Healthier Carrot Cake Muffins (paleo option, grain-free, gluten-free)

Moist, lightly sweetened with honey and even a little fluffy, these grain-free and gluten-free healthier carrot cake muffins are the perfect Easter treat. With a paleo and dairy-free option.

First up, if you prefer a grain-containing healthier carrot cake recipe, I have you covered! This 100% whole grain carrot cake is the best carrot cake I’ve ever had. Hands down.

These naturally sweetened grain-free and gluten-free carrot cake cupcakes have the best light and fluffy texture! With a paleo and dairy-free option.

If grains aren’t your thing, these healthier carrot cake muffins are awesome. I feel like a broken record, just because I say this all the time, but I used a combination of almond flour and coconut flour to achieve the perfect texture. I want my grain-free baked goods to taste as close to grain-containing ones as possible and these are pretty darn close!

People often ask if there’s a substitute for coconut flour and there really isn’t. You can easily order it online or you can make your own homemade coconut flour! And the only substitute for the almond flour would be almond meal (which is a lot cheaper than almond flour!) or another nut flour.

These gluten-free and grain-free carrot cake cupcakes have the best fluffy texture! With a paleo and dairy-free option. Naturally sweetened with honey.

So now that we’ve got the carrot cake muffins out of the way, we need some healthier cream cheese frosting! This is the same cream cheese frosting recipe that I used in my last post on carrot cake scones.

It uses just a little maple syrup as sweetener. I really thought cream cheese frosting without powdered sugar was impossible but this maple syrup version was just as good! It’s quite thick so if you want to thin it out, just add some milk.

I’m just guessing that if you’re interested in grain-free baking, you’re not into mounds of frosting on top of your muffins or cupcakes. The amount that this cream cheese frosting recipe yields is just enough for a thin slathering on each muffin. If you want to pipe it like I did, you can pipe about twice as much as you see in the pictures.

These gluten-free and grain-free carrot cake cupcakes have the best fluffy texture! Naturally sweetened and with a paleo and dairy-free option.

I recommend frosting the cupcakes right before serving because once you frost them, they need to be refrigerated. They can sit at room temperature for about 4 hours so if you want to frost them in preparation of a party – no problem! They just taste better and fluffier if you keep them at room temperature and microwaving cream cheese frosting sounds like a bad idea.

Obviously cream cheese isn’t dairy-free but there are dairy-free cream cheeses out there. If you don’t like the thought of using that, just leave out the frosting or use my vegan cream cheese recipe.

It’s naturally sweetened, doesn’t have any unusual ingredients and is also paleo-friendly! Half the recipe should yield enough for a nice slathering on top of each muffin. You can also find my directions for making these carrot cake cupcakes into an 8″ cake on that post.

Want an Easter dessert that’s a little more unique than these paleo carrot cake muffins? Try these blueberry carrot cake bars with granola from Cotter Crunch! They’re gluten-free and dairy-free and look amazing.

And for something with more of a cake texture (like angel food cake!) be sure to give my paleo blueberry muffins a try!

Want more grain-free treats?!

  • These paleo chocolate banana muffins are bursting with banana flavor and are super rich and decadent! (honey sweetened, grain-free, gluten-free and dairy-free)
  • Vegan Paleo Lemon Cookies {grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free}
  • Vegan Paleo Lemon Cookies {grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free}
  • These paleo chocolate cupcakes are moist but not eggy and have a rich, dark chocolaty taste! (grain-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free)

Healthier Carrot Cake Cupcakes (grain-free, gluten-free, paleo and dairy-free options)

♥♥♥♥♥
Rated 4.9 by 71 readers
Healthier Carrot Cake Muffins (paleo option, grain-free, gluten-free)
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 8 muffins

Ingredients

    For the carrot muffins:

  • 1 1/4 cups (125 grams) blanched almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons (16 grams) coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) refined coconut oil, melted (if you use unrefined coconut oil there may be some coconut taste to the muffins)
  • 1/3 cup (106 grams) honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) grated carrots
  • For the cream cheese frosting: (for paleo / dairy-free, use a half batch of this vegan "cream cheese" frosting)

  • 2 ounces (56 grams) cream cheese
  • 4 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • a dash of salt
  • additional milk for thinning, if desired

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a muffin tin with 8 muffin liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (almond flour through nutmeg). Set this aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, oil, honey, and vanilla.
  4. Add the dry mix to the wet mix just until combined and then gently fold in the grated carrots.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among the liners and bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Let the muffins cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Do not frost until completely cool!
  7. For the cream cheese frosting, mix everything together until thoroughly combined. If it's too thick for your liking, add a teaspoon of milk at a time until it's your desired consistency.
  8. Spread a thin layer on top of each cupcake or pipe it on. Do note that if you pipe it, you'll have some leftover if you pipe it as lightly as I did in the pictures.

