Breads & Muffins Brunch

Healthy{ish} Carrot Cake Muffins

January 6, 2020

Easy, one bowl, healthy{ish} carrot cake muffins sweetened with maple syrup and bananas. A quick and healthy breakfast for mornings […]

Easy, one bowl, healthy{ish} carrot cake muffins sweetened with maple syrup and bananas. A quick and healthy breakfast for mornings on the go.

Happy January friends! Hopefully you are just making your way out of the blissful fog that is that space between the holidays and the first day back to your usual routine. For us, that means we’ve been spending whole days in our pj’s, snacking on shameful amounts of leftover toffee, and finally cleaning up all the Christmas glitter off the living room floor. Our alarm clocks went off shockingly early today and being that it was still dark outside, I’m bracing for what is bound to be the Monday-ist Monday ever.

Not to worry. I’ve got just the recipe to start your mornings off right all week long. I’m not really a juice cleanse kinda girl, but I do like to hit the reset button after eating cookies for breakfast for pretty much all of December. These healthy{ish} carrot cake muffins with cream cheese glaze will help you stick to your resolutions without sacrificing your favorite treats. It might not look like it, but I promise you these carrot cake muffins are in fact full of good for you ingredients. And the dollop of cream cheese glaze is entirely optional….but I say go for it, because #balance.


Packed with good for you ingredients.  This lightened up version of carrot cake in muffin form is made wholesome and delicious using maple syrup, bananas, whole oats, and hearty-healthy walnuts. The perfect way to start the day, January or not.

They’re easy to make. This recipe whips together with just 10 minutes of prep and a scant 15 minutes in the oven. Tah-dah…breakfast is served. These muffins are all kinds of crazy good fresh out of the oven with a tall glass of cold almond milk. Want to make it dessert? Top with a dollop of 4-ingredient cream cheese glaze and you’ve got a perfect treat that keeps your new year’s resolutions on track.

It’s carrot cake for breakfast! While this might look like a cupcake masquerading as a muffin, I promise you this is a breakfast food. Light and fluffy, deliciously moist, and perfectly sweetened, you’ll be happy to jump out of bed for one of these healthy-ish muffins.

They freeze beautifully. I love a good recipe that keeps on giving. Make a batch {or two} of these carrot cake muffins on Sunday and stash them in your freezer for a quick and delicious breakfast all week long. Now that’s my kinda meal prep.


  1. Finely grate the carrots. Not sure about you, but I don’t like big chunks or long strands of carrots in my cake or my muffins. Use a fine grater to grate the carrots and you’ll get all of the flavor without any funky texture.
  2. Use a very ripe banana. Be sure your banana is the kind that looks like it’s past its prime. Mash it well with a fork and add it to the batter for a deliciously moist muffin.
  3. Ingredients should be at room temperature. For best results when baking, be sure your dairy ingredients such as eggs, milk and yogurt are all at room temperature before mixing the batter.
  4. Do not over mix. Muffin batter needs a light hand so don’t be tempted to over mix. A few, tiny streaks of flour remaining is ideal.
  5. Bake at a high temperature, then reduce the heat. For perfectly domed muffin tops, bake your muffins at 425 degrees for 5-6 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350 degrees for the remainder of the bake time. The blast of heat helps activate the leaveners in the recipe and the results in magical muffin tops.

And there you have it bakers…a brand new muffin recipe to kick off a healthy-ish new year. Before you run off to bake a batch, here’s a few more tips. To make this recipe gluten free, you can easily substitute the all purpose flour for gluten free 1-to-1 baking flour and use gluten free whole oats. If you aren’t a nut lover, simply omit the walnuts. I love the texture and slightly nutty flavor they impart to the muffins, but you do you! These muffins really do freeze beautifully, just be sure to freeze them before adding the cream cheese glaze.

Here’s to a happy, and HEALTHY, new year!

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Healthy{ish} Carrot Cake Muffins

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star No reviews
  • Author: Browned Butter Blondie
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 25 mins
  • Yield: 12-14 1x
  • Category: Breads & Muffins


Easy and delicious carrot cake muffins sweetened with maple syrup and bananas. A quick and healthy breakfast for mornings on the go.


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk or almond milk
  • 1/2 cup full fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg, plus one egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 over ripe banana, well mashed
  • 3/4 cup finely grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, plus more for topping (optional)

For Cream Cheese Glaze

  • 2 ounces softened light cream cheese
  • 3 TBSP unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 6 TBSP milk


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Line a twelve cup muffin pan with muffin liners or spray well with non-stick baking spray.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt, maple syrup, eggs, vanilla and mashed banana.
  5. Stir to combine well.
  6. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and gently stir until a few streaks of flour remain.
  7. Add oats, grated carrots, and chopped walnuts. Stir until just combined.
  8. Do not over mix.
  9. Using a measuring cup or cookie dough scoop, divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups.
  10. Bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 10-12 additional minutes.
  11. Muffins are done when the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  12. Remove the pan from the oven and cool muffins completely before adding glaze.

For Cream Cheese Glaze

  1. Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and use a hand held mixer on low speed to combine. Once combined, increase speed to high and mix until glaze is thick but pourable. Add more milk if needed.
  2. Spoon the glaze over the tops of the muffins and top with chopped walnuts if desired.


Muffins may be frozen before adding glaze.
Defrost at room temperature before serving.


If you like these Healthy{ish} Carrot Cake Muffins, you may also like:

Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Chia Muffins

Glazed Coffee Cake Muffins

Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Muffins


  • Reply
    May 9, 2020 at 5:15 pm

    Muffin recipe actually made 15 muffins and were super easy to make. The glaze, however, did NOT work. We had to scrap the first batch and remake with creaming the cream cheese and butter together, adding sugar, then only a little bit of milk to make a thick glaze. Way too much milk for the original recipe/did not work adding all ingredients at once

  • Reply
    Makos - The Hungry Bites
    January 7, 2020 at 9:57 pm

    These are the perfect muffins to start the year!

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      January 8, 2020 at 3:36 pm

      They really are! Thank you!!

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