For Christmas
If you don’t need these to be dairy-free, you can use butter in place of coconut oil. This keeps it easy to make these muffins using what you have on hand.
Tools to Use:
- Cooling and baking wire rack: It really helps to cool the muffins on a rack before enjoying them.
- Bakeware Cupcake and Muffin Pan
- Grease Proof Cupcake Liners
How to Make These Muffins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl combine almond flour, tapioca, baking soda, cranberries, raisins, cinnamon, cardamom, ground ginger, orange zest, and salt to make your flour mixture.
In a separate bowl (it can be a small bowl or medium bowl) combine coconut oil and sugar.
Add eggs, vinegar, and vanilla to the small bowl and mix. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in the large bowl.
Spray muffin pan with coconut oil if not using paper liners. Use an ice cream scoop to fill 3/4 the way with muffin batter. If using muffin liners, you can skip this step.
Bake for 15-20 minutes in the preheated oven or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove from oven. If using glaze mix confectioner’s sugar, coconut milk, and orange juice with a whisk. Dunk, drip, or dip the top of these holiday muffins as you please.
Q & A: Gluten Free Christmas Muffins
Are muffins healthy?
Every muffin recipe is NOT healthy. But you can feel good about enjoying these perfect festive bites on Christmas morning as part of a sensible breakfast.
Can you make muffin batter the day before?
Yes, you can make muffin batter the day before. To do this, just seal in an airtight container or cover tightly with plastic wrap. This prevents a film from forming on the batter.
I have a nut allergy. What substitutions can I implement to make these healthy Christmas muffins nut-free?
You can use your favorite gluten-free flour and substitute for the almond and tapioca flour in this recipe. When doing this, I’ve found that using 1 cup of gluten free flour does the trick. Do not use any tapioca flour when substituting out the almond flour. So it will be, 1 cup of gluten-free flour and follow the rest of the recipe as listed.
In terms of the nut milk in this recipe, you can substitute it with any other dairy-free, nut-free milk. I’ve found that coconut milk works well.
Can I make these muffins into a different size?
Yes, I’ve always baked these muffins in a standard muffin tin size, but you can make them in a mini muffin pan or even a loaf bread to make this Christmas morning bread. Just follow the approximate baking times below. As a note, these baking times will vary based on the type of pan you’re using, your oven, and altitude.
- Mini Muffins: bake for 10-15 minutes, checking at 10 minutes
- Bread pan: bake for 25-30 minutes
Omissions, Additions, and Substitutions
Just a note about these muffins, I made a couple of substitutions for different dietary situations and this is what I found out.
Using a 1:1 Gluten-Free Flour Blend: Using a gluten-free flour blend versus the almond flour and tapioca flour, made for a denser and drier Christmas muffin. This also required me to use more nut milk (1/2 cup of almond milk versus the 1/4 cup noted below).
Using Oat Flour: I have also successfully substituted 1 cup of oat flour and 1/2 tapioca to also make these nut-free.
Cinnamon Crumble Topping: If you want to make these more bakery-style, you can try adding a simple crumble to the top before baking. You can use your favorite recipe or try a combination of cinnamon, almond flour, coconut oil, and salt.
Health Benefits of Almond Flour Cranberry Muffins
Not only are these muffins gluten-free and dairy-free, but because they are made with almond flour and cranberries, they boost more protein and antioxidants than the average muffin. Almond flour also has a lower glycemic index than all-purpose flour and about 20% more protein per ounce of flour (6 grams of protein in almond flour versus 4 grams in all-purpose).
Other Recipes Using Cranberries
How to Store Leftover Muffins
Allow the muffins to cool completely before attempting to store them. Then put the muffins in a resealable-covered container, that is lined with a paper towel.
How long do muffins last when stored in a container?
That exact answer is going to depend on the humidity level of your home and the moisture of the muffins themselves. But, if stored as listed above, you can expect these muffins to last for 2-4 days.
Can I freeze these Christmas muffins?
Absolutely! Individually wrap the muffins in parchment paper (once cooled) and store them in a large freezer bag for up to 3 months.
Tips for Making These Muffins
- Sift the almond flour to make sure there are no clumps.
- Just mix the wet and dry ingredients to incorporate. Don’t over-mix the batter as this will create dense and gummy muffins.
- Let the muffins cool at least some before trying to move them to the wire rack. Gluten-free muffins have a tendency to crumble when hot but if you let them sit in the tin for a few minutes after removing them from the oven, the muffins will have time to settle and hold together.
What to Serve with Christmas Morning Muffins
These muffins are the best thing to enjoy first thing in the morning with a cup of green tea. But if you want to serve them alongside other brunch staples, they are delicious alongside bacon, deviled eggs, and egg muffin cups.
Other Healthy Breakfast Recipes
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup tapioca flour
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cardamon
- zest of one orange
- 1/8 tsp ground ginger
- pinch sea salt
- * coconut oil cooking spray
- Glaze (optional)
- 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
- 2 tbsp thick coconut milk
- 1 tsp fresh orange juice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In large bowl combine almond flour, tapioca, baking soda, cranberries, raisins, cinnamon, cardamom, ground ginger, orange zest, and salt.
- In small bowl combine butter and sugar.
- Add eggs, vinegar, vanilla to small bowl and mix. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients in large bowl.
- Spray muffin pan with coconut oil if not using paper liners. Use ice cream scoop to fill 3/4 the way with muffin batter. If using muffin liners, you can skip this step.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven.
If using glaze mix confectioner's sugar, coconut milk and orange juice with a whisk. Dunk, drip or dip as you please.
Enjoy these muffins with the glaze or without.
Amount Per Serving Calories 0Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 0mgCarbohydrates 0gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 0g
Nutrition information may not always be accurate
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Dec 2019. Updated Dec 2020
Updated Dec 5, 2022, November 23. 2023