Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins

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These Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins are easy to make with oatmeal, lots of fresh carrots, and a handful of other simple and healthy ingredients. Feel free to top them with a lightened-up cream cheese drizzle too!

Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins with Cream Cheese Drizzle

Meet my new favorite healthier way to satisfy those carrot cake cravings…

…these delightful carrot cake muffins! 

Many of you long-time readers may recognize this recipe as a riff on my favorite base recipe for healthy banana, pumpkin or apple muffins. Turns out, it works perfectly with freshly-shredded carrots too. And when made with some of my favorite carrot cake warming spices and topped with an optional (yet highly recommended) light cream cheese drizzle, these muffins taste like an absolute treat!

This carrot cake muffins recipe is also super quick and easy to whip up with just 20 minutes or so of prep time. It’s made with healthier ingredients, including lots of fresh carrots, a simple oatmeal base (which makes these muffins naturally gluten-free), and a minimal amount of maple syrup as the primary sweetener. Plus, these muffins also keep really well in the freezer, so I highly recommend making a double batch if you would like to meal prep for easy grab and go breakfasts or snacks.

More than anything, though, they are just ridiculously good. So if you love carrot cake as much as I do, grab some fresh carrots and let’s bake up a quick batch together!

Carrot Muffins Batter

Healthy Carrot Cake Muffin Ingredients:

Before we get to the full recipe below, here are a few quick notes about the ingredients you will need to make these healthy carrot muffins:

  • Old-fashioned oats: We’ll use a blender or food processor to purée old-fashioned (rolled) oats to make oat flour for these muffins. Or alternately, you’re welcome to use store-bought oat flour instead! As always, be sure to double-check that your oats are certified gluten-free if you need this recipe to be GF.
  • Spices: I used a classic mix of ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg and sea salt as carrot cake spices for these muffins. But feel free to add in any other warming spices that you love too.
  • Baking soda: To will help the muffins to rise properly.
  • Eggs: To bind the ingredients together and add moisture.
  • Milk: I used unsweetened plain almond milk in my muffins, but you can use any kind of plant-based milk or cow’s milk that you prefer.
  • Shredded carrots: You can either finely-shred fresh carrots by hand (or with the help of a grating disk on a food processor) for this recipe. Or you can save a step and use store-bought shredded carrots.
  • Maple syrup: I like to use about 1/2 cup maple syrup as the primary sweetener for the muffin batter, which yields muffins that aren’t too sweet. But if you would like yours to be sweeter, you can increase this amount to 3/4 cup maple syrup. (Or you can also sprinkle more turbinado sugar on top of the muffins before baking.)
  • Coconut oil: Or any other mild-flavored oil you prefer, to add a bit of moisture to these muffins.
  • Vanilla extract: A must with any sort of carrot cake recipes, in my opinion!
  • Optional add-ins: Feel free to mix up to 2/3 cup total of add-ins to your muffin batter if you’d like, such as chopped nuts, raisins, shredded coconut or chocolate chips.
  • Coarse turbinado sugar: To add a bit of extra sweetness and crunch to the top of each muffin. (Or feel free to use any other kind of granulated sugar that you prefer.)
  • Cream cheese drizzle: Finally, feel free to whip up a simple topping made with low-fat cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk (any kind) and vanilla extract.

Healthy Carrot Muffins in Pan

How To Make Carrot Muffins:

Full instructions for how to make these carrot cake muffins are included in the recipe below, but here is a brief overview of the process with a few helpful tips:

  1. Purée oats. First, we will purée the oats into a flour-like consistency along with the other dry ingredients, using either a blender or food processor. (Or if you happen to have store-bought oat flour on hand, you can use that instead!)
  2. Mix the ingredients. Next, we’ll mix together the wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and then mix those together with the dry ingredients and any optional add-ins you would like to include until combined. Try to avoid over-mixing this batter or letting it sit in the mixing bowl too long before baking it, in order to achieve the best muffin consistency!
  3. Prep the baking cups. Portion the batter evenly into prepared baking cups. (I like to do this with the help of a large scoop.) Then sprinkle each batter cup with a generous pinch of turbinado sugar for extra sweetness and crunch.
  4. Bake. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean. Then let the muffins cool to room temp on a wire baking rack while you make the cream cheese drizzle.
  5. Make the cream cheese drizzle. Whisk together all of the drizzle ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. (For a super-smooth drizzle, it really helps to sift your powdered sugar using a fine-mesh strainer.)
  6. Serve. Then once the muffins have cooled, use either a fork or a piping bag to add the drizzle (or you can just spread some on with a knife), serve and enjoy!

