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Hearty Spiced Carrot Muffins

This is one of those recipes that I threw together on a whim, not knowing it would become an instant favorite in our house.

It’s kind of the big-man-on-campus of muffins, I think. Which I totally know is a weird way to describe a muffin (though a big man on campus is likely a stud muffin, so there is that).

Hearty spiced carrot muffins | Kitchen Treaty

Anyway! With whole-wheat flour, rolled oats, and lots of shredded carrots, they’re hearty, toothsome, and filling. We consider it a perfectly acceptable breakfast in and of itself, which is something you can’t really say about a lot of muffins.

Hearty spiced carrot muffins | Kitchen Treaty

Those oats, whole-wheat flour, and carrots make these muffins a nice, healthy option. And the applesauce that replaces a good portion of the oil just adds to that equation.

Here’s where I would say “winning!” – if that word wasn’t way past its 15 minutes of fame … not to mention utterly obnoxious.

Hearty spiced carrot muffins | Kitchen Treaty

Oh, and the spices. Mmmm, the spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. They’re like a hug in a cupcake wrapper.

I love them, my guy thinks they’re great, and our toddler devours hers all Tasmanian-devil style.

So yeah, it’s pretty much the ideal muffin recipe, I think – it’s got it all. Total stud muffins.

Make a double batch and freeze a bunch in a freezer bag. They make a perfect grab-and-go breakfast for those frenzied mornings.

Print Recipe

Hearty Spiced Carrot Muffins

With whole-wheat flour, rolled oats, and lots of shredded carrots, these muffins are hearty, toothsome, and healthy.

Yield: 12 muffins

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats + a couple extra tablespoons for topping
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups carrot, grated

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease or place cupcake wrappers in a standard-size, 12-cup muffin pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, 1 cup oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, applesauce, brown sugar, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and whisk just until all ingredients are incorporated. Stir in the carrots.
  5. Divide the mixture between the muffin cups. Cups should be filled just about to the top.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until muffin tops spring back when poked and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool for 5 - 10 minutes before removing from the muffin tin. Serve plain with butter and honey, if desired.
  8. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 - 3 days, or freeze.

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92 Responses to “Hearty Spiced Carrot Muffins”

  1. Miriam posted on January 11, 2013 at 5:03 am

    These look delicious. I may have to try them.

  2. a farmer in the dell posted on January 11, 2013 at 8:59 am

    These look delicious! I love that you replace some of the oil with apple sauce. These really are the perfect muffin! YUM!

    • Kare replied on January 13th, 2013 on 7:17 am

      And you’d never know there’s applesauce in there! I love that. :)

  3. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies posted on January 11, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Guess who bought way too many carrots for a recipe last week?! ME! I think I’m going to make these this weekend. I could always use a good muffin in the morning.

    • Kare replied on January 13th, 2013 on 7:07 am

      I hope you love them! My friend’s four-year-old tried them Friday and hated them (but was very sweet and polite about it) – so I may have to revoke their stud muffin designation.

      • Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies replied on January 14th, 2013 on 1:39 pm

        So I was crazy busy wrapping up a big project yesterday, but my wonderful husband made these. They are perfect! And oh man, do they smell amazing when they’re baking! We love them. Thank you for the recipe!

        • Kare replied on January 18th, 2013 on 9:09 am

          Yay! So glad you guys liked them. :)

      • Elaine replied on March 15th, 2014 on 8:19 am

        I am currently fhnisiing up my BA in Child Development and Family Studies and thus far I have only work with children from 2 weeks to adolescent while helping support their families. The Physician that I would want to work under is an Obstetrics (OB) because they are in direct contact with pregnant women and their children during pregnancy. I would choose this particular specialty for a variety of reason such as having the opportunity to see individuals become parent for the first time, seeing how much love is surrounded in the process, being there to help the mothers while there in a vulnerable state. One of my main reasons is because I think that the whole birthing process is fascinating and to be able to be a part of family’s lives while going through this process, I imagine to be extremely rewarding.A of physician specialty that I would least want to work with would be a psychiatrist. Although I believe that psychiatrist do some spectacular work and help a lot of people through difficult situations I personally believe that this job would be to emotionally draining and overwhelming for me. This makes me question whether or not I would be able to handle it. When I set out to do a job my goal is to do the best that I can and I don’t feel that I could successfully do this job to the best of my ability.

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  5. Beth posted on January 20, 2013 at 9:22 am

    I made these yesterday, looking to find a healthy snack for my husband and I, with a few changes. I cut the brown sugar to 1/2 a cup and replaced the oil with 1/4 cup plain 0% Greek yogurt. They are delicious!! Definitely will spray the wrappers with nonstick spray next time (probably soon because they are going fast!!).

