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Spiced Apple Carrot Muffins

Spiced Apple Carrot Muffins made grain-free with almond flour for a light and airy texture! These wholesome muffins are dairy-free, refined sugar-free, paleo friendly and such a delight to consume!

Plate of spiced apple carrot muffins with fresh apples in the background, ready to eat.

Fall’s favorite muffin recipe, coming right up!

These warmly-spiced apple carrot muffins are where produce goes to thrive and are a great way of sneaking in some veggies. They feature a moist tender crumb with amazing soft texture and just the right level of sweetness.

My husband reported they are his favorite muffins to date!

Ideal for those who enjoy fall baking projects and try to keep it wholesome, this simple recipe yields a feel-good treat that doesn’t send your blood sugar through the roof.

I first developed this recipe for apple carrot muffins back in 2013 when I was still new to gluten-free baking. Back then, it was still somewhat difficult to find grain-free flour and gluten-free flour blends in the grocery store. 

My first version of these apple carrot muffins called for a combination of brown rice flour and almond flour.

Because I’m a minimalist at heart and have learned a great deal over the years about simplifying recipes without sacrificing flavor or texture, I went ahead and enhanced the original recipe to bring you an all new version 2.0 today.

Instead of using both rice flour and almond flour, we now only need almond flour.

Instead of using full-fat canned coconut milk for the fat in the recipe, we now use avocado oil (or coconut oil or butter). This eliminates the need to open a whole can of coconut milk when we only were using a small amount. 

The good news is most grocery stores carry a variety of flours, and almond flour tends to be an easy one to find.

If you’re a carrot cake lover, you’re bound to enjoy these muffins because they feature some of the same goodies. These moist muffins are a great recipe to enjoy the next time the sweet tooth starts talking but you’re wanting to keep it lower in sugar.

Plate of apple carrot muffins with one sliced in half so you can see the moist inside.

Let’s discuss the healthy ingredients for apple carrot muffins.

Ingredients for Spiced Apple Carrot Muffins:

Almond Flour: In keeping these muffins grain-free and gluten-free, I use almond flour for an amazing light and fluffy texture.

Baked goods with almond flour turn out with a delightful moist crumb and have beautiful texture that can often resemble regular all-purpose flour.

I love the way these muffins turn out using almond flour because they have a bit of a rustic vibe and they come with some healthy fats.

I recommend sticking with finely ground almond flour rather than almond meal for the best texture as almond meal results in a dense muffin. 

Carrots and Fresh Apples: The two main stars of the show here, we grate up a large carrot and a large apple to infuse these muffins with some fresh produce.

Both the carrot and the apple provide natural sweetness, making the muffins taste so inviting without the need for a lot of extra sweetener. 

You can use any type of apple you like, but I like using Fuji apples because they are nice and sweet. For iconic apple flavor, use a large Granny Smith apple, as the tart apples are what produce the most apple flavor.

Eggs: A couple large eggs are much needed to help give rise to the almond flour.

Without eggs, almond flour goods can turn out overly dense and have a raw, almost undercooked vibe.

For this reason, I don’t recommend using an egg replacer like flax eggs unless you are experienced in grain-free baking and know what other adjustments need to be made.

Avocado Oil: Bringing moisture and richness to the muffins, I love a touch of avocado oil because it has a neutral flavor and adds healthy fats.

You can replace it with melted coconut oil or melted butter if you’d prefer. While I don’t recommend using vegetable oil due to its high omeg-6 content, you can use it if it’s what you have on hand.

Pure Maple Syrup: Just a few tablespoons of pure maple syrup is all we need to get the perfect level of sweetness.

We end up with healthy muffins that have just a touch of sweetness without being overly sugary.

If you like a sweeter muffin, add 1 to 3 tablespoons of coconut sugar, brown sugar or white sugar.

Pure Vanilla Extract: A splash of vanilla extract brings some warmth to the muffins that gives them a little something special. Feel free to skip it if you don’t have it on hand.

Ground Cinnamon, Ground Ginger, Nutmeg, and Sea Salt: This combination of spices brings a boost of fall flavors to the muffins.

If you have pumpkin pie spice on hand, feel free to swap the cinnamon, ground ginger and nutmeg out for 2 teaspoons of pumpkin spice.

