Packed with carrots, whole grains, and protein, these Carrot Cake Muffins are a delicious way to start the day. They mix up in one bowl, can be made ahead, and are delicious for a snack or breakfast. Plus: You can be eating them in about 25 minutes from when you start!
Carrot Cake Muffins
Whenever I’m looking for a fun way to serve up vegetables to kids, I tend to think of muffins. And these carrot muffins are a delicious—and SO easy—snack, side dish, or breakfast option to share with the kids. I actually love this recipe so much that I make them regularly for myself.
These muffins are low in added sugars and contain whole grains from rolled oats and whole wheat flour. They also have a nice amount of carrots for fiber, vitamin A, and flavor. And unlike many traditional muffin recipes, these don’t overly rely on oil for moisture—but use applesauce which adds nutrients too.
TIP: These store really well in the fridge or freezer, so they’re a nice recipe to make and serve for days (or weeks) to come. Find more of my favorite muffins for kids here.
Ingredients You Need
You don’t need anything fancy to make these muffins and here’s a look at the ingredients.
TIP: If you want to make these without refined sugar, you can omit it and use 2 tablespoons maple syrup.
Here’s a look at the process involved in making these carrot muffins. Scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full recipe.
- Grate the carrot. (photo 1)
- Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix gently. (photo 2)
- Divide among the prepared muffin tin. (photo 3)
- Bake! Remove from oven and tilt muffins slightly or let cool on a wire rack. (photo 4)
TIP: You can use store-bought grated carrots, but you’ll need ones that are finely grates and not in super long pieces. If the pieces of your carrots are longer than an inch, cut them up smaller with kitchen shears.
Can I turn these muffins into cupcakes?
Yes! My toddler actually calls them cupcakes, whether or not they have frosting. You can do a lightly sweetened cream cheese frosting—about 6 ounces softened cream cheese, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 2-3 tablespoons honey. Use a hand held mixer to beat all ingredients together and top the cooled muffins.
What should I serve with these mini muffins?
We like them with milk and a side of fruit for breakfast or a snack, or you can serve them with a favorite soup as dinner or as part of a toddler lunch. (They’re shown above in a lunchbox with Roasted Carrot Fries, cottage cheese, and grapes.) I personally love them with coffee or tea as an afternoon snack for myself!
Can I make these vegan?
To make these without eggs or dairy, omit the eggs and add ground flaxseed meal. You may need to bake them for about 2 minutes longer, but use a cake tester to be sure. See the note at the bottom of the recipe for specifics.
How can I store these muffins?
You can store them for 3-5 days at room temperature or in the fridge, or up to 3 months in the freezer. See more details about storage at the bottom of the recipe.
Best Tips for Success
- I like to use golden raisins because the flavor and color is nice here, but regular ones work just fine.
- For best results, grate the carrots yourself. OR use kitchen shears to roughly chop store bought grated carrots into slightly smaller pieces. (Right out of the bag, the grated carrots are often in long pieces that will be hard to fit on mini muffin cups.)
- Dice into smaller pieces for babies or one year olds.
- Be sure to grease the pan well and use a paring knife around the edges as needed to prevent the muffins from sticking to the pan.
- These work best as mini muffins. (They take forever to bake through as full size.)
- When checking for doneness, look for the edges to be golden brown, the tops of the muffins to be firm to the touch, and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin should come out cleanly—not with wet batter stuck to it.
- You can omit the brown sugar and use 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey instead.
I’d love to hear what your family thinks of this recipe so please chime in below with feedback in the comments!
This post was originally published spring 2017.
These are delicious served warm soon after baking, at room temperature or even chilled, so see what your family prefers. They are naturally dairy-free and can be made gluten-free and egg-free as well. See the Notes section for details.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and coat a 24 cup mini muffin tin with nonstick spray.
- Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and stir together to combine thoroughly, but gently.
- Add a heaping 1 tablespoon of the batter to each prepared muffin cup and bake for 18-22 minutes or until lightly golden brown around the edges and a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out cleanly.
- Remove from oven, cool in the pan for 2 minutes, and use a paring knife to loosen the edges as needed. Tilt in the pan to allow air to circulate underneath or transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- Serve warm, at room temp, or chilled.
To store, place in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. Reheat slightly to serve if desired. Or, place cooled muffins into a zip top freezer bag, remove as much air as possible and seal. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or in the microwave in 10-15 second increments.
To make these egg-free, omit the eggs and add 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal and use 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (up from 1/4 teaspoon in the recipe). Let mixed batter sit for 5 minutes before adding to the pan. Bake for about 2 additional minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out cleanly.
To make these gluten-free, use gluten free cup for cup flour and certified gluten-free rolled oats.
I like to use golden raisins because the flavor and color is nice here, but regular ones work just fine.
For best results with the texture, grate the carrots yourself. OR use kitchen shears to roughly chop store bought grated carrots into slightly smaller pieces. (Right out of the bag, the grated carrots are often in long pieces that will be hard to fit on mini muffin cups.)
These work best as mini muffins. (They take forever to bake through as full size.)
Some babies have to learn to move the texture of bread or a muffin around in their mouths, so offer smaller pieces if needed for a baby just learning this texture.
Be sure to grease the pan well and use a paring knife around the edges as needed to prevent the muffins from sticking to the pan.
When checking for doneness, look for the edges to be golden brown, the tops of the muffins to be firm to the touch, and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin should come out cleanly—not with wet batter stuck to it.