  6. Heidi @ Food Doodles posted on January 25, 2013 at 11:04 am

    These look so perfect! I love how wholesome they are, but most of all I think I love their little muffin tops :) They’re perfect! And those spices sound so good :)

  7. Emilie@TheCleverCarrot posted on January 25, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    You had me laughing at ‘our toddler devours hers all Tasmanian-devil style.’ That’s exactly like my little ones. Crumbs and wrappers everywhere. These look awesome by the way. So fluffy and moist! I’m excited to try them out :)

  8. Susan posted on January 27, 2013 at 6:56 am

    This are delicious. I made them this morning. I replaced the sugar with Truvia baking blend and replaced the applesauce with 2 apples that i pureed in my food processor and pureed the carrots as well. They turned out great. Thank you for the recipe!

  9. Amanda Lutterman posted on February 3, 2013 at 2:40 am

    Could you chop up some frozen carrots in the blender instead of buying fresh carrots? I don’t buy that many fresh veggies simply because I don’t use them up fast enough. It’s not fun finding slimy rotten veggies in the bottom of your refrigerator =/
    Everything else I keep on hand =)

    • Jennie replied on April 13th, 2013 on 8:14 am

      I’m afraid that if you used them frozen, they would melt and make your muffins very mushy. thawed carrots do NOT have the same consistency as fresh/raw. Although, it might be fine as long as you left them in for a little longer at a slightly lower temp- say 350 or even 325.

    • @envirooil replied on April 14th, 2014 on 11:10 am

      This is the second time I have made these muffins and they are fantastic! I use the remnant pulp from juicing carrots and it sure makes the muffins moist. I too subbed out the oil for Greek yogurt and used molasses. Just amazing muffins! :)

  10. Stephanie posted on March 15, 2013 at 5:57 am

    Also try replacing the sugar with raisins! Yum!

  11. Jason posted on March 30, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    Awesome muffins, packed full of flavour, reminds me of pumpkin pie. Muffins weren’t overly sweet which I liked. I made a double batch and subbed butter for the oil and added in raisins.

    • Kare replied on April 1st, 2013 on 8:58 pm

      Aren’t they great with raisins? My toddler loves them even more with raisins in them. My guy, on the other hand … not a raisin lover, but they’re easy to pick out. ;) Thanks so much for coming back to comment!

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  13. Liz posted on April 9, 2013 at 6:53 am

    I just baked these and oh my they are awesome! The only changes I made were I only used half the vanilla and no ground cloves because I didn’t have any. Oh lord I’m going to eat them all before my boyfriend comes home

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  16. Jennie posted on April 13, 2013 at 8:20 am

    I just made these for breakfast this morning, and they are fantastic!! I used all whole wheat instead of all-purp flour, subbed honey for the brown sugar, and added a cup of chopped pecans. They had just the right amount of sweetness and were wonderfully moist, but not too much so. I thought about adding the raisins, but I don’t really love raisins, so chose to not worry about it. (When I do add them I almost always put them in my little Handy Chopper so I don’t have to deal with the squishy raisin texture.)
    If you’re thinking about trying these- do it!!!

  17. Sharon posted on April 20, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Yum!! Added a little flax which gave them a nuttier finish. Even my toddler kept coming back for more!

    • Karen Troughton replied on April 23rd, 2013 on 9:24 am

      What a great idea – I need to try that! Flax is so wonderful.

  18. peaceloveandsmoothies posted on April 28, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Those look great!

  19. Jenny posted on April 30, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    I made these yesterday. I only had cinnamon and white sugar and I added raisins. But they came out awesome! Next time I think I’ll add pecans or walnuts and more raisins they are soooo good! Like mini carrot cakes. My 2 year old loves them too. :)

    • Karen Troughton replied on May 6th, 2013 on 8:37 am

      Yay, so glad you liked them. :) Nuts would be wonderful – and raisins too! Love the idea of making these a little heartier – great grab & go snacks for the toddler (funny how much they love them!)

  20. Susan posted on May 6, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    Loved these! More importantly, my kid ate 5 the first day! Gave nice rounded tops. Did not have applesauce, so used babyfood apricots and a grated apple. Also ran out of brown sugar (time to go to the store!), so used 1/3 brown and 2/3 white sugar. Has anyone tried honey or molasses? Thanks for a new family favorite!

