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Carrot Apple Muffins With Oats

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I’m stepping into fall with the most delicious recipe for Carrot Apple Muffins. Closely related to Sunshine Muffins and Morning Glory Muffins, these muffins are full of wholesome ingredients like fresh apples, fresh carrots, oats, and applesauce. Spiced with cinnamon and topped with a delicious brown sugar oat crumble, these muffins are the perfect breakfast for a chilly fall morning. 

Three muffins on a white paper on a cooling rack. Cinnamon sticks and milk in the background.

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There are a few steps involved, but trust me, none of them are complicated. This is an easy recipe to whip up over the weekend as a sweet breakfast treat for the kids or for quick on-the-go breakfasts during the week.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • This recipe uses simple ingredients (you probably have them on hand right now), fresh veggies and fruit, and hearty oats.
  • This is a great recipe for kids. These muffins are sweet enough to taste like carrot cake, and make a really good muffin to pack in lunch boxes for school time or to have on hand the next time you need a wholesome snack!
  • Whether you’re grabbing one for the kids on the way to school or enjoying some fresh muffins with your coffee, they are a great way to start the day.

How To Make Carrot Apple Muffins

Carrot Apple Muffins on a wire rack.

Full ingredient amounts and step-by-step instructions are listed on the recipe card at the bottom of the post. Don’t forget to leave a comment and give a star rating!

Equipment

Ingredients You’ll Need

Below are the ingredients needed for making the most delicious apple carrot muffins with a buttery brown sugar oat topping. The topping is completely optional, but very highly recommended!

For the Muffin Topping

  • Melted unsalted butter
  • Old fashioned rolled oats – Use old fashioned oats vs quick cooking oats for a better texture.
  • Brown sugar – I use light brown sugar, but dark brown sugar works just as well!
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Kosher Salt

Muffin Batter

  • Oats – I like old fashioned rolled oats because they absorb the excess moisture from the shredded fruits and veggies, and add nutrients and structure.
  • All purpose flour – All purpose flour creates a light and fluffy texture and solid structure.
  • Ground cinnamon – Adds a delicious spicy flavor.
  • Baking powder and baking soda – Baking powder helps the muffins rise and the baking soda helps with browning and tenderizing.
  • Kosher salt – I like a coarse Kosher salt. The salt helps to balance out the sweetness from the sugar and fruit in the muffins.
  • Unsalted butter – Adds moisture, flavor, and crispness to the muffins.
  • Unsweetened applesauce – For moist muffins and added sweetness. You can use homemade applesauce or store-bought, just make sure there is no sugar added.
  • Granulated white sugar – For extra sweetness.
  • A large egg – Just one egg holds everything together.
  • Vanilla extract – Vanilla adds warmth and extra flavor to the muffin batter.
  • Grated apple – Any type of apple will do for this recipe. I love using a sweet apple like a honey crisp or pink lady, but a granny smith works great too.
  • Grated carrots – You’ll need one big carrot or two small. I like to grate them myself to make sure they bake into the muffins well.

Instructions

To make the topping:

Oats with brown sugar and cinnamon.

combine the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Give the ingredients a quick stir to mix everything together.

A bowl of oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter.

Melt the butter and pour it over the dry ingredients. Stir until all the ingredients are well coated and moistened.

Oat topping in a bowl with a fork.

Set the topping aside and make the muffin batter.

To make the muffins: Preheat the oven to 400° and line two muffin pans with paper liners. Spray the top of each muffin tin with cooking spray, so that the muffin tops don’t stick.

Oats in the bowl of a food processor.

In the bowl of a food processor, add the oats.

A hand holding ground oats.

Pulse the oats about 20 times to chop them up, but don’t turn the oats into flour.

Add the all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon to the food processor bowl with the oats. Pulse 5 or 6 times to get all the dry ingredients combined. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a separate bowl until just melted but not hot, and set aside.

Applesauce and sugar with a whisk in a bowl.

In a large bowl, whisk together the applesauce and sugar.

An egg and vanilla in a bowl with a whisk.

Add in the egg and the vanilla and whisk until well incorporated.

Pouring melted butter into a bowl with a whisk.

Next, grab the melted butter and drizzle it into the applesauce and egg mixture. Whisk while you drizzle to evenly distribute the butter into the wet ingredients.

Dry ingredients added to wet ingredients.

Remove the blade from the food processor and pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients.

Muffin batter in a bowl with streaks of flour showing and a black rubber spatula.

Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir the batter until almost fully mixed. The batter should be lumpy with some flour streaks showing.

Shredded carrots and apples in a bowl of muffin batter.

Add the grated apple and carrots to the lumpy batter.

Muffin batter in a bowl with a black rubber spatula.

Gently, fold the carrots and apples into the batter until evenly distributed and no flour streaks remain. Do not overmix.

Muffin batter in a muffin pan.

Divide the batter between 16 muffin cups. I like to use an ice cream scoop to divide the batter evenly.

Muffins in a pan with oat topping.

Grab your oat topping and generously top each muffin with the oats.

Baked muffin in a muffin pan.

Bake the muffins at 400° in a preheated oven for 18-20 minutes. The muffins are done when a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Removing The Muffins From The Pan:

Remove the muffins from the oven and allow them to cool just enough to be handled, but are still very warm. Carefully take the muffins out of the pan and set them on a cooling rack to finish cooling. You may need to use a butter knife to loosen the muffin tops off the pan. Serve and enjoy!

