One of the most popular posts on my blog is a recipe for Hearty Spiced Carrot Muffins. I love these things, and—yay!—readers do, too. A nice dose of vitamin-rich veggies to kick-start your day? That's a win right there.
But can I leave well enough alone? Of course not! The original recipe contains milk and eggs, and because I've really been enjoying vegan baking lately, I decided to create a vegan version.
"Vegan-izing" a muffin recipe is actually easier—and the results are tastier—than you might imagine. Dry, tasteless hockey pucks these are not. Just a few simple swaps, and you've still got a moist, tender, delicious muffin on your hands.
Vegan Baking Swaps
The swaps I make when I adapt a muffin recipe to make it vegan (like my famous vegan blueberry muffins) are pretty simple.
Eggs: Instead of chicken eggs, I use flax "eggs"—flax meal mixed with water and allowed to sit for a few minutes to create a slightly gel-like consistency
Milk: If a recipe calls for cow's milk, I generally opt for almond milk.
Oil/butter: The original recipe called for already-vegan vegetable oil, but I've happily jumped on the coconut oil bandwagon, so these muffins have coconut oil instead. (Coconut oil also makes a fine substitute for butter.)
Banana/applesauce: And although I didn't include either of these in this particular recipe, I might also add a mashed banana or some applesauce (or both!) for moistness and sweetness without added sugar.
Really, the only significant difference I've found between vegan muffins and non-vegan is that the vegan version tends to be more dense.
But when we're talking about a hearty muffin to begin with, I find I like that. One of these Vegan Spiced Carrot Muffins—along with a fresh, hot mug of coffee—makes for a satisfying little breakfast.
So go ahead - go forth and vegan-ize! I'd be willing to bet you (and your taste buds) will be pleasantly surprised.
Oh, and don't forget that the tops of your carrots are edible - so don't waste them! Check out all these tasty ways to use carrot greens.
- 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
- ⅓ cup water
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup rolled oats plus 2 tbsp for topping
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ cup coconut oil
- 2 cups grated carrots about 3 medium carrots
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease the cups of a 12-cup, standard-size muffin tin.
- In a small bowl, add the flaxseed meal and water. Stir to combine. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, 1 cup oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
- Place the coconut oil in a microwave-safe, medium-size bowl. Microwave at 50% power in 20-second increments until just melted. Remove from the microwave and stir in the carrots, almond, milk, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Add the flaxseed mix; stir to combine.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon just until combined.
- Divide the batter between muffin tins; just over ⅓ cup per tin (I use a trigger-handle ice cream scoop). Top with the remaining 2 tablespoons oats.
- Bake the muffins until the tops bounce back when lightly poked and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15–18 minutes. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then carefully remove them from pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Jacki @ Two Forks One Love says
I've been saving the carrot pulp from my morning juices and this would be the perfect use for all that pulp!
Kare Raye says
That's a great idea! Curious to know how they turn out with pulp vs. shredded carrots.
How did the muffins turn out using pulp? Did you need to use more liquid. I'm looking for recipies to use my juice pulp in.
I just made these using carrot pulp from my juice this morning! I loosely packed 2 cups of the pulp and here's how it went... the mix yielded a lot more than I expected, and because I only have 1 muffin tray I just went for it ......which I probably shouldn't have done, because it took a while to bake (27-30 min) and they are still very moist in the middle.. BUT they taste damn good and are much healthier then any store bought muffin. Will be making these again (with 2 muffin tins) and considering adding a little pumpkin to mix it up a little! Thanks for the great recipes!
Linda @ Veganosity says
Hi Kare, these look delicious. Carrot muffins and carrot cake, mmmm, mmmm, mmmm. I'll eat the whole batch, thank you.
Vegan baked goods can be more dense than conventional, but I've found that adding a teaspoon or two of cornstarch with baking soda (never baking powder) will make things a little lighter and fluffier. I know that there are some who will say that it will alter the taste of the recipe, but I haven't found that to be true.
I'm not a chemist, so I don't know why this works, because cornstarch is a thickening agent. All I can say is that it works in my cookies and cakes.
Kare Raye says
Hi Linda! That is such an interesting tip; I can't wait to try it! Thank you for the suggestion!
Anele @ Success Along the Weigh says
My Mr would FLIP for these!
I will try it out! I usually love carrot cakes so.... 🙂
Kare Raye says
Carrot cake for breakfast ... what could be better? 😉
Baby June says
I love carrot muffins, but these look so much healthier than the traditional kinds! And being vegan is always a bonus. 🙂
Julia Mueller says
These look like the perfect breakfast or snack! I've never veganized a muffin and I'm excited to put all your tips to use! YUM!
Your subs have me so excited--lots of vegan baking going on in our kitchen lately, too! It's always great to have more folks affirming the ease of swapping vegan subs for regular ones, some of my friends are so so so skeptical of vegan baked goods (but quickly change their minds when they actually try the ones I've made, of course!). Thank you for sharing this. A great spin on an already wonderful recipe, Kare!
Meg van der Kruik says
These look so YUMMY!!! I will take 3 please. I bet they would be SO good slathered in coconut butter too.
[email protected] says
Just pinned these! Haven't made carrot muffins before but I love coconut oil muffins, and anything with cinnamon, and any recipe that sneaks veggies into baked goods 🙂
Also, your photos are beautiful!
