These healthy vegan carrot muffins are made with applesauce and whole-wheat flour for wholesome, delicious breakfast or sweet treat you’ll love!

Small carrot muffin in a cupcake liner sitting on a marble cutting board.

These healthy carrot muffins are quick to prepare and bursting with flavour from carrots, walnut and spices. You’ll love the soft texture with crunchy bites of walnuts and sweet carrot throughout.

This recipe is vegan, meaning it’s dairy-free and does not contain eggs. It can also be made gluten-free by substituting a 1:1 gluten-free baking flour for the whole wheat flour.

Enjoy these sweet muffins as a part of a healthy breakfast, serve them at brunch, pack them up for lunch, or take them camping, hiking or on your next road trip or travel day! Their great for kids and the whole family will enjoy them too.

They’re delicious anytime, though if you can, be sure to enjoy one (or two!) warm from the oven topped with butter.

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

Here are a few things to love about these yummy carrot cake-inspired muffins:

  • They’re ready in 30 minutes and made with everyday ingredients.
  • Vegan, low in oil, can be made gluten-free and nut-free.
  • They have the perfectly sweet and spiced flavour.
  • They have a lovely soft, moist texture studded with crunchy walnuts.
  • They’re low in oil thanks to applesauce.
  • They’re a great way to sneak some carrots by kids that might not love veggies.
  • They’re amazing served warm smeared with vegan butter, peanut butter, coconut butter or jam.
  • They can be made in advance and frozen.

Ingredient & Substitution Notes

Visual of ingredients for making healthy carrot cake muffins. Each ingredient is labelled with text.

A complete list of ingredients with amounts and full instructions is located in the printable recipe card below. This section covers ingredient and substitution considerations.

  • Flour: This recipe calls for whole wheat flour. You can substitute spelt flour or a 1:1 gluten-free baking blend such as Bob’s Red Mill.
  • Coconut Sugar: This can be substituted with cane sugar or other unrefined sugar such as turbinado or sucanut.
  • Carrot: Use finely grated fresh carrot in this recipe. I would suggest peeling it as well. You can also make these as zucchini muffins or carrot zucchini muffins but you’ll need to drain the zucchini first according to this zucchini bread recipe.
  • Applesauce: I recommend unsweetened applesauce but if you only have sweetened you can use it, just keep in mind the muffins will be sweeter and higher in sugar.
  • Coconut Oil: This may be substituted with melted vegan butter, canola oil, avocado oil or olive oil.
  • Non-Dairy Milk: Store-bought or homemade unsweetened almond milk or cashew milk works best though soy milk also works.
  • Walnuts: Can be swapped for pecans or mixed and matched with raisins. For a nut-free recipe, you can use pumpkin seeds or a mix of pumpkin seeds and raisins.

Step by Step Instructions

Before You Start: Preheat the oven to 375 F and prepare a 12 pc muffin pan with muffin liners. If you don’t have muffin liners, lightly coat the pan with non-stick cooking spray or grease with oil or butter.

Mix Dry Ingredients

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and spices) until well incorporated.

Whisking together flour and other dry baking ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Mix together the dry ingredients.

Add Grated Carrot

Add the carrots and mix until they’re well-distributed and coated in the flour mixture.

Mixing grated carrots into flour in a large mixing bowl.
Mix in the grated carrot.

Mix Wet Ingredients

In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients (applesauce, coconut oil vanilla, milk, vinegar) until combined.

Whisking applesauce, coconut oil and almond milk together in a small bowl.
Whisk together the wet ingredients.

Mix Wet into Dry Ingredients

Create a “well” in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients.

Gently fold together with a spatula until all of the flour has been wetted. Once all the flour has been incorporated, stop mixing to avoid over-mixing the batter.

Quick Tip: Be sure to use room temperature milk and applesauce or they’ll cause the melted coconut oil to solidify. If they’re cold, warm briefly in the microwave.

Pouring applesauce into flour and grated carrot in a large mixing bowl.
Create a well then pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

Fold in Walnuts

Fold in the crushed walnuts. If you’d like to add anything else, such as shredded coconut or raisins, fold those in now as well.

Folding chopped walnuts into batter in a large mixing bowl.
Fold in the chopped walnuts.

Evenly divide the mixture between the 12 prepared muffin cups. I like to use a large cookie scoop for easy scooping.

Scooping raw muffin batter into muffin liners in a muffin pan.
Scoop the batter into a lined muffin pan.

Bake for 20 minutes then remove from the pan and place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes to cool. They’re ready to enjoy!

Carrot muffins in muffin liners cooling on a cooling rack.

