Healthy Carrot Muffins for Toddlers with No Added Sugar

Healthy Carrot Muffins for Toddlers with No Added Sugar

These healthy toddler muffins with no added sugar are a big hit in our house! They are full of wholesome ingredients like carrots, oats, unsweetened applesauce, and almond butter. 

Additionally, you can easily make these muffins gluten-free or vegan with a couple of tiny tweaks! 

While I originally started making these carrot muffins for my toddler, I eat them too. And now my 1-year-old gobbles them up as well.

We love to spread some cream cheese or almond butter on top of a warm muffin for a healthy snack or as part of a hearty meal. 

healthy muffins for toddlers no sugar added

I am especially happy to have a batch of these wholesome muffins on hand on days that are busy and chaotic. There’s nothing like homemade snacks full of nutritious ingredients to bring everyone back to center.

I’ve tried out a number of healthy muffin recipes over the years (banana spinach muffins, yogurt blueberry muffins, peanut butter banana muffins, the list goes on), but this carrot muffin recipe is the one that we keep coming back to again and again.

Naturally Sweet

Even without added sugar, these homemade muffins are still wonderfully sweet and toddler-approved. 

This healthy recipe calls for unsweetened applesauce and almond butter as natural sweeteners. Applesauce additionally makes these muffins soft and moist. Almond butter also helps bind all the ingredients.

You can also add chopped raisins for an additional boost of sweetness. Raisins are a great source of iron for kids

If you want to sweeten up these muffins even more, spread almond butter over the top of a muffin to add a sweet nutty flavor. Almond butter will also give your little ones a boost of protein along with some healthy fat! (Almond butter should be spread thinly for younger toddlers to prevent choking risk.) 

Healthy Ingredients for a Balanced Diet

These delectable kid-friendly muffins are a great source of nourishment. They are made with the following simple ingredients;

  • oats
  • carrots
  • unsweetened applesauce
  • coconut oil (or canola oil)
  • eggs (or a “flax egg”)
  • cinnamon
  • almond butter
  • raisins (optional add-in)
  • choose from whole wheat flour, oat flour, all-purpose flour, or gluten-free baking flour.

Aside from a little baking powder, baking soda, and vanilla extract, that’s it! No added sugars or long list of questionable ingredients.  

A single muffin offers kids a whole grain (oats), a vegetable (carrots), a fruit (apple), a fat (coconut oil), and a protein (eggs) all in one!

Add a side of plain Greek yogurt for dipping or spread almond butter or cream cheese on top for more protein and a perfect healthy snack. Sub in unsweetened vanilla cashew yogurt or vegan cream cheese for a dairy-free option. 

Not only are these muffins nutritional powerhouses, but they are also easy to make! You can mix all of the wet ingredients and dry ingredients in any old order into one large bowl. The only other dish you have to dirty besides a muffin tin is a fork for mixing! There are enough dishes to deal with when it comes to feeding kids, so let’s make baking as simple as possible. 

Nourishing For the Whole Family

My primary motivation to make these muffins is so that I can feed my kids healthy snacks, but I also like that I have something nourishing on hand for myself!

I have experienced sahm mom burnout and mom overstimulation firsthand, and I know how important it is to keep myself properly fueled throughout the day to keep up with rambunctious children. So these healthy muffins have become an easy breakfast or a great grab-and-go snack for the whole family.

While these carrot toddler muffins are not going to taste like the sugary carrot cake muffins you get from Starbucks, I can honestly say I enjoy these muffins just as much in their own way. And I feel good knowing that they are not jam-packed with refined sugar and other questionable ingredients.

These muffins are also easily packable to take on outings with little ones. While we often rely on store-bought packaged snacks while out and about, it’s nice to be able to take a fresh home-baked good instead from time to time.

Toddler-Friendly Baking Activity

Baking can get pretty messy and chaotic with toddlers, but I have found that this carrot muffin recipe is simple enough that I am 100% willing to invite my toddler to join in on the process.

It’s a great simple recipe to help kids learn about gathering, measuring, and mixing ingredients.

Gluten-Free Option

These muffins can easily accommodate a gluten-free diet by using gluten-free oat flour or gluten-free 1-1 baking flour. If making your own oat flour at home, just be sure that you buy a container of oats marked as gluten-free. Oats are naturally gluten-free, but not all are considered 100% gluten-free if they are processed and potentially contaminated in a factory with gluten products.

I have made these muffins using homemade oat flour, Bob’s Red Mill 1-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour, whole wheat flour, and all-purpose flour. Oat flour gives them a dense nutty bran-like flavor, while gf-baking flour, all-purpose flour, and wheat flour give them a more subtle flavor.

Vegan Option

To make these carrot muffins vegan-friendly, just substitute flaxseed meal for the eggs

The Minimalist Baker recommends mixing 1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal with 2.5 tbsp of water to make a “flax egg“. After combining, let the mixture sit and thicken for 5 minutes before pouring in with the other muffin ingredients.