Recipe by  | www.texanerin.com

Pin post on Pinterest Share post on Facebook Share post on Twitter Share post on Google+

429 comments on “Healthier Carrot Cake Muffins (paleo option, grain-free, gluten-free)” — Add one!

  • Kaitlyn
    ♥♥♥♥♥
    says
    September 7, 2018 @ 8:15 am

    I never comment on recipes but I just had to for this one. Honestly the best muffins I’ve ever tasted… So moist and delicious!! I made them without the icing and added shredded dried coconut. Perfect for a quick breakfast 😍🥕

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Kaitlyn
      September 9, 2018 @ 9:02 pm

      Well thank you for taking the time to comment! It’s much appreciated. :) I’m so happy that you liked them! How much coconut did you add? Thanks for the tip and your comment!

      Reply
  • Amy Fox says
    September 3, 2018 @ 8:19 pm

    I’m baking mine right now and noticing they do not rise at all? Is this a thing?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Amy Fox
      September 6, 2018 @ 9:16 pm

      Sorry for just now seeing your question! I haven’t made these in a while but I don’t recall them rising much. Did they come out okay? :)

      Reply
  • Mai Ge Xiong says
    September 1, 2018 @ 8:33 pm

    I followed the recipe but the batter was all crumbly. I dont know what I did wrong.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Mai Ge Xiong
      September 5, 2018 @ 10:03 pm

      Did you make any subs or any kinds of changes at all to the recipe? None of the other reviewers seemed to have had this problem so I’m guessing something must have gone wrong. Did you use cups or grams? I recommend using grams. Perhaps you packed your flour too tightly?

      Reply
  • Kay Mailloux says
    August 21, 2018 @ 6:40 pm

    This looks wonderful!!

    Could you use regular gluten free flour in substitute of the 2 flours listed in the recipe?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Kay Mailloux
      August 21, 2018 @ 9:52 pm

      Thanks! Unfortunately not. Regular GF flour (if you mean a 1:1 sub for all-purpose flour) is really just meant to sub for wheat flour and not other blends of grain-free flours. I have an amazing gluten-free carrot cake that uses a GF baking mix that you might like!

      Reply
  • Bronwyn
    ♥♥♥♥♥
    says
    August 20, 2018 @ 12:21 pm

    As usual, you are a genius. Followed this recipe with one sub, 200g of mejool dates that I crushed with mortar and pestles subbed for the honey. Made them not quite as sweet and with some date bits running through. Please note I weighed before removing the pits.
    Superb recipe!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Bronwyn
      August 21, 2018 @ 9:58 am

      Aww, thanks. :) I’m so happy that you liked them and that the date sub worked well! I wonder if they’d work with date paste. I might try! Thanks for your feedback (and especially for the note about 200 grams of pitted dates!)

      Reply
  • Donna says
    August 16, 2018 @ 9:50 pm

    Can you substitute the blanched almond flour with just almond flour? I really don’t know what blanched almond flour is? And omit coconut flour and just use all almond flour? I really want to try these, they look amazing! Thank you!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Donna
      August 17, 2018 @ 11:07 am

      Almond flour is usually blanched, meaning that the skins from the almonds have been removed. If it’s got the skins on there, it’s usually called almond meal. You can use either one. Unfortunately, you can’t just omit the coconut flour. It’s not interchangeable with any other type of flour as it absorbs so much more liquid. Sorry about that!

      Reply
  • DP says
    July 20, 2018 @ 3:11 pm

    I tried this recipe and it was an epic fail for me. I did not have a batter I had a crumbly dough. So it just didn’t “pour” at all. I pressed the dough into a cake pan and hoped for the best. It tasted good but the texture was not good. Do you know what I did wrong?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to DP
      July 20, 2018 @ 5:30 pm

      I’m sorry to hear it failed for you! I’ve gotten so many reviews on this recipe and haven’t had any epic fails yet so I’m guessing something must have gone wrong with the ingredients or the process. Did you make any subs or changes at all to the recipe? It should definitely pour and not have to be pressed and the texture should have been fluffy. Did you use cups or go by grams? It could have been that you packed the almond flour really tightly, which would have created a dry batter.

