Carrot Cake Muffins

By Maria Lichty

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Quick Summary

Carrot Cake Muffins packed with carrots, spices, raisins, and a surprise cream cheese filling are a favorite breakfast treat! Everyone loves these deliciously moist muffins!

carrot cake muffins with cream cheese filling.

If you like carrot cake, you are going to LOVE these Carrot Cake Muffins. They taste just like carrot cake but are totally acceptable for breakfast because they are muffins. YES!

The muffins are super moist thanks to the fresh carrots and perfectly spiced thanks to the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. They may look plain on the outside, but when you bite into the center, there is a pleasant surprise, a sweet cream cheese filling! Oh, yes! Carrot cake and cream cheese, the perfect combo!

I make these muffins every spring, but they are good year-round. The muffins are perfect for a special breakfast or brunch treat or even dessert!

carrot cake muffin ingredients.

Muffin Ingredients

  • Flour– use all-purpose flour. If you need the muffins to be gluten-free, you can use all-purpose gluten-free flour.
  • Brown Sugar & Granulated Sugar– to sweeten things up!
  • Baking Powder & Baking Soda– make sure they are fresh!
  • Salt– salt brings out the flavor, a must!
  • Spices– cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and ground cloves! Your house will smell amazing while these muffins are baking!
  • Oil– you can use melted coconut oil, vegetable oil, canola oil, or avocado oil.
  • Buttermilk– make sure it is at room temperature
  • Eggs– always use large eggs for baking
  • Vanilla extract– my favorite!
  • Carrots– Grate your own carrots and don’t buy pre-shredded carrots. You will need 3 medium carrots.
  • Raisins– they are optional, but so good, in my opinion:)
  • Turbinado sugar– for sprinkling on top of the muffins. You will love the sugary crunch!
cream cheese filling for carrot cake muffins.

Cream Cheese Filling

Carrot cake traditionally has a cream cheese frosting, but since these are muffins, I use a cream cheese filling. You only need three ingredients: cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract.

The filling is easy to mix up, just make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature. I always make it first and then let it hangout in the fridge while I mix together the muffin batter. Don’t skip it, it makes the muffins extra special!

How to Make Carrot Cake Muffins

dry ingredients being whisked together in bowl.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and all of those yummy spices!
  • In a medium bowl, combine the oil, brown sugar, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Stir until smooth.
carrot cake muffin batter in mixing bowl with spatula.
  • Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix until just combine. Don’t over mix, it is ok if there are still a few flour streaks.
carrot cake muffin batter with shredded carrots and raisins.
  • Gently fold in the freshly grated carrots and raisins, if you are using. I think raisins are a must:)
carrot cake muffin batter with cream cheese filling in muffin pan.
  • Remove the cream cheese filing from the fridge. Fill each muffin cup with about 2 tablespoons of batter. Add a heaping spoonful of the cream cheese filling to each muffin. Top the muffins evenly with the remaining batter, about ¾ way full. Sprinkle the tops with turbinado sugar.
carrot cake muffins in pan.
  • Bake until muffins are golden and the tops spring back when gently touched. Let cool completely and enjoy!
carrot cake muffins on cooling rack.

How to Store

If you have leftover muffins, it is best to store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator because of the cream cheese filling. You can let them come to room temperature before serving or eat enjoy them cold.

carrot cake muffin with cream cheese filling.

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Carrot Cake Muffins

Carrot Cake Muffins packed with carrots, spices, raisins, and a surprise cream cheese filling are a favorite breakfast treat! Everyone loves these deliciously moist muffins!
4.50 from 76 votes

Ingredients
  

For the cream cheese filling:

For the muffins:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated carrots, about 3 medium carrots
  • 1/3 cup raisins, optional
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar, for sprinkling on muffins

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or grease the cups with butter or nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • First, make the cream cheese filling. With a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract together until smooth. Place in the fridge while you make the muffins.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the oil, brown sugar, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Stir until smooth.
  • Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix until just combine. Don’t over mix, it is ok if there are still a few flour streaks. Gently fold in the shredded carrots and raisins being careful to not over mix.
  • Fill each muffin cup with about 2 tablespoons of batter. Add a heaping spoonful of the cream cheese filling to each muffin. Top the muffins evenly with the remaining batter, about ¾ way full. Sprinkle the tops with turbinado sugar.
  • Bake until muffins are golden and the tops spring back when gently touched, 18 to 23 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 286kcal, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 39mg, Sodium: 207mg, Potassium: 184mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 22g, Vitamin A: 2854IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 55mg, Iron: 1mg
Keywords carrot cake, muffins

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Maria

I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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4.50 from 76 votes (61 ratings without comment)

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Comments

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  1. 5 stars
    Made these last night and they are so yummy! We put them in the fridge because of the cream cheese filling and they taste just as good after a few seconds in the microwave. I pulsed the carrots (about 200g) for a few seconds in my nutribullet since I was too lazy to grate and that worked perfectly. Will definitely be a repeat recipe for us!

