These tender and moist Carrot Muffins are the perfect way to start the day. Top them with cream cheese frosting or enjoy them plain – either way, they’re delicious!
My carrot cake obsession continues. I’ve shared Carrot Cake Cookies, Pumpkin Carrot Cake, Carrot Cake Cupcakes, and Healthy Carrot Cake. But, it’s time we have carrot cake for breakfast. Don’t you agree? Carrot Muffins it is!
These moist Carrot Muffins are filled with grated carrots, applesauce, and cinnamon, and they are topped with cream cheese frosting. You’ll love them!
How to make Carrot Muffins:
This easy recipe comes together in minutes; no mixer is needed.
- Combine the dry ingredients: flour, cinnamon, leavening, and salt.
- Whisk the wet ingredients: oil, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and applesauce.
- Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
- Add grated carrots and stir until combined.
- Scoop the batter into muffin cups and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Cream cheese frosting (optional):
Although this is breakfast, I wanted to add just a bit of cream cheese frosting. This small batch of frosting makes just enough for a smear of frosting on top of each muffin. If you’d prefer a more generous amount of frosting, feel free to double the frosting portion of the recipe. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Cream cheese
- Powdered sugar
- Flavorings: vanilla, cinnamon, or orange zest
Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar and the flavoring of your choice and beat until smooth and combined. Spread the frosting onto the tops of each muffin using a butter knife or small offset spatula.
- Grate the carrots using the small holes of a box grater. Grating the carrots fine allows them to soften and almost melt into the cake while it’s baking.
- To properly measure flour: Fluff the flour with your measuring cup, scoop a heaping portion, and level it off with the back of a knife.
- For a more prominent cinnamon flavor, add extra cinnamon (up to 2 teaspoons total) or use cinnamon flavored applesauce in the muffin batter.
- Flavor your cream cheese frosting with either vanilla, cinnamon, or orange zest. All three flavors pair great with the muffins.
How to make healthy Carrot Muffins:
If you’d like to make a few ingredient swaps to make these muffins “healthy” you can do any of the following:
- Reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup
- Use a heart healthy oil (like olive oil)
- Swap half of the all purpose flour for white whole wheat flour
- Omit the frosting
- Add 1/4 cup chopped walnuts into the muffin batter
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour , see note*
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon , increase to 2 teaspoons, if desired
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1-1/2 cups FINELY grated carrots, loosely measured, not packed (about 2 medium carrots)
- 2 ounces cream cheese , softened to cool room temp
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened to cool room temp
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup powdered sugar, plus more, if needed
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or finely grated zest of 1/2 a small orange
- 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts, optional garnish
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with 10-12 paper liners or grease the muffin cups. Set aside.
- Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk oil, applesauce, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined. Add dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until almost fully combined. Stir in carrots.
- Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full (depending on how large your muffin cups are you will fill between 10 and 12 muffin cups). Bake for 17-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, then remove muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, and salt until combined. Add powdered sugar and flavoring of choice and beat until well combined (starting the mixer slow then increasing the speed). Add a bit more powdered sugar to thicken, if necessary. This frosting can also be placed in the fridge for 15 minutes or so to thicken up. Use a butter knife or small offset spatula to frost the top of each muffin. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts, if desired.