  21. Jenny posted on May 13, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    My daughter and I made these just now, though she didn’t know I snuck in carrots and zucchini when she wasn’t looking! I halved the recipe (though still used a whole egg) and the wee one insisted on chocolate chips, so I chopped a few up and tossed them in as well. I also added flax meal for extra nutrients. It made 36 mini muffins and she GOBBLED up 2 of them straight from the oven. Thanks for the great recipe!

  22. Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe posted on May 20, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    I just made these but replaced the applesauce with mashed banana (as I didn’t have any applesauce). They’re delicious! Can’t wait to eat them for breakfast all week!

    • Karen Troughton replied on May 24th, 2013 on 7:05 am

      I love this idea! I’ll have to try mashed bananas soon. So many fabulous adaptation ideas popping up in the comments on this one – I love it!

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  25. Hillary posted on June 10, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    I just made these and they were great. I think I’ll play around with the recipe by adding sunflower seeds, walnuts or other nuts, but that’s personal preference. Enjoy!

  26. lisa s posted on June 17, 2013 at 9:58 am

    I just made these and they are the best ever!!! i had to adjust a little because i eat all organic i exchanged the oil for coconut oil and cut it down a little and added slivered almonds grated apple and walnuts. exchanged the white flour with oat flour and half the sugar for molasses They were so delicious and look amazing too!

    • Paullett replied on July 28th, 2013 on 10:27 pm

      I think I’ll try the recipe from the blog first and if I get around to it maybe your recipe too.

      The first five comments hadn’t even tried the recipe …. at least you “tried” the recipe. Anyway why not use coconut flour in your version?

  27. Roger S posted on June 17, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Got these baking in the oven right now… excluded cloves because I didn’t have it…

    Will return in 20 mins to let you know how they went!

    thanks for the recipe!

  28. Stephanie posted on June 20, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Found this on pinterest. So happy to find a muffin that isn’t a dessert… you know what I am talking about, right? My toddler loves eating stuff with his hands and I love giving him stuff with veggies… this is a win win. So many yummy sounding varriations going on in the comments – very cool. Love your pictures….

    • Karen Troughton replied on June 21st, 2013 on 6:11 am

      Ha – yes, I know exactly what you’re talking about! Muffins are often basically an excuse to have cupcakes for breakfast. Though it’s an excuse I’ve used many a time. ;)

      I know, I am loving everyone’s creativity! Thanks so much.

  29. Emily posted on July 17, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    Delicious! They are moist and wonderful. I make these all the time for my little guy who doesn’t like to eat his veggies.

  30. Rebecca posted on July 22, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    This recipe is amazing – so flavourful! Thanks so much for the share!

    • Karen Troughton replied on July 23rd, 2013 on 5:33 am

      Hi Rebecca, thanks so much. :)

  31. Leslie posted on August 12, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Yippie, my super picky 6 yr old just gobbled one up (100% whole grain, honey version). For vegetables, he was pretty much down to popcorn, hummus, and nuts, if you count those. He won’t even drink smoothies. I see many variations of this in our future. Happy dance!

    • Karen Troughton replied on August 12th, 2013 on 6:45 pm

      My 19 month old won’t go near smoothies, either! I’ve even given them to her with a spoon and called them ice cream. No dice. But she still loves these, so, yay! I’m glad your little guy likes them too. Happy dance indeed. :)

  32. Ebe posted on August 21, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Hi! Thank you so much for the recipe. I followed it exactly, except I added 1/3 cup sultana raisins (my 20 yr old daughter loves them). Unfortunately, the muffins came up with a gummy texture. Why would that be?

  33. Libby posted on August 24, 2013 at 11:39 am

    I used 2 cups white whole wheat flour which is very mild for a whole grain. I also substituted the 3/4 cup brown sugar with 1/2 cup raw honey. They were still very sweet and delicious. Been trying to cook healthy and convert my kids –they said this was the best tasting healthy thing I’ve made yet! They gobbled them up!

  34. Shelly posted on August 25, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Made these twice already! The first time I stuck to the recipe, and loved it!!, the second time, I had a bunch of home grown zucchini from my sisters garden- so, i doubled up on the recipe, I substituted zucchini for the carrots, added 3/4 cups craisins, 3/4 cup flax meal, (since zucchini has so much more moisture content) and it was a HUGE success!!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  35. Caroline posted on August 29, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    These were so good!! The perfect carrot muffin – making my second batch now!

    • Karen Troughton replied on September 2nd, 2013 on 8:15 pm

      So glad you liked them! Hope the second batch was as good as the first. :)

  36. Lucienne posted on September 12, 2013 at 8:50 am

    I have just made it, it is lovely, I add some cranberries, pecan and raising, less sugar, some honey, the best recipe for muffins ever, thanks xx

  37. Jen posted on September 27, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    Yum! I used coconut oil instead of veg oil, and added about a half cup of raisins. Baked for 23min in my oven, and came out perfect! I will definitely make these again.

