These Gluten-Free Cranberry Sauce Muffins are the perfect way to use your leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving or Christmas. They're subtly spiced, with a moist and dense center, golden and crispy tops, and delicious flavor. They make for a lovely morning treat or an afternoon snack with coffee.
Who doesn't have leftover cranberry sauce every holiday season?
Usually nobody, is the answer. 😉
I'm also always surprised that I have so much leftover Thanksgiving cranberry sauce. Every year, I don't think there will be quite enough, so I make more at the last moment.
Here's the deal, I think people do love cranberry sauce, but in small amounts. Like a couple of tablespoons per plate. It's really to make a mostly savory plate, a little bit sweet.
The best part about having the cranberry sauce leftovers is that we can make these easy gluten-free cranberry sauce muffins.
Recipe Tips and Substitutions
- I love using my Spiced Cranberry Sauce leftovers, but you can use any cranberry sauce you'd like -- even from a can. Please note that depending on the cranberry sauce you use, the baking times and the texture might vary.
- This recipe has been tested with a few different cranberry sauces -- most of them were fairly thick, more or less like this one. If you use one with a excess juice, strain it first.
- Cranberry sauce with whole cranberries is best, so there are chunks of the fruit, and not just a pinkish muffin.
- This recipe includes cinnamon. If you use a spiced cranberry sauce, you can omit it.
- I use my favorite gluten-free flour (Cup4Cup) in this recipe -- and in most of my gluten-free baked goods. It's really fantastic, as it behaves the most like a regular all-purpose flour, of all of the varieties I've tried. If you use a different gluten-free flour, if it does not contain xanthan gum, add one teaspoon of it to the recipe.
- Do they have to be gluten-free? Nope, they'll work just as well with regular all-purpose. Just add two tablespoons to the amount listed for the gluten-free flour. (Typically it's an even switch, but when tested with this recipe, it was better this way.)
- I sprinkle a little Sugar in the Raw on top (or coarse sugar), for a little extra crunch. This is optional.
How long will they keep?
- Room temperature. You can keep them at room temperature if you know the muffins are going to be eaten the next day. The best way to preserve their freshness is to let them cool completely, and then put them in an airtight container. They will last longer this way (two to three days) if you place a dry paper towel below and on top of the muffins.
- Freezer. The muffins can be frozen for about three months. The easiest method is to place them in Ziploc freezer bags, in a single layer. Let them defrost at room temperature.
- Refrigerator. Refrigerating muffins is not ideal, as it can change their texture and dry them out.
So if you find yourself with a ton of leftover holiday cranberry sauce, as I will be, I suggest these sweet, delicious Gluten-Free Cranberry Sauce Muffins.
Enjoy every last crumb!
More recipes using leftover cranberry sauce:
More delicious muffins recipes:
- Spiced Apple Butter Muffins
- Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins
- Banana Honey Muffins
- Blue Corn Blueberry Chocolate Muffins
- Cappuccino Muffins with Chocolate Chips
- Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins
Gluten-Free Cranberry Sauce Muffins
- 2½ cups plus 2 tablespoons Cup4Cup Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup plus 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil, like vegetable)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup Cranberry Sauce
- 2 teaspoons coarse sugar or Sugar in the Raw (optional)
- Set the oven and prepare the pan(s). Preheat the oven to 400°F, adjust a rack to the top third of the oven. Use 16 paper muffin liners to line a standard-sized muffin pan (or pans). Alternately if your pans are non-stick, you can just lightly grease them with oil or butter (use a brush), or a non-stick spray.
- Combine dry ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
- Combine wet ingredients. In another large mixing bowl, use a whisk to blend the oil with the sugar. Once it's blended, whisk in the buttermilk and vanilla. Add the eggs and continue to whisk until it's very smooth.
- Combine wet with dry ingredients and add cranberry sauce. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the well, and mix only until you no longer see dry spots. Mix the cranberry sauce well, so there aren't any large clumps. Then fold it into the batter. Mix just to combine. It's okay if the batter is somewhat streaked with it.
- Fill the pan(s). Fill the muffin pan(s) with the liners (or greased, non-stick) to the very top. Sprinkle each one with a little bit of the coarse sugar (or Sugar in the Raw). The muffins will rise a bit above the top rims, so whatever muffin pan you're using, use a brush or your finger to grease on top of the pan, around each top rim.
- Bake. Place in the preheated 400°F oven and bake until the tops are slightly golden and feel cooked through to the touch. (If you gently and lightly press your finger on top, it should feel a bit like a sponge.) The baking time is 20 to 25 minutes.
- Cool and serve. Let the muffins cool in the pan for at least 5 minutes. Then remove them and cool them on a baking rack for about at least another 10 minutes before serving.
