These easy Carrot Muffins are light, tender and deliciously moist. Almost like carrot cake, but in the form of a better-for-you, perfectly portioned muffin! Great for breakfast or a quick grab and go snack, and kids love them!
These Carrot Muffins seriously might be my favorite muffin recipe ever! They are ridiculously flavorful, deeply spiced, and have a wonderfully moist texture. We ate the entire batch in one day the first time I made them and my kids begged for more. I’ve been baking them like they’re going out of style! Actually, this carrot muffin recipe will never go out of style! I’m such a fan of carrot cake and these really hit the spot! They are OUTSTANDING, vibrant and so perfect for springtime. Let’s get to all of the details!
Made these for Easter brunch and let’s just say, I’m handing out this recipe to just about everyone who was present. SO moist and while I did use a classic cream cheese frosting recipe, I will be trying to glaze on muffins for the office this weekend/next week. YUM! I can’t stop craving this this week.— Tracy
Why you should make this recipe
- Easy to make. There’s no need to get out an electric mixer or blender to make these. All you need is one bowl and about 10 minutes to prepare them and less than 20 minutes to bake. So, in less than 30 minutes you can have freshly baked carrot muffins.
- Simple ingredients. These are made with ingredients that you probably already have on hand. Plus, they’re a great way to make use of carrots!
- Soft, moist, delicious. Not only are these super flavorful, but they’re also nice and fluffy and plenty moist!
- Can be made ahead and freeze well. Make these the night before and wake up to a wonderfully satisfying breakfast. They last for 2-3 days stored in an airtight container at room temperature or up to 5 days stored in the fridge. They also freeze really well. We like to meal prep these on Sunday and enjoy them during the week.
These homemade carrot cake muffins are made with simple baking ingredients to give them the perfect soft, tender crumb. Here are all of the ingredients you’ll need:
- Flour. For this recipe, use all-purpose flour, white whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour or a combination of two or all three. To make these gluten-free, use a gluten free flour, such as King Arthur gluten free all-purpose flour.
- Brown sugar. I love dark brown sugar for major moistness and an added depth of flavor. Light brown sugar works too!
- Poppy seeds. You can sub chia seeds if you’d like.
- Baking powder & baking soda. To ensure these have the perfect rise and texture.
- Salt. This will help pull all the flavors together.
- Eggs. We’re using two eggs to help with binding and ensure they bake properly. I haven’t tried flax eggs, but they may work to make these egg free.
- Oil. A bit of oil makes these super moist. I used olive oil, but feel free to sub with vegetable oil, canola oil, melted butter or melted and cooled coconut oil.
- Orange zest. For a bright, light taste.
- Carrots. The star of the show! You’ll 2 cups of grated carrots, which is about 3 to 4 large carrots.
- Buttermilk. Please don’t skip! The acidic buttermilk breaks down the gluten in the flour, which leads to light, tender muffins.
- Cream cheese icing. This simple glaze is made with cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and a bit of milk to thin. This is completely optional – the muffins are amazing without it too!
How to make this recipe
Like most muffin recipes, these are very easy to whip up! Get out a muffin pan and spray it with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper liners. Now, let’s bake! Here’s the simple process:
- Mix the dry ingredients. Start the batter by whisking together flour, brown sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
- Add the wet ingredients. Without over-mixing, stir in the eggs, olive oil, and orange zest. Fold in shredded carrots and buttermilk.
- Fill muffin tins. Evenly, spoon batter into the muffin cups, filling two-thirds full.
- Bake. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 5 minutes at 425ºF, then with the muffins still in the oven, reduce the heat to 350ºF and continue to bake for 13-15 minutes more and until golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.
- Cool. Allow muffins to cool completely on a wire rack. Enjoy with a generous smear of butter or drizzle with icing!
- Cream cheese frosting. If you’re adding the frosting, stir together all of the frosting ingredients in a small bowl. You can drizzle it over the tops with a spoon or scoop it into a small ziplock bag and seal. Cut a tiny hole in the corner of the bag. Once the muffins have cooled, pipe the icing over the tops. Serve & enjoy!
These are really very easy to make, but here are a few tips to make sure they bake up perfect every time!
