As someone who fumbles her words in delicate situations, I deeply admire those who possess an innate ability to say just the right thing at just the right time. I, on the contrary, tend to dig myself into an incoherent verbal hole. Fortunately, I’ve discovered a different love language more adept at communicating my sympathies—muffins. Today’s expression: Carrot Quinoa Muffins.

Carrot and Quinoa Muffins. These muffins are heavenly! And good for you!

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Whenever someone I love is faced with an emotional situation, happy or sad, my immediate inclination is to bake, and my go-to good is muffins (especially these Healthy Blueberry Muffins). Why?

In truth, I’m not entirely sure. Perhaps it’s their homey simplicity and wholesome comfort that makes them a fitting means to convey my caring.

Muffins are also fairly quick and easy to stir together (like these Yogurt Muffins), meaning that I can more rapidly bake a batch to speak love on my behalf.

My latest “MuffinCare” (term to soon be trademarked) creation: carrot quinoa muffins.

Healthy Carrot Quinoa Muffins. These taste exactly like carrot cake and are good for you too! @wellplated

5 Star Review

“These turned out great for me! I was looking for a healthy breakfast for my kids to eat at daycare and my kids loved them!”

— Maureen —

These carrot quinoa muffins were a declaration of love/sympathy/you-should-probably-eat-something-healthy-ASAP for Ben when he was having a particularly toilsome week.

I reasoned that a batch of healthy quinoa muffins with carrots would be a welcome, bright addition to his day (these Banana Bran Muffins were also a contender).

I wasn’t sure how Ben would react to quinoa muffins, but he loved them (he also adored these Healthy Oatmeal Muffins). When I asked him if he could guess what the muffins were called, his immediate response was, “Darn Good Muffins.”

Except he didn’t say darn. His wording was a bit more…emphatic.

Carrot Quinoa Muffins. These muffins are heavenly! And good for you!

How to Make Carrot Quinoa Muffins

Made with toasty walnuts, cinnamon, and ginger, these quinoa muffins taste reminiscent of my Healthy Carrot Cake but are filling, good for you, and breakfast-approved.


The Ingredients

  • Shredded Carrot. Adds natural sweetness PLUS tons of vitamin A, vitamin K, calcium, and beta-carotene. (For another healthy carrot muffin recipe, try these Zucchini Carrot Muffins.)
  • Quinoa. Cooked quinoa is stirred into the batter and provides a healthy dose of plant-based protein to power your morning breakfasts and afternoon snacks.
  • Greek yogurt + Buttermilk. Make these healthy quinoa muffins with carrots ultra moist (like Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins).
  • White Whole Wheat Flour. My favorite swap for healthy muffin recipes (like these Applesauce Muffins) that adds extra fiber and protein without weighing them down. If you don’t have white whole wheat flour you can also swap for an equal amount of all purpose flour.
  • Brown Sugar. Just enough to sweeten these muffins to satisfy while keeping them healthy and wholesome.
  • Cinnamon + Ginger. For a little carrot cake-esque spice to warm up the flavors. (When you’re ready for the real thing, try these Carrot Cake Cupcakes).
Carrot Cake Quinoa Muffins. Moist, heavenly, and good for you too!

The Directions

  1. If needed, cook the quinoa. You can also use leftover quinoa made the day before.

TIP!

Be careful not to overcook or use more than the necessary amount of water. The quinoa grains should be tender but still separate, rather than mushy and clumped together.

  1. Whisk together the cooked quinoa with the dry ingredients.
  2. In a large measuring cup, beat together the wet ingredients
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until just combined.
  4. Fold in the carrots and any desired mix-ins.
  5. Divide into a standard greased muffin pan.
  6. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  7. Let cool slightly before removing the muffins from the pan to cool completely. ENJOY!

TIP!

I like to enjoy these easy carrot quinoa muffins plain or with a smear of peanut butter, apple butter, or a bit of softened, salted butter.

Moist, healthy quinoa muffins that taste just like carrot cake!

Tools Used to Make These Muffins

Are you having a rough day? This is me, virtually dropping a warm batch of carrot quinoa muffins on your doorstep. May they bring you joy and a very satisfied stomach.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Make Carrot Quinoa Muffins Gluten Free?

I have not tried making these quinoa muffins gluten free before so it would be an experiment. Readers have reported swapping the white whole wheat flour for their favorite 1-to-1 gluten free baking mix with success, however, so it can be done. You could also use this Gluten Free Carrot Cake as a starting point.

