If you’re looking for a healthy, dairy-free, nom-a-licious breakfast or snack idea, these whole-wheat Banana Carrot Muffins are a great choice! Packed with fiber and essential nutrients from a hearty mix of fruits, veggies, and whole grains, these toddler-approved carrot banana muffins are a delicious way to start your day.
Who doesn’t love a fluffy, moist muffin in the morning? They’re sweet, soft, and taste like they were MADE for pairing with your morning cuppa joe. The problem with many muffins, however (especially store-bought ones!), is that they are not healthy at all. Like, not even a little bit. 😬
Did you know that one Costco muffin has almost 50 grams of sugar, 80 grams of carbs, almost 700 calories, and just under 600 mg of sodium per muffin!? Are you cringing? Cause I am just thinking about it.
That’s why it’s so fun to experiment with making your own muffins at home! These healthy whole wheat Banana Carrot Muffins are deliciously nutritious and packed with wholesome ingredients, which is why I love making them for my kiddos. They’re sweet and filling, with plenty of whole grains, fruit, and veggies to feel virtuous.
Better yet, these banana carrot bread muffins are a great option for anytime a hunger craving strikes. We eat them for breakfast on the go, post-workout snack time, or even an after-dinner dessert. Plus, they are super simple to make in just one bowl and can easily be customized to your (or your toddler’s) liking. What’s not to love?
So, next time you need a tricky way to get more fruits and veggies in your toddler’s (or husband’s) diet, whip up a batch of these healthy carrot cake muffins and watch them magically disappear!
What do they taste like?
These yummy muffins taste like carrot cake and banana bread had a delicious baby! The sweetness of the bananas and carrots is perfectly balanced with the wholesome, nutty quality of the whole wheat flour and rich, comforting flavors of cinnamon and vanilla. Basically, they’re like a warm, cozy blanket in muffin form.
Why You’ll Love This Banana Carrot Muffin Recipe
Aside from being an easy way to feed my fussy toddler extra fruits and veggies, these delectable muffins are also:
- Quick & Easy – 4 steps, 10 minutes of active work, and 20 minutes in the oven is all that stands between you and muffin deliciousness.
- Wholesome & Nutritious – Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains make an appearance in these tasty little bites.
- Kid-Friendly – Sometimes you’ve gotta be sneaky as a Mom. This healthy muffin recipe tastes like dessert but eats like a 5-a-day.
- Customizable – Make them vegan, gluten-free, or add your own spin. Read on for tons of ideas below!
- Perfectly Portable – They’re ready for packing into lunches, eating on road trips, perking up your picnics, or selling at bake sales.
As promised, you only need a few easy-to-find ingredients to make this recipe for carrot muffins. Here’s what to grab:
- Ripe Bananas – The key to making these muffins taste amazing. The bananas not only add flavor, but they add moisture and sweetness, too! Mash them up so they are almost smooth, but leave a few chunks so you can really taste them in the muffins.
- Eggs – These add a lot of structure to baked goods, and add some protein as well. Make sure to let them come to room temperature for an easier time mixing them into the batter.
- Carrots – The smaller you can shred these, the better. Don’t use the store-bought, pre-shredded carrots — they’re just too dry! Shredding up a few carrots using your cheese grater only takes a few minutes, tastes better, AND saves you $$$.
- Pure Maple Syrup – The only maple syrup you’ll find in my house is 100% pure maple syrup. If you’re using anything else (like Log Cabin or Aunt Jemima), I can almost guarantee it’s full of artificial flavors and high-fructose corn syrup. Use the real stuff!
- Avocado Oil – a.k.a. My favorite cooking oil ever. It’s heart-healthy and can be heated to really high temperatures without reaching its smoking point. It has a really mild flavor, and unlike olive oil, you won’t taste it in your baked goods at all.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – Adding vinegar to your baked goods actually helps them to rise a little bit, especially when combined with baking soda. I also like that ACV has a faintly sweet taste, making it perfect for baking.
- Pure Vanilla Extract – Just like maple syrup, I only use pure vanilla extract because it’s a real food. The imitation vanilla extracts are full of artificial ingredients that just aren’t healthy. The pure stuff is the way to go.
- Whole Wheat Pastry Flour – I love whole wheat pastry flour for baking because it’s 100% whole wheat, but is ground much finer than regular whole wheat flour. This helps your baked goods, like these banana carrot muffins, rise without falling or becoming too dense or dry.
- Cinnamon – Is there a better spice to throw in a muffin? Methinks not. Cinnamon helps these to taste like banana bread, and I’m here for that!
- Baking Powder & Baking Soda – It’s essential to use both of these types of leaveners if you don’t want your muffins to turn out hard as rocks.