Closeup Carrot Cake Muffins with Cream Cheese Glaze

Carrot Cake Muffin Variations:

Want to customize this carrot cake muffin recipe more to your liking? Feel free to…

  • Add extra toppings: You’re also more than welcome to sprinkle some chopped nuts or toasted shredded coconut on top of the cream cheese drizzle if you would like a more substantial topping. (Feel free to also spread the cream cheese drizzle on with a knife, more like frosting, if you prefer.)
  • Use a different sweetener: If you do not happen to have maple syrup on hand, you are welcome to swap in 1/2 cup of honey or (packed) light brown sugar instead.
  • Use different warming spices: Ground cardamom, ground cloves, or ground allspice would also be delicious additions to the carrot cake spices called for in this recipe.
  • Make these muffins vegan: Use flax eggs (instead of regular eggs) and vegan cream cheese (instead of regular cream cheese) if you would like to make these muffins vegan.
  • Make the muffins sweeter: If you would like the muffins to be a bit sweeter, you can increase the amount of maple syrup up to 3/4 cup total or you can sprinkle more turbinado sugar on top of each muffin cup before baking. Of course, you are also welcome to increase the amount of cream cheese drizzle too.

Single Carrot Muffin with Cream Cheese Drizzle

More Healthy Muffin Recipes:

Looking for more healthy muffin recipes to try? Check out these delicious recipes for:

  • Healthy Pumpkin Muffins
  • Healthy Banana Muffins
  • Healthy Apple Muffins
  • Healthy Zucchini Muffins

Tray of Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins

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Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting

Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins


5 from 10 reviews


  • Author:
    Ali

  • Prep Time:
    15 mins

  • Cook Time:
    15 mins

  • Total Time:
    30 mins

  • Yield:
    12 muffins 1x


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Description

These Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins are easy to make with oatmeal, lots of fresh carrots, and a handful of other simple and healthy ingredients. Feel free to top them with a lightened-up cream cheese drizzle too!


Ingredients


Scale

Healthy Carrot Muffin Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cups old-fashioned oats*
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk (or your preferred kind of milk)
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil (or any mild-flavored oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup optional add-ins (chopped pecans or walnuts, raisins, shredded coconut, or chocolate chips*)
  • coarse turbinado sugar (optional)

Cream Cheese Drizzle Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup low-fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons almond milk (or your preferred kind of milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Instructions

  1. Prep oven and muffin pan. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with baking liners, or lightly grease with cooking spray.  Set aside.
  2. Purée oats. Purée the oats in a blender or food processor until they reach a flour-like consistency. Add in the baking soda, cinnamon, sea salt, ginger, nutmeg, and pulse a few more times until the mixture is evenly combined. Set aside.
  3. Mix the ingredients. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, shredded carrots, maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla extract until evenly combined.  Fold the oatmeal mixture in with the wet ingredient mixture, along with any optional add-ins, and stir until the mixture is just combined.  (Try to avoid over-mixing.)
  4. Prep the baking cups. Portion the batter evenly into prepared baking cups.  Then sprinkle a generous pinch of turbinado sugar on top of each cup of muffin batter, if you would like.
  5. Bake. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and place the pan on a wire cooling rack until the muffins cool to room temperature.
  6. Make the cream cheese drizzle. While the muffins bake, whisk together the cream cheese drizzle ingredients in a small mixing bowl until smooth. If the drizzle seems too thin, add in a few extra tablespoons of powdered sugar. If it is too thick, add in a tiny extra splash of milk.
  7. Serve. Once the muffins have cooled to room temperature, use a fork or a piping bag to top each muffin with your desired amount of cream cheese drizzle. Serve immediately, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate the muffins for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.


Equipment


Notes

Oat flour: Alternately, you can sub in in 220 grams (7.75 ounces) oat flour.  And as always, be sure to use certified gluten-free ingredients if making this recipe gluten-free.

Optional add-ins: Feel free to add 2/3 of extra add-ins total to this recipe, such as chopped nuts (I’d recommend chopped pecans or walnuts), raisins (or dried cranberries or cherries), shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened), chocolate chips (semisweet or white) — or a combination of any of these.

Prep time: The prep time listed above does not include the amount of time needed to let these muffins cool, which can vary between about 30-60 minutes. That said, if you’re in a hurry, you can always eat the muffins right away without the cream cheese drizzle, or spread the cream cheese frosting on with a knife as a spread.

Healthy Carrot Cake Muffin with Bite Taken Out

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