Gluten Free Carrot Muffins
Simple ingredients like oats, nuts, carrots, and maple syrup come together to make the most irresistible (and secretly healthy) carrot cake muffins. Top them with vegan cream cheese frosting, or just a sprinkle of coconut sugar.
This week has been complete muffin madness over here as I worked on this recipe. You know that song that goes… “Do you know, the Muffin Man, the Muffin Man, the Muffin man…” yeah, I feel like that man. Not one, not two, not three, but four batches of these were made. I tried them with coconut sugar (not sweet enough and too dry) and with various amounts of oat flour and additions until they were just right. My 7 year old taste-tester was happy to lend her services and approved this recipe. Carrot cake is one of my favorite cakes. Every time I go to Jeannine’s bakery, it’s like those glorious carrot cupcakes with swirly cream cheese frosting are calling my name. I’ve meant to work on a more wholesome carrot muffin recipe for years now. To make these muffins a bit healthier than typical muffins, in my opinion, I swapped out any processed flours for oat flour, which is simply oats grounded in the blender. White sugar also got thrown out and replaced with maple syrup.
These oat flour carrot muffins are tender with a little crunch from the walnuts, lightly sweet, made easy in the blender, and great for breakfast or snacking. They’re made with wholesome ingredients and are naturally gluten-free and vegan. You’d never know these muffins are free of added oils, bleached flours, and refined sugar.
The gluten-free flour I used here is the simplest – just oats ground into oat flour. If you have a gluten allergy, you’ll need to choose certified gluten-free oats, as many oats are cross-contaminated with wheat during processing. You’ll notice this in the video, but under all those great muffin additions is an easy blender muffin batter. Yay for blender muffins!
Unsweetened coconut shreds, grated carrots, raisins, and walnuts get folded in with a spatula. Though on the first go I thought just a little walnuts would be best, I realized I like these carrot muffins best filled with “lots of stuff.” I love the bit of crunch the nuts add, and the sweetness from the raisins.
Though cream cheese is a classic addition when it comes to carrot muffins, the frosting is optional here. You could leave them naked, but I suggest a little sprinkle of coconut, brown, or turbinado sugar on top for the most delicious bit of crunchy crust. Or spread your favorite cream cheese straight on top without and added sweeteners. I love Kite Hill dairy-free cream cheese, as it’s made with almond milk and tastes just like the dairy version. I even have a copycat Vegan Cream Cheese recipe I love.
Aren’t these the cutest? even without a fancy piped frosting I think they’re lovely and perfect for spring. Even though the frosting may not be quite as wholesome as the muffins themselves, just a thin spread of it takes these carrot muffins to another level. I keep these frosted carrot muffins in the refrigerator and have been enjoying them with my coffee early in the morning, in the quiet darkness, before my kids are up. Now that I’m on a roll with muffin baking, what kind of muffins would you like to see next? Blueberry with oat flour? Or maybe banana?
These lovely muffins are perfect for a special snack or weekend breakfast. My littlest asked me to make them again in mini form for her birthday next month.
One last thing. Muffin liners matter. I recommend unbleached parchment muffin wrappers because even low-oil muffins like these won’t stick to them. If using another type of liner, just give them a little coating of cooking spray. Here are my favorite wrappers. An ice cream/muffin scoop also makes muffin baking easier. These are Amazon affiliate links, which means I make a little money when you order through them – thanks!
- 2 1/2 cups rolled oats (certified gluten free)
- 2 tablespoons flax meal
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1 1/2 cups almond milk
- 1/3 cup cashew butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 1/2 cups grated carrots (2-3 large carrots)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1/2 cup dairy free cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/4 cup dairy free butter, room temperature (I like Miyoko's)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup organic powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with liners. I recommend unbleached parchment liners, as they don't stick.
- Place the oats into a blender and cover. Turn on and blend until the oats are as finely ground as possible. Add the flax meal, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Blend again to combine. Add the almond milk, cashew butter, vanilla, and maple syrup. Blend just until smooth. Turn off and remove the blender from the base. Use a spatula to combine and incorporate any remaining flour stuck at the bottom. Fold in the grated carrots, walnuts, raisins, and coconut.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 18 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Let cool completely if frosting.
- To make the frosting, place the cream cheese and butter into the bowl of a mixer. Beat on high speed until light and smooth. Beat in the vanilla and powdered sugar to taste. If the frosting to thicker than you like, you can thin it with a few drops of almond milk. Spread on your muffins. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
I do my best to calculate approximate nutrition information for my readers who like it. However, I can't guarantee accuracy as I'm not a nutritionist and I use a third party site. If your health depends on nutrition information, please use your favorite calculator to re-calculate. This recipe was calculated without any frosting.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 309Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 274mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 4gSugar: 18gProtein: 5g