Carrot Cake Muffins have all the delicious flavors of my amazing Carrot Cake turned into a healthy and delicious muffin. This is perfect for snacking!
Easter season always makes me think of Carrot Cake and turning everything into a version of it. (Hello, Carrot Cake Fudge! Looking at you!)
In this recipe for Carrot Cake Muffins, we are taking that great cake, and turning it into a healthy muffin. We’ve made a lot of swaps and changes here so that these muffins can be a snack that you can feel great about giving to your family.
Making Healthy Muffins
There are a few things that we can do when we are making muffins that make them a little healthier.
- Add some vegetables. Carrot cake already has vegetables, but you could really add vegetables to almost any muffin recipe. Don’t miss my Zucchini Muffins; they are my kids’ favorite.
- Swap some of the sugar out for honey. Honey packs more sweetness per punch. This means that you can use less! Generally speaking, when you take out sugar, replace it with half the amount of honey. In this recipe we went from 1 cup of sugar to 1/2 cup of sugar + 1/4 cup of honey.
- Swap some of the oil for applesauce. Swapping oil for apple sauce will absolutely change the texture of your muffins. It makes them a little more dense. However, it is a worthy trade off when you are looking to make a recipe lighter. In this recipe we take the best of both worlds by only substituting a portion of the oil.
- Use some whole wheat flour. Though we didn’t do it here, if you want to take a further step to making these a little healthier, swap some (but not all!) of the all purpose flour for whole wheat flour. You can read more about that here.
How to Make Carrot Cake Muffins
Here is a brief overview of how to make Carrot Cake Muffins, a healthy twist on my delicious Easy Carrot Cake Recipe. For the full recipe including all measurements, please scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
- Shred the carrots. This is the part of the recipe that takes the most time. You want them very fine, so use the smaller side on a box grater. See more on this below.
- Combine dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and salt in a large bowl.
- Mix wet ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugars, vegetable oil, apple sauce, and carrots.
- Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Be careful not to overmix; you want to stir it until they are just combined.
- Bake the muffins. Fill your muffin cups about 2/3 full with batter, as they will rise while baking. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out with just a few crumbs.
How to Shred Carrots for Carrot Cake Muffins
While you can buy carrots that pre-shredded, I recommend shredding your own so that they are moist and fresh. Regular, large carrots will work best for this compared to baby carrots. Start by peeling and cleaning your carrots. When grating carrots for carrot cake, you want them very fine so use the smaller side on a box grater.
Tips and Tricks
Anytime we are baking, there are a few hints that guarantee your recipe will turn out perfect every single time.
- Measure your flour correctly. Since this is such an important step, it gets its own section below.
- Make sure your baking soda and baking powder are active and you use both. You will need both; they are not interchangeable. To test their freshness, drop the baking soda in a small amount of vinegar and the baking powder in water; they should bubble immediately. You need to replace them every six months.
- Your eggs should be room temperature. This makes them thinner which will mix into the batter better, allowing the muffins to rise more. Fill a bowl with lukewarm water and put them in there for a few minutes to speed this along.
Measuring your flour incorrectly can result in too much flour and really dry muffins. Follow these steps below to make sure your flour isn’t packed and you don’t end up with more than the recipe calls for:
- Start by whisking the flour in its container (flour bag, glass jar, etc.).
- Use a spoon to scoop it from the container into a dry measuring cup.
- Level off the measuring cup with the flat end of a spatula.
I love these muffins by themselves, but if you wanted to frost them and make them into carrot cake cupcakes, I recommend making my cream cheese frosting. It is easy to make and requires only four ingredients.
In general, you can substitute apple sauce for oil in baking recipes. In my experience, oil keeps a cake moister which is why I used a combination of the two in this recipe. It leads to a perfectly delicious and moist carrot cake muffin.
This recipe has not been tested with gluten-free flour. If you plan on testing it with gluten-free flour, I suggest using a blend that is meant to replace all purpose flour one-for-one.
Yes! See my instructions for freezing in the post below.
Storing and Freezing Muffins
Once completely cooled, the muffins can be stored in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to one week. Carrot Cake Muffins also freeze well. Find the instructions below. Once frozen they will keep in the freezer for up to three months.
- Place the cooled muffins in a single layer on a tray or plate.
- Freeze them for two to four hours.
- Transfer the muffins to an airtight container and freeze them for up to three months.
- To eat, remove a muffin from the freezer and let it come to room temperature. This will take about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
If you try this Carrot Cake Muffins recipe or any of my other recipes, please leave a comment and let me know what you think. I love hearing from you!
Carrot Cake Muffins
For Homemade Carrot Cake Muffins
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup apple sauce
- 1 pound carrots grated fine
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 muffin pans with 12 cupcake liners each. Spray the cupcake liners with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and salt.2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon cloves, 1/8 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, honey, oil, apple sauce, and carrots until smooth.2 large eggs, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup honey, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1 cup apple sauce, 1 pound carrots
- Stir the liquid ingredients into the flour mixture until just combined.
- Pour the muffin batter into the prepared cups, approximately 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 22 to 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin in the middle of the pan comes out with just a few crumbs.
- Allow to cool on a rimmed baking sheet. Once completely cooled, the muffins can be stored in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to one week. Please see our instructions in the post for freezing.