Carrot Cake Muffins

$4.55 recipe / $0.45 each
by Marsha - Budget Bytes
5 from 4 votes
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Carrot cake is one of those recipes where some people love it and others strongly dislike it. Well today, these Carrot Cake Muffins deserve to be in a class of their own. They’re soft, fluffy, and perfectly moist with all the wonderful flavors of carrot cake, but in a convenient, easy to share muffin size. And spoiler alert, I’m a carrot cake lover, so I’ll be enjoying these muffins all season long! Have fun adding your favorite carrot cake mix-ins like sweet raisins and walnuts, or you can keep things simple and save a little bit on your budget. Either way you’re guaranteed to love these delicious carrot cake muffins.

Close up side view of carrot cake muffins on a cooling rack.

Ingredients For Carrot Cake Muffins

I used my zucchini muffins recipe, that I absolutely love, as inspiration for these muffins. I adjusted the measurements and added a few extra spices to fit the flavor profile of carrot cake. The results were absolutely ahhmazing! Here’s everything you need:

  • Carrots: Carrots are of course the star of the show, so you’ll need about 3-4 large whole carrots, finely grated for this recipe. 
  • All-Purpose Flour:  All-purpose flour gives the muffins structure. You can safely substitute up to half of the flour for whole wheat flour without affecting the flavor or texture too much.
  • Baking Powder & Baking Soda: These are both leavening agents to help the muffins rise. I use both due to the extra acidity from the applesauce.
  • Eggs: Eggs to help bind all of the muffin ingredients together.
  • White Granulated Sugar & Dark Brown Sugar: The combination of both sugars help balance the sweetness, moisture and texture of the muffins.
  • Applesauce & Oil: The combination of both cooking oil and applesauce keeps the muffins moist, but not too oily, and you gain more flavor and moisture by incorporating the applesauce.
  • Cinnamon, Nutmeg & Ginger: These are classic spices that are often found in carrot cake. We use the right amount of each one to give these carrot cake muffins a wonderful flavor!  
  • Vanilla: A touch of vanilla extract adds more rich flavor to the carrot muffins.
  • Golden Raisins: The added raisins were honestly my favorite part of the muffins. They added a subtle sweetness and more texture to the muffins. Feel free to use regular raisins instead of golden raisins if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Turbinado Sugar (optional): Adding a sprinkle of turbinado sugar on top of each muffin is totally optional, but such a special treat. It gives each muffin a sweet and light crunch on the top. If you don’t have turbinado sugar, no worries, these muffins are still delicious without it.

How To Grate Your Carrots

As I mentioned above, you definitely want to grate fresh whole carrots for this recipe. Although its tempting to buy pre-shredded matchstick carrots at the grocery store, they simply are not moist enough for these muffins. They also aren’t grated fine enough and won’t mix well with the batter. Grating fresh carrots yourself is the way to go!

Also, most box graters come with a coarse, medium, and fine grating side. I tested these muffins using both medium and finely grated carrots. The finely grated carrots were the winner! They blended better in the batter and provided a bit more moisture compared to the medium-size grated carrots.

Recipe Tips & Add-Ins

  1. Don’t over mix the batter! Over-mixing will cause the muffins to become dense instead of light and fluffy. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together until they are just barely combined and there are no traces of dry flour left in the bowl.
  2. Oil your muffin pan really well. Even if you are using a nonstick muffin pan, make sure to oil it well or use cupcake liners to prevent your muffins from sticking to the pan.
  3. You can easily stretch this batter and get 12 regular size muffins. I wanted larger, bakery style muffins, so I divided the batter into ten muffin wells.
  4. If you want even more of a carrot cake taste, try adding some chopped walnuts, pecans, or shredded coconut to the batter. And if you really want to take these carrot muffins over the top, add some cream cheese frosting on top! ;)

How To STore Carrot Cake Muffins

Allow the muffins to cool completely at room temperature before storing. You can store leftover carrot cake muffins in an airtight container or a food storage bag in the fridge for 4-5 days. For longer storage, store in a freezer-safe storage bag for up to 3 months. Thaw frozen muffins at room temperature or microwave for about 30 seconds until warm.

