My dog Cookie always comes running when I pull out the vegetable peeler. I swear, she can hear it slice through the air before it even touches a carrot. Then she starts jumping up and down for carrot scraps. She can be very demanding. I’ve created an entitled little carrot beast, and I’m not sorry in the slightest.
Cookie loved the development process for this carrot muffin recipe. It took me five tries to get them just right, so she got a lot of carrot scraps in the process. They’re based on one of my cookbook recipes (so good!!!).
These hearty muffins are packed with grated carrots, walnuts and raisins. They have lots of texture, yet they’re still light and fluffy.
Thanks to the nuts and whole grains, these muffins make a good grab-and-go breakfast! They also freeze and defrost well. I just microwave individual muffins for 30 to 60 seconds, until they’re gently warmed throughout.
What makes these carrot muffins healthy?
Granted, “healthy” is a subjective term, but here are a few reasons why I consider these muffins to be more nutritionally redeeming than most:
- Unlike standard carrot muffins made with refined all-purpose flour, these are made with white whole wheat flour. That means they’re made entirely with whole grains, but you can’t taste them because white whole wheat flour has such a mild flavor.
- Protein-rich Greek yogurt replaces sour cream.
- Coconut oil or olive oil replace butter (olive oil is composed of more monounsaturated fat, and is considered to be more heart-healthy)
- Real maple syrup replaces refined sugar, so these muffins are naturally sweetened.
- Combined, you end up with hearty muffins that taste like carrot cake. You can eat carrot cake for breakfast with these babies!
These muffins are easily adapted to vegan and gluten-free diets, too! See my recipe notes for details.
Please let me know how these muffins turn out for you in the comments! I’m always so eager for your feedback.
Craving more wholesome muffins? Here are a few more favorite muffin recipes on Cookie and Kate:
- Healthy Apple Muffins
- Healthy Banana Muffins
- Healthy Blueberry Muffins
- Healthy Raspberry Muffins
- Healthy Pumpkin Muffins
- Healthy Zucchini Muffins
If you’re baking for a special occasion, you’ll love my carrot cake with cream cheese frosting (it’s also naturally sweetened and made with whole wheat flour).
Healthy Carrot Muffins
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 13 mins
- Total Time: 28 minutes
- Yield: 12 muffins 1x
- Category: Baked goods
- Method: By hand
- Cuisine: American
Healthy carrot muffins made with whole wheat flour, coconut oil and maple syrup! They taste fantastic, too, of course. These muffins make a great, quick breakfast! Recipe yields 12 muffins.
- 1 ¾ cups white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 cups peeled and grated carrots* (from ¾ pound carrots—about 3 large or up to 6 small/medium)
- ½ cup roughly chopped walnuts
- ½ cup raisins (I like golden raisins), tossed in 1 teaspoon flour
- ⅓ cup melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil**
- ½ cup maple syrup or honey
- 2 eggs, preferably at room temperature
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt***
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (also called raw sugar), for sprinkling on top
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. If necessary, grease all 12 cups on your muffin tin with butter or non-stick cooking spray (my pan is non-stick and doesn’t require any grease).
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, ginger and nutmeg. Blend well with a whisk. In a separate, small bowl, toss the raisins with 1 teaspoon flour so they don’t stick together. Add the grated carrots, chopped walnuts and floured raisins to the other ingredients and stir to combine.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the oil and maple syrup and beat together with a whisk. Add the eggs and beat well, then add the yogurt and vanilla and mix well. (If the coconut oil solidifies in contact with cold ingredients, gently warm the mixture in the microwave in 30 second bursts.)
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a big spoon, just until combined (a few lumps are ok). Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with turbinado sugar. Bake muffins for 13 minutes, or until the muffins are golden on top and a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
- Place the muffin tin on a cooling rack to cool. If you have leftover muffins, store them, covered, at room temperature for two days, or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Freeze leftover muffins for up to 3 months.
*Carrot grating tips: You can grate the carrots by hand, or for an easier option, use the grating attachment on your food processor.
**A note on oils: I love coconut oil here. I used unrefined coconut oil and can hardly taste it in the final product. Olive oil will lend an herbal note to the muffins, if you’re into that. Vegetable oil has a neutral flavor, but the average vegetable/canola oil is highly processed, so I recommend using cold-pressed sunflower oil or grapeseed oil if possible.
***Note on Greek yogurt: I’ve used a variety of fat percentages and the muffins have always turned out well. Higher fat yogurt will yield a somewhat more rich muffin. You can also substitute plain (not Greek) yogurt, but your muffins might not rise quite as high.
Make it vegan: You can replace the eggs with flax “eggs.” Replace the yogurt with a smaller amount of vegan buttermilk—just mix ⅔ cup non-dairy milk with 2 teaspoons vinegar. Let it rest for 5 minutes before adding it to the other liquid ingredients. Or, use 1 cup vegan yogurt.
Make it dairy free: See buttermilk option above.
Make it egg free: Substitute flax eggs for the regular eggs.
Make it gluten free: Substitute an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend for the whole wheat flour. Bob’s Red Mill makes a GF blend that works well.
Make it nut free: Skip the walnuts!
Make it lower in fat: I would argue that this bread contains a healthy amount of fat, but you can replace the oil with applesauce if you’re following a low-fat diet.
▸ Nutrition Information