If you know you love a lot of spices in your baked goods, feel free to increase the dosage here. The salt helps bring out all of the flavors, so don’t skip it!

Baking Soda: Used as the leavening agent, baking soda helps the muffins rise and hold their form after baking.

Apple Cider Vinegar: Vinegar reacts with the baking soda to activate it and create a chemical reaction that is responsible for all the leavening magic. You can replace the vinegar with lemon juice or lime juice if you’d like.

Recipe Adaptations:

  • Cassava flour can be used to replace the almond flour with some changes. Use 1/5 cups of cassava flour and 3 eggs. If the batter seems thick, add up to 1/3 cup of additional liquid such as unsweetened applesauce, non-dairy milk (or regular milk), or more avocado oil.
  • Replace the almond flour with 1 1/2 cups of your favorite gluten-free flour blend.
  • If you like the concept of using both rice flour and almond flour, use 1 cup of each.
  • Swap either the apple or the carrot for one medium-sized grated zucchini if you’d like.
  • Add ⅔ cup of chopped walnuts or pecans for a nutty infusion.
  • Enjoy dried fruit? Add ⅓ to ⅔ cup of dried cranberries or raisins.
  • ​Fond of carrot cake? You can whip up a cream cheese frosting and turn these into a cupcake experience.
  • If you’re a coconut lover, sprinkle the tops of the muffin batter with coconut flakes or shredded coconut.
  • Chocolate lover? Add in up to 2/3 cup of chocolate chips.
  • Add extra ingredients to boost the nutrient profile such as 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds, hemp seeds, or chia seeds. 
Plate of apple carrot muffins stacked on each other with fresh apples in the background.

Now that we’ve covered the simple ingredients list, let’s bake these amazing gluten-free carrot apple muffins!

How to Make Spiced Apple Carrot Muffins:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a muffin tray with 7 muffin papers.

Grate the carrot and the apple using a box grater or the grater attachment on your food processor. You will need one cup of each. I peel the apple, but I grate the whole carrot with the peel on.

Whisk together the eggs, avocado oil, pure maple syrup and cider vinegar in a large mixing bowl until the wet ingredients are well-combined.

Wet ingredients for muffins in a mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, stir together the almond flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, and sea salt (dry ingredients).

almond flour, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, baking soda and sea salt in a large measuring cup.

Pour the flour mixture into the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix well.

Dry ingredients on top of wet ingredients in a mixing bowl to make carrot apple muffins.

Stir in the grated carrots and grated apple until the muffin batter is well-combined.

grated apple and grated carrot on top of muffin batter, ready to be mixed in.
Apple carrot muffin batter in a mixing bowl, ready to bake.

Transfer the muffin batter to the prepared muffin tin, filling the muffin cups up ⅔ of the way.

Muffin tin filled with apple carrot muffin batter, ready to bake.

Bake muffins on the center rack of the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until they test clean. Mine take 22 minutes. Muffins are fully cooked once they reach an internal temperature of 190-200 degrees F.

Insert a digital thermometer into the center of a muffin to verify they are fully baked. Or, you can also insert a toothpick or butter knife into a muffin to be sure it tests clean.

Allow the muffins to cool to room temperature before peeling off the muffin papers and enjoying. 

Muffin tray full of spiced apple carrot muffins, fresh out of the oven.

Store leftover muffins in an airtight container or a zip lock bag in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. You can also freeze muffins in a freezer bag (or zip lock) for up to 3 months.

Hand holding a muffin that has been sliced in half to expose the inside.

And that’s it!

A delicious muffin recipe you’ll want to keep on constant rotation during the fall and winter months when you’re craving a cozy treat.

I recommend making a double batch if you’d like some leftover breakfast muffins. The whole family is bound to love this lovely recipe, and the muffins disappear quickly!

Make them as a grab and go snack or enjoy these apple carrot muffins as part of a wholesome breakfast. These delicious apple carrot muffins are healthy snacks for kids lunch boxes or for humans of all ages.

If you love muffin recipes, also try out these reader favorites!

More Healthy Muffin Recipes:

Enjoy these delicious grain-free apple carrot muffins on repeat!