Variations and Substitutions

  • Stir ground flax seeds into the batter.
  • Swap the applesauce for greek yogurt.
  • Stir in toasted nuts like walnuts or pecans.
  • Grate in some orange zest.
  • Replace the unsalted butter in the topping and muffin batter with melted coconut oil.

Pro Tips

  • Do not overmix the batter. Add the grated apple and carrots before the batter is fully mixed. Folding in the apple and carrot last minute will avoid overmixing and creating tough muffins.
  • Grind up the oats before adding them to the batter. This just creates a more pleasant texture, but if you don’t have a food processor you can leave them whole or use quick cooking oats instead.
  • Shred the carrots yourself. The already shredded carrots from the grocery store are too thick and bulky for my taste. But if that’s all you have, just chop them smaller before adding them to the batter.
  • Take the muffins out of the pan while they’re warm. This will help keep the muffin tops from sticking to the pan.
Carrot apple muffins on a wire rack.

Storage

Store muffins at room temperature in an airtight container for up to three days. The topping will begin to soften after the first day.

If you want to keep the muffins longer and keep the topping crisper, you can store them in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this a good muffin recipe for kids?

Yes! These muffins are sweet, and delicious, and have a crunchy brown sugar topping that kids LOVE. They’re loaded with hidden nutritious ingredients like oats, fresh apples, and carrots. The kids will think they’re eating carrot cake!

Are apple carrot muffins healthy?

They’re good for you and delicious! These muffins contain healthy ingredients like oats, fresh carrots, and fresh apples. They offer a lot of nutrients and are packed with wholesome ingredients.

Can these muffins be frozen?

Yes! You can freeze these muffins by storing them in a freezer bag in a single layer. They’ll keep in the freezer for up to a month. Thaw at room temperature before serving.

More Muffin Recipes You’ll Love

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Carrot apple muffins on a wire rack.

The Best Carrot Apple Muffins Recipe

Yield: 16
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 53 minutes

Moist and delicious Carrot Apple Muffins full of fresh apples, carrots, and oats. This is the perfect wholesome snack for kids or a sweet breakfast treat on a chilly fall morning.

Ingredients

Brown Sugar Oat Topping

  • 2/3 cup of old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted but not hot

Muffin Batter

  • 3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups (7.5 oz) all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 1/4 cup (9 oz) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (1 medium/large) peeled and grated apple
  • 1 cup (1 large) carrot, ends trimmed and grated

Instructions

To make the topping:

  1. Combine the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Give the ingredients a quick stir to mix everything together.
  2. Pour the melted butter over the dry ingredients. Stir until all the ingredients are well coated and moistened. Set the topping aside and make the muffin batter.

To make the muffins:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° and line 16 muffin cups (two pans) with paper liners. Spray the top of each muffin tin with cooking spray, so the muffin tops don't stick to the pan during baking
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the oats. Pulse the oats about 20 times to chop them up, but don't turn the oats into flour.
  3. Add the all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon to the food processor bowl with the oats. Pulse 5 or 6 times to get all the dry ingredients combined. Set aside.
  4. Melt the butter in a separate bowl until just melted but not hot, and set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together the applesauce and sugar.
  6. Add in the egg and the vanilla and whisk until well incorporated.
  7. Drizzle the melted butter into the applesauce and egg mixture. Whisk while you drizzle to evenly distribute the butter into the wet ingredients.
  8. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir the batter until almost fully mixed. Leave the batter lumpy with streaks of flour showing.
  9. Add the grated apple and carrots to the lumpy batter. Fold the carrots and apples into the batter until evenly distributed and no flour streaks remain. Do not overmix.
  10. Divide the batter between 16 muffin cups.
  11. Top each muffin with the oat topping made earlier.
  12. Bake the muffins at 400° for 15-20 minutes. The muffins are done when a toothpick inserted into the muffin comes out clean.
  13. After baking, let the muffins cool just enough to be handled, then remove the muffins from the pan. Removing the muffins from the pan while they're still warm will keep the tops from sticking. Finish cooling on a wire rack.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 135Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 186mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 3g

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3 Comments

  1. Hi there – I think your nutrition information is incorrect. Your recipe has 1.5 cups of sugar for 16 cakes, which makes it almost 4.5 teaspoons of sugar per cake. Each teaspoon of sugar is about 4g, which makes each cake actually have nearly 18g of added sugar. That does not include any of the sugars naturally present in the other ingredients. I am planning to try your recipe, but I will cut the added sugar amounts by half or third. I’m also going to add pecans.

    Of the 4 muffin recipes I looked at with oats, apples, and carrots, yours seemed the best. Thank you.

    1. Hi there! The nutrition information is an approximation, and does not take into account specific brands etc… I hope you’re able to give these a try and love them!

  2. Great recipe, thank you!! I wanted a less sweet muffin so I made them without the topping and only used about 1/3 c of sweetener (honey and maple syrup). I also didn’t bother to put the oats through the food processor, cut the apple into very small pieces instead of grating, and added about 1/4 c of raisins. They were delicious! They actually came out quite sweet from all the fruit, so next time I plan to try without any added sweetener. Will definitely make again!

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