- Measure the flour correctly. Too much flour can cause baked goods to be dry, but too little flour can cause them to be overly moist. To make this recipe with the perfect amount of flour, whisk it first, then spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off the top (without shaking).
- Do NOT over-mix batter. Combine the wet and dry ingredients by gently mixing them together just until moistened. Over-mixing can make these tough.
- Do not over bake. Ovens can vary so be sure to check on these a few minutes before they should be done. They are done baking when you insert a toothpick into the center and it comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.
- Grating the carrots. Avoid packaged pre-shredded carrots; they are hard, dry, and far less flavorful. When you grate your own carrots you’ll notice how much more moisture the carrots have, which is a must for the recipe to properly work (we’re relying on that moisture!).
Frequently asked questions
These are similar to morning glory muffins with the addition of orange flavor and grated carrots. However, they typically include other ingredients like: whole wheat flour, apples, raisins, walnuts, orange juice, coconut, wheat germ and spices.
A few tips to ensure these turn out perfectly moist and not dry and crumbly is to measure the flour correctly (see above method), do not over-stir the batter, do not over bake and use freshly grated carrots. Here are some other tips for moist muffins from Bob’s Red Mill.
To give these a nice domed top, start the oven on high. Bake at 425°F for the first 5 minutes, then drop the temperature to the more standard 350°F for the remainder of the bake time. This method sparks the leavening agents (especially baking powder) in the batter to react quicker, creating that gorgeously risen top.
These carrot cake muffins are fabulous as-is, but feel free to customize them to your liking by adding other ingredients to the mix.
- Chocolate. You can add about a cup of chocolate chips to the batter for a little extra decadence.
- Fruit. Dried fruit such as dried cranberries, raisins, chopped dates or apricots would be delicious. I would add 1/2 to 1 cup.
- Other mix-ins. Try stirring in other ingredients such as chopped walnuts or almonds, toasted coconut, or crystallized ginger. Yum!
- Streusel topping. Instead of the icing, try a sweet streusel topping by mixing together 1/2 cup all purpose flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 cup melted butter. Sprinkle the streusel over the tops, then bake as directed.
These are wonderful warm, straight out of the oven, but they also can be made ahead and will store very well!
Be sure to allow the muffins to cool completely before storing. I recommend you move them to a wire rack for the quickest cooling time.
- Leftovers. They will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days, or in the refrigerator for about 5 days. If you choose to refrigerate them, I recommend heating them in the microwave for about 15 seconds before serving.
- Freezing. Once completely cooled, place them in a resealable bag, then freeze for up to 3 months. You can either thaw at room temperature, or warm them up in the microwave when you’re ready to enjoy.
- Mixing Bowl. Any mixing bowl will do the trick. I love this stainless steel, nonslip mixing bowl set from Target.
- Nonstick Muffin Pan. This is where quality matters! I was given this muffin pan from Williams Sonoma and LOVE it. I don’t have to use paper liners and my muffins always come out so easily. As an added plus, there’s never cooked muffin left stuck to the pan, so it’s super easy to clean.
- Cooling Rack. I wouldn’t say a cooling rack is completely necessary, but it’s definitely nice to have one available. These allow for airflow and even cooling of your baked goods.
You guys are going to LOVE these carrot muffins! They have all of the amazing flavors and textures of a classic carrot cake into one yummy handheld bite!
If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves them as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
- 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar (light works too)
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds*
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 5 tablespoons olive oil (can also use melted coconut oil or butter)
- 1 tablespoon firmly packed orange zest
- 2 cups shredded carrots**, (about 3 to 4 large carrots)
- 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
Cream cheese icing
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-2 teaspoons milk, to thin
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. and prepare a 12-cup muffin pan with paper baking cups or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Stir in eggs, olive oil, and orange zest without over-mixing. Fold in shredded carrots and buttermilk.
- Evenly, spoon batter into the muffin pan cups, filling two-thirds full. Bake muffins for 5 minutes at 425 degrees F. and then without opening the oven, reduce heat to 350 degrees F. and continue baking muffins for about 12 to 14 more minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool completely on a wire rack.
- To make the cream cheese icing: in a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk. Drizzle over the oatmeal muffins.