Healthy Carrot Muffins with Applesauce let you enjoy carrot cake for breakfast! These moist muffins are made healthy with warm spices, whole-grains, and applesauce. This vegan muffin recipe is a breakfast-approved twist of one of your all-time favorite recipes.
You know, I had my fling with the carrot cake a couple of years ago when I made my first one from scratch. The thing is, I had been an eater of carrot cakes, but never a maker. Now I’m a believer in all things carrots, including these carrot cake muffins.
I like finding easy ways to make things. It’s one reason I based my carrot cake on my easy wacky cake recipe. I added some shredded carrots, nuts, and spices, and voila! If you’d like a healthier twist, be sure and try my Healthy Carrot Cake recipe, too.
Why This Recipe is a Winner
- Using whole wheat pastry flour adds a healthy kick without impacting the tender texture of these muffins.
- Fresh carrots add flavor and moisture, making these muffins so delicious.
- Adding applesauce means soft and tender muffins without lots of added fat.
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:
- Whole wheat pastry flour — This is different than whole wheat flour, so if you don’t have whole wheat pastry flour you can combine half all-purpose flour with half whole wheat flour
- Baking soda — Make sure you use fresh baking soda for the best results
- Spices — We’ll add both ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg t
- Salt — A bit of salt adds a desirable complexity of flavor
- Carrots — One or two fresh carrots should be enough. I don’t even peel the skin. Just wash them off
- Coconut sugar — You can substitute brown sugar here
- Vegetable oil — We’ll add just a bit of vegetable oil, I use canola
- Applesauce — Use unsweetened applesauce for this recipe
- Chia seeds — The chia seeds serve as an egg replacer. You can substitute ground flax seed too
- Plant-based milk — You can use any plant-based milk — soy, almond, cashew milk, and more
- Apple cider vinegar — Vinegar interacts with the baking soda to create lift in these muffins
- Vegan cream cheese — The frosting will have a little bit of vegan cream cheese for flavor — I typically use Tofutti or Daiya
- Maple syrup — Any syrup sweetener will do here, such as agave nectar
- Peanut butter powder — A little bit of peanut butter powder adds a bit more flavor and texture without added sweeteners.
How to Make Carrot Muffins
Making this easy carrot muffins recipe is fun and begins with wholesome ingredients. They’re ready in a few, simple steps, so let’s discuss them.
Step One: Combine Dry Ingredients
Begin by combining the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt in a mixing bowl. Give it a good stir to combine.
Step Two: Prepare the Carrots
Add chopped carrots to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times until the carrots are broken down into smaller pieces. Add the coconut sugar, vegetable oil, applesauce, chia seeds, vanilla extract, plant-based milk, and apple cider vinegar. Pulse again until everything is combined.
Be sure and leave some bits of carrots! Pour this into the bowl with the flour and stir until just combined.
Step Three: Distribute into Muffin Pan and Bake
Divide the batter equally between the muffin compartments. I think it helps to use a cookie dough or ice cream scoop.
Bake the carrot cupcakes for 20 to 22 minutes until the muffins are done. It helps to insert a tester in the center of one of the muffins. If it comes out clean, the muffins are done.
Making Moist Muffins
Oftentimes it’s the fat content that makes muffins so moist. However, I used a different approach by adding applesauce to the recipe. I love how applesauce creates a moist muffin while adding a hint of sweetness to it as well.
Use these tips and tricks in my recipe for perfect carrot muffins:
- Be sure to have your oven heated and ready to go once you combine the wet and dry ingredients to get fluffy muffins.
- Make sure you don’t over mix the batter — stir until you don’t see flour pockets.
- Fill the muffin compartments 3/4 full.
- Use a cookie scoop to help distribute the batter equally among muffin compartments.
- This recipe uses applesauce, but you can substitute a mashed banana to make banana carrot muffins.
- For the moistest muffins, be sure not to overbake muffins.
- Don’t over-process the carrots. Just make a few short bursts in the food processor until they’re broken down into smaller bits.
- Wait until the muffins cool before adding the cheesecake drizzle.
- Transform these into carrot raisin muffins by adding 1/4 to 1/2 cup raisins to the batter before baking.
- Make these as Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes by adding vegan cream cheese frosting.
One of my favorite healthy but delicious muffins are these Applesauce Muffins. So good!
Healthy Carrot Muffins
We’re all looking for healthy ways to start out our days and these healthy carrot cake muffins deliver on both flavor and healthy. Here’s how:
- I use whole wheat pastry flour to keep add fiber to make each carrot muffin healthy
- Carrots are naturally healthy and with lots of beta carotene
- Making carrot muffins with applesauce helps to keep the fat content down
- You’ll also find chia seeds as an egg replacer
There are a lot of reasons to love the healthiness of these whole wheat carrot muffins.
Allow the muffins to cool completely and then transfer them to an airtight storage container. They can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 to 4 days. You can refrigerate them for up to a week or freeze them for up to 2 months. To thaw, let them out at room temperature for an hour or so.
Vegan Carrot Cake Muffins
Vegan Cream Cheese Drizzle
- ¼ cup vegan cream cheese , softened
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter powder
- Heat your oven to 350°F. Spray a muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to a medium bowl; stir to combine. Set aside.
- In a food processor, add the carrots. Pulse until broken down into large pieces. Add coconut sugar, vegetable oil, applesauce, chia seeds, milk, and vinegar. Pulse again until carrots are broken down to grated texture.
- Pour the ingredients from the food processor into the flour mixture. Stir until just combined (be careful not to over mix). Divide batter evenly between muffin containers.
- Bake for 20 to 22 minutes. Insert a tester in the middle of one of the cupcakes to make sure it comes out clean. When done, remove from oven and cool for 5 to 7 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool some more.
- Make cream cheese drizzle by placing vegan cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl with maple syrup. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir the cream cheese and maple syrup together. Add the vanilla and peanut butter powder and stir until you get a spreadable consistency. Drizzle over the top of each muffin.
- Store muffins in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. You can freeze these muffins for up to two months.
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The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
This post was originally published in 2018 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2020.