    • Jan replied on September 29th, 2013 on 11:43 am

      I want to make these but can anyone give me the nutritional vale of these muffins? Calories, carbs protein, fiber etc.

    • Jan replied on September 29th, 2013 on 11:43 am

      I want to make these but can anyone give me the nutritional vale of these muffins? Calories, carbs protein, fiber etc.

    • Jan replied on September 29th, 2013 on 11:44 am

      I want to make these but can anyone give me the nutritional vale of these muffins? Calories, carbs protein, fiber etc.

  38. Jan posted on September 29, 2013 at 11:41 am

    I want to make these but can anyone give me the nutritional vale of these muffins? Calories, carbs protein, fiber etc.

  39. Jan posted on September 29, 2013 at 11:48 am

    I want to make these muffins, but could someone give the nutritional value of the muffins? Calorie, carbs, fiber, protein etc?

    • PAULA DANIELS replied on October 26th, 2013 on 11:11 am

      Sounds like you are a Weight Watcher….like me….so far, I have altered the recipe by no brown sugar, but trivia; no oil, but added 4 mashed bananas; not milk, but low fat buttermilk; for the flours 1-1/2 cup wheat flour, 1/4 cup flax meal, and 1/4 cup almond flour

      5 ww pts…..8 fat, 27 carbs, 3 fiber, and 5 protein.

      These muffins are just wonderful.

  40. Jan posted on September 29, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Comment

  41. Jan posted on September 29, 2013 at 11:52 am

    I want to make these muffins, but could anyone give the nutritional value of these muffins? calories, carbs, fiber, sugar, protein etc.

  42. Katie posted on September 29, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Loved these muffins! Used organic coconut oil and replaced the milk with a cup of Greek yogurt…Delicious!

  43. Katie posted on September 29, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Loved these muffins! Used organic coconut oil and replaced the milk with a cup of Greek yogurt…Delicious!

  44. Katie posted on September 29, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Loved these muffins! Used organic coconut oil and replaced the milk with a cup of Greek yogurt…Delicious!

  45. Kristi posted on September 30, 2013 at 10:31 am

    I made these this past weekend using 2 cups white whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup coconut oil instead of veg oil, 1/2 cup honey instead of brown sugar, and added chopped pecans and craisins. the craisins provide a nice sweet surprise since the muffins themselves aren’t sweet like a bakery muffin would be. Made 16 muffins for me (bonus!) and they came out wonderfully…fam of 4 and we’re down to 3 muffins in 36 hrs.

  46. Kristi posted on September 30, 2013 at 10:31 am

    I made these this past weekend using 2 cups white whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup coconut oil instead of veg oil, 1/2 cup honey instead of brown sugar, and added chopped pecans and craisins. the craisins provide a nice sweet surprise since the muffins themselves aren’t sweet like a bakery muffin would be. Made 16 muffins for me (bonus!) and they came out wonderfully…fam of 4 and we’re down to 3 muffins in 36 hrs.

  47. Sarah posted on September 30, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Exchanged in plain Greek yogurt for the milk. Turned out great and made 14 muffins!

  48. Kim posted on October 6, 2013 at 11:21 am

    I just made a double batch of these beauties with surplus carrots from my garden. The only change I made was to add raisins (1 cup for a double recipe). They are great, thank you for posting!

  49. Kim posted on October 6, 2013 at 11:22 am

    I just made a double batch of these beauties with surplus carrots from my garden. The only change I made was to add raisins (1 cup for a double recipe). They are great, thank you for posting!

  50. Jelli posted on October 10, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Made these last night as a healthy compromise between my husband and I. I love muffins but generally make them “too healthy” for the hubs. These sound like a perfect balance with just enough sugar to be tasty but not so much I feel like I’m eating a cupcake. YUM!

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  52. Tiara posted on November 15, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Thanks for the recipe! Just made these to bring to my relatives tomorrow. I tasted it hot from the oven and it wasn’t too sweet at all (though my brother said it was tasteless but I think he has a palate for sweeter stuff). I didn’t have enough applesauce though, so I wonder if it would have been better with it. Otherwise, it was really moist! I did without nutmeg and clove, so again don’t know if it’d be better with it. Added raisins, walnuts and topped it with five grains toppings to make it more wholesome. Hopefully my relatives will like it tomorrow :D

    Will do with more applesauce next time to see how it turns out!(:

  53. Tiara posted on November 15, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Thanks for the recipe! Just made these to bring to my relatives tomorrow. I tasted it hot from the oven and it wasn’t too sweet at all (though my brother said it was tasteless but I think he has a palate for sweeter stuff). I didn’t have enough applesauce though, so I wonder if it would have been better with it. Otherwise, it was really moist! I did without nutmeg and clove, so again don’t know if it’d be better with it. Added raisins, walnuts and topped it with five grains toppings to make it more wholesome. Hopefully my relatives will like it tomorrow :D

    Will do with more applesauce next time to see how it turns out!(: the muffin stuck to the wrapper though, but perhaps it’s because I tried it before it properly cooled, so hopefully it won’t stick tmr!