My 1-year-old has a cow’s milk allergy, so dairy-free milk options along with dairy-free meals and snacks have become very important. These muffins are perfect for her and she loves them!

trader joe's vegan cream cheese for vegan toddler muffins

She especially chows down on these homemade muffins when they have Trader Joe’s Vegan Cream Cheese spread on them. This cream cheese is a bit high in sodium and is not exactly loaded with nutrients, but it does provide some fats for growing little ones and a dash of pizazz!

Nut-Free Option

Just leave out the almond butter and you have a perfectly wonderful nut-free muffin. While the almond butter adds some additional sweetness to these muffins, it is not necessary. I have made these muffins plenty of times without adding almond butter and I’m not sure that my toddler can tell the difference.

Customized Add-Ins for Picky Eaters

Adding in some raisins can really jazz up these muffins for toddlers. For our 1-year-old, I chop the raisins up before adding them to the muffin batter to prevent a choking hazard. If your little one is not a fan of chopped raisins, you can try adding some fresh diced apple pieces. Or just leave out any add-ins altogether for a more plain muffin.

For older kids you can add in some mini chocolate chips or maple syrup if you are less concerned about the sugar content of the muffins. Sometimes a couple of little chocolate chips can be very motivating to get a picky eater to devour an otherwise nutritious snack.

Flour Options

After experimenting with gluten-free baking flour, all-purpose flour, oat flour, and whole wheat flour, I favor using organic whole wheat flour. Wheat flour is more nutritious than all-purpose flour and it creates a less dense muffin than oat flour. That being said, I will make these muffins with any of the flours listed and am always pleased with them. 

Oat Flour

Compared to the other flour options, homemade oat flour tends to change the texture and density of these muffins. And when you initially pull them out of the oven they feel like they might fall apart. After they have cooled though, they are just fine!

How to Tell if Muffins are Done

Using applesauce creates a pretty mushy muffin batter, and originally I found it a little difficult to know when these muffins were fully baked.

I felt that no matter how long I left them in the oven baking, they still seemed a bit too moist inside. So I bought a kitchen thermometer to make sure I was baking the muffins long enough and they were reaching a high enough internal temperature. Thermoblog notes that muffins should be baked to an internal temperature of 200-205 degrees F. 

I found that it took 23 minutes of baking time for these regular-sized muffins to reach an internal temperature of 200 degrees F. Oven temperatures may vary, so give or take a few minutes depending on your oven. 

Even at an internal temperature of 200 degrees F, these muffins still may leave a little residue on a toothpick after you insert it, so just know that the toothpick method is not the most reliable with this recipe due to the applesauce. 

If using a mini muffin pan, the bake time will be less. I have not made these as mini muffins myself, but Craftsy states that mini muffins typically need 10 to 13 minutes of baking time. I would go for at least 15 minutes with this recipe since these muffins take a few extra minutes than most muffin recipes when using a stand-sized muffin tin. 

Storing Your Muffins

I always store these muffins in an air-tight container after they have completely cooled.

Master Class explains you can keep muffins in an airtight-container for up to 4-days at room temperature, and recommends sandwiching them in-between paper towels to absorb moisture. 

Despite this advice, I still usually pop ours in the fridge and just warm them up before serving. My kids don’t mind when the texture of the muffin has a changed a bit due to refrigeration and I always know they are fresh that way.  

Please be aware of any food allergies you and/or your child may have and adjust the recipe as needed.

healthy muffins for toddlers with no added sugar

Healthy Carrot Muffins for Toddlers with No Added Sugar

Full of wholesome ingredients like oats, carrots, and unsweetened applesauce!
Add in chopped raisins to enhance the sweetness, and serve warm with cream cheese or almond butter spread on top! Toddlers and moms and dads alike may also love dipping these muffins in a side of Zois plain Greek yogurt.
These healthy toddler muffins can easily be made dairy-free, nut-free, and/or gluten-free.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Cooling Time 10 minutes
Course Breakfast, Side Dish, Snack
Servings 12 standard sized muffins


  • 1 large bowl
  • 1 mixing fork or spoon
  • 1 regular-sized muffin tin (12 muffins)


  • 3/4 Cup Whole wheat flour Oat flour, gluten-free 1-1 baking flour, or all-purpose flour are also good substitutes!
  • 1/2 Cup Rolled Oats
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 1 1/4 Cups Shredded Carrot
  • 2 Eggs or substitute with 2 flax eggs: 2 Tbsp flaxseed meal mixed with 2.5 Tbsp water, mix and let thicken for 5 minutes
  • 3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil or Canola Oil use room temperature coconut oil so it mixes in easily
  • 2 Tablespoons Almond Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Raisins


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Throw all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix until combined.
  • Grease a muffin tin with your preferred method (butter, coconut oil, canola oil)
  • Pour the muffin batter into the oiled muffin tin and pop them in the oven to bake. 
  • Bake for 23 minutes (bake mini muffins for 16 minutes). See post section on muffin doneness.
  • Let baked muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Then transfer them to a plate to finish cooling.
  • Spread some cream cheese or almond butter on top if desired and enjoy!
  • Store in an airtight container.


I generally avoid using muffin liners with these muffins. They tend to really stick to the liners so I always opt for a quick spray of coconut oil for the muffin tin.
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