Plate of spiced apple carrot muffins with fresh apples in the background, ready to eat.
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4 from 5 votes

Spiced Apple Carrot Muffins

Fall-inspired Spiced Apple Carrot Muffins made grain-free with almond flour. These moist and fluffy muffins are made with all wholesome ingredients and will make you want to curl up with a great book and a mug of tea.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time28 minutes
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Servings: 7 muffins
Calories: 295kcal
Author: Julia

Equipment

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Grate the carrot and the apple using a box grater. You will need one cup of each.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a muffin tray with 7 muffin papers (Note: this recipe makes a partial batch of muffins but you can double the recipe for more muffins).
  • Whisk together the eggs, avocado oil, pure maple syrup and cider vinegar in a large mixing bowl until the wet ingredients are well-combined.
  • In a separate bowl, stir together the almond flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, and sea salt (dry ingredients).
  • Pour the flour mixture into the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix well. Stir in the grated carrots and grated apple until the muffin batter is well-combined.
  • Transfer the muffin batter to the prepared muffin tin, filling the muffin cups up ⅔ of the way.
  • Bake muffins on the center rack of the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until they test clean. Mine take 22 minutes. Muffins are fully cooked once they reach an internal temperature of 190-200 degrees F. Insert a digital thermometer into the center of a muffin to verify they are fully baked. Or, you can also insert a toothpick or butter knife into a muffin to be sure it tests clean.
  • Allow the muffins to cool to room temperature before peeling off the muffin papers and enjoying.

Notes

*Use lemon juice or lime juice in place of vinegar if you’d like. The purpose of this ingredient is to activate the baking soda.
**If you have fresh ginger on hand, use 2 teaspoons of fresh grated ginger.
You can replace the individual spices with 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice if you have it on hand.
I originally published this recipe in 2013. I updated the recipe, but for those who enjoyed the original, here it is:
Original Recipe:
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
  • 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar*
  • 1 cup finely ground almond flour
  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger**
  • ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 large carrot, grated (about 1 cup of shredded carrot)
  • 1 large Fuji apple, peeled and grated

Nutrition

Serving: 1Muffin (of 7) | Calories: 295kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 284mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 11g

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

I originally shared this recipe on November 6, 2013. I updated the recipe to make it even easier and tastier and also updated the photos and content.

Recipe Rating




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Christina

Monday 2nd of October 2023

Hello, I made these muffins this past weekend and used the cassava flour substitute instead of the Almond flour. The batter was so dry I ended up adding 4 T of whole milk just to moisten it a bit. The batter was still dry. They also made 9 muffins instead of 7. Not sure what I did wrong? They tasted okay but were super dense. Any idea what I might have done wrong? Thanks.

Julia

Monday 2nd of October 2023

Hi Christina! I'm so sorry to hear the cassava version didn't work out as well! Depending on the brand of flour, cassava flour can require more liquid but it sounds like in your case the muffins needed much more. If you want to try it again, I would do 1.5 cups of cassava flour and 3 eggs. If the batter seems too thick, you can add up to 1/3 cup of dairy-free milk (or milk of choice, or more avocado oil). Hope this helps!

Ashleigh

Sunday 12th of April 2020

Is the coconut milk from the can or from the carton? Looks like a great recipe- hoping to make today- thanks!!

Julia

Sunday 12th of April 2020

Hi Aghleigh! I use full-fat coconut milk from the can :D Hope you enjoy! xo

Anna

Tuesday 24th of July 2018

Teething toddler wouldn’t eat anything! Well until I made these! Gone in two seconds! So delicious! I didn’t have brown rice flour or tapioca so I used 1/3 cup almond meal and 2/3 wholemeal flour as they didn’t have to be gluten free. Thank you for this recipe! I’ll be definitely making these again <3

Julia

Wednesday 25th of July 2018

I'm so happy to hear your Toddler loves the muffins, Anna! That warms my heart...thank you for the sweet note! xo

Francesca

Sunday 23rd of February 2014

This is lovely.. and I bet you're the best auntie.. ever. nine times over.

Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli

Saturday 9th of November 2013

Ok, so I just have to say that I couldn't help but laugh out loud when you mentioned projectile poop and then making baby food in the very next sentence! Lol!

These muffins look fantastic! I love the taste of fresh ginger in baked goods! And I've been trying to figure out what the heck to do with the almond flour I bought almost a year ago! Ha!

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