Coconut oil muffins??? Never heard of them. . . . . . 🙂
[email protected] says
Wonderful looking breakfast muffins! Kare, I was wondering if I can use spelt flour in place of all purpose?
Kare Raye says
Hi Ami! I hate to say it but ... I actually have no idea. 🙁 I've never baked with spelt flour! I will say this tends to be a pretty forgiving base recipe so if you try it, they may just turn out. I wish I could be more help on this one, though. If you try it, please do come back and let us know how they turn out!
Oh my God. It looks so good. Love it 😉
Erin @ Texanerin Baking says
Oh, yay! A muffin recipe! And such pretty pictures.
But my non-veggie-eating brain does not compute: carrots and no cream cheese? Whaaat? 😉 Is it even possible to create a vegan version of something similar to that (without using "fake" cream cheese?)
PS - I totally realize frosting doesn't belong on muffins. I'm really just curious. 🙂
These are dense and delicious! I used wholewheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose and reduced the amount of sugar from 3/4 cup to 2/3 cup. One of these muffins, with a bowl of berries and a small handful of nuts, will keep you going all morning. My husband loved them!
Maybe I've just been lucky with my vegan baked goods but very often they come out even MORE moist than non-vegan ones! It's crazy. I'm sure these carrot muffins taste like warm spiced up heaven! I'll take a batch for breakfast, please.
susan belcher says
can i use chia seeds instead of the flax seeds?
Kare Raye says
Hi Susan, I have heard of using chia seeds instead of flax for egg substitutes, but I haven't tried it myself. I think it would probably work fine; my hesitation would be that chia seeds soak up so much moisture that the muffins may end up drier in the long run. But if you give it a go, let us know how it turns out!
Susan Belcher says
can i use chia seeds instead of flax ?
I only have a mini muffin tin. How much should I reduce the baking time?
Not sure what I did wrong, but I let these cook over 30 minutes and they never cooked through. I do a lot of vegan baking and have never had this issue.
Kare Raye says
I'm sorry to hear that! We test our recipes multiple times (and in at least two kitchens) and we never encountered that problem with these muffins. We'd love to help you troubleshoot the issue though so let us know if there's anything we can do to help with that.
Kit Lockwood says
My partner reaaaally doesn't like the taste of coconut... but we're having to go vegan for her health, but we also aren't supposed to use regular vegetable oil. Is there any other good substitute other than coconut oil? All this is new to us and we're a bit overwhelmed. Friends are offering us recipes and someone suggested Oh My Veggies. This is the first recipe I've really looked at. Looks good...except the coconut oil... Any ideas?
my kiddo cannot have oats. any suggestions on how to ommit them? should i sub more flour or flax or just simply leave out the oats? thanks
Hi, I made these, they smell very good 🙂 I can't wait to eat one. My only concern is that my muffins are very greasy. Can we reduce the amount of coconut oil in that recipe? Thanks.
Kare Raye says
The grease might not be as apparent once they've cooled. I'm sure you can reduce the amount and they'll still be great. Lower fat muffins tend to be better fresh out of the oven but might toughen up a bit if you plan to eat them a day or two later, so just plan accordingly. 🙂
I just took the first batch out of the oven and they smell great!
The only changes I made were using old fashioned oats, adding a 1/2 cup of apple sauce and using grape seed oil instead (it's all I had).
I had to cook them for 20-25 minutes in my oven but I'm hoping they're worth the wait! For the second batch I added some raisins and shredded coconut, yumm.
Thanks for the recipe!
Hi! Do you know if this recipe would work for a loaf? I hate using non-stick anything and so far haven't found a glass muffin pan 🙂 (I know they don't exist, I sure wish they did!) I have used wide-mouth canning jars though. . . . . I suppose I could just do that again but I was hoping for something easier. These sound great and I'm looking for lunch box ideas.
I made these 2 days ago and they worked very well although a bit on the bland side. I didn't care for the 1/2 cup of oil called for and used 1/4 cup of oil and 1/4 cup of applesauce. I also used kamut flour instead of all-purpose as I prefer whole grains. I always figure what's the point in making a healthy version of something only to ruin it with white flour?? It's rather defeating the purpose.
I'll make these again using more ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. I think I'll add currants as well. It's definitely a new addition to my recipe box! Thanks for sharing!
Did you research sugar before adding it to the "vegan" muffins? Sugar (brown or white) is not vegan friendly. Sugar seems vegan at a glance; it comes from a plant after all. But when the natural sugars from the plant are refined in a factory, they are often filtered through bone char. When you hear the words bone char, this is exactly as disturbing as you may think, as it is indeed charred animal bones, mostly pelvic bones from cows; ground and burned at 400 to 500 degrees Celsius. I used maple syrup instead of sugar and the muffins turned out delicious.
Kare Raye says
Hi Debs, yes, we are aware that some granulated sugar - some - is filtered through bone char. However many are not and are indeed vegan friendly. We think it's fair to assume a vegan or someone interested in vegan baking is going to have one of those vegan sugars - such as beet sugar or cane sugar that was not processed using bone char - in their cupboards. It is great to know that this recipe still works well with pure maple syrup - one of my favorite ingredients. Thank you for sharing.