      Reply
  • Cortney says
    July 14, 2018 @ 7:05 pm

    Are there any changes to make if I sub maple syrup for honey in the muffin mix? I am making for my sons first bday and we haven’t introduced honey yet. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Cortney
      July 14, 2018 @ 8:54 pm

      No changes! Hope he has a nice birthday and likes the muffins. :)

      Reply
  • Sarah says
    July 8, 2018 @ 10:18 pm

    It was delicious! I logged the info via myfitnesspal. Here it is:

    Nutrition Facts
    Servings 8.0
    Amount Per Serving
    calories 256
    % Daily Value *

    Total Fat 19 g 30 %
    Saturated Fat 10 g 49 %
    Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
    Trans Fat 0 g
    Cholesterol 49 mg 16 %
    Sodium 127 mg 5 %
    Potassium 40 mg 1 %
    Total Carbohydrate 17 g 6 %
    Dietary Fiber 3 g 14 %
    Sugars 13 g
    Protein 5 g 10 %
    Vitamin A 23 %
    Vitamin C 1 %
    Calcium 4 %
    Iron 7 %

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Sarah
      July 10, 2018 @ 2:34 pm

      So happy you liked them! Thanks for sharing the analysis. :)

      Reply
    • Christina replies to Sarah
      July 14, 2018 @ 7:06 am

      Hi… Was this with the frosting or without? Thank you!

      Reply
  • Beryle says
    June 17, 2018 @ 3:59 am

    Hi,
    When you say vanilla, is that Vanilla essence, vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste please? I am in AAustralia, so might be different here…I usually use vanilla extract in my cake baking. Also is there a change to quantities of different?
    Thank you

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Beryle
      June 19, 2018 @ 8:49 pm

      Hi there! Sorry for just now seeing your question. I used vanilla extract. All American recipes use extract unless something else is specifically called for (not that you can actually tell I’m from the US by this recipe!). Hope you’ll enjoy them. :)

      Reply
  • Nicole says
    June 10, 2018 @ 8:33 pm

    do you guys cook these strait in the muffin tin or do you poor into the paper cups and bake them in the paper… i have had problems making similar muffins in the paper, it just sticks to the paper and I waste half the muffins
    :(

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Nicole
      June 11, 2018 @ 8:36 pm

      You line the muffin pan with the muffin liners and bake them that way. You shouldn’t waste half the muffin with this recipe. :)

      Reply
  • Nichole Taylor says
    June 7, 2018 @ 1:44 am

    I have tried so many grain free recipes that just fail. Delightfully surprised this was amazing!
    Kids and hubby love them, and I didn’t even get to frost them!
    Looking forward to more recipes!!!

    I used 1/4 cup MCT oil and a Tbsp of vanilla Ghee. I also added just under the amount of almond flour and added a Tbsp of Milled Seeds and a Tblsp of arrowroot powder. I also used fresh grated ginger instead of powder.
    I only substituted because it’s what I had in the house!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Nichole Taylor
      June 10, 2018 @ 7:44 pm

      Grain-free recipes are tricky and I’ve tried quite a few bad ones, too! I have lots of other grain-free recipes you might like. :) I’m so happy that you and your family enjoyed them and that they came out well with your subs! Thanks a bunch for your comment.

      Reply
  • Elisabeth
    ♥♥♥♥♥
    says
    June 1, 2018 @ 12:50 pm

    Oh wow! I made this as my birthday cake, this year, with a large batch of paleo cream cheese frosting https://www.primalpalate.com/paleo-recipe/cream-cheese-frosting/ (basically the same thing as the included frosting, but on a larger scale, because math is hard. ;) I omitted the ginger; a birthday cake is not worth risking trying something new) and a chopped pecan “crust.” This might be the best birthday cake I’ve ever made. I doubled the recipe and used my two 9″ cake pans (since I didn’t have 8″ pans, as recommended). I baked them for 21 minutes, and the tops were still almost-not-fully-done, but I didn’t want to risk overcooking them. This is definitely going to be a go-to for cake days, around here.
    My non-paleo husband said the cake is “solid,” and he would definitely eat it again. I guess I’ll have to share my entire birthday cake with him. ;)
    Thanks for the amazing recipe! I can’t wait to try more of your delicious desserts!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Elisabeth
      June 2, 2018 @ 8:26 pm

      Happy birthday! I’m so very happy that the cake was a hit. It’s always nice when non-paleo people like the recipes, too. :) Thank you for sharing the baking time for 9″ pans! I hope you’ll enjoy the other recipes just as much. Thanks a bunch for your comment!