Notes & Tips

  1. Make sure you finely grate the carrot so you don’t have tough chunks in the baked muffins.
  2. Because the batter contains gluten, try to avoid over mixing so your muffins come out light and fluffy.
  3. Try sprinkling a little coconut sugar and a few extra walnuts on top before baking.
  4. Bake the muffins as soon as they’re ready to go in the oven so as not to waste the leavening power of the baking soda.
  5. Do not open the oven door while baking. You can check for doneness at 20 minutes.
  6. Use a kitchen scale to measure your ingredients. This makes it so easy and ensures accuracy.

Variations

  • Vegan Carrot Apple Muffins: Replace half of the carrot with finely grated apple.
  • Vegan Zucchini Muffins: Use grated zucchini instead of carrot. You’ll need to remove excess moisture from the zucchini first, use this zucchini bread recipe for how to do that. You can also do half zucchini and half carrot.
  • Carrot Oat Muffins: Add 1/2 cup rolled oats with the dry ingredients.
  • Replace half of the walnuts with raisins.
  • Add up to 1/2 cup shredded coconut when you add the walnuts.
  • Spelt Carrot Muffins: Replace the whole wheat flour 1:1 with spelt flour.
  • Serve with vegan caramel or vegan cream cheese frosting for a treat.
A carrot muffin on a marble cutting board with more muffins in the background and some walnuts scattered around.

FAQs

Can I use gluten-free flour?

Yes. You can substitute a 1:1 gluten-free all purpose flour for the whole wheat flour. Do not use a single gluten-free flour such as oat flour or almond flour.

For other gluten-free muffins, check out my buckwheat carrot muffins or chickpea flour muffins.

Can you freeze carrot muffins?

Definitely! Let them cool then store in a freezer bag or airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature or in the fridge.

Are carrot muffins healthy?

Carrot muffins are not necessarily healthy as they contain oil and sugar, though they can certainly be included as part of a healthy balanced diet.

For a healthier muffin, this recipe uses unsweetened applesauce to reduce the oil or butter needed, features whole grain flour and coconut sugar and carrots and walnuts add nutrition. For low-fat carrot muffins, you can omit the walnuts or substitute raisins.

Sliced open carrot muffin showing inside texture of muffin.

Storing

  • Let cool completely before storing in a container.
  • Fridge: Store in a sealed container or sealable bag for up to 1 week.
  • Freezer: Store in a sealed container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature or in the fridge.
  • Room Temperature: Store in a sealed container or sealable bag for 2-3 days.

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Click here to leave a review.

Print
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Small carrot muffin in a cupcake liner sitting on a marble cutting board.

Vegan Carrot Muffins

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Soft, moist and flavourful healthy carrot cake muffins that make a wholesome breakfast on-the-go or snack any time of day. 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (300 g) 
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar (80 g) 
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda 
  • 2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1 cup packed, peeled and finely grated carrot (175 g, about 2 small carrots) 
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce, at room temperature (160 ml) 
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (60 g) 
  • 2 tsp vanilla (10 ml) 
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free milk, room temperature (120 ml)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar (5 ml)
  • 1/2 cup crushed walnuts (60 g)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare 12 piece muffin pan with muffin liners. If you don’t have muffin liners, lightly coat with non-stick cooking spray or lightly grease with oil or butter.
  2. Add the dry ingredients (flour, coconut sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, spices, salt) to a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Add the grated carrot to the flour mixture and stir until the carrot is mixed in and coated with flour.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together the wet ingredients (applesauce, coconut oil, dairy-free milk, vinegar). Be sure to use room temperature milk and applesauce so they don’t cause the coconut oil to harden. You can warm them briefly in the microwave if they’re cold.
  5. Make a “well” in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the whole.
  6. Fold together until all of the dry ingredients are mixed in and wetted.
  7. Add the crushed walnuts and fold in a few times to mix throughout.
  8. Using a large spoon or ice cream scoop, evenly distribute muffin mix into the prepared muffin tins. 
  9. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until a tooth pick can be inserted in the centre of the muffin comes out clean.
  10. When ready remove from oven, lift out the pan and place on cooling rack for 10 minutes.
  11. Enjoy warm smeared with vegan butter, peanut butter or jam for a delicious treat!

Notes

Muffins can be stored In an air tight container in the fridge for 5 -6 days, or stored in a freezer bag for up to 3 months. Okay at room temperature for 1-2 days if taking to-go.

This recipe also works with grated zucchini. To use zucchini instead of carrot, grate zucchini then wrap in a dish towel to squeeze out excess moisture before adding to the recipe or try this delicious vegan zucchini bread.

Walnuts can be substituted with pecans.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 213
  • Sodium: 12 mg
  • Fat: 9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 28 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 4 g

Keywords: vegan carrot muffins, healthy carrot muffins