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These healthy carrot cake muffins are fluffy, moist, and flavorful with warm spices – they’re perfect for breakfast, dessert, or snacks. And they’re easy to make in 1 bowl and just 30 minutes!

healthy carrot muffins on plate with espresso

If you’re looking for a healthy way to start your day (and the New Year!), these carrot cake muffins are for you.

What could be better than starting your day with veggies in cake form, right? Or if evening is your temptation time, these healthy carrot cake muffins are also perfect for satisfying a strong craving for sweets at the end of a long day. 

They rival most carrot cakes I’ve had. Carrot lends moistness to these muffins, and if you like nuts, feel free to add walnuts or pecans for the perfect amount of crunch.

If you’re trying to find creative ways to sneak vegetables into your family, give these a try. All people see is a plate full of carrot cake muffins, but they’re actually getting something that’s pretty nourishing.

Here’s to a healthy New Year!

top view of carrot cake muffins in pan with espresso and raw sugar

The Best Easy 1 Bowl Carrot Cake Muffins Recipe

Carrot Muffins Ingredients

carrot muffins ingredients

In this section I explain the ingredients and give substitution ideas. For the full recipe (including ingredient amounts), see the recipe card below.

  • Buttermilk – the tangy flavor of buttermilk helps create a balanced flavor profile, and yields a soft, fluffy texture
  • Avocado oil – oil helps keep our muffins moist; you can use vegetable oil or any mild-flavored oil you like
  • Light brown sugar – the molasses in brown sugar not only adds depth of flavor, but it helps keep our muffins moist
  • Egg – for structure
  • Vanilla – for flavor and aroma
  • All-purpose flour – this is the base of our carrot muffins
  • Baking powder and baking soda – these are rising agents in our muffins; we need a little bit of baking soda in addition to the baking powder because of the acidic ingredients in our muffins (here, buttermilk and brown sugar)
  • Salt – to enhance the flavors of everything else
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves – these warm spices add depth of flavor and aroma, and help make our healthy carrot muffins taste like carrot cake; if you prefer, you can simplify and use pumpkin pie spice instead of these spices
  • Carrot – for the best flavor and texture, take the time to shred the carrot instead of using store-bought pre-shredded carrot

How to Make Carrot Muffins

Step 1: Shred the Carrot

shredding carrot on box grater

Peel the carrot and shred it on a box grater (the side with the large holes).

Step 2: Make the Batter

how to make muffin batter
  1. Whisk together the buttermilk, oil, light brown sugar, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl.
  2. Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, and stir just to combine (be careful not to over-mix; a few streaks of flour are fine).
  3. Fold in the shredded carrot.

Step 3: Bake the Muffins

how to bake carrot muffins
  1. Spoon the batter into the lined muffin tray.
  2. Bake until a toothpick inserted inside comes out clean or with just a couple crumbs, about 18 to 20 minutes.

Variations

There are a few different ways you can customize the flavor of these deliciously healthy carrot cake muffins:

  • Nuts: If you like nuts, feel free to add 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts, pecans, or whatever your favorite type of nut is.
  • Apple: To bump up the nutrition even more, you can add apple to these carrot muffins! About 1 heaping cup of peeled apple chopped small (from 1 medium sweet-tart apple) works well.
  • Raisins: If raisins are your thing, feel free to add up to 1/2 cup of them here.
  • Glaze or Frosting: For more of a sweet carrot cake simulation, you can top these muffins with a cream cheese glaze like in this oatmeal muffins recipe or cream cheese frosting like in this carrot cake recipe (if you’re making the frosting, you can use 1/3 of that recipe: 1/4 cup unsalted butter, 2.5 ounces cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 pinch salt)

Storage

Once they’re cool, you can wrap these muffins and store them for up to 3 days at room temperature.

They keep the best if you give the moisture that seeps out somewhere to go, which you can do in one of two ways: 1) store them on a paper plate covered with plastic wrap, or 2) store them in an airtight container lined with paper towels.

I don’t recommend storing muffins in the fridge because they tend to get soggy.

plate of carrot muffins with one split in half to show moist interior

Carrot Cake Muffins FAQs

How Do You Shred Carrots?

Friends, yes I know your grocery store probably sells pre-shredded carrots. We’re going to skip them for this recipe!

Shred your own carrots for the best flavor and texture for these muffins.

To shred carrots for muffins:

  1. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the carrots.
  2. Then use the large holes on a box grater to shred the carrot. Stand your box grater upright, and holding your box grater with one hand and the carrot in your other hand, scrape the carrot down the length of the grater.
plate of healthy carrot cake muffins for breakfast

Can You Freeze Carrot Muffins?

Yes! Layer your muffins between pieces of parchment paper in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw them to room temperature and reheat if desired before eating.

What’s the Best Way to Reheat Muffins?

After they’ve been frozen or if they’re a couple days old, I like to reheat muffins before eating them.

You can reheat muffins in 15-second intervals in the microwave, or in a 325F oven wrapped in foil for about 10 to 12 minutes.

More Homemade Muffins to Make

front view of carrot muffins on plate with one split in half showing soft fluffy texture

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Easy 1-Bowl Carrot Cake Muffins Recipe

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Servings: 8 muffins
These healthy carrot cake muffins are fluffy, moist, and flavorful with warm spices – they’re perfect for breakfast, dessert, or snacks. And they’re easy to make in 1 bowl and just 30 minutes!

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Ingredients
 

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375F; line a muffin tray with 8 paper liners.
  • Whisk together the buttermilk, oil, light brown sugar, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, and stir just to combine (be careful not to over-mix; a few streaks of flour are fine). Fold in the shredded carrot.
  • Spoon the batter into the lined muffin tray. Bake until a toothpick inserted inside comes out clean or with just a couple crumbs, about 18 to 20 minutes.

Notes

  • Pumpkin Pie Spice: Instead of using ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, you can simplify and use 1 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice.
  • Nuts: If you like nuts, feel free to add 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts, pecans, or whatever your favorite type of nut is.
  • Apple: To bump up the nutrition even more, you can add apple to these carrot muffins! About 1 heaping cup of peeled apple chopped small (from 1 medium sweet-tart apple) works well.
  • Raisins: If raisins are your thing, feel free to add up to 1/2 cup of them here.
  • Storage: Once they’re cool, you can wrap these muffins and store them for up to 3 days at room temperature. They keep the best if you give the moisture that seeps out somewhere to go, which you can do in one of two ways: 1) store them on a paper plate covered with plastic wrap, or 2) store them in an airtight container lined with paper towels. I don’t recommend putting muffins in the fridge because they tend to get soggy.

Nutrition

Serving: 1muffin | Calories: 197kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.003g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 213mg | Potassium: 168mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 2720IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Bread, Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Carrot Cake Muffins, Carrot Cake Muffins Recipe, Carrot Muffins, Carrot Muffins Recipe, Healthy Carrot Muffins, Healthy Carrot Muffins Recipe

Share it with me on Instagram and leave a comment to let me know your thoughts!

carrot muffins recipe pin

This post was first published on An Edible Mosaic on January 3, 2010 and updated on August 1, 2023. As a point of comparison to show how much my photography has evolved, I kept one of my original photos (below).

IMG_3214(small)
Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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28 Comments

  1. I made these muffins yesterday, and they were really good!
    They’re not very sweet, which is good however because I don’t like eating muffins that tastes extremely sweet. Thank you for posting the recipe :).

    1. Nomi, I’m so glad you enjoyed the muffins! Thanks so much for letting me know, you made my day! :)

  2. Just made these. They are quite good :) Thanks for the recipe.

  3. Veronica, Yay, I’m so glad you liked them! Your version sounds fantastic with that glaze!

  4. I love the new look and the carrot muffins.

    The blog has a nice clean look. I love the lines.

    The carrot muffins have great lines also. I am just about to print them up.

  5. You always make the best breakfast foods! Since I’m a huge fan of carrot cake I will be giving these a try…yum!

  6. These look amazing! Great and healthy way to start the day :)

  7. Natasha - 5 Star Foodie says:

    I love the idea of carrot cake muffins, yum! Your new blog is looking good!

  8. Oh! These carrot cake muffins look delicious…indeed a great way to start the new year!

  9. Ahh this is much healthier than the cream cheese frosting cake version Faith! Thankyou for that and this will help me in my NY resolution! Hope 2010 has started of well for you! :D

  10. They look irresistible! A great way to start the week!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  11. I’m making these for my mom. She’s on a diet and LOVES carrot cake.

  12. What a fabulous way to start the morning! These look so delicious, I can never resist carrot cake.

  13. The muffins look great! I bet your house smelled pretty lush with these babies around. The recipe also reminded me that I’m out of nutmeg! :0

  14. Mmmm these muffins look super healthy and super delicious! And if you add cream cheese frosting, you’ll be getting your dairy in too! (At least that’s what I’ll tell myself.)

  15. I love muffins for breakfast! What a delicious combo of carrots and apples. These look really good!

  16. Nice muffin and really good to start a day… also a new year :)

  17. I’d love to start my day with these muffins…. they look really yummy~~~ OMG~~~ can you send one over here? I’m about to have breakfast! ;)

  18. carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is one of my favorite splurges. with these muffins, i can get most of that decadence but with absolutely none of the guilt! great creation, faith. :)

  19. Oh, carrot cake sandwich cookies are my favorite, so I know I would thoroughly enjoy these. Awesome recipe!

  20. Oh My, that looks as good as the name makes it sound…. so pretty and delicious!

  21. I love these! Perfect to grab on the way out the door. I will definitely be making them!

  22. Heavenly Housewife says:

    Delicious. I love any kind of carrot cakey stuff :D

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