Have a healthy Easter with these grain free Paleo Hot Cross Muffins! Gluten free and dairy free, these are really easy to make and full of protein rich almond flour.
NOTE: This recipe for Paleo Hot Cross Muffins is actually quite an oldie of mine, but as I’ve built up more experience baking grain free treats, I’ve revamped it! This post is re-published. My knowledge of different flours has grown, and so I’ve made some tweaks to help produce a lighter, softer muffin.
Paleo Hot Cross Muffins are filled with lovely plump fruit and lots of spices that make your kitchen smell amazing. I love baking these; the fragrance is incredible! I especially love the baked apple here, that becomes wonderfully soft and sweet. It’s a bit less intense than dried fruit, which I think can be overpowering in too large quantities.
And, that thick honey-cashew butter cross piped on the top of these muffins…it’s SO good. You’ll see below in the recipe instructions I’ve included directions on using a zip lock bag to pipe them on. That’s one of my favourite kitchen tricks! Sure you could just smooth the icing on top; but then they wouldn’t be paleo HOT CROSS muffins now, would they?!
I love to gently warm one of these muffins up before serving, so it’s just a bit hotter than room temperature. Biting into a warm muffin with a slightly gooey, cashew-butter cross on the top is the best. You warm them in the oven (on a low heat) or just pop one in a microwave for a few seconds. With a cup of tea or coffee, a little Paleo Hot Cross Muffin is the kind of Easter ritual you’ll want to enjoy more than once! I think they’re perfectly acceptable as breakfast, too…
Paleo Hot Cross Muffins
- 200 grams almond meal - 2 cups
- 55 grams tapioca flour - 1/2 cup
- 18 grams coconut flour - 2 tbsp
- 2 tsp baking powder (gluten free)
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 eggs
- 60 mL coconut oil measured melted - 1/4 cup
- 83 mL honey - 1/3 cup
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 apple
- 1 orange
- 3/4 cup sultanas
For the Crosses
- 1/2 cup cashew butter
- 3 tbsp honey
- Preheat oven to 180 C and line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners or baking paper.
- Combine the almond meal, tapioca flour, coconut flour, baking powder, salt, spices and sultanas in a large mixing bowl.
- Zest the whole orange and add the zest to the dry ingredients. Do not discard the orange.
- Core and cut the apple into small dice (about 5mm) and add to the dry ingredients. Set the dry ingredients aside once you've done this.
- Cut open the orange and squeeze out 1/4 cup of fresh orange juice into a separate bowl (including bits of pulp and orange flesh is fine, just make sure there are no seeds).
- Add the eggs, melted coconut oil, honey and vanilla extract to the orange juice, and whisk it all together.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredient mix and combine until smooth.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the 12 muffin cases. Bake the muffins for approximately 25 minutes, or until the tops turn a deep golden brown and the centre of the muffins feel firm to touch.
- Allow the muffins to cool to room temperature before piping on the crosses. When they're ready, mix the cashew butter and honey together. If your mixture is really solid, you can warm it for a few seconds in the microwave or on the stovetop so it's easier to use. Once mixed, scoop mixture into a zip lock bag/sandwich bag. Snip a corner off the bag and use this to pipe crosses over the top of the muffins. (You can also use a proper piping bag if you have one!)
- Store muffins in an airtight container in the fridge, where they should keep for up to 5 days - if you're only making them the day before you want them, they should be fine to leave out overnight on the countertop (in a container), unless you live somewhere really hot. You can also freeze them (where they should keep for up to 3 months).
I’m so grateful for this recipe! This was our third year making it and I can’t imagine Good Friday without it. Once again I used arrowroot in place of tapioca, and Zante currants and citrus rinds candied in honey in place of the sultanas.
Hi there, my housemate is gluten-free vegan. Do you think ground flax seeds could work as an egg replacement? Cheers 🙂
This is hands down the best Paleo friendly hot cross bun recipe I’ve tried, and I’ve tried quite a few. I used arrowroot in place of tapioca and used some Paleo candied citrus rinds and Zante currants in place of the sultanas. My little on took one bite and screamed “Yum, you’ve got to make these again!”
Hi Kendra, thank you so much for the positive feedback and for taking the time to leave me a comment, it’s really appreciated 🙂 I am happy to hear that this recipe was loved by you and your little one! So nice to be able to share homemade treats!
Delicious….. even my husband who has nothing positive to say about gluten free recipes was a big fan. Thank you.
This made me giggle because I have a husband who is exactly the same. Thank you so much Nella 🙂
Hi! I would love to make these for my family this coming Easter! Quick question though:
Can I use Gluten-Free All-Purpose flour instead of the coconut, almond, and tapioca? Or is this recommended? Also, I’ve never used/had coconut flour before, would this leave a coconut taste or not?? I’m trying to make gluten-free things for my dad and myself!
Thank you in advance.
Hello Sasha, I’m so sorry I missed your question on this recipe pre-Easter. I wouldn’t recommend swapping to GF all purpose as I couldn’t guarantee it will turn out the same. It totally depends on what is in that flour blend, but it’s probably not going to react the same as the mixture of flours that I have suggested. Coconut flour is especially quite unique in that it’s very absorbent. (it doesn’t have a super strong coconut taste!)
Thank you for such wonderful wholesome recipes!!!
Would it be possible to omit the tapioca flour for either more almond meal or coconut flour?
Hi Natasha, thank you for your message! I think possibly you could swap the tapioca to another 2-3 tablespoons of coconut flour. However as coconut flour is quite dry, you may need to add an extra egg to the recipe. Let me know how you go!
Could I use lemon instead of organge?
Hi Kim, yes I think you could swap to lemon 🙂
Would it be possible.to do these egg free?
Hi Monique, I’m looking forward to trying this recipe for the first time next week. I’m unable to have any citrus, what other1/4 cup liquid could I use instead? Nut milk or coconut milk? Or Apple juice? Or water? Thank you 🙏🏻
I’m unable to use almond meal, do you think oat flour/ chickpea flour would work the same or is there something else you could suggest? Thanks so much, looking forward to trying these beauties.
Hi Ellyse! Thank you so much for your message. I think you could substitute oat flour (it’s a bit sweeter than chickpea flour so I think it’s the better option). Oat flour is a little more dry/absorbent, so you may need to reduce the flour quantity slightly or increase the liquids slightly (add a little extra coconut oil and honey). Let me know how they turn out, I’d love to know about any substitutes 🙂
so I ended up using 1 cup oatmeal (fine) and 1 cup green banana flour, however if I were to do it again I would maybe do half a cup of the oatmeap instead. I added extra orange juice and coconut oil, but also ended up using an extra egg and a few dashes of coconut milk and water. They taste amazing but maybe a little dense, but definitely can wait to tweak the flours a little more next time! Thanks so much for the recipe.
Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know Ellyse 🙂 Ooh, green banana flour – I’m yet to try that out at all! Will have to buy some soon.