Carrot zucchini muffins are made with shredded carrot, shredded zucchini, and cozy spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. They're tender, moist, and perfectly sweetened. Pair them with your morning coffee for breakfast!
If you love my recipe for applesauce zucchini muffins, you may want to give these carrot zucchini muffins a try. They're filled with cozy spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, the perfect amount of sweetness, and plenty of shredded veggies.
Zucchini has a mild flavor that's undetectable in baked goods (other than the pretty green flecks) and carrots add the perfect amount of sweetness. They're kind of like carrot cake muffins, but a little more nutritious! Because we're adding shredded veggies to our muffins, we're reducing the amounts of oil and egg slightly.
Enjoy carrot zucchini muffins for breakfast with your morning coffee or tea. They also make a great after school or post-workout snack.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Zucchini - You'll need one cup of finely grated zucchini for this recipe. One cup of shredded zucchini should weigh about 135 grams (without squeezing any liquid out). This equals about 1 medium or 1.5 small zucchini. We're not squeezing the liquid out of our shredded zucchini because it's adding moisture to our muffins.
- Carrot - You'll need one cup of grated carrot for this recipe. This equals about 1.5 medium carrots and weighs about 120 grams.
- Sugars - We're using a combination of granulated and brown sugars in this recipe.
- Vegetable oil - Adds moisture to your muffins. Can be substituted with ghee or any neutral cooking oil you have on hand.
- Egg - You'll only need one egg for this recipe today, since the carrot and zucchini help add structure to the muffins.
- Vanilla extract - Adds depth of flavor.
- All-purpose flour - Adds structure to your muffins and balances out the wet ingredients in the recipe. I have not tested this recipe with other types of flour. Baking is an exact science, so I can't say for sure whether other types of flour will work as a substitute.
- Leavening - You'll need a combination of baking soda and baking powder to get the proper rise in this recipe.
- Salt - Enhances the flavor of your muffins.
- Spices - Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger add a hint of warmth and depth of flavor. I don't suggest omitting the spices in this recipe, they add a lot of flavor to your muffins.
What do the vegetables replace?
You may be wondering, what are the carrots and zucchini replacing when you bake with them? For this particular muffin recipe, I've added two cups of shredded vegetables. Compared to my recipe for cinnamon walnut muffins (which is a standard muffin recipe that contains no vegetables), here are the changes made:
- Eggs reduced from 2 to 1
- Oil reduced from ½ cup to ¼ cup
- Milk omitted entirely (¾ cup)
- Flour reduced by ¼ cup
Shredded zucchini and carrots add moisture and structure to a baking recipe, as well as nutrition like fiber, Vitamin A, and antioxidants. For more information, check out my post: benefits of zucchini.
Can you taste the vegetables?
Zucchini is mild and neutral, and won't add any noticeable flavor to your muffins. Carrots have a sweet flavor that pairs well with ingredients like cinnamon and sugar, which is why it's so popular in baked goods (like carrot cake).
Make sure you're using zucchini, not cucumber, which does have a noticeable flavor. Not sure which one you have on hand? Check out my post - Zucchini vs cucumber - what's the difference?
Do I need to peel my zucchini?
No, there's no need to peel your zucchini when making carrot zucchini muffins. If you're using small or medium zucchini, the skin is soft and melts right into the batter when baked. Plus, the skin of the zucchini contains plenty of fiber and nutrients that you'd be missing out on by peeling it off.
The only sign of zucchini in your muffins are the tiny green flecks throughout. Otherwise, you'd have no idea it was in there. If you're trying to hide zucchini in your muffins, feel free to peel the skin off before grating.
Tips for making muffins
- Finely grating your zucchini and carrot will help them melt into the batter as it bakes. A coarser grate also works, but may add noticeable texture to your muffins.
- The best zucchini for bread and muffins are small to medium zucchini. Large zucchini can be tough and fibrous and may have hard seeds inside. Small to medium zucchini are tender and melt right into bread when baked.
- Do not squeeze the liquid out of your zucchini or carrot before mixing into your batter. We're using that liquid to add moisture to your muffins.
- There's no need to peel your zucchini before shredding it, unless your zucchini is very large and has a tough skin. Any small or medium zucchini (skin included) blends seamlessly into the batter when baked, leaving only a few pretty green flecks as evidence.
- Don't overmix your muffin batter. Muffins are very simple - the batter can be stirred together with a wooden spoon or a hand mixer on low speed. Overmixing batter can make your muffins turn out tough because you're overworking the gluten. Or, your muffins will rise up quickly, then deflate, because too much air was whipped into the batter.
- Keep a close eye on your muffins while baking. If you haven't substituted any ingredients, the only reason your muffins will turn out dry is from overbaking.
How to tell when muffins are done
- Gently press into the top center of a muffin. If it pops right back, your muffins are done. If it leaves an indent, they need more time.
- Insert a toothpick into the center of a muffin. If it comes back clean or with crumbs, your muffins are done. If it comes back with batter, they need more time.
- Use an instant read thermometer. A muffin is done when it reaches 204 degrees Fahrenheit in the center.
Carrot Zucchini Muffins
- 1 cup (135 g) finely grated zucchini, do not drain liquid out
- 1 cup (120 g) finely grated carrot, do not drain liquid out
- ½ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (53 g) brown sugar
- ¼ cup (50 g) vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cups (210 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.
- In a large bowl, add finely grated zucchini and carrot (do not drain/squeeze any liquid out!), granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla extract. Stir until evenly combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Add to wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
- Divide batter between 12 muffin tins, filling to about ⅔ full. Bake for about 16 to 19 minutes, OR until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with crumbs (baking times will vary based on your oven and type of pan used).
- Transfer muffins to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before unwrapping (muffins/cupcakes will stick to the wrappers if they're still warm).
- Leftover muffins will keep in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. If your muffins are very moist/wet, I recommend refrigerating.
- Muffins can be frozen for up to 6 months. Tightly wrap in plastic wrap/foil and store in a freezer safe bag or container. Thaw on the counter top for 1 hour.
- There's no need to peel the skin off your zucchini, and no need to drain any liquid from your shredded zucchini or carrot. The recipe is written to include this liquid.