      Reply
  • Sarah
    ♥♥♥♥♥
    says
    May 29, 2018 @ 5:28 pm

    I’ve made these several times now. They are always delicious,and I never ice them! I triple the recipe to get 24 muffins and they freeze beautifully.The biggest issue I have is that my 4 and 5 year old boys sneak them out and love eating them frozen! I added organic,unsweetened,shredded coconut once and it was great.Thanks for a healthy recipe that tastes just like the unhealthy version!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Sarah
      June 2, 2018 @ 4:47 pm

      You’re welcome! That’s interesting and good to know that they can be eaten straight from the freezer. :) Thanks a bunch for your comment!

      Reply
  • Harlene says
    May 28, 2018 @ 5:18 am

    These look so good! Can I substitute canola oil for coconut oil in this recipe?
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Harlene
      May 28, 2018 @ 6:15 pm

      Thanks! And definitely. :) Hope you’ll enjoy them!

      Reply
  • Suzanne says
    May 25, 2018 @ 3:45 am

    The reviews are amazing on these muffins! I really want to try them. Just would like to know how many days do they last at room temperature?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Suzanne
      May 28, 2018 @ 6:07 pm

      Sorry for just now seeing this! It depends on how moist your kitchen is but they should be fine for at least 3 days. You could refrigerate them after that.

      Reply
  • Christine says
    May 7, 2018 @ 3:39 pm

    Crazy good!!!

    Reply
  • Sharon says
    April 29, 2018 @ 4:12 am

    OMG….Erin this recipe is crazy good. I am on path to eliminate white sugar and flour from my cooking and my Mom’s carrot cake was going to be the hardest treat to release until I found you. I replaced honey for Lakanto granulated sweetner and added a couple tablespoons of unsweetened almond milk to adjust for lack of honey in texture. I intended to add peacans and totally forgot and still they were moist, perfect texture and an easy treat for all.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Sharon
      April 29, 2018 @ 5:36 pm

      You’re welcome! Thanks for the Lakanto tip. :) I’ll have to try that! I just got some in the mail. Thanks again for your comment!

      Reply
      • Sharon
        ♥♥♥♥♥
        replies to Erin
        May 1, 2018 @ 9:24 pm

        Hi Erin, quick follow-up…in addition to baking with Lakanto white granules I also prepared the icing with Lakanto powered sweetner. My picky 17yr old daughter is happily packing one of your muffins in her lunch daily. I’m not sure if I am happy she likes them or sad I am sharing them.. both :) Thanks again! I look forward to trying other recipes.

        Reply
        • Erin replies to Sharon
          May 2, 2018 @ 9:01 pm

          Haha. Well I’m happy that your picky daughter liked them! :) I hope you’ll enjoy the other recipes just as much. And thanks for the tip on the powdered sweetener! I didn’t know that it even existed.

  • Lala
    ♥♥♥♥♥
    says
    April 25, 2018 @ 9:52 pm

    Hi there. I made the muffins and they were awesome! Do yo know how many calories in one muffin? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Lala
      April 28, 2018 @ 8:19 pm

      Hi! So happy that you liked them. :) I don’t have that info but you could use this recipe analyzer.

      Reply
  • Melanie says
    April 15, 2018 @ 9:08 pm

    In case others want to try lower sugar, and an alternative to coconut oil or butter.

    I subbed honey for 3 tbsp maple syrup (only because I prefer the taste of maple syrup), subbed coconut oil for 3 tbsp coconut yogourt (works with dairy yogourt too, cupcakes end up especially velvety if you use Greek yogurt, even more so if you use Icelandic Skyr yogurt) and doubled the amount of grated carrots. When substituting oil or butter, I tried apple sauce first, and it wasn’t as good as the recipe where I tried yogurt. I had to bake my muffins for 25 min to cook fully in the middle. I also halved the maple syrup in the frosting and the kids still love it!

    Reply
  • Anne says
    April 12, 2018 @ 8:26 pm

    Can I substitute ghee for the coconut oil?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Anne
      April 13, 2018 @ 7:20 pm

      I’ve never baked with ghee so I have no idea. Sorry about that! I believe some of the other reviewers have tried it with success.

      Reply
  • Cheri Murray says
    April 10, 2018 @ 1:06 am

    My frosting is brown and lumpy. What did I do wrong?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Cheri Murray
      April 10, 2018 @ 6:43 pm

      I’m not sure how it could be brown from the ingredients used. Did you make any subs or changes at all to the recipe?

