As soon as the leaves start to turn I’m immediately drawn to smelling warm fall fragrances in my kitchen and nothing achieves that easier my spiced carrot muffin recipe. They are a more savory muffin, hence why we didn’t call them carrot cake muffins.
These domed muffins are fluffy and soft, but filled with crunchy walnuts and juicy golden raisins. The perfect way to get a few good-for-you items into any diet while also enjoying a fall flavor that isn’t pumpkin spice.
Why You’ll Love These
- Super fluffy and moist- Not wringing out the carrots uses beta-carotene filled juice as part of the liquid element, for flavor and also to keep them super moist and bright orange.
- Golden raisins- One of my favorite things to add to any baked good are raisons, but instead of standard purple, we went for plump and sweet golden. Either, or a mix can be used.
- Walnuts- Variety is the spice of life, so adding a little texture in the form of walnuts was a no brainer.
Carrot Muffins Ingredients
This recipe uses fairly standard pantry staples and is a great way to use leftover carrots!
- Unsalted butter- I nearly always opt for unsalted butter in baking because too much salt can ruin a recipe and also dry out baked goods. This way, you can control the salt since it varies so much between brands. If you do prefer to use a salted butter, omit the additional kosher salt. Many recipes use olive oil, vegetable oil or coconut oil as a the fat, but I like butter with these.
- Sugars – Using both light brown sugar and white sugar adds molasses flavor along with regular white sugar. Both will caramelize and balance the savory flavors.
- Eggs – For structure and richness. Always assume large eggs unless otherwise specified.
- Vanilla extract – Warm aroma and flavors that bring out the best in most baked goods.
- All Purpose Flour– For structure. We have not tested this recipe using alternative flours, almond flour or gluten-free flours, however it should work with any flour claiming to be used on a 1:1 ratio for baking.
- Coarse Kosher Salt- The least salty, this is my favorite salt to bake with. If using a fine sea salt, reduce volume to ¼ teaspoon and omit if using a salted butter.
- Baking powder– The leavening agent that helps those perfect air pockets forms and make muffins fluffy.
- Spices- Ground cinnamon, close and ginger are my favorites, but you can also use 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice. Omit one or two and just add a little more of the others. These give your muffins flavor, but also make your kitchen smell fantastic.
- Carrots- Use for flavor, color and moisture, they can be used similarly to zucchini in breads.
- Walnuts– I love textural variety and these give it the added ump it needs. Toasting them before will bring out even more natural flavor. They can also be omitted or replaced with a different type of nut.
- Golden raisins– I think they tend to be sweeter and also softer, but also unexpected! Use regular raisins or omit them too.
- Whole milk- The highest fat content, this aids in texture and flavor. Other fat ratios and non-dairy milks can also be used.
How to Grate Carrots
Some folks like grated and others like more of a mince. You can several ways to make either of these happen. As long as you have the correct volume, the exact shape doesn’t really matter.
- Food Processor- This can be used to grate if you have the grating accessory or to mince in the regular food bowl.
- Box Grater– Use a standard box grater to make shreds by hand.
- Knife– If you prefer a small dice, use a knife and cutting board!
How to Make Carrot Muffins
- Preheat the oven and line 12 wells of a standard muffin pan with paper liners. For easy release, coat the liners with a quick hit of cooking spray.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment or a large bowl with an electric hand mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy. This helps get the right ingredients the correct temperature, but also brings in air, which you want to do before adding the flour when it can then make your cupcakes dense or dry. Blend in the eggs and vanilla to the wet ingredients until no streaks remain. Set aside.
- Sift or whisk together the dry ingredients and spices, which helps to evenly distribute them throughout the batter and break up any large clumps.
- Alternate adding the dry ingredients and milk to the wet ingredients in the large mixing bowl until fully combined. Alternating helps avoid the sloppy batter and makes sure everything dissolves.
- Fold in the shredded carrots, nuts and raisins by hand. Do not over mix. The trick to moist crumbs is not over mixing or over baking! Allow the batter to rest for 5 minutes, helping the baking powder activate and form little air bubbles, which will give your muffins loft and a beautiful dome shape.
- Divide the muffin batter between the muffin liners, they will fill nearly to the top. I like to use a mixing bowl with a spout or transfer to a large glass measuring cup to pour. Some folks like to use an ice cream scoop.
- Bake at 425°F for 5 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature and bake for an additional 18-20 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched or they pass the toothpick test. Baking muffins initially at a high heat will cause steam in the batter to release rapidly, this allows the muffins to form a beautiful dome. However, make sure you don’t bake them for more than 5 minutes, otherwise they might burn.
- Remove and allow them to cool in the muffin tin for 3-4 minutes before removing the muffin cups and transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. They will continue to bake while in the hot pan, so make sure to pop them out after they cool a touch to finish the process.
- Add Streusel- A little streusel topping takes these from a savory muffin to a sweet muffin. Combine 2 tablespoons flour with 1/4 cup brown sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle over the top.
- Crunchy Sugar– Add a sprinkle of turbinado sugar to tops of each for a sweet crunch.
- Cream Cheese Frosting– Now we are getting into the realm of carrot cake muffins, but feel free to give them a dollop of frosting.
- Carrot & Zucchini- Use the same volume, but a blend of carrots and zucchini for the ultimate in hidden veggies. Try this next time!
- Maple Syrup– Add 2-3 tablespoons of maple syrup to the batter or drizzle before serving.
Storage & Freezing
Leftovers: Store fresh muffins in an airtight container or plastic bag at room temperature for 2-3 days. If it is particularly hot or humid, I suggest moving to the fridge where they will stay fresh for 4-5 days, but will need to be heated for a few seconds before eating to reactivate the butter.
Freezing: Spiced carrots muffins can also be frozen for up to 3 months when stored heavy-duty freezer bag. To reheat, thaw them for 5-6 hours or overnight at room temperature, and then bake them in a preheated oven at 375°F for 4-5 minutes or until heated.
More Muffin Recipes
Spiced Carrot Muffins
- ½ cup unsalted butter , softened
- ½ light brown sugar , packed
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground clove
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 cups carrots , grated
- ½ cup walnuts , chopped
- ½ cup golden raisins
- ½ whole milk
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and line 12 wells of a standard muffin tin with liners. For easy release, coat the liners with a quick hit of cooking spray.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl with an electric hand mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar, approximately 2-3 minutes. Blend in the eggs and vanilla to the wet ingredients until no streaks remain.
- In a separate bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, clove, and ginger.
- Alternate adding the dry ingredients and milk to the wet ingredients until filly combined. Do not overmix.
- Fold in the grated carrots, walnuts and raisins by hand. Do not over mix. Allow the batter to rest for 5 minutes.
- Divide the batter between the muffin liners, they will fill nearly to the top.
- Bake at 425°F for 5 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and bake for an additional 18-20 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched or they pass the toothpick test.
- Remove and allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 3-4 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings!