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 85 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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541 comments on “Healthier Carrot Cake Muffins (paleo option, grain-free, gluten-free)” — Add one!

  • Debbie says
    August 8, 2019 @ 4:48 pm

    Your recipe sound delicious but I need to make them completely nut free. What flour can I use instead of almond flour?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Debbie
      August 13, 2019 @ 8:47 pm

      I’m sorry for just now seeing your question! I just returned from vacation. Almond flour is unfortunately only interchangeable with other nut flours so I can’t recommend a sub. Sorry about that!

      Reply
  • Sarah Merican says
    August 6, 2019 @ 4:32 pm

    Mine are a bit gritty and not as brown in colour as yours. Very pale. Also the batter is very thick, more akin to a cookie dough than a cake batter. HELP!

    Reply
    • Sarah Merican
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      replies to Sarah Merican
      August 6, 2019 @ 6:12 pm

      I’m not sure what was going but I followed the instructions exactly and they were terrible! They were gummy and I baked them for over 30 minutes and they weren’t really done but got super crunchy on the top. But I made a second batch and they are DELICIOUS! I love how tender and light they are. And there isn’t a huge amount of sweetness either which I love (but I’m sure you can add more sweetener if you need). I did get some crispage on the top but I plan on cutting off the muffin tops for a level canvas for the frosting. I did sift the dry ingredients in the second batch which helped the grittiness. Overall WOULD RECOMMEND!

      Reply
      • Erin replies to Sarah Merican
        August 13, 2019 @ 8:34 pm

        Sorry for just now seeing your comment! I replied to your other one just now and then saw this comment. I’m happy that the second batch came out better! Sometimes I make my own recipes (that have tons of positive reviews on them) and they come out terrible. I just mess something up during the process. How great that you gave it another try and it worked well. :) Thanks for coming back to let me know!

        Reply
    • Erin replies to Sarah Merican
      August 13, 2019 @ 8:31 pm

      Do you by any chance live outside the US? In some countries, they have a product called almond flour that we don’t even have in the US (called defatted almond flour). That product is much more dry than almond flour. In the US, almond flour = ground almonds. I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you! :(

      Reply
  • Christine Hart says
    July 23, 2019 @ 9:24 pm

    MMMMMM. I have made these twice with a couple of minor changes. I replaced the honey with Swerve sweetener and applesauce. I also added a 1/2 tsp. baking powder.So good with almond butter for breakfast. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Christine Hart
      August 8, 2019 @ 6:24 pm

      You’re welcome! I’m so glad that they worked out well for you and that you enjoyed them. :) Thanks for your comment and sorry for my super slow reply!

      Reply
  • Shelly Ann Harding says
    July 20, 2019 @ 5:14 pm

    I’ve made some & they are DELICIOUS as well as addictive only problem is they are VERY oily I think the next time I will cut down on the amount of coconut oil.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Shelly Ann Harding
      July 23, 2019 @ 7:25 pm

      I’m happy you enjoyed them! I never thought they were overly oily but I’m sure it’d be no problem to reduce it a little. :) Thanks for your feedback!

      Reply
    • Paula Valentine replies to Shelly Ann Harding
      July 27, 2019 @ 5:32 pm

      Mine aren’t oily at all. I used the amount of coconut oil in the recipe.

      Reply
      • Erin replies to Paula Valentine
        August 8, 2019 @ 6:35 pm

        It could have to do with the almond flour. If it’s not finely ground, almond flour treats can sometimes come out oily.

        Reply
  • Jermimah says
    July 18, 2019 @ 5:17 am

    Hi there, is it vanilla essence that you use

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Jermimah
      July 23, 2019 @ 7:09 pm

      I’m so sorry for just now seeing your question! I used vanilla extract.

      Reply
  • Mimi says
    June 28, 2019 @ 10:14 pm

    Thank you Erin! My granddaughter loved these! Though I used ground almonds, she didn’t seem to mind at all, but now my pantry has a good finely ground almond flour I bought today for making future carrot cake muffins😁. Thank you again Erin❤️

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Mimi
      July 3, 2019 @ 8:55 pm

      You’re welcome! I’m really glad that she liked them. :) It’s great that they worked out well for you! Thanks for the feedback.

      Reply
  • kevin
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    says
    June 26, 2019 @ 7:29 pm

    Can I use this same recipe for a cake

    Reply
    • Erin replies to kevin
      July 3, 2019 @ 8:37 pm

      You can double the recipe and bake it in two 8″ pans for 17 minutes. :)

      Reply
  • Mimi says
    June 24, 2019 @ 7:00 pm

    Is it possible to use unblanched almond flour instead of blanched..do you think it will affect texture?
    Thank you! So excited to make these for my granddaughter 🤗

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Mimi
      June 25, 2019 @ 5:01 pm

      I think it’d be just fine! As long as you don’t mind the little specks of skin. :) I hope you’ll both enjoy them!

      Reply
      • Mimi replies to Erin
        June 25, 2019 @ 7:46 pm

        Thank you for the reply Erin, I’ll be making these today hopefully!
        I will let you know! 😊

        Reply
        • Erin replies to Mimi
          June 26, 2019 @ 9:01 am

          You’re welcome! Hope they were a hit. :)

  • Marianne
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    says
    June 21, 2019 @ 8:00 am

    This is by far my favorite recipe. Every time I make these I have been asked for the recipe. I do add 1/3 cup of raisins and a 1/4 cup walnuts. Baking time is 20-25 minutes. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Marianne
      June 23, 2019 @ 8:33 pm

      You’re welcome! I’m really glad that it’s your favorite. I bet they’re yummy with raisins and walnuts! Thanks for the tip and your feedback. :)

      Reply
  • Margaret Makcrow says
    June 12, 2019 @ 2:29 am

    I made the recipe and it is delicate but I am wondering if I can substitute melted butter for the oil. Thank you

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Margaret Makcrow
      June 18, 2019 @ 7:18 pm

      I’m sorry for just now seeing your question! Yes, you can use melted butter. :)

      Reply
  • Sharon says
    June 8, 2019 @ 12:09 am

    Do they freeze ok? Even with icing on?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Sharon
      June 8, 2019 @ 12:34 pm

      I haven’t tried freezing them with icing but I’m guessing it’s best to freeze them without.

      Reply
  • Christina says
    May 28, 2019 @ 4:02 pm

    Can you use an egg replacer for the eggs?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Christina
      June 3, 2019 @ 9:46 pm

      Sorry for just now seeing your question! I unfortunately haven’t had good luck with egg replacers in this recipe.

      Reply
    • Anna replies to Christina
      July 18, 2019 @ 3:23 am

      I have done them with flaxseed egg replacement and they turned out delicious. I have also used lakanto syrup instead of honey for vegan version.

      Reply
      • Erin replies to Anna
        July 23, 2019 @ 7:09 pm

        Thanks so much for the tips! :)

        Reply
  • Tierah says
    May 11, 2019 @ 3:02 am

    Can I use this same recipe for a cake? or should I change it up a bit?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Tierah
      May 13, 2019 @ 8:31 pm

      You can double the recipe and bake it in two 8″ pans for 17 minutes. :)

      Reply
  • Micha says
    May 7, 2019 @ 11:21 pm

    Hi! What can I sub for the coconut flour??would reg flour work?? I dont have any!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Micha
      May 13, 2019 @ 8:23 pm

      I’m sorry for just now seeing your question! Unfortunately there’s no sub for coconut flour. Sorry about that!

      Reply
  • Joslyn Francis says
    May 7, 2019 @ 10:42 pm

    What is the nutritional breakdown of this please?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Joslyn Francis
      May 13, 2019 @ 8:24 pm

      I don’t have that info but you could use this recipe analyzer for the nutritional profile. :)

      Reply
  • modapkx
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    says
    April 29, 2019 @ 2:33 pm

    That was unique for me. definitely gonna try this weekend. thanks erin :)

    Reply
    • Erin replies to modapkx
      May 4, 2019 @ 8:52 pm

      You’re welcome! Hope you’ll enjoy it. :)

      Reply
  • Laura says
    April 25, 2019 @ 8:43 pm

    Sounds delicious!
    Can I substitute the almond and coconut flour for gf oat flour?
    Can’t wait to try them!
    Thanks, Laura

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Laura
      April 30, 2019 @ 8:56 pm

      I’m so sorry for just now seeing your question! Oat flour isn’t interchangeable with either almond or coconut flours. :( Sorry about that!

      Reply
  • Mildred Martinez says
    April 25, 2019 @ 3:18 pm

    These are amazing! I used a 8 inch loaf pan and then cut in squares. Also added 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes and 1/3 cup golden raisins, also about 1/3 cup more shredded carrots. I love that it is not too sweet. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Mildred Martinez
      April 30, 2019 @ 8:52 pm

      You’re welcome for the recipe! Do you remember how long you baked it? Your additions sound delicious. :) Thanks for the tip (and sorry for my slow reply!).

      Reply
  • Shawna says
    April 12, 2019 @ 6:19 pm

    I am wondering if you have the nutritional breakdown for this recipe. I am particularly looking for carbs, fibre and sugar. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Shawna
      April 19, 2019 @ 9:08 pm

      I don’t have that info but you could use this recipe analyzer for the nutritional profile. :)

      Reply
  • Leah Barber says
    April 6, 2019 @ 2:44 am

    Whoa, these are amazing. I have been exploring sweeteners that feel better in my body…and i’m loving date paste right now! So i substituted 1/3 cup of date paste for the honey and two batches turned out so so so good! Thanks for this, Erin!!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Leah Barber
      April 9, 2019 @ 7:01 pm

      You’re welcome! I love the idea of date paste. Have you found that that’s a good direct sub for honey or maple syrup? Thanks for the tip and your feedback! :)

      Reply
      • Leah Barber replies to Erin
        April 10, 2019 @ 1:22 am

        I do actually find that it makes a less sweet baked good, but i’m cool with that! That’s just the preference of my taste buds. And i’ll sometimes add something else like raisins to make it sweeter but still in a way that doesn’t crack me out the way more concentrated sugar does (like honey, maple, agave).

        Reply
        • Erin replies to Leah Barber
          April 14, 2019 @ 9:05 pm

          That’s good to know! I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for coming back to let me know!

  • Maris says
    March 28, 2019 @ 2:52 pm

    I made these yesterday and the only change is that I added some unsweetened crushed pineapple. I am not gluten-free but bake for friends and family who are. I have to say these are absolutely delicious! Definitely a recipe that I will use again and again!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Maris
      March 30, 2019 @ 7:55 pm

      I’m so glad that you liked them, especially as a non-GF eater! How much pineapple did you add? Thanks for your comment. :)

      Reply
      • Maris Rosenberg replies to Erin
        August 10, 2019 @ 12:22 am

        I used about 3/4 of a 20oz Dole crushed pineapple in natural juice can. I drained as much of the juice out as I could.

        Reply

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