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These were fantastic- nice and moist with great flavor. Four little boys and 2.5 dozen muffins gone in 24 hours!
Hi Krista! This makes me so happy! Thank you for sharing! Hope you enjoyed them as much as the boys. 🙂 ~Valentina
Great recipe thank you! I made these for my celiac son. It's so nice to see some gluten free recipes that aren't vegan, keto or paleo too. Also noticed your other gluten free recipes - I've been looking for something like these - I love how you use almond flour or coconut flour WITH all purpose gf flour so you don't have to use 12 eggs. THANK YOU! Can you recommend other recipes or blogs that have more recipes like these?
Hi Joanne, I'm so happy you wrote in, and that you liked this recipe! Not sure if you read that my son also has Celiac. He just turned 16, and was diagnosed when he was 5. Here are a few more gluten-free dessert recipes that we love:
GF Easy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
GF Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
GF Banana Chocolate Chip Cake
GF Spiced Carrot Cake with Cardamom Frosting
GF Chocolate Zucchini Cake
GF Brownie Cake Recipe
And there are dozens more, plus savory GF recipes galore. Thanks so much and I hope your son (& you!) love these. 🙂 ~Valentina
Happy Thanksgiving Valentina ! Love how moist they are !!!
Thank you! 🙂
What a great way to use leftover cranberry sauce (which I have)! Thanks so much!
What a fantastic idea! Of all the use up Thanksgiving leftovers posts, this I think is the very first that tackles cranberry sauce. And you're right, there's always plenty leftover, and you may be on to why that is. Certainly true for me!
Thanks so much, Frank! Enjoy. 🙂 ~Valentina
Hi Valentina. I saw this drop in my box just prior to our annual American Thanksgiving dinner (we do it here on Saturday as Thursday is a workday) and knew we would have leftover cranberry sauce. I'll make these in the coming days as my GF neighbor will love them as I'm sure we will...
Thanks so much, Ron. Hope you had a wonderful meal! 🙂 ~Valentina
I do love cranberry sauce and this is such a fun and delicious way to use it! These would be so so good right about now with my coffee. Nothing like homemade baked goods, especially muffins, smeared with a little butter. 🙂
Ooooh yes, the butter! 🙂 ~Valentina
This is such a great idea, Valentina. We have a ton of homemade cranberry sauce left and this is a perfect way to enjoy it!
Thanks, Marissa! Hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday. 🙂 ~Valentina
These sound so warm and cozy for the chilly season! Love this so much!!
Yes, nothing like a warm muffin with hot coffee of a chilly morning. Thanks, Kim! 🙂 ~Valentina
YUM! These are perfect for the season! I'd love one for breakfast, then another mid-afternoon!!
Thanks, Liz! Enjoy. 🙂 ~Valentina
John / Kitchen Riffs
The problem with cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving is it's competing with so many other dishes. So you're right -- I just eat a little, and then when I'm having leftovers a little more. But I never finish the batch that I make. I should maybe serve it at another time of the year, when I can enjoy it more? 🙂 Or make muffins! These look terrific -- thanks.
Thanks, John. So true that there is so much competition on a Thanksgiving plate! And I kinda love that! 😀 ~Valentina
Super easy and pretty flexible. I subbed plain yogurt for the buttermilk and made mini muffin size (so only about 15 min to cook in my oven)
They came out great. I used Bob’s Red Mill 1:1.
Easy and delicious way to use up leftover cranberry sauce!
Hi Rachel. Thanks so much for writing in and trying this recipe. I'm so happy you liked these muffins, and love that you made them mini-sized. Cute! 🙂 ~Valentina
Great Recipe - Thx.
Changes: Added 1/2 cup Teff Flour, instead of the GF half;
Used only 1/2 cup of coconut sugar;
Swapped 1 tsp of cinnamon for cardamon instead.
When I looked at the ratio of liquid to flour, I figured it would be too wet (probably because of the absorption rate of Teff), so added 2 heaping Tbl of GF flour - perfect. Next time I’ll add those 2 Tbl of GF flour that you recommended along with my Teff.
I got 18 regular sized muffins - Yum! Thx again!
Hi Debra, So happy you liked these muffins. And great that the changes you made worked out so well. I love cardamom! 🙂 ~Valentina
I loved them. Great way to use leftover Cranberry sauce. They were crunchy on the tops (especially with the course sugar) but the inside and bottoms were perfectly moist. I had two and my hubby had one. They were great with a coffee and very filling.
It's so difficult to find really good gluten free recipes, but this one's a keeper!
Hi Sandra, Thanks so much for writing in. It makes me so happy you and your husband enjoyed these muffins. One of my sons has Celiac Disease so we do a lot of gluten-free baking. 🙂 Thanks again. Warmly, Valentina