Enjoy this easy recipe for making tender, moist orange muffins with an optional zesty orange glaze as a wholesome snack or breakfast. Using fresh orange juice and orange zest, they’re bursting with flavor and reminiscent of the perfect bakery-style muffin.
My mom used to buy these fake-colored orange blossom muffins from the grocery store when my brother and I were kids. They were one of my most distinct food memories before I cared about food coloring and less desirable ingredients. I have no idea what was actually in those muffins, but the fragrant aroma of sweet orange is something I can still smell in my memories.
This orange muffin recipe is my attempt at recreating that fond food memory in a healthier, more nutritious way that still elicits that crave-worthy bakery-style vibe.
They’re packed with big citrus flavor and feature a tender and super moist crumb with an irresistible sweet orange glaze that makes them the ultimate addition to a brunch spread or afternoon snack.
Don’t tell my mom, but these are the muffins I should’ve come home to after school.
Orange muffin ingredients
The kid version of me didn’t care about gluten-free eating, but since the adult in me eats that way, I love how adaptable these muffins are to a gluten-free diet. Another bonus of baking at home!
- All-purpose flour — To make the muffins gluten-free, swap out wheat flour for your favorite gluten-free blend. I like to bake with King Arthur measure-for-measure gluten-free flour.
- Baking powder & baking soda — These provide the perfect bakery lift to the muffins.
- Sea salt
- Honey — I prefer the pairing of honey and orange, but another liquid sweetener like maple syrup can also be used.
- Greek yogurt — This ingredient helps eliminate the need for oil when baking and gives the muffins a nice boost of protein.
- Orange juice & orange zest — Using both of these really makes the orange flavor shine. These are the star ingredients of the recipe.
- Apple sauce — This is another oil substitute that contributes to the muffins’ moistness.
- Almond milk — Any milk can be used, but unsweetened almond milk is my preference when milk is used in baked goods.
The orange glaze is optional but highly recommended. You’ll need:
- Confectioners sugar
- Orange juice
- Orange zest
This orange pound cake recipe doesn’t have a glaze in the recipe but this one would be perfect for bringing a touch more decadence to that dessert. You can also use this same glaze on our cranberry orange bread recipe.
How to make glazed orange muffins
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a muffin tin with parchment paper liners. Silicone muffin tins are another excellent option for baking, enabling them to be quickly released from the pan.
My Pro Tip
Looking for the secret to moist muffins? Paper liners help maintain moisture in the muffins, keeping them fresh-tasting longer.
Mix all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl with a whisk. Add the wet ingredients in a separate large bowl and stir until well combined. Fill the muffin pan with the batter using a scoop or a spoon, leaving 1/2″ of space from the top.
Bake the muffins for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes clean. Remove the muffin tin from the oven and let cool.
While the muffins are cooling, make the orange glaze by combining the powdered sugar, orange juice and zest in a small bowl. The glaze can be thicker or thinner by adding more sugar or orange juice to reach the desired consistency.
Once the muffins have cooled to room temperature, drizzle the glaze over the top. Let sit for a few minutes to set before serving.
Why you’ll love this easy orange muffin recipe
- They’re made with easy everyday ingredients and prepped in just 10 minutes.
- Gluten-free friendly recipe. The muffins can also be vegan if you use maple syrup instead of honey and dairy-free yogurt instead of Greek yogurt.
- Packed with fresh orange flavor, they taste bright and fresh just like this glazed orange cardamom cake but in muffin form.
- Fluffy, moist and tender texture and not overly sweet. The glaze can be left off for a healthier orange muffin.
- Consider adding poppy seeds or chia seeds to the muffins. Poppyseeds are a classic combination with citrus-flavored baked goods. This lemon poppyseed bread and these lemon chia muffins are excellent alternatives.
- When in season, add fresh cranberries (or dried cranberries) to create cranberry orange muffins. Cranberries and oranges are a wonderful combination. Check out this cranberry orange biscotti recipe if you’re craving some cookies. I keep a bag of frozen cranberries on hand all year long because this combination is such a great pairing.
- Orange blueberry muffins are another variation to experiment with. You can add fresh blueberries to this recipe or add some orange zest to this wild blueberry muffin recipe.
- Try adding some vanilla extract for extra flavor. You can also use orange extract if you’re low on orange juice or want to enhance the orange flavor in the muffins even more.
Storage and freezing
Although these muffins are best served warm and fresh, the orange muffins can be stored in the freezer. It’s best to freeze the muffins without the glaze. When you are ready to enjoy a muffin, let it thaw and glaze before serving if desired. The microwave can speed up the thawing process. Use it in 20-second intervals.
Any leftover muffins can be left out for 24 hours without drying out. After a day, store the muffins in an air-tight container lined with a paper towel. The paper towel helps absorb any excess moisture the muffins release when stored. This keeps them fresh and prevents sogginess.
What’s the trick to getting high muffins?
If you’re looking for a high-domed muffin top, the secret is to start the baking process at a higher temperature and then lower it after a few minutes.
Typically, you can preheat the oven to 425°F, bake the muffins for 5-7 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350°F and bake for the remaining time until the center of the muffin is fully cooked.
I prefer a flatter top for glazed muffin recipes like this one, but either baking method can be used.
How many oranges do I need for this recipe?
You’ll need at least two large navel oranges to get the amount of fresh orange juice and zest required to make the muffins.
Orange juice from a carton can also be used instead of fresh juice, but the flavor is brighter, fresher and more intense from freshly squeezed orange juice.
More muffin recipes to try:
Apple fritter muffins: This recipe features a delicious glaze similar to these orange muffins, making them a real treat.
Cherry corn muffins: The pairing of sweet cherries with heartier corn meal makes these muffins an exciting and unexpected combination.
Carrot raisin everything muffins: Reminiscent of carrot cake in a healthy muffin form, these muffins make a great snack or breakfast addition.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, gluten-free if desired
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup plain greek yogurt
- ½ cup orange juice, about 1 large orange or 2 small/medium oranges
- 2 tablespoon orange zest
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened apple sauce
- 3/4 cup original unsweetened almond milk
For the glaze
- ¾ cup confectioners sugar
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a medium bowl add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix the dry ingredients together. In a separate and larger bowl, mix the honey, yogurt, orange juice, zest, applesauce and almond milk. Carefully and slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix the batter until everything has been well combined.
- Line the muffin pan with parchment paper muffin liners. Then, using a scoop, fill each liner just over 3/4 full with the batter. Be careful to not fill them all the way to the top. Leave a little at least a ½ inch gap from the batter to the top of the muffin liner.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick or knife comes out clean from the center of the muffin. Remove the muffins and let cool.
- Make the glaze by mixing all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Use a spoon to evenly glaze each muffin. Serve and enjoy!
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.