Can I Swap the Carrots for Carrot Juice or Carrot Puree?

No. I don’t know that I would recommend this swap since I fear it would make the muffin batter too moist. If you have kids (or partners) with an eye for hidden veggies in their food, you could try grating the carrots very finely so they are less visible in the final baked quinoa muffins.

Can I Make These Quinoa Muffins with Quinoa Flour?

Unfortunately, I do not have a lot of experience baking with quinoa flour so I can’t provide specific advice for making this muffin recipe with quinoa flour. If you have had luck swapping it for wheat-based flours in other muffins recipes, however, I imagine it could also be done here with a little experimentation.

Carrot and Quinoa Muffins. These muffins are heavenly! And good for you!

Carrot Quinoa Muffins

4.67 from 15 votes
These carrot quinoa muffins are naturally packed with protein, and spiced with cinnamon. A perfect healthy breakfast or snack on the go.

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 45 mins

Servings: 12 muffins

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked, cooled quinoa  (about 3/4 cup uncooked)
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar (see note)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons  baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup low fat buttermilk, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1/4 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons  canola oil (or melted, cooled coconut oil)
  • 1 teaspoon  pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly grated carrots lightly pressed dry
  • 1/2  cup mix-ins: toasted chopped walnuts or pecans, raisins, golden raisins, dried cranberries, chopped dried apricots, or other chopped dried fruit (I love a mix of walnuts and golden raisins)

Instructions
 

  • If needed, cook the quinoa. Be careful not to overcook or use more than the necessary amount of water. The quinoa grains should be tender but still separate, rather than mushy and clumped together. When ready to bake, preheat your oven oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners or lightly coat with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the cooked quinoa, white whole wheat flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a small bowl or large measuring cup, beat together the egg, buttermilk, yogurt, oil, and vanilla.
  • Add the milk mixture to the quinoa mixture and stir by hand, just until combined. Gently fold in the carrots and any desired mix-ins.
  • Divide among the muffin cups.
  • Bake 25 to 28 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Gently remove the muffins from the pan and place on the wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy plain or with a smear of peanut butter, apple butter, or a bit of softened, salted butter.

Notes

  • NOTE ON SUGAR: These muffins are very lightly sweet. For a sweeter muffin, increase the brown sugar to 3/4 cup.
  • TO STORE: Muffins may be stored at room temperature for up to 4 days in an airtight container.
  • TO FREEZE: Store muffins in a ziptop freezer bag for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge, then let come to room temperature before serving.
  • For more muffin storage tips, check out my How to Store Muffins guide. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1muffin (with walnuts)Calories: 222kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 6gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 8mgPotassium: 224mgFiber: 3gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 1801IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 83mgIron: 1mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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40 Comments

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  1. Made these this morning to go along with my scrambled kale and egg whites! The muffins are delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe!!5 stars

    1. Dawn, this just made my morning :) I am thrilled to hear that you enjoyed the muffins. Thanks for taking time to share your comment and enjoy every bite!

    2. Hm.. I was hoping for better with these muffins. I used half white and half w.w. flour, and full fat yogurt. My sugar was a little less than called for, which really makes a difference because my muffins came out not sweet. The texture is nice, but overall lacking in flavour. I would increase the sugar and spices next time, and maybe add some orange juice/zest.3 stars

      1. I’m sorry to hear that these weren’t a hit for you, Kelsey. I (and many other readers) have really enjoyed them, so I truly wish you would’ve too!

  2. Hi there Erin, we are having an Iron chef at work and the special ingredient is quinoa so I googled, found your recipe, tried it and now I can’t get enough! It has become my breakfast staple. Thank you for sharing :-)5 stars

    1. Patty, I am so thrilled that you love this recipe! These muffins are one of our staples too. Thanks so much for sharing your review!

  3. I’m not much for following directions, but I will use your recipe today as the basis of another experiment in the kitchen. Thank you for posting it and for being such a good– and fun–writer.

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words Philip! I’d love to hear how your “experiment” turns out. Hope it is delicious!

    1. Hi Kate! I would probably go with something a bit more liquid, such as milk. You will be missing some of the natural sweetness and flavor that the orange juice provides though. For this reason, I would up the amount of orange zest. Subbing another fruit juice you may have on hand-such as apple juice-would be a great idea too. Hope that helps!