      Reply
      • Debra Eskinazi Stockdale replies to Erin
        May 29, 2018 @ 12:21 am

        Maybe the cream cheese was too cool and not softened enough?? when you added the honey or even maple syrup…it may have not integrated well enough.

        Reply
  • Tracey Levine says
    April 9, 2018 @ 9:28 pm

    I made these today. They are delicious! I didn’t ice them, left them plain. I added chopped walnuts and I didn’t have any muffin liners, so I sprayed my muffin tin with coconut oil. I will definitely make them again.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Tracey Levine
      April 10, 2018 @ 6:42 pm

      I’m happy to hear that you’ll be making them! Thanks a bunch for your feedback. :)

      Reply
  • Diane
    ♥♥♥♥♥
    says
    April 6, 2018 @ 12:40 am

    I made the recipe exactly as posted. Perfection. Very very delicious.
    When I make it again, I will add walnuts and maybe raisins.

    Reply
    • Diane
      ♥♥♥♥♥
      replies to Diane
      April 6, 2018 @ 12:42 am

      PS
      The cupcakes were moist and full flavored.

      Reply
      • Erin replies to Diane
        April 6, 2018 @ 11:35 am

        Haha. Thanks! I love that you came back to add that. :D So happy you liked them!

        Reply
    • Erin replies to Diane
      April 6, 2018 @ 11:34 am

      Sounds like a yummy addition! Thanks for your comment. :)

      Reply
      • Diane G
        ♥♥♥♥♥
        replies to Erin
        April 17, 2018 @ 6:17 pm

        Hi Erin,

        I added 1/4 cup of crushed walnuts and a little less than a 1/4 cup of raisins. Oh my gosh, so good very moist. I also made this as a 2 layer 4 x 4 cake (I did not double the recipe). The cake was moist as well not dense.

        I have made this recipe as cupcakes no less than 5 times.

        Reply
        • Erin replies to Diane G
          April 18, 2018 @ 8:03 pm

          Thanks for sharing how much walnuts and raisins you added! And awesome that your cake came out moist as a layer cake. I’m not sure why mine keeps coming out dense, but only in cake form! Thanks again for your comment. I’m thrilled that you’ve been enjoying the recipe so much!

  • Shannon says
    April 5, 2018 @ 8:49 pm

    I’d love to make this as a cake, layered if I can make it two tiered, any recommendations other than putting in a round pan and baking longer? Thanks! I’m hoping to make this today! 😬

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Shannon
      April 5, 2018 @ 8:58 pm

      Hi there! You can double the recipe and bake it in two 8″ pans for 17 minutes. But the texture is denser and not as fluffy as the muffins. Hope you’ll enjoy it!

      Reply
  • Stephanie KL says
    April 5, 2018 @ 7:56 pm

    I need to do oil and egg free temporarily. Could I substitute shortening for the oil and egg substitute (ground chia seeds) for the eggs?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Stephanie KL
      April 5, 2018 @ 8:57 pm

      I’ve never used shortening but I think it’d be fine. I unfortunately don’t recommend egg replacers in this recipe. They didn’t work well for me!

      Reply
      • Meg replies to Erin
        June 17, 2018 @ 7:53 pm

        I was also going to ask about egg replacers – did you try flax eggs? I’d love to be able to make this vegan – thanks!

        Reply
        • Erin replies to Meg
          June 19, 2018 @ 8:51 pm

          I don’t remember what I used but it was probably a chia egg and the result wasn’t very good. Sorry about that!

  • Carolyn
    ♥♥♥♥♥
    says
    April 2, 2018 @ 2:56 am

    I made these for an Easter party yesterday and they were to die for! They were very moist and tasted like regular flour carrot cake cupcakes. Kids and adults gobbled them up! I subbed the coconut oil with butter and added only half the ginger – they were perfectly fine. I did add a little bit of powdered sugar to the icing to make it a bit sweeter. I will definitely make these again! Thank you!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Carolyn
      April 5, 2018 @ 11:21 am

      You’re welcome! I’m happy to hear that you’ll be making them again and that they were gobbled up at the party. That’s always a good sign. ;) Thanks for your feedback!

      Reply

Comments? I’d love to hear from you!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *


*


Comments are moderated. If you don’t see your comment immediately, don’t panic… it went through! Thank you so much for taking time to leave feedback!

Please help others by rating the recipe: