Cranberry Apple Oatmeal Muffins (with Dates & Walnuts)

A basket of Cranberry Apple Muffins on a table

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 Sweet apples and tart cranberries, both harvested in the fall, are beautiful compliments to each other in many recipes. I love this Apple Cranberry Pie, and this recipe for Cranberry Apple Oatmeal Muffins is another one of my favourites for fall baking. 

A basket filled with Apple Cranberry Muffins on a table

What Makes This Muffin Recipe So Good

Not only does this muffin recipe combine apples and cranberries, but it also has dates and walnuts. Dates are a natural sweetener, so this recipe has no refined sugar. A small amount of maple syrup adds a touch of sweetness and lovely maple flavour.

Walnuts add crunch, and oats give these muffins a great texture as well as nutritious goodness. I used 1:1 gluten-free flour, but you can use all-purpose or whole wheat flour.


Baked muffins in a muffin tin, with a basket of apples


Here’s What You Need To Make This Recipe


I’m using fresh cranberries here, but you can substitute dried cranberries. 


I made this recipe with medjool dates, but any variety of dates will work. You can buy dates already pitted, or you can pit them yourself


Any variety of apple can be used. The outcome will be different depending on the tartness or sweetness of the apple variety. I used an ambrosia apple which, which adds sweetness to this sugar-free recipe.


I like to toast the walnuts (read further for how to toast). You can skip this step, however, toasting the walnuts really enhances their flavour and texture. Which, in turn, enhances the flavour and texture of your baking.




Use quick-cooking rolled oats, not instant.


Regular all-purpose flour is perfect, but you can use whole wheat flour, or half all-purpose and half whole wheat. Using whole wheat flour will make for a heavier, but still delicious muffin. It will also add fibre and nutrients. If gluten is a problem for you, use a 1:1 ratio gluten-free flour blend, or try almond, coconut, quinoa, or another alternative non-wheat flour. Keep in mind when using any other flour besides a 1:1 gluten-free blend, you may need to use less, or you may need to add more milk. This is because the different flours vary in liquid absorption ability. 

A glass bowl full of dry ingredients for making muffins, with flour, oats, and cinnamon


I used almond milk, but any milk, either dairy or non-dairy will work equally well. 


This recipe uses olive oil, which adds a fruitiness to the already fruit-filled muffins. You can also use vegetable oil.


Use a large egg. The egg, and all the other ingredients, should ideally be a room temperature for the best possible results. If you want to bring ingredients to room temperature quickly, here’s how: How to Bring Butter, Eggs & Dairy to Room Temperature Quickly 

Maple Syrup:

Please use the real thing. “Pancake” syrup is simply corn syrup with artificial flavour and colour added and is not a substitute for pure maple syrup.


Glass dishes holding almond milk, maple syrup, olive oil, and vanilla, with an egg

How To Toast Walnuts

For the best flavour and crunch, toast the walnuts. It’s very easy and doesn’t take long at all.  You can toast the nuts in a skillet on the stovetop or you can use the oven. For a small amount of nuts, like the 1/2 cup in this recipe I use the stovetop.

To toast nuts on the stove, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the nuts to the pan in a single layer. Nuts are naturally high in fat, so there is no need to use any oil. Stir or shake the pan to keep them from burning, and heat until the nuts become fragrant and toasted, about 5 minutes.

To toast nuts in the oven, preheat the oven to 350°. Place the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 6-7 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes.

For both toasting methods, keep a close eye on them. Nuts can burn very easily. Transfer the toasted nuts immediately to a plate so that they don’t continue to cook.

Walnuts are being toasted in a skillet on a stovetop


How To Make These Muffins (Step By Step)

Muffins are almost always made by the same method, called appropriately, The Muffin Method. These cranberry apple oatmeal muffins are no exception.

1. In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients


Dry ingredients for muffins are whisked together in a glass bowl

2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients

Wet ingredients for muffins are whisked together in a glass bowl

3. Add the wet ingredients, along with any add-ins, to the dry ingredients.

The wet ingredients for muffins, along with fruit and nuts, are added into the bowl of dry ingredients

4. Combine with a few quick strokes, mixing just enough to moisten the dry ingredients. (lumps are fine) This step is important, as over-mixing will cause the muffins to be tough and filled with air pockets.

Muffin Ingredients being quickly with a wooden spoon in a glass bowl



Muffin batter scooped into muffin pan cups ready to be baked

Tips For Perfect Muffins

Always use the Muffin Method outlined above, mixing the wet ingredients separately from the dry ingredients.

Don’t over mix. (This can’t be overemphasized)

Combine the wet and dry ingredients right before baking. (Don’t make the batter ahead of time).

Line the muffin pan with paper liners. Lining the pan eliminates the need for greasing, ensures that the baked muffins will not stick, makes cleanup easier, and extends the life of your pans. 

Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.


A muffin tin full of cranberry apple oatmeal muffins



Ingredient Variations For Oatmeal Muffins

Here are a few variations for the add-ins. Instead of:

Dates: Raisins or Diced Prunes

Cranberries: Dried cherries, strawberries, or apricots

Walnuts: Pecans, cashews, or slivered almonds

Apple: Pear or a grated carrot


Cranberry Apple Oatmeal Muffins in a basket



More Fall Baking Ideas

Fall Baking is perfect for using seasonal ingredients. If you love it, too, here are more delicious fall baking recipes for you to try!




Two Apple Cranberry Muffins on a table, with a basket of muffins

A basket of Cranberry Apple Muffins on a table

Cranberry Apple Oatmeal Muffins

These nutritious Oatmeal muffins are packed with fruit and fall flavours with no refined sugar added.
5 from 18 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Quick Breads & Muffins
Cuisine American, Canadian
Servings 12 muffins
Calories 207 kcal


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg large
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large apple peeled and diced
  • 6 dates pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts chopped


  • Preheat oven to 375°
  • Line a twelve cup muffin pan with paper liners, or use cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl combine the flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  • In a smaller bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, olive oil, maple syrup and vanilla.
  • Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture
  • Add the apple, dates, cranberries and walnuts
  • Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened
  • Spoon into prepared muffin pan cups
  • Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes
  • Cool in the pan for five minutes before transferring the muffins to a rack to cool completely
  • Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days


Omit the walnuts if anyone has a tree nut allergy
To make this recipe gluten-free, use a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend, and gluten-free rolled oats.
To make the recipe dairy-free, use any non-dairy milk
Try using an ice cream scoop to fill the muffin tin cups for evenly sized muffins
Most ovens are hotter towards the back, so it can be helpful to rotate your pan halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking.
To freeze muffins, allow them to cool completely, then freeze them on a tray until firm. Transfer to a freezer-safe airtight container and freeze for up to a month. Alternatively, individually wrap each muffin before freezing.


Serving: 1muffinCalories: 207kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 5gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 65mgPotassium: 255mgFiber: 2gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 67IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 92mgIron: 1mg
Keyword apples, Cranberries, dates, fall baking, rolled oats, walnuts
Tried this recipe? What changes did you make?Let us know how it was!


36 thoughts on “Cranberry Apple Oatmeal Muffins (with Dates & Walnuts)

  1. These are the perfect combination of fall flavours and I just happen to have all of them. Love the use of dates as opposed to sugar. Can’t wait to eat these.

  2. Who doesn’t like freshly baked muffins? Such a delicious recipe with all the seasonal ingredients. Loving all the step by step images 🙂

  3. Great recipe – the dates are a particularly clever touch! Wonderful for bringing a rich sweetness to recipe that you otherwise wouldn’t get from cranberries alone. Thanks for sharing!

  4. These muffins celebrate the flavors of the season. The apples, cranberries are ideal and what a lovely addition to a nice breakfast or brunch. I’m making these for our Sunday brunch next week and I know they’ll be a hit. I like that you used olive oil instead of butter. A much healthier choice.

  5. I love it when I have all of the ingredients listed on a recipe ( I used dried cranberries though). These were the BEST and my whole kitchen smelled fabulous!

  6. With such an abundance of pretty cranberries in the store at the moment I was wondering what I could do with them. Your recipe looks amazing, I’ll be making these for my visitors next week, for sure!

  7. What a great looking muffin! I already loved the idea of apples and cranberries together, and you added walnuts and dates, two of my favorite ingredients! Pinned to try!

  8. Very yummy recipe, we loved these. I baked them as a breakfast treat for something different, and everyone loved them. No crumbs left! Will make it again. Thank you for the recipe!

  9. Wonderful, healthy and flavourful bake nice to combine the apples, dates and cranberries in this recipe and great to sweeten these muffins with a good maple syrup! Scrumptious muffins

  10. I love eating muffins for breakfast and these are perfect since they are filled with healthy ingredients. Such a great flavour combo for Fall!

  11. These are the perfect fall muffins. I love all the flavours in here. My son would love them for sure! Thanks for sharing!

  12. The perfect breakfast muffins for this season, and I find myself making them over and over again. They are so delicious, but not too sweet, and the cranberries add the perfect tartness. Great recipe!

  13. What a perfect flavour combination. Before the holidays I always make sure to freeze a few bags of fresh cranberries so I can make cranberry muffins throughout the year. They are our fave!

  14. My kids eat multiple muffins each and every day, so I am constantly looking for yummy recipes to try that don’t contain loads of sugar. These cranberry apple oatmeal muffins are absolutely perfect for our household! Love that they are sweetened naturally.

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