Cranberry Quinoa Muffins

You might recall 2Chili and I have a running joke about quinoa, whereas I say it is very mainstream, and he questions the stream in which I’m standing. You might also have figured from yesterday’s interview that 2Chili has quite a sense of humor, and he asked me to eliminate quinoa from our pantry. Not gonna happen, buddy.

I had never tried quinoa until this year, and I absolutely love it. It’s a complete protein, which is awesome for a grain, and, its nutty flavor provides a unique replacement for rice, oats, or flour. 2Chili isn’t keen on it, but he at least knows to pronounce it keen-wah.

If you want a way to introduce quinoa to your family without them really knowing it, try using it in a baked good. These muffins, adapted from Martha Stewart, might just do the trick! If you’re entertaining house guests for the holidays, perhaps whip these up for an easy breakfast. Odds are your guests will have never had a quinoa muffin before, and you’ll have built-in breakfast conversation about the ancient grain.

The muffins are pretty hearty and a mix of slightly sweet and savory. Jumbo-sized muffins are a meal in themselves, and perfect for an on-the-go breakfast replacement for your normal bran muffin or breakfast bar.

Cranberry Quinoa Muffins
Downloadable Word Document Recipe


Original Recipe Inspiration: Martha Stewart’s Quinoa Muffins

Downloadable Word Doc Recipe

Time Required:

  • 20 minutes to cook quinoa
  • 10 minutes to mix batter
  • 30-45 minutes to bake muffins, depending on size

Skill Level: PlatePlate

2Chili’s Taster Rating: Even though he really isn’t crazy about quinoa, he tried these without me even asking, and rated them “not bad.” He didn’t provide a star rating, but if I was to translate, I’d say that means it’s probably about a 3 out of 5 in his book.

The Cook’s Taster Rating: StarStarStarStar

Makes: 6 jumbo muffins or 12 regular muffins (I only have a jumbo muffin tin, so jumbo it was!)


  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons light olive oil or other cooking oil like canola
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar or honey (this is a reduced amount from the 3/4 cup brown sugar that is called for in the original recipe; if you have a big sweet tooth, you may need to up the sweetener)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • Cook quinoa according to package instructions
  • When quinoa is cooked, preheat oven to 350 F
  • Prepare a muffin tin with either nonstick spray or by rubbing the cups with a bit of oil and dusting with flour, tapping out the excess
  • In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, dried cranberries, and 2 cups cooked quinoa; reserve any leftover quinoa for another use.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together oil, milk, agave, egg, and vanilla. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, and stir just until combined; divide batter among prepared muffin cups. (Don’t over-stir or they will be tough)
  • Bake until toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes for regular muffins; 40-45 minutes for jumbo muffins
  • Cool muffins in pan, 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container up to 5 days.

Nutrition Info:

Jumbo muffins
(click to enlarge)
Regular muffins
(click to enlarge)

The Verdict:

I’ll definitely make these again. I reduced the amount of sugar and oil in the muffins from the originals, and halved the called-for salt, but left the baking powder alone to help with the sodium content, and I think the end result was tasty and healthy, so that’s a win!

Lastly, I used agave as the sweetener, but think honey would probably be better, and is much easier to find. Happy baking, and perhaps after having these muffins you’ll find yourself saying that quinoa is very mainstream too!

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