  4. I just made these muffins yesterday and they were amazing! Thank you SO much for the recipe. Not only were they great for breakfast this morning, but they were coach-approved for pre-game snack for the athlete in the family.5 stars

    1. Joann, this makes me so happy! Thrilled you loved them. Thanks for trying the recipe and for sharing your review :-)

  5. This looks delicious! I’ve tried some recently that a friend made, but I’m happy to have the recipe for myself. Thanks !5 stars

  6. I’ve been circling around this recipe for weeks now…finally made them tonight as a special Easter treat for the family. Both my son and my husband loved them — here’s their feedback — Delicious. Not too sweet. A winner.” Great way to end the day and now we will have a guaranteed yummy breakfast tomorrow! Thanks for another well-tested, delectable recipe. I baked them for 25 minutes — they were absolutely perfect AND looked just like yours!5 stars

    1. Marina, I’m thrilled to hear how much you all enjoyed them!! Thanks so much for trying the recipe and letting me know how they turned out for you. Enjoy the leftovers too!

  7. Followed the recipe because I had a fair amount of leftover quinoa in the fridge. Group of friends: Ladies thought they sounded great and healthy. Guys thought they sounded healthy and weird/not good. After tasting: Big Hit! Shared your recipe round to all! Thank you!5 stars

    1. YAY Liann! I’m happy the muffins were enjoyed by all. Thanks for taking the time to leave this wonderful feedback!

  8. I had Red Quinoa in the cupboard that needed used so I doubled this recipe and baked in two loaf pans as my tins needed replacing and can’t seem to remember until a new muffin recipe is already underway. I kept same temperature but baked @ twice as long. I also used fresh Ginger, another necessary inclusion as the roots were sprouting and this worked as well. Great recipe…delicious as can be!!5 stars

    1. That’s wonderful to hear! I’m so glad the recipe was a hit. Thanks so much for leaving this feedback and sharing your tweaks!

    1. Hi Melle! Unfortunately I don’t have any experience with quinoa flour, so it would be an experiment. If you’ve successfully substituted quinoa flour in other recipes, it may be worth a try!

  9. Trying to fortify a VERY picky eater! Could I puree the carrots to sneak them in? Would it be the same measurement of one cup? Thank you! They look delish!

    1. Hi Jody, I would be hesitant to recommend this, because I’m worried it would make the batter too moist. Instead I would suggest grating them really really finely. Good luck!

  10. I know this is an old post, but I thought I’d let you know that I made it and loved it! I’m going to be cooking for myself at ucla this year so I’ve been testing out a lot of different recipes in preparation. I used coconut oil and chopped dates as a mix-in which I think gave it a good amount of sweetness! I don’t know how you think of these recipes but it worked out really well! 5 stars

    1. Paige, I’m so glad to hear you loved these muffins! Thanks for giving the recipe a try and sharing your mix-ins. :) Good luck with the upcoming school year!

  11. These turned out great for me!  I was looking for a  healthy breakfast for my kids to eat at daycare and my kids loved them!  Do you know if these freeze well?5 stars

  12. So very delish!! My husband loves dense muffins & these by far are his new favs. We also both just started really eating more healthy without the guilt of having a treat daily so I now make them mini muffins & throw a few cinnamon chips in. Sorry I didn’t take ccx a picture. What do you think of adding pineapple? Thank yo so much!!!5 stars

    1. I’m so happy that you enjoyed them, Cheryl! Thank you for sharing this kind review! I’ve never tested the recipe with pineapple, so you’d be experimenting. If you decide to play around with it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  13. I just made these for my girls who need more protein, they are absolutely delicious and moist! I only changed adding 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt and omitted the oil. Fantastic!!!5 stars

  14. Hi! These look so great! Carrot cake is my fav and I’ve got leftover quinoa in the fridge that I was trying to figure out how to use up! One question… if I don’t have white whole wheat flour… can I sub all purpose? Thanks for this yummy looking recipe!

  15. Excellent recipe. I only used 1 cup red cooked quinoa. Used 1/2 cup sugar. 1 T oil. Used 2eggs and since I didn’t have yogurt used a whole cup of buttermilk. Used 1/2 cup grated carrots and 1/2 cup grated apple. Got 18 smaller muffins and the bake time was about 16 minutes. Substitutions because that’s what I had in hand. Worked well.5 stars

  16. My kids weren’t fans of these at all. The flavour of quinoa is a bit too pronounced for us. I can see them being appealing to young kids who are on :no-sugar added” type diets, but unfortunately not really our thing.2 stars

    1. I’m sorry to hear that these weren’t a hit for you. I (and many other readers) have enjoyed them, so I really wish you would’ve too!