gluten free cranberry muffins

Nothing puts us in the mood for the holidays like the smell of something delicious baking in the oven. But now that we’re trying to eat gluten-free, every baked morsel that comes across our paths throws us into a mild panic. (Self-control in the face of sweets is not our strong suit).

So…Trader Joe’s to the rescue! Although our eventual goal is to figure out how to bake deliciously moist gluten-free goodies from scratch, we have zero time to learn the scientific trickery required to make ground oats and arrowroot behave like good old-fashioned flour. So we’ve left the gluten-free masterminding to the professionals this time.


Full disclosure, the first ingredient in this gluten-free pumpkin baking mix is sugar, so it does not exactly rate on the “healthy” scale. But if you feel like you’re dying from a lack of fresh-out-of-the-oven holiday treats, this will do you right. (Embarrassing aside, I almost tripped over someone’s shopping cart in an attempt to snag the last box.)


Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffin Ingredients

This recipe is so easy, it only calls for 6 ingredients. We tried to cut down on the canola oil by halving the recipe on the box, and instead subbed in some glorious grass-fed butter. Warning: don’t try to do a straight 1-for-1 substitution of butter for oil, or your muffins won’t come out the right consistency. Just take our word for it on this one.

  • 1 box gluten-free pumpkin muffin mix*
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 2 cups chopped fresh cranberries
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

*Don’t worry if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you. You can also just use a bag of gluten-free baking mix and add 2 Tbs. pumpkin pie spice. You may need to play around with the recipe to get it just right if you go this route.

Chop Your Cranberries

cranberries in food processor

  1. Buy a bag of fresh cranberries. We’re including this as a very important step because those dried Craisins are loaded with sugar. Also, fresh cranberries will give your muffins a tart, holiday flair. And everyone needs more flair at this time of year, am I right?!
  2. Okay, once you’ve got those fresh cranberries, dump half of the bag (about 2 cups) into a colander and rinse.
  3. Using a food processor or blender, coarsely chop* your cleaned cranberries.
  4. Save the other half of the cranberries in a Ziploc bag. Cranberries can be frozen for up to a year, but we recommend adding them to your green smoothies for the rest of the week.

*You can also hand-chop the cranberries using a cutting board and knife. However, because these red puckers are round, they tend to roll all over the place and make one helluva mess on your kitchen counters and floor. (Or so we’ve heard.)


Mix Your Pumpkin Muffin Batter


  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Dump the entire contents of your Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffin Mix into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Crack two eggs into the bowl.
  4. Using a hand mixer or whisk, beat eggs into muffin mix until batter forms. 
  5. Using a large spoon, stir in chopped cranberries and chocolate chips.
  6. Drop batter into lightly greased muffin pans.
  7. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.


Remove muffins from the oven, and let cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Then, move them to a wire rack or a clean surface to finish cooling. 

These little buddies are best served slightly warm with a dab of grass-fed better. 


cranberries meme

And there you have it, our spiced up gluten-free pumpkin muffin recipe. Straight from the box to your mouth hole.

Do you have any other tricks to spruce up boxed mixes? We’d love to hear about them! Share them in the comments below.

Cranberries…you just have to let ’em linger.

Kelly & Eric

About CLDM

Kelly and Eric

Meet Kelly & Eric, a couple of San Diego grown-ups who never stopped playing with their food or treating workouts like recess.

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