Overhead view of 3 carrot cake muffins on a white plate and 2 carrot cake muffins sitting beside the plate.
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Carrot Cake Muffins

5 from 4 votes
These soft, fluffy, and moist carrot cake muffins are full of delicious carrot cake flavor and the perfect sweet treat any time of the day!
Close up side view of carrot cake muffins on a cooling rack.
Servings 10 muffins
Prep 20 minutes
Cook 22 minutes
Total 42 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups finely grated carrots (3-4 large carrots) ($0.57)
  • 2 large eggs ($0.33)
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar ($0.28)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar ($0.20)
  • 1/3 cup sweetened applesauce ($0.18)
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil ($0.32)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract ($0.50)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour ($0.30)
  • 1 tsp baking powder ($0.06)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda ($0.02)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.04)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon ($0.10)
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger ($0.05)
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins ($1.49)
  • 1 Tbsp turbinado sugar* ($0.06)
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Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Wash, peel and grate the carrots using the small/fine holes on a box grater. Set the grated carrots to the side.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (eggs, dark brown sugar, granulated sugar, applesauce, oil and vanilla extract) until well combined.
  • Add the grated carrots to the bowl with the wet ingredients. Stir until combined.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and ground ginger) until well combined.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the same bowl as the wet ingredients. Stir together until just combined. Be careful not to overmix at this point.
  • Add the raisins to the bowl and fold them into the batter until just combined.
  • Divide the batter between ten greased or lined muffin wells. Sprinkle a little turbinado sugar on top of each muffin, optional.
  • Bake the muffins for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown and puffed in the center. Allow the muffins to cool for about 5 minutes, then carefully loosen the edges with a knife and transfer the muffins to a wire rack to finish cooling. Enjoy!

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Notes

*Adding a sprinkle of turbinado sugar on top of each muffin is optional, but it does add a special sweet crunch to the muffins.

Nutrition

Serving: 1muffinCalories: 314kcalCarbohydrates: 49gProtein: 4gFat: 12gSodium: 249mgFiber: 2g
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Overhead view of carrot cake muffins close together on a cooling rack.

How to Make Carrot Cake Muffins – Step by Step Photos

A carrot being grated on a wood cutting board.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Wash, peel and grate 2 cups of finely grated carrots using the small/fine holes on a box grater. Set the grated carrots to the side.

Wet ingredients for carrot cake muffins added to a large bowl.

In a large bowl, whisk together 2 eggs, 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup applesauce, 1/2 cup cooking oil and 1 tsp vanilla extract until well combined.

Grated carrots added to mixed wet ingredients.

Add the grated carrots to the bowl with the wet ingredients. Stir until combined.

Dry ingredients for carrot cake muffins

In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, and 1/2 tsp ground ginger until well combined.

Wet ingredients and dry ingredients combined in a large bowl.

Add the dry ingredients to the same bowl as the wet ingredients. Stir together until just combined. Be careful not to overmix at this point.

Golden raisins being added to carrot cake muffin batter.

Add 3/4 cup golden raisins to the bowl and fold them into the batter until just combined.

Carrot cake muffin batter added to muffin tins

Divide the batter between ten well-greased or lined muffin wells.

Turbinado sugar being added to Carrot Cake Muffins

Optional: Divide 1 Tbsp turbinado sugar and sprinkle a little on top of each muffin.

Overhead view of cooked Carrot Cake muffins in a muffin tin.

Bake the muffins for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown and puffed in the center. Allow the muffins to cool for about 5 minutes, then carefully loosen the edges with a knife and transfer the muffins to a wire rack to finish cooling. Enjoy!

Overhead view of Carrot Cake Muffins on a cooling rack.
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Comments

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  1. Chowed 3 of these this morning before my meetings. Great recipe right when I was craving muffins recently. Unfortunately I didn’t make a double batch……… wife is side eyeing me for being selfish with them.

  2. I doubled this and made into a cake.The muffins were delicious also. The only thing I changed was craisins for raisins and I also added a teaspoon of orange rind delicious!

  3. These muffins were delicious. I used unsweetened applesauce and didn’t miss the extra sugar.

  4. Delicious! Thank you. I used 4 carrots. Didn’t have applesauce, used a spoonful of yogurt instead- do they function the same? I don’t know. Avocado oil. For the sugar: almost a half cup of morena and one spoon of coconut sugar. Grated the carrots in a food processor, apparently with the wrong side of the blade because the shreds were larger size. No nuts or raisins- it’s not my thing. Had enough to fill an old muffin tin with 9 small cupcake liners, 3 large cupcake liners, plus 2 more large. Greased the liners with oil to avoid sticking per comments on another muffin recipe- don’t know if that was necessary.