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)

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Rated 4.9 by 65 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

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

  • 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
  • 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
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    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
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      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
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        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
  • Carolyn
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    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

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