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Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins

This Healthy Carrot Cake Muffin recipe is tasty and versatile! Perfect for everything from brunch to meal prep for breakfast on-the-go!

Healthy carrot cake muffins on cooling rack.

How to Make Perfect Muffins

Below are a few simple but extremely effective tricks to making these Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins perfectly fluffy, moist and delicious every time!

Bring Ingredients to Room Temperature: Pull the eggs and milk out of the fridge about 30 minutes or so before making your muffins to bring them to room temperature. Room temperature ingredients make fluffier muffins.

Preheat Oven to Higher Temp: This recipe bakes the muffins at 350 degrees. However, I recommend preheating the oven to 425 degrees and reducing the temperature to 350 when you put your muffins in the oven to bake. Preheating to a higher temperature counteracts the heat lost when the oven is opened to put the muffins inside. This is important because the muffins will rise better if the oven is immediately hot/350 degrees. 

Mix Dry & Wet Separately: Mix dry ingredients separately from wet ingredients. There are a few reasons for this. One, this helps distribute the ingredients evenly throughout your batter. Two, once the wet and dry ingredients are combined in one bowl, stirring should be VERY limited (see “The 12 Stirs Truck” section below). Three, combining wet with dry ingredients and baking the muffins should happen in quick succession (see “Bake Immediately” section below).

The 12 Stirs Trick: Here’s a little secret. You can mix the wet ingredient bowl as much as you want and the dry ingredient bowl as much as you want. HOWEVER, when combining the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, stir until just combined. I usually try to use 12 stirs or LESS. Over-mixing the muffin batter can cause the muffins to be chewy, dense and flat instead of light, fluffy and round. It is totally ok if there are lumps in the batter. The lumps won’t effect your muffins. 

Bake Immediately: Fill your muffin pan with the batter and bake right after you’ve combined the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. This will give you a fluffier muffin. Baking soda helps the muffins rise. When the wet ingredients hit the baking soda, a bubbling reaction occurs but doesn’t stick around for too long. So, you need to pop those bad boys in the oven before the baking soda runs out of steam. 


Healthy carrot cake muffins on cooling rack.

Helpful Hints

Do I have to mix dry and wet ingredients separately?

You don’t have to mix them separately but I recommend it. Mixing separately helps ensure your muffins don’t turn into sticky dense hockey pucks but light and fluffy muffins instead! For more information see the “How to Make the Perfect Muffins” section above.

Do you mix wet ingredients into dry or dry ingredients into wet?

If we are getting really technical, some will say you should make a “well” in your dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. However, I’ve found it doesn’t really make a difference for this recipe. So, feel free to pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients bowl or vice versa!

Should I put muffins in the fridge?

Yes (unless all the muffins are eaten the same day they are made)! If they aren’t frosted, store them in a Ziplock baggie in the fridge. If they are frosted, store them in sealed containers in the fridge. This will make them last longer so you can grab them throughout the week!

Why are my muffins so dense?

Chances are the batter was over-mixed. When combining the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, try to use 12 stirs or less (see “The 12 Stir Trick” section above).

Why did my muffins fall flat?

There are multiple reasons this could happen but here are the most likely culprits.

  • Over-mixed batter (see “The 12 Stir Trick” above).
  • Batter wasn’t used right after being mixed (see “Bake Immediately” above).
  • Oven door opened too many times. The oven needs to maintain a hot temperature for them to rise properly. Avoid opening the oven door to check on them as it could cause your muffins to sink in the middle.
  • Old baking powder. Yep, that’s a thing. Baking powder that’s been sitting in the back of your pantry for the past five years in likely less effective. Fresh baking powder can make all the difference!

Skip the frosting if needed!

Even though frosting is awesome, feel free to skip it if you prefer. These muffins are still really good without it!


Healthy carrot cake muffins on cooling rack.

Other On-the-Go Breakfast Ideas

Healthy Southwest Egg Cups – These delicious little cuties have a ton of colorful veggies topped off with a little cream cheese to make them creamy and delicious. There is also a little jalapeño in them which gives them the perfect hint of heat!

Make-Ahead Blueberry Chia Seed Breakfast Pudding – I personally make this recipe almost every week. It makes my mornings easy because I can make it at the beginning of the week and have it ready for when I’m running out the door. It is also high in protein to keep me full and the chia seeds are GREAT for digestion!

Chocolate Hazelnut Strawberry Smoothie – This is an oldie but a goodie! This smoothie is only three ingredients and takes less than 5 minutes to throw together. It is loaded with fresh strawberries which I love because I feel like I’m drinking a delicious dessert but its really a nutritious chocolatey smoothie.


Healthy carrot cake muffin with a bite taken out of it.

How to Make Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins

Healthy carrot cake muffins on cooling rack.

Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
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This Healthy Carrot Cake Muffin recipe is tasty and versatile! Perfect for everything from brunch to meal prep for breakfast on-the-go!

Ingredients
 

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Remaining Muffin Ingredient:

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots, about 2 large carrots shredded

Frosting Ingredients (optional):

  • 1 oz. cream cheese, 2 Tbsp.
  • 1 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. milk
  • 1/8 tsp. vanilla

Toppings (optional):

  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions
 

  • Preheat Oven: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Please note, the muffins will be baked at 350 degrees, not 425.* Either grease a muffin pan or use muffin liners to prevent the muffins from sticking to the pan. Set aside. 
  • Mix Dry Ingredients: In a bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients until well combined.
  • Mix Wet Ingredients: In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients until well combined.
  • Combine: Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and shredded carrots. Stir until just combined. Try to use 12 stirs or less!**
  • Bake: Portion the batter into a muffin pan and put the muffin pan in the oven. Don't forget to reduce the temperature to 350 degrees immediately after putting the muffins in the oven! Bake for 20 minutes or until you can put a toothpick in the center muffin and pull it out clean.
  • Make Frosting (optional): Put the cream cheese in a small bowl and microwave for 15-20 seconds to make it easier to mix. Add the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla to the bowl. Whisk until combined.
  • Frost Muffins (optional): Once the muffins have cooled, dip the muffins in the frosting mixture and top with the chopped pecans! Enjoy!

Notes

*Preheating to a higher temperature counteracts the heat lost when the oven is opened to put the muffins inside. This is important because the muffins will rise better if the oven is immediately hot/350 degrees. Just be sure to reduce to 350 degrees once the muffins are in the oven!
**Over-mixing the muffin batter can cause the muffins to be chewy, dense and flat instead of light, fluffy and round. It is totally ok if there are lumps in the batter after your 12 stirs. The lumps won’t effect your muffins!

Nutrition

Serving: 1muffin | Calories: 201kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 207mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 11g
Have you tried this recipe? Let me know what you think! Rate this recipe and leave a comment below.

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3 Comments

  1. quick question-did you try this with carrot puree instead of the shredded carrots? is it that the shredded carrots work better with this recipe?

    1. Hi Mina! This recipe is specific to shredded carrots. I have not tried using carrot puree but I imagine carrot puree would make a denser muffin. Hope this helps!