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This carrot cake muffins recipe is a showstopper! The muffins are moist and spiced, topped with a tangy cream cheese drizzle.

Carrot cake muffins

Here’s a muffin recipe you need in your arsenal: carrot cake muffins! These are beautifully moist and spiced, with cozy spices interspersed with pecans and bright strands of carrots. Add a tangy cream cheese glaze to decorate the tops, and it takes them into rockstar territory! This recipe is perfect in the spring, but we like it anytime of year: it’s a hit with friends and family alike!

Ingredients in this carrot cake muffins recipe

This carrot cake muffins recipe takes everything you like about the popular cake and boils it down into muffins. They’re lightly sweet so they’re not too heavy, and drizzled with just a bit of cream cheese icing (instead of the usual generous layers). There’s nothing better than a great muffin, and this one satisfies every bit of a muffin craving. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • All purpose flour
  • Brown sugar and granulated sugar
  • Cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Pecans (or raisins)
  • Eggs
  • Applesauce
  • Vegetable oil
  • Vanilla extract
  • Carrots

A few ingredient notes: the applesauce in the muffins keeps them beautifully moist without using more oil. If you love nuts, pecans are the perfect mix-in! You can swap them out for raisins, or you can do both (if you’re a fan of raisins in carrot cake).

Carrot cake muffins recipe

For the cream cheese glaze

The best part of these carrot cake muffins? The cream cheese glaze! This glaze is a play on our powdered sugar icing, but using cream cheese instead. Turns out, softened and warmed cream cheese makes an excellent glaze. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Heat the cream cheese. Here you’ll want to heat it so that it becomes very soft and easy to stir. We did it in the microwave, but you can also use a small saucepan and use medium low heat on the stovetop.
  • Adjust the powdered sugar and/or milk in very small quantities. The goal is a drizzle-able glaze. Powdered sugar can have some variability when you measure it, so you can add a little more if the icing is too thin. Add a bit more milk if the icing is too thick.
  • Use a fork for drizzling. The best way to drizzle icing on muffins? Use a fork, not a spoon! It makes the best lines as it drizzles off of the tines of the fork.
  • Or, try maple glaze instead. For an alternative, try this easy Maple Glaze which holds up better during storage.
Carrot cake muffins recipe

Mix-ins and variations

Love a great carrot cake? There are loads of variations on carrot cake, and you can work them into these muffins easily. Here are a few more ideas:

  • Raisins: use ½ cup as noted above
  • Walnuts: use chopped walnuts instead of pecans
  • Coconut: add ¼ to ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • Pineapple: add ½ cup chopped canned pineapple in place of ½ cup of the shredded carrots
  • White chocolate chips: Add another sweet layer with chips

Carrot cake muffins storage

These carrot cake muffins are so delicious, you’ll want to eat them all the day of baking! But this makes a batch of 12, which is probably more than you’ll need. Here are a few notes on storing leftovers:

  • The muffins last best uniced. If making the muffins in advance, store them un-iced and refrigerated; add the drizzle directly before serving.
  • Store with a paper towel in the container. The muffins last at room temperature in a sealed container lined with a paper towel to absorb extra moisture, about 2 days if iced or 4 days if un-iced. The glaze becomes soft during storage, but it holds its shape.
  • Store refrigerated for up to 1 week or more. Allow to come to room temperature before serving. Again, the glaze becomes softer during storage but holds up.
  • You can also freeze the muffins without the glaze. They last up to 3 months frozen.
Carrot cake muffins

More carrot recipes

This carrot cake muffins recipe is perfect for spring, Easter, or Mother’s Day brunch, but it also works any time of year. Love making recipes with this orange vegetable? Here are some ideas for carrot recipes:

This carrot cake muffins recipe is…

Vegetarian.

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Carrot cake muffins recipe

Carrot Cake Muffins


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x

Description

This carrot cake muffins recipe is a showstopper! The muffins are moist and spiced, topped with a tangy cream cheese drizzle.


Ingredients

Scale

For the muffins

  • 1 ¾ cups [245 g] all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup [100 g] light brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup [67 g] granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup chopped pecans (or raisins)*
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup applesauce
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups peeled and grated carrots (4 to 5 medium)

For the glaze

  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray a standard 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray or add muffin cup papers.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, baking powder, and kosher salt. Stir in the chopped pecans.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the eggs, then whisk in the applesauce, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract until smooth. Stir in the carrots with a spatula. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix with a spatula until a thick, smooth batter forms. 
  4. Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin cups: the cups will be full to the top. 
  5. Bake the muffins for 23 to 25 minutes, until puffed and golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a rack to cool fully, about 1 hour. 
  6. To make the glaze, place the cream cheese in a glass measuring cup or bowl and microwave for about 20 seconds until warm (alternatively, warm it in a small saucepan over medium low heat on the stovetop). Stir in the powdered sugar and milk and mix until a drizzlable glaze forms. Use a fork to drizzle it over the muffins. (If making the muffins in advance, store them un-iced and refrigerated; add the drizzle directly before serving.)
  7. Eat the muffins immediately. Or, store at room temperature in a sealed container lined with a paper towel to absorb extra moisture, about 2 days if iced or 4 days if un-iced. Store refrigerated for up to 1 week or more (allow to come to room temperature before serving). The glaze becomes soft during storage**, but it holds its shape. You can also store frozen without glaze for up to 3 months.

Notes

*If you love raisins in a carrot cake, you can use them instead of pecans: or use ½ cup of both!

**For an alternative, try this easy Maple Glaze which holds up better during storage.

  • Category: Muffins
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Carrot cake muffins, carrot cake muffins recipe, carrots muffin cake recipe

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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8 Comments

  1. Thank you for the recipe. Quick, easy to follow directions to fix with alternative options. Great flavored snack to enjoy. Options for icing and calorie guide is a must you have thought of everything. They are enjoyed.

    1. Since muffin texture is closer to a loaf cake or quick bread, we’d suggest trying it in a loaf pan! Try baking it for 50 to 60 minutes in a 9 x 5 loaf pan (you may need to cover with foil at the 40 minute mark if it’s browning on top). You could use the same drizzle after it cools. Good luck!