  54. TIara posted on November 15, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Thanks for the recipe!

    Made these just to bring to my relatives tomorrow. They weren’t too sweet (though my brother said it was tasteless but well I think that’s because he’s used to a sweeter palate). I didn’t have enough apple sauce though, and didn’t include nutmeg and cloves as well so I wonder if it would be even better (it is still good now xD) if I had those! Unknowns aside, the muffins turned out really moist and I liked its wholesomeness- added raisins, walnuts and topped it with five grains toppings. Replaced some milk with soy milk too! The muffin stuck to the wrapper though, but that may be because I tried it too soon before it cooled down properly, so hopefully it won’t stick to the muffin wrapper tomorrow!

    Will try the recipe again with sufficient applesauce next time! Hopefully it will be well received tomorrow :D

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  56. Settie posted on December 7, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    This recipe was great! I used the carrot pulp from my juicer and stirred in my leftover cranberry/pineapple/pecan relish from thanksgiving. Sooo good!

  57. Kari posted on January 1, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Is the applesauce sweetened or unsweetened?

    • Karen Troughton replied on January 4th, 2014 on 7:59 am

      Hi Kari, I tend to use sweetened applesauce as that’s what I have on hand. But really I’ve noticed very little different using unsweetened. So, short answer: use what you want! :)

  58. Erin posted on January 8, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    I love these muffins, and have made them several times in two months since I discovered this recipe. LOVE. Thank you for sharing.

    • Karen Troughton replied on January 9th, 2014 on 7:33 pm

      Hi Erin, yay, I’m so glad you like them! Thank you for the sweet comment! :)

  59. Chrissy posted on January 10, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    Love these! Can you tell me how many calories in a muffin? I made 12, like the recipe said. I am using the app “My fitness Pal” to start off the new year, and I always have trouble logging my homemade items. If I could get a calorie count, I could choose a similar carrot muffin from the list and use that for my count. Thanks for your help! Will definitely spray the papers next time too..otherwise, they are perfectly yummy!

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  62. Rea posted on January 27, 2014 at 10:52 am

    Do you think I could use almond milk instead?

    • Karen Troughton replied on January 30th, 2014 on 6:55 am

      Hi Rea, sure, I think that should work. I haven’t tried it personally, though (though I am on a huge almond kick right now!) If you try it, please come back and let us know how it turned out!

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  64. Anne Luna posted on February 28, 2014 at 10:55 am

    These are lovely muffins! Thanks for the recipe. :) I made these and added chia seeds & chopped pecans and they were fantastic. I’ve got a batch in the oven right now in which I substituted beets for the carrots. *fingers crossed*

  65. Olly posted on March 15, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Thanks a lot for the inspiration!
    I made these muffins without any egg (substited with mashed banana) and mashed carrots together with apples as well. They were lovely, I’d recommend to enjoy muffins a few hours after baking, so they set properly. Yum.

  66. Molly Ruggles posted on March 23, 2014 at 10:39 am

    This is an excellent recipe. Don’t stint on the spices and sweeteners. I substituted maple syrup for brown sugar and it was great. Also added raisins which was fun.

    • Karen Troughton replied on March 24th, 2014 on 3:31 pm

      I’m so glad you liked it!

  67. kknab posted on March 26, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Just made 4 dozen of these and they are SO good! I followed what other reviewers said and sprayed the muffin tin liners, only used half a cup of brown sugar and substituted 1/4 cup plane yogurt for the oil. They taste great! Sweet enough to satisfy a craving, yet healthy enough so you don’t feel guilty eating more than one. I’m freezing about 2 dozen and leaving the rest out for the family to enjoy. Thanks so much for such an awesome recipe!

  68. joy posted on June 8, 2014 at 9:23 am

    thank you for this healthier muffin recipe. I’ve made them a couple of times and while there is so taste substitute for butter, these are yummy and most important my 6 year old likes them, they are not loaded with sugar and I can pack them in her lunch and know that she will eat them and not be cranky because she didn’t eat anything all day. so thank you!

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