Exploding with citrusy flavor and a soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture, our vegan orange muffins will have you craving for seconds after just one bite! These fluffy and tender vegan muffins are made from fresh orange zest and then topped with a sweet orange glaze to create an unforgettable taste that is perfect for any time of day.
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Fruit-filled muffins are a delicious way to start the day or to have as an afternoon snack. Even better, they are something that both kids and adults will love! Be sure to try our other fruity muffin recipes, such as our orange cranberry muffins, blueberry muffins, blueberry lemon muffins, and lemon poppy seed muffins.
What to expect?
These vegan orange muffins combine fresh orange zest, flour, salt, baking powder, and vegan buttermilk made with dairy-free milk and apple cider vinegar. Next, a flax seed vegan egg substitute is combined with olive oil and added to the batter. Lastly, the muffins are topped with a delicious orange glaze made with orange juice and powdered sugar.
Unlike some other muffin recipes that focus on creating tall, mushroom-top muffins, this one focuses on creating a bold flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture. By following the instructions and measurements precisely as written, you will end up with moist and fluffy cake-like muffins that everyone will love!
Here is why you will love this vegan orange muffin recipe:
- It is easy to make – All you need is one bowl, 10 minutes of prep time, and 30 minutes of baking time!
- It is versatile – You can customize these vegan orange muffins with different flavors, fillings, and toppings. Check the variations section for more ideas!
- It is the most delicious – Before making this recipe, I conducted a lot of research to learn what people like and do not like when it comes to muffins. These are the freshest, most flavorful, and most tender bakery-style muffins you will ever try!
- Dairy-free butter – The butter must be at room temperature and soft before use. Do not use cold butter.
- Cane sugar – Other dry sugars such as coconut, brown, or white sugar will also work just as well.
- Flax egg – The combination of finely milled ground flax seeds and water is an easy vegan egg substitute to bind the ingredients together. Do not use ground flax flakes.
- Olive oil – You can also use other neutral oils such as sunflower oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil.
- All-purpose flour – You can also use whole wheat flour. For gluten-free muffins, you can use any gluten-free flour blend.
- Baking powder
- Orange zest (freshly grated)
- Apple cider vinegar – Combining the apple cider vinegar and the baking powder creates a foam that leavens the batter.
- Dairy-free milk – I use oat milk for this recipe, but any non-dairy milk, such as cashew milk, rice milk, soy milk, or almond milk, will do! Like the butter, the milk needs to be at room temperature.
- Orange juice + powdered sugar (optional for the final glaze)
🛒 You can find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Making vegan orange muffins
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F (ca. 180 °C) and position an oven rack in the center. In the meantime, line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. Spray the muffin pan and liners, if desired.
- Mix the dry ingredients (orange zest, flour, salt, and baking powder) in a small bowl.
- Add the apple cider vinegar to the room-temperature milk to make your vegan “buttermilk.”
- Then, add the soft, room-temperature vegan butter and cane sugar to the bowl.
- Use an electric mixer to whisk the mixture for only two minutes. The sugar will not melt during this step.
- Add the ground flax egg (do not use flakes) and olive oil and mix them well.
- Add half of the dry ingredient mixture using a spatula or spoon and mix well.
- Next, add half of the vegan buttermilk to the batter and mix again.
- Lastly, stir in the second half of the dry and wet ingredients and mix well. Stop mixing when the batter reaches a soft, fluffy, and pillowy texture. Do not overmix.
- Use an ice cream scoop or two spoons to evenly distribute the batter across each hole of the muffin tin. They will be full.
- Place the muffin pan in the oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes until lightly golden. When you can stick a toothpick in the center, and it comes out clean, they are done!
- Let the muffins remain in the pan and cool for 5-10 minutes. They will be very soft and moist, especially while hot. Once cooled, lightly run a knife around the muffin (if necessary) before removing them.
- To make the final glaze, mix one tablespoon of orange juice with ½ cup of powdered sugar, then lightly glaze the top of each muffin. Although optional, the glaze is a must-have for the most delicious orange muffins!
- For the most flavorful muffins, use orange zest instead of orange juice.
- Use only the ingredients and quantities in the recipe for the softest, moistest muffin texture.
- If you do not have access to finely milled ground flax seeds, you can take whole flax seeds and grind them in a coffee grinder. The finer the seeds, the easier they are to absorb and bind.
- You can mix the flour and milk with the batter using either an electric mixer or a spatula. However, mix quickly to avoid overmixing.
