Healthy Carrot Muffins made with applesauce, oats and maple syrup, and loaded with walnuts and raisins. Fluffy, light and moist healthy muffin!
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These healthy carrot muffins are naturally sweetened, moist and fluffy! With no added refined sugar plus loaded with grated carrots, nuts and raisins, these hearty carrot muffins make for a healthy breakfast or an afternoon snack.
I have updated this recipe in March 2023 to improve upon texture and lack of sweetness reported by some readers. Now you are getting a foolproof carrot muffin recipe. Carrot oatmeal muffins also freeze and defrost well, plus kids love them with a glass of cold milk!
What Makes These Carrot Muffins Healthy?
In full disclosure, everyone has their own understanding of “healthy” but here is why I think these are healthy carrot muffins:
- Whole grain flour is not stripped of essential vitamins and nutrients like all purpose flour. Plus the addition of oats adds fiber.
- We replace some of oil with applesauce resulting in a low fat muffin. Other healthy fats come from walnuts.
- These carrot muffins are made healthier without any refined sugar.
- Health benefits of carrots include high amounts of beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, potassium and antioxidants.
Ingredients for Healthy Carrot Muffins
To make healthy carrot muffins you will need every day simple ingredients.
- Carrots: You will need approximately 2-3 large carrots or 5-6 small/medium sized carrots. Use the small side of your grater or a vegetable peeler to grate carrots.
- Applesauce: Adds moisture instead of using only oil. I prefer to use unsweetened applesauce to keep these healthy muffins lower in sugar.
- Mild tasting oil: To add a bit of moisture. I used avocado oil but light olive oil, melted butter or coconut oil will work.
- Honey or maple syrup: I like the taste of maple syrup. You can use any other liquid sweetener like agave etc.
- Eggs: Add lift and binding. I think chia eggs and flax eggs will work but healthy carrot muffins will rise less.
- Baking essentials and spices: Vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- Whole wheat flour: I much prefer using whole wheat flour or spelt flour in baking for extra nutrients and fiber.
- Oats or oat bran: Adds healthy fiber for aiding in digestion. Recipe as pictured is made with oats. Note that carrot muffins with oat bran will just rise less.
- Add-ins: I love to use raisins and chopped walnuts for a healthy carrot cake muffins taste, but feel free to use your favorite dried fruits or nuts.
How to Make Healthy Carrot Muffins
Here is a step by step overview with photos how to make healthy carrot muffins. There is a full recipe card below. All you need is just one bowl and box grater!
- Combine liquid ingredients: Whisk the eggs eggs, applesauce, maple syrup, oil and vanilla extract
- Add leavening agents and spices: Now add cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk very well until you no longer see small white lumps otherwise you will taste baking soda. This is what makes these carrot muffins “one bowl recipe”.
- Add shredded carrots: Stir in grated carrots and please don’t squeeze them. The wonderful juice will ensure your healthy carrot muffins are flavorful and moist.
- Add dry ingredients: Now it’s time to incorporate dry ingredients. Add oats and whole wheat flour, then gently mix with spatula until combined but not overmixed.
- Add in raisins and nuts. And give a few stirs.
- Bake the muffins: Place batter evenly into a 12 muffin tin and bake the muffins for 24-25 minutes in 350 F preheated oven. The muffins are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Cool and enjoy: I always let my muffins cool for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Tips for Best Results
Here are my top tips for the best healthy carrot muffins after perfecting this recipe for over 8 years.
- You can use yogurt instead of applesauce: If all you have is plain yogurt or Greek yogurt, it could work. Just keep in mind your muffins will be less sweet, so add 2-3 tablespoons of maple syrup.
- Do not over bake: Remove muffins from the oven as soon as toothpick comes out clean to avoid dry muffins, even if they look not too browned. Muffins keep cooking with residual heat.
- Let muffin batter sit: If you like very soft oats in muffins, let batter sit for 10 minutes before dividing it into a muffin pan.
- Don’t squeeze shredded carrots: That’s where healthy carrot muffins get their moisture from.
Variations of Healthy Carrot Muffins
Want to customize healthy carrot muffins to your taste and what you have on hand? Feel free to try these options.
- Tropical carrot muffins: Add 1/2 cup chopped pineapple pieces, that have been gently squeezed if from a can, and 1/4 cup coconut flakes.
- Different warming spices: Use ground cloves or ground allspice vs. the normal carrot cake warming spices called for in this carrot muffin recipe.
- Sweeter carrot muffins: Sprinkle with coarse sugar before baking.
- Topping: After muffins have cooled, use drizzle from healthy coffee cake to take these from healthy carrot muffins to healthy carrot cake muffins!
- Frosting: Transform your muffins into dessert with Greek yogurt frosting, healthy cream cheese frosting or healthy chocolate frosting.
How to Store and Reheat Them
I usually keep healthy carrot muffins on a counter for a few days. At that point, if any are left (happened only once here), I pop them into an airtight container in the fridge to prevent dry and stale carrot muffins.
You can also freeze muffins for up to 3 months in the freezer. Then just thaw muffins overnight in refrigerator or on counter for 3-4 hours.
Maybe. I have not tried but considering it is a small amount, I think this substitution may work.
It depends. Baking is a science and all-purpose gluten free flour is more moisture absorbent than wheat flour. You may get away with it but I haven’t tried. Also if you are experienced baker, you can add a bit more applesauce or oil.
Also you can use oat flour but by its weight. If one cup of wheat flour weighs 120 grams, you will need same weight of oat flour.
No. Almond flour or coconut flour do not bake the same, so I do not recommend this substitution for this healthy carrot muffins recipe.
I have not tried steel cut oats in this muffin recipe. You may try quick cooking steel cut oats but muffins will rise less and will have more hearty chewy texture.
You can bake mini carrot muffins for about 11 minutes. For jumbo healthy carrot muffins, bake them for 30 minutes or so. Always do a toothpick test.
More Carrot Recipes to Try
- Healthy carrot cake
- Almond flour carrot cake
- Carrot cake baked oatmeal
- Healthy carrot cake bars
- Carrot cake truffles
More Healthy Muffins Recipes
- Healthy chocolate chip muffins
- Healthy blueberry muffins
- Healthy morning glory muffins
- Healthy apple muffins
- Oat bran muffins
- Healthy banana oatmeal muffins
- Healthy oatmeal muffins
- Healthy zucchini muffins
Healthy Carrot Muffins
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup applesauce unsweetened
- 1/4 cup oil I use avocado oil
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups grated carrots packed
- 1 cup rolled oats quick oats or oat bran
- 1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup walnuts coarsely chopped
- Cooking spray I use Misto
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, line 12 muffin tin with muffin liners and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add eggs, applesauce, oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract and whisk. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, salt and whisk very well until no lumps are visible.
- Add grated carrots and stir with spatula to mix. Add oats and whole wheat flour, then gently mix until combined. Do not over mix. Stir in raisins and nuts.
- Distribute batter evenly between 12 openings of a tin (I used a regular ice cream scoop) and bake for 24-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Remove carrot muffins from the oven, let cool for 5 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack to cool off more.
- Store: In an airtight container for 2-3 days. Refrigerate after for a few more days.
- Freeze: In an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw muffins overnight in refrigerator or on counter for 3-4 hours.
- Yogurt: Instead of applesauce you can use plain regular or Greek yogurt but muffins will be less sweet.
- Jumbo or mini muffins: You can bake bigger or smaller muffins but increase and decrease bake time accordingly. Always do a toothpick test.
- Can I use almond flour? Baking is a science and gluten free flour like almond flour or coconut flour will not bake the same, so I do not recommend this substitution.