These vegan cranberry orange oatmeal cookies are easy to make in 1 bowl in 20 minutes with just a few healthy ingredients.

Extra cranberries to use? These Baked Cranberry Granola Bars and Vegan Cranberry Oatmeal Crumble Bars are both easy and delicious to make too.

Stack of 4 oatmeal cookies with cranberries, walnuts and chocolate chips in them sitting on the edge of a wire baking rack.

Omg! These are seriously addicting. I made a batch for Thanksgiving and everyone loved them. I’m making another big batch for Christmas. So good!

—Michelle

About the Recipe

These chewy cranberry orange cookies with oatmeal and chocolate chips are the perfect holiday cookie if you’re looking for a healthier option.

They’re made without oil, eggs, butter or white sugar and feature whole wheat flour and rolled oats for extra dietary fiber.

They have a crisp exterior, soft and chewy center and are packed with cranberries, chocolate chips and walnuts.

The orange zest adds a delicious hint of orange flavour you’ll love paired with the tart cranberries and sweet chocolate. Though holiday-inspired, these cookies are delicious all-year round for a wholesome treat or snack.

For more healthier treats like this, you’ll have to try my Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bars, Healthy Pumpkin Oat Cookies, Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies or Vegan Sweet Potato Cookies next.

Ingredients

All ingredients for making a cranberry orange oatmeal cookie recipe.
  • Nut or Seed Butter: Use almond butter, cashew butter or tahini as long as it’s runny (not too dry). You can use peanut butter but it does add a stronger flavour.
  • Whole Wheat Flour: You can substitute white whole wheat flour, spelt flour or all-purpose flour. Be sure to measure accurately.
  • Rolled Oats: Rolled oats (old-fashioned oats) or large-flake oats are best though you can substitute quick oats if needed.
  • Maple Syrup: You’ll need to use a liquid sweetener but you can substitute agave nectar. I have not tried substituting brown sugar or other granulated sugars.
  • Orange: You’ll need a fresh orange to make the orange zest. You could substitute lemon or lime zest for a variation. 1-2 tsp or orange extract works as a substitute for fresh orange zest.
  • Cranberries: You can use sweetened or unsweetened cranberries. Raisins would work as a substitute but cranberries go really well with the orange.
  • Chocolate: The chocolate chips are optional but go really well with orange and cranberry, especially dark chocolate chips! White chocolate chips would also work well.

Please see the recipe card at the end of the post for the complete ingredient list with measurements.

Variations and Additions

  • Nuts: Try the optional pecans or walnuts for crunch and texture.
  • Spices: Add a pinch of ground cinnamon or cardamom in addition to the nutmeg.
  • Orange Glaze: Mix powdered sugar with 2-3 tbsp orange juice to make an orange glaze for the cookies. Drizzle it over the cookies after baking. This lemon glaze would also be good.
  • Coconut: Coconut also goes well in these cookies. Add up to 1/4 cup shredded coconut or use it in place of the nuts.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Mix the wet ingredients. Combine the almond butter, orange zest, maple syrup and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and stir until fully combined.

Maple syrup and almond butter mixed together in a large mixing bowl.

Step 2: Add the dry ingredients. Add the flour, oats, baking soda, salt and nutmeg and stir until you have a cookie dough consistency.

It may seem a bit dry at first but as you mix it will come together.

Oatmeal cookie dough in mixing bowl with a wooden spoon.

Step 3: Mix in the add-ins. Add the chocolate chips, cranberries and optional nuts and mix them in.

Cranberry orange oatmeal cookie dough in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon.

Step 4: Shape the cookies. Create 12 cookie shapes and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Note that the cookies will not change shape during baking, so shape them before they go into the oven. You can use a cookie scoop or large spoon to create 12 equal size balls, then shape them once the dough is divided.

12 cranberry orange oatmeal cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Step 5: Bake, cool and enjoy! Bake the cookies at 350F for 12-13 minutes until golden brown around the edges.

Once the cookies come out of the oven, leave them on the baking sheet to firm. They will seem fragile when they come out of the oven but will firm as they cool.

You can leave them on the pan until completely cooled, or transfer them to a wire rack. Once they’re firm, go ahead and enjoy!

Cranberry chocolate chip walnut cookies on a baking cooling rack.

Recipe FAQs

Help! My dough is too dry and crumbly.

This is most likely a result of adding too much flour. Flour is very easy to over measure, so I always suggest using an inexpensive digital scale to measure your baking ingredients. Follow the listed measurements in the recipe (120 g of whole wheat flour).

Otherwise, it may be because your nut or seed butter was too dry. Be sure to use nut or seed butter that is drippy and nearly runny.

If the dough seems too dry and crumbly, add plant-based milk 1 tbsp at a time to moisten the dough. Be careful as it can quickly become too wet, 1 tbsp of milk is most likely enough. As an alternative to milk, you could use a squeeze of orange juice from the orange.

If you do add too much liquid, you can chill the dough for 15-30 minutes to firm it up.