- Do not bake longer than 30 minutes, as it will dry out the muffins. In an oven similar to mine, 35 minutes is too long.
- With lemon zest – For a different citrus flavor profile, swap out the orange zest for lemon zest, as I do in my vegan blueberry lemon muffins.
- With fruit – Try these muffins with blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, or fresh cranberries, as I do in my vegan orange cranberry muffins recipe.
- With chocolate chips – Fold in some chocolate chips for a delicious chocolatey-orange flavor like in our vegan chocolate chip muffins.
- With nuts – Add some extra crunch and protein to your muffins by adding crushed walnuts or pecans to the batter.
- With spices – Enhance the flavor with a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, or ground cloves.
- With vanilla extract – Add a few drops of pure vanilla extract for a delicious vanilla flavor profile.
- With different toppings – Swap out the orange glaze for chocolate for vanilla frosting, or try it with powdered sugar or crushed nuts.
- Scale – A scale is critical for accurately measuring ingredients and creating the most delicious results.
- Electric hand mixer – An electric mixer is helpful when creaming the butter.
- Rubber spatula – A rubber spatula comes in handy when mixing the ingredients. It will also ensure you scrape all the batter from the bowl without leaving a drop behind!
- Muffin tray – I recommend using a muffin pan with 12 cavities of 3-in dia. x 1 in. (7.6 cm dia x 2.5 cm)
- Paper muffin liners – I use paper liners in all my recipes; however, using them is optional.
- Ice cream scooper – You can also use two spoons if you do not have an ice cream scoop.
These vegan orange muffins are best when eaten the same day you make them. However, if you have leftovers or want to make a batch in advance, here is the best way to store them:
Room temperature – Store the muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days.
In the refrigerator – Once cooled, store the muffins in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.
In the freezer – Once cooled, place the muffins in zippered plastic bags or an airtight container and store them in the freezer for up to three months.
Defrosting and reheating – To defrost, thaw at room temperature before eating. To serve warm, wrap in foil and place in the oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes. Or, place the muffin on a microwave-safe paper towel or plate and microwave on high for approximately 30 seconds.
While you can use orange juice instead of fresh orange zest when making the muffins, I do not recommend it because you will lose some flavors. It can also mess up the texture since you add a liquid ingredient instead of a dry ingredient.
Orange extract is more potent than orange zest, so you will only need to use half a teaspoon of extract for each teaspoon of orange zest.
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Vegan Orange Muffins
- If you want this to come out just like in the photos with the moist and soft cake-like texture, use a scale to measure all ingredients.
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F (ca. 180 °C) and put an oven rack in the middle position. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. I don’t mind if the muffins stick to the papers, but if you do, spray the pan and the liners with non-stick cooking spray.
- Mix dry ingredients (orange zest, flour, salt, and baking powder) in a small bowl.
- Add apple cider vinegar to the room-temperature milk.
- Use an electric mixer to beat the soft room-temperature butter with cane sugar. The sugar will not melt in the butter. 2 minutes are enough.
- Add flax egg (from ground flax, not flakes) and olive oil. Mix them well.
- Add half the dry ingredients and half the “buttermilk” to the batter. Use a spatula or spoon to mix it well. Then add the second half and mix again. Don’t need to over-mix it. You’ll get a soft, fluffy, pillowy batter.
- Use two spoons or an ice cream scooper to arrange the muffin batter evenly. It will be full.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, until lightly golden. Let the muffins cool in the muffin tin for about 5-10 minutes. They are very soft and moist, especially while hot. Run a knife around the edge of each muffin if necessary before taking them out.
- Don’t forget to glaze it (1 tsp orange juice + ½ cup powdered sugar)! It is a must-have to get delicious orange muffins.
- The orange zest gives more flavor than orange juice.
- If you can’t buy milled and finely ground flax seeds, grind the whole seeds in a coffee grinder. They absorb and bind so much better in a fine powder form.
- Using an electric mixer or a spatula to mix the flour and milk with the batter has the same result. As long as you do it quickly, you will not over-mix it.
- While these muffins don’t have a huge mushroom top, they are by far the most soft and moisture muffins I have ever eaten. Every time I adjusted the ingredients, I lost that texture.
- Don’t over-bake it, as they will turn dry. 30 minutes should be enough. 35 minutes is too long in my oven.
- I always use paper liners, so I never tested this recipe using only cooking spray.