  2. 5 stars
    I tried the carrot cake muffins. I made only a half recipe since I live alone. They are delicious and oh so moist. Will definitely make again.

    1. I looked at conversion online (tb to ounces) and it states 8 tbs is 4 ounces & 16 tbs is 8 ounces, so I’m a bit confused with the 16 ounces of cream cheese for 24 muffins.

  3. I used carrot, apple, ginger pulp from juice I made. I also had my 3yr old helper and forgot to put in the eggs! They didn’t rise much and were a little dense but still tasted good. We also accidentally mixed cream cheese filling with some coconut milk, so added no2 and had a delicious whipped cream cheese frosting. They were a house hold hit, even with my super picky teen, delicately a keeper!

  4. 5 stars
    These muffins are DELICIOUS!! They are so moist and I love putting the frosting in the muffin like a surprise in every bite.

  5. I haven’t made these yet, but I wonder if they freeze well. If not, I might leave the cream cheese out and add some when they are warmed up.
    Thanks for all your wonderful recipes! My grandkids love everything I’ve made do far:)

    1. Yes, you can freeze the muffins with the cream cheese filling. Of course, fresh is always best! If you don’t want to do the filling, you can make regular muffins and add a cream cheese glaze after defrosting.

  6. Made these for office and stole bite and already thinking when to make them again. How much nuts should I incorporate for this recipe of 12?

  7. 5 stars
    I made these without the cream cheese filling and they were delicious! Very moist even the second day. Just the right amount of spice. Thx for a terrific recipe!

  8. 5 stars
    These were very delumpsh! I had almost the exact amount of cream cheese left over for this which i thought i would have to toss. I looked up several different recipes and definitely don’t regret making this one! My husband’s family loved it too. I did add some pecans. Also, i accidentally used my 1/3c for measuring sugar, so they were just a bit too sweet for me, but that was my mistake. I’m keeping this recipe to make again. Thank you!

  9. 5 stars
    Made these tonight, came out amazing. Whole family loved, 3 year old included. Will definitely make again!

  10. These muffins are so very close to carrot cake with cream cheese frosting! I did substitute TruVia sugar and TruVia brown sugar but they are delicious. The surprise in the center are what really elevates these muffins to outrageously good! Will become one of our most baked muffins.

  11. Hi I’m planning to back this for my daughter’s bday. I’ll have to do so on the eve of the bday
    Do I have to store them in the fridge or can it be left outside?

  12. 5 stars
    My 4yr old declared these his favorite muffins ever! I used to think your zucchini muffins were my fav, but I might have to agree with him. 5 stars as written! I used unrefined coconut oil and loved the tiny hint of flavor it added.

  13. Delicious muffins! However, make sure your cream cheese mixture is nice and cold (at least I think that’s what the issue was) because mine bubbled up and spread all over the pan, leaving a hole in the tops of my muffins. Still tasty but glad they were just for my family as they weren’t all that pretty!

  14. I just finished making these for the first time. They were fairly easy to make ( I used cupcake cups ) I could t wait to try my first one with my coffee… It was absolutely delicious still warm! I usually eat my carrot cake chilled and I’m sure these will be just a yummy chilled. These will be my go to for my carrot cake cravings for sure!!!

  15. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe this morning and it worked really well!! They’re moist, but not underbaked, and the filling is amazing!

    The only issue I had was that my muffins deflated a bit when coming out of the oven, but I’m gonna give this recipe the benefit of the doubt and assume that I might’ve done something wrong. If anyone has any suggestions on how to prevent that I’d appreciate it!

    1. I think I figured out my issue. I believe the problem I had was that I put the filling too close to the top, with not enough batter covering them. I made another batch this morning (gluten free), and put the filling lower down, with more batter on top. They didn’t deflate, and they have that crackled top like the pictures!

  16. 5 stars
    Just made these for my kids for breakfast this weekend. They were a huge hit. Will for sure be making them for easter wknd.

  17. Planning to make these for Easter but was wondering if you tried making a loaf out of the recipe rather than muffins? Would it work?

  18. So…I made the muffins for Easter…they are delicious! One thing…the cream cheese oozed out of the muffins leaving a void in the cupcake. Anyone else have that issue? Perhaps I cooked them too long or I did not have enough batter on top of the filling like one other comment??? Any suggestions?

    1. Make sure you cover the cream cheese with batter, top and bottom! Glad you still loved them!