- Salt – While you’re welcome to omit it, salt has this crazy way of helping to elevate the sweetness of the carrot muffins. I definitely recommend you use some if it’s in your nutritional budget.
If you don’t have something on hand, or you’re allergic to one of the ingredients, consider using any of these simple swaps:
- Bananas – You can also use any starchy, sweet purée like mashed sweet potatoes or pumpkin purée instead.
- Eggs – Feel free to swap in flax eggs to make these healthy muffins vegan-friendly! (1 Flax Egg = 1 Tablespoon Flax Seed, whole or ground + 3 Tablespoons Water + Stir + 5 Minutes Rest)
- Carrots – If you’re looking for a substitute, try using grated zucchini or grated apple instead. Note that both of these options have more liquid than carrots, so you’ll need to adjust the amount of flour up a bit. You could also try using grated sweet potato, pumpkin, or butternut squash for a slightly different flavor profile with a similar hydration profile to carrots.
- Maple Syrup – You can also use more neutrally flavored agave nectar or floral honey instead.
- Avocado Oil – You are welcome to swap in other neutral oils, but note that they aren’t all created equal. Avocado is the healthiest of the bunch, but grapeseed or peanut oil will also work well enough.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – You can also use unseasoned rice vinegar or plain white vinegar, or switch it up and use lemon juice instead.
- Vanilla Extract – You’re welcome to use an equal amount of vanilla paste or vanilla powder, or use half as much ground vanilla bean. You can also switch up the flavor profile by experimenting with different flavor extracts like maple or almond.
- Whole Wheat Pastry Flour – Feel free to swap in a gluten-free flour blend if needed. You can also use regular all-purpose flour, which won’t be as nutritious.
- Cinnamon – Try experimenting with other warming spices like pumpkin pie spice, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, or cloves to come up with your own unique spin on these carrot cake banana bread muffins.
How To Make Healthy Banana Carrot Muffins
This simple muffin recipe comes together in just a few short steps. Here’s how:
Step 1: Prep. Preheat your oven to 375° and line or grease a muffin tin. In a large bowl, mash your bananas until almost smooth.
Step 2: Wet Ingredients. Add eggs, carrots, maple syrup, avocado oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Mix until well combined.
Step 3: Add Dry Ingredients & mix until *just* combined.
Step 4: Scoop & Bake. Fill each well of the muffin tin about ⅔ – ¾ full of batter. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-22 minutes, until the muffins are cooked through and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Step 5: Cool and enjoy!
Optional Variations & Dietary Adjustments
As much as I love these whole wheat carrot muffins just the way they’re described in the recipe, there are plenty of opportunities for you to customize them to your liking. Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
- Vegan. To make these banana muffins vegan, replace the eggs with a flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons water). Also, substitute the honey with maple syrup, which is a vegan-friendly sweetener.
- Gluten-Free Carrot Muffins. For a celiac-friendly option, replace the whole wheat pastry flour with your favorite measure-for-measure gluten-free flour blend, preferably opting for one with xanthan gum. Make sure to let the batter rest for 30 minutes before baking, as GF flours are thirstier than their wheat counterparts. If you skip this step, it’s likely you’ll end up with a gritty, grainy consistency.
- Chocolate Lovers’ Banana Muffins. For a chocolatey twist, add some mini chocolate chips or crunchy cacao nibs to the batter. The combination of chocolate and banana is always a winner!
- Go Nuts! If you like crunch, you can add some chopped walnuts or pecans to the batter. Or, if nuts are a no-no, swap in your favorite seeds like pepitas or sunflower seeds, or use some granola for texture instead.
- Raisin Carrot Muffins FTW. If you want to play up the banana carrot cake flavor, add a teaspoon of powdered ginger to the batter, along with some chopped raisins or dates, and your choice of nuts.
- Pumpkin Carrot Muffins. Swap out the banana for seasonal pumpkin purée. For a sweet finish, mix some maple syrup with a little bit of powdered sugar to make a glaze. Drizzle it over the muffins once they’re cooled for a fall-flavored treat.
The great thing about these healthy carrot muffins is that they’re ideal for just about any occasion.
- Make-ahead marvels. These carrot breakfast muffins are perfect for hectic mornings when you need something healthy to grab and go. They’re already portioned, so just grab one or two and head out the door!
- Snack attack! When you need a little something to tide you over between meals, these muffins are the way to go. They’re not too sweet, so they won’t give you a sugar crash, and since they’re loaded with fiber, they’ll keep you fuller for longer.
- If you’re having brunch with friends, try offering up a basket of these muffins instead of a bread basket. They’ll add a healthy and delicious touch to the table. Bonus points if you set out butter, nut butter, and fruit preserves for everyone to gussy them up to their liking.
- Sweet tooth fixes. They scratch the dessert itch without leaving you feeling icky. Feel free to top them with some buttercream or ice cream for an extra treat — I won’t tell if you won’t!
- Tea time. They pair perfectly with raised pinkies and a cup of your favorite tea. You can also make them mini for an extra twee presentation.
- ANYTIME. These muffins are individually portioned, perfectly portable, make ahead-friendly, and crowd-pleasing so they’re ideal for picnics, potlucks, or any other occasion when you need a quick and healthy snack.
Recipe Success Tips
- Don’t overmix the batter! This is Baking 101. Overmixing the batter can result in tough, dense muffins. Mix the ingredients until they are just combined, and then stop.
- Make sure to use ripe (or even overripe) bananas, as they are sweeter and easier to mash.
- Grate the carrots finely, so they cook evenly in the muffins.
- Ensure your baking soda and baking powder are fresh, as they can lose their effectiveness over time. Expired baking soda and powder can result in flat, dense muffins.
- Fill the muffin cups only about two-thirds full, to give the muffins room to rise. Use a spring-loaded cookie scoop to make life easier.
- Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for a few minutes before removing them to a wire rack to finish cooling. Oh, and don’t put them in a storage container until they’re completely cooled off, or you risk steam condensing on the lid, raining down onto the muffins, and leaving you with a soggy mess.
- These muffins will keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days. If you want to store them longer, you can freeze them in a freezer bag or container for up to 3 months.
Muffins freeze really well, especially when wrapped tightly with plastic wrap. These will stay fresh in the freezer for about 3 months if they’re wrapped tightly. You can simply pull them out of the freezer a day ahead of time, or pop them in the microwave for about 30 seconds to eat them immediately.
Toddlers absolutely love muffins. Seriously, my almost 2-year-old goes nuts anytime I make muffins! These are perfectly safe to give your little one, and are a great way to sneak some veggies into them, too! Just make sure to cut the muffin up in smaller pieces if your little one can’t handle a whole muffin at once.
The storebought, pre-shredded carrots are much more dry than home-shredded carrots, so don’t use them! Just shred your own using your cheese shredder. Not only will you have delicious muffins, you’ll have saved some money, too!
At 181 calories per muffin, these are a great snack option that won’t break the calorie bank. Plus, each muffin contains only 6 grams of total fat and 117mg of sodium, making them a great low-fat and low-sodium choice.
My banana carrot muffins are a great source of fiber (3 grams per muffin!), thanks to the whole wheat pastry flour and carrots. They’re also low in saturated fat, thanks to the use of avocado oil instead of butter. Plus, they’re dairy-free, making them a great option for anyone with lactose intolerance or a dairy allergy.
The bananas in these muffins are a great source of potassium, which can help regulate blood pressure and keep your heart healthy. And the use of maple syrup as a sweetener instead of refined sugar adds a touch of natural sweetness without the added empty calories.
The 29 grams of carbohydrates come from the natural sweetness of bananas and maple syrup, making these muffins a healthier alternative to sugary, high-carb treats.
Total nutritional content per muffin is:
- Calories: 181 calories
- Total Fat: 6 grams
- Protein: 3 grams
- Sodium: 117 mg
- Carbohydrates: 29 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
*This nutritional information is an estimate and calculated based on the ingredients used to create the recipe. The nutritional value of your ingredients may differ slightly. Furthermore, this food is not intended to prevent, diagnose, cure, or treat any disease.
This is what I personally paid to make this recipe:
- 1 cup mashed banana: $0.35
- 2 eggs: $0.44
- 1 cup grated carrots: $0.21
- ½ cup pure maple syrup: $1.06
- ¼ cup avocado oil: $1.24
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar: $0.02
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract: $0.13
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour: $2.19
- 2 tsp cinnamon: $0.08
- 1 tsp baking powder: $0.02
- 1 tsp baking soda: $0.01
- ½ tsp salt: $0.01
The total for this recipe comes out to be around $5.76 or roughly $0.48 per muffin!
Other Healthy Breakfast Pastry Recipes
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Banana Carrot Muffins
- 1 cup mashed banana (about 2 medium bananas)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup grated carrots
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup avocado oil
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- Preheat your oven to 375°. In a large bowl, mash your bananas until almost smooth.
- Add eggs, carrots, maple syrup, avocado oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Mix until well combined.
- Add whole wheat pastry flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix until just combined, but try not to overmix.
- Line or grease a cupcake pan, and fill each liner about 3/4 full of batter. Bake in the preheated oven for 17-18 minutes, until the muffins are cooked through and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool and enjoy!
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