How to Make Carrot and Applesauce Muffins

These carrot and applesauce muffins are everything I love in a muffin. It’s not too sweet, offers plenty of nutritional benefits and most importantly tastes great! Go ahead kids, have a muffin.

carrot and applesauce muffins in basket
Carrot and applesauce muffins with streusel topping.

Why I Love These Carrot and Applesauce Muffins

  • Deliciously moist – thanks to the applesauce & carrots
  • Super flavorful – thanks to all those warm spices
  • Omega 3 rich – thanks to the flax, walnuts and omega 3 eggs
  • Easily accessible ingredients – homemade applesauce and local carrots
  • Perfect snack at home or on the road
  • Not too sweet
carrot and applesauce muffin inside
A look inside – tender crumb, nuts (or seeds if you wish) carrots and a mix of whole wheat and all purpose flour.

Are These Muffins Healthy?

That’s a loaded question and really depends on your definition of healthy.

Let’s face it, I’m gonna snack. So, let’s compare this muffin to what else I could be eating when the 2 pm snack attack hits? A candy bar? A cupcake? An apple? A bag of chips? A Starbucks muffin (their morning muffin is 410 calories – 21 g Fat, 28 g Sugar 3 g Fibre, 8 g Protein)? A Frappuccino? A bowl of popcorn? Chocolate? Licorice? A handful of almonds?

I think this home baked carrot and applesauce muffin is OKAY!

Home baked treats are typically smaller and healthier than commercial alternatives. They can be made even more nutrient rich by using whole grain flour and oats, reducing sugar, reducing fat and adding ingredients like flax, wheat germ, bran, hemp hearts, apple sauce, carrots, etc.

Healthy Snacks: To me, healthy snacks include foods made from nutrient rich, minimally processed foods that offer some sort of benefit. Read more: Healthy Snack Ideas for Every Day

carrot and applesauce muffin on rack
These homemade muffins are small and lightly sweetened with wholesome ingredients – much better than commercial alternatives.

Ingredient Variations/Substitutions

Whole Wheat or All-Purpose Flour – I use half and half, but you could use all whole wheat if you prefer. The muffins may not rise quite as much. I would add an extra 1/4 cup of flour if you choose to use just all-purpose flour. I have not tried gluten free flours with this recipe.

Walnuts – I chose walnuts because they’re the only tree nut that is an excellent source of omega-3 fat. But you can easily replace the walnuts with pecans, sunflower seeds, pepitas, or other dry ingredients that add texture – coconut, raisins, dried cranberries, etc.

Spices – I love the carrot cake spices in this muffin – but you can add or omit any spice you prefer. I’ve also tried these with orange zest and cardamom. What spices do you love?

Applesauce – The applesauce adds moisture and replaces some of the fat that would normally be used in a muffin. You could swap out the applesauce with more oil/melted butter or try using other fruit mashes like banana, pumpkin or squash puree. I haven’t tried these with this particular recipe, but I’m sure it would work.

Honey – Try brown sugar or maple syrup instead. Granulated sugar will work too, the final muffin may not be quite as moist – but for this muffin, I doubt that will be an issue.

Carrots – Try zucchini or apples instead of carrots.

Streusel Topping – Totally optional, but my kids love it! Another option is to sprinkle the top with a nutty mix (1 Tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1 Tbsp crushed nuts or seeds).

close up of streusel on muffin
Are you a streusel fan? I’m team streusel all the way!

Recipe for Carrot and Applesauce Muffins

carrot and applesauce muffin on rack
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Carrot and Applesauce Muffins with Streusel Topping

A moist and delicious, well spiced muffin that makes a great snack any time of day. Not too sweet and loaded with ingredients you can feel good about. The streusel topping is optional – but oh so good!
Prep : 15 mins
Cook : 18 mins
Total Time: 33 mins
Servings: 12 muffins
Author: Getty Stewart

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp ground flax
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded carrots 2 med carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • Streusel Topping
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp butter

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C. Lightly grease a muffin pan or line with papers.
  • In large bowl, mix flours, baking powder, baking soda, flax, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt.
  • In separate bowl, use a whisk or hand beaters to beat together egg, oil, honey, applesauce and vanilla.
  • Gently fold wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir until ingredients are just combined.
  • Add carrots and walnuts (if using).
  • Spoon into muffin pan.
  • Mix streusel topping ingredients in small dish and sprinkle on top of muffin batter.
  • Bake for 20 to 22 minutes until tops are golden brown and firm to the touch.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes then remove muffins and cool on wire rack.

Video

Notes

If half of your family does not like nuts in their muffins, add 1/4 cup nuts after you’ve spooned half the nut free batter into the pans. That way, everyone’s happy!
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Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Calories: 256kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Sodium: 249mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 17g | Iron: 1mg
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: muffins, snack

Ready to make some carrot and applesauce muffins? Let me know how it goes, down below in the comments or on Instagram @GetGettyS or on Facebook  @GettyStewart.HomeEconomist.

Getty Stewart is a Professional Home Economist,  speaker, frequent media guest and writer dedicated to putting good food on tables and agendas.  She is the author of several recipe books on enjoying and preserving fruit, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener. Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this.

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