Can I use instant oats?

You can though rolled oats, old-fashioned oats or large flake oats are recommend for a chewy texture. If you use instant oats or quick cooking oats, the cookies will have a softer texture. They’ll still be yummy though!

Do I have to use parchment paper?

You don’t have to use parchment paper for baking, but it can be a helpful tool that prevents sticking and makes cleanup easier.

If you’re not using parchment paper, use a non-stick baking sheet or coat baking sheet with a light coating of cooking spay.

Are these cookies gluten-free?

No, these cookies are made with whole wheat flour, so they are not gluten-free. I have not tested them with gluten-free flour.

For some gluten-free options that are similar to this recipe, you may enjoy my 3-Ingredient Oatmeal Cookies, Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Cookies, or Healthy Oat Cookies.

How to Make Orange Zest

Making orange zest is a simple process that involves grating the outer peel of an orange to extract the zest. Here are some tips on making orange zest:

  1. Select Fresh Oranges: Choose ripe, fresh oranges that are firm and have smooth, unblemished skin.
  2. Wash and Dry the Oranges: Thoroughly wash the oranges under cool, running water to remove any dirt or residues. Pat them dry with a clean towel or paper towel.
  3. Grate the Zest: Hold the orange firmly and carefully run a microplane grater or citrus zester across the surface of the orange, working in one direction. Be cautious not to dig too deeply into the white pith beneath the orange peel, as it can be bitter. Rotate the orange as you go to grate the zest from the entire surface.
  4. Continue Grating: Grate only the colored part of the orange peel, rotating the orange as needed until you have removed all the zest. Be careful not to include any white pith.
  5. Collect the Zest: The grated zest will collect on the grater or zester. Use a gentle tapping or shaking motion to transfer the zest into a bowl or plate, or right into the mixing bowl.
Two halves of a cranberry chocolate chip oatmeal cookie stacked on top of each other so you can see the inside texture of the cookie.

Expert Tips

  • Measuring: Use a digital scale to accurately measure ingredients for best results.
  • Preheat Oven: Be sure to fully preheat the oven before you begin baking the cookies.
  • Orange Zest: When you’re zesting the orange, be sure to avoid the bitter white pith under the peel. Just use the outermost layer of orange peel. A citrus zester (citrus planer, microplaner) works best for making zest.

Storing

  • Allow Cookies to Cool Completely: Before storing, ensure that your cookies have cooled completely. Hot cookies can release steam, which can lead to moisture buildup inside the storage container and result in soggy cookies.
  • Container: Select an airtight container or resealable plastic bag to store the cookies. If needed, place a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper between layers to prevent sticking.
  • Seal the Container or Bag: Ensure that the container or bag is tightly sealed. The less air exposure, the longer the cookies will stay fresh.
  • Room Temperature: If your kitchen is cool and dry, you can store the cookies at room temperature for 3-4 days.
  • Refrigeration: For longer-term storage, you can refrigerate the cookies up to 1 week.
  • Freezing: Place the cookies in an airtight container or resealable freezer bags with parchment or wax paper between layers. Cookies can be frozen for up to three months. Thaw them at room temperature or in the refrigerator before serving, or enjoy them straight from the freezer.

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Scroll down to the comment section to leave a star rating and review.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Stack of 4 oatmeal cookies with cranberries, walnuts and chocolate chips in them sitting on the edge of a wire baking rack.
Print Recipe
4.88 from 8 votes

Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Cookies

Soft and chewy vegan cranberry orange oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips and walnuts that are perfect for the holidays or any time of year.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time13 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegan
Servings: 12
Calories: 212kcal
Author: Deryn Macey

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup 120 g drippy almond butter or tahini
  • 1/2 cup 145 g maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp orange zest avoid bitter white pith
  • 1 cup 120 g whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup 100 g rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts optional

Instructions

  • Prepare: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Mix Wet Ingredients: Add the almond butter, maple syrup, orange zest and vanilla to a bowl and whisk until smooth.
  • Add Dry Ingredients: Add the flour, oats, salt, nutmeg and baking soda, stir to combine. It may seem a dry at first but will come together as you mix.
  • Stir in Add-Ins: Mix in the cranberries, chocolate chips and nuts, if using.
  • Shape Cookies: Drop 12 spoonfuls of the dough onto the baking tray, pressing each one into a cookie shape. The cookies will not spread during baking so be sure to shape them into cookies beforehand.
  • Bake and Cool: Bake for 12-13 minutes until golden brown around the edges. Let cool completely on the pan. They will be fragile after coming out of the oven but will be firm after they cool.

Video

Notes

For plain oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, omit the orange, nuts and cranberries and increase the chocolate chips to 1/2 cup.
These can be stored at room temperature for up to 4 days but I like them best stored in the fridge or freezer. They’ll keep in the fridge for a week or so, or they can be frozen up to 2 months.
For best results with baking, use a kitchen scale to accurately measure ingredients.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 212kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 9g | Sodium: 152mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 13g