Vegan & Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Muffins

Carrot cake has always been a favorite of mine, so I decided to give it a healthier makeover today with these vegan and gluten-free carrot cake muffins.

They’re made with gluten-free oat flour, which gives them a heartier texture than a traditional cupcake, but they’re also a bit more moist and chewy than your average muffin. These healthy muffins are loaded with nutrient rich ingredients, including fresh pineapple, shredded carrots, unsweetened coconut, coconut oil, and oat flour to leave you feeling satisfied all morning long. They’d make an excellent addition to your next brunch!

While many gluten-free recipes require that you mix multiple flours and starches to create a gluten-free flour blend, I prefer to work with only one flour in a recipe. Otherwise it just sounds too complicated and overwhelming to me!

What I love about these carrot cake muffins is that they are:

  • Gluten-free, made with only one flour
  • Nut-free
  • Egg-free
  • Naturally sweetened with coconut sugar
  • Super moist
  • and easy to prepare!

The result is a muffin that’s easy to whip together, but the trade-off is that the texture is a little different than you might expect. Oat flour has a slightly gummy and doughy texture, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing (particularly since this recipe is egg-free, so you don’t have to worry about under-baking them), but it’s not the crumb you might expect when you bite into a traditional muffin. I’d recommend you make a batch to taste for yourself before baking them for crowd, just to make sure you like them as much as I do.

Since these vegan carrot cake muffins aren’t as light and fluffy as a standard cupcake made with white flour and sugar, I felt that a crumble topping was more appropriate, but you can skip it and serve these on their own, or top them with your favorite frosting, if you prefer. Perhaps you might enjoy them with my Creamy Cashew Frosting or Coconut Whipped Cream?

I added a light drizzle of a quick lemon and cashew glaze to give these muffins a little extra zip, but it’s totally optional. Because the glaze won’t set the way one would if it were made with powdered sugar, be sure to only add it right before serving so that the muffins won’t get soggy.

4.86 from 7 votes
Vegan & Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Muffins
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins

This Vegan Carrot Cake Muffin recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free for a healthy cupcake alternative.

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 247 kcal
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free oat flour
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teapsoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup finely diced pineapple
Crumble Topping (optional)
  • 6 tablespoons oat flour
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons shredded coconut
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
Cashew Glaze (optional; contains nuts)
  • 1 tablespoon cashew butter
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Water , as needed to thin
  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF and line a standard muffin tin with 12 baking cups. (I used reusable silicone baking cups.)
  2. In a large bowl stir together the oat flour, coconut oil, coconut sugar, applesauce, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Add in the vinegar and stir quickly-- you should see the batter get slightly fluffier from its reaction with the baking soda.
  3. Fold in the coconut, if using, carrots, and pineapple. The batter will most likely be thicker than traditional muffin batter, but that's okay! Use a 1/4 cup to scoop the batter into the 12 muffin cups.
  4. To prepare the crumble, stir together the flour, sugar, coconut, cinnamon, salt, and oil. Use you fingers to sprinkle the mixture evenly over the 12 muffin cups, the gently press the crumble down into the batter to help it stick.
  5. Bake until the tops feel firm to the touch, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool completely before serving.
  6. If you'd like to add a little extra flair to these muffins and don't need them to be nut-free, prepare the cashew glaze by stirring together the cashew butter, maple syrup and lemon juice. Add water one teaspoon at a time until just thin enough to drizzle over the muffins. Use a spoon to drizzle a teaspoon or so over each muffin right before serving.
  7. These muffins are best stored without the cashew glaze on top, and will last a week when stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

As you can see, these muffins are not like the over-sized bakery muffins that you might have come to expect. Because they are so nutrient-dense, I’ve chosen to keep them on the smaller side, so they won’t rise over the tops of your baking cups much. I think the portion size is perfect this way, but feel free to experiment on your own if you’d prefer to make larger muffins. (You’ll probably need to adjust the amount of ingredients as well as extend the baking time.)

As always, please leave a comment below if you make any substitutions. I haven’t tested this muffin recipe with any other flours or sweeteners, so you guess will be as good as mine. When you share your variations in the comments below, we will all benefit from your experience!

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite cake flavor?

Meet Megan Gilmore

Hi, I’m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned certified nutritionist consultant, trying to make healthy living as easy as possible. I believe in eating delicious whole foods on a regular basis to help naturally support the body’s detox organs— no juice fasting required. (Unless you want to!) If you make one of my healthy recipes, tag @detoxinista on Instagram or Facebook so I can see!

21 thoughts on “Vegan & Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Muffins

  1. Heather McClees

    These look amazing, Megan! Carrot cake is a huge favorite of my stepdad’s, so I’ll be making these for him when Father’s Day comes up! Happy (early) Mother’s Day too, by the way! 🙂

    1. Laura ~ Raise Your Garden

      Love the idea of making these for Father’s Day. And making Megan’s black bean brownies which have been a huge hit with my family…. and a big surprise for me! And my husband needs a few treats these days with a one week old baby (his first boy!!1) that came this week. But like he says….I love my girls and if I had a third girl I couldn’t be any happier.

  2. Melissa

    These look delicious! I have loved your recipes. I am going to play with this one since I can’t have oats with Celiac. Yum! Thanks!

    1. Katie B

      Bob’s Red Mill a d a few other companies have ‘certified gluten free’ oats.
      I buy those and grind them into flour in my blender. Oats (Avena Sativa) do not contain any gluten. It’s the cross contamination that is the issue. The certified gf oats are rolled with equipment that doesn’t touch any gluten.

  3. Nicole

    You’re killin’ it with the vegan recipes lately. =) Thank you especially for these kid-friendly vegan treats. It can be really hard to keep young kids on a plant-based diet when they are picky eaters. (In particular when you’re really trying to keep them from refined sugar and highly processed white flour.) But I think these muffins just might be a hit in my house. And kudos for hiding vegetables in a sweet treat.

  4. Jen

    I’m sure you would post if you knew, but I’m going to ask anyway… Any ideas for an oat flour substitute? I can’t tolerate oats. I have both books (just made the morning glory muffins-yum!), but I would love to have a vegan recipe like this. It sounds so yummy!

    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      I’m thinking of trying these with Cassava flour for a grain-free version, but I haven’t tried it yet so I can’t say for sure. Let us know if you try anything!

  5. Lyn

    Will make this tomorrow, soooooo HAPPY that once again it has NO food allergens for my hubby !!! It looks sooo good. I have all of your cookbooks………….and can truly say that I am soooo grateful to you for developing all of your recipes. My husband ( who has 4 pages of food allergies), is grateful for your wonderful recipes too !!!! Thank you Megan, Lyn :]

    1. Lyn

      p.S. Just made them (two batches worth), they are almost gone , my husband ate six, and the kids devoured them too!! They are really , really good !!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you !!! :] P.S.S. Wish there was a higher rating then five stars- :]

  6. Christine

    Wow! This is one of your best muffin recipes. They are so moist and will make a wonderful Mother’s Day treat. My husband actually whipped them up for me. You cannot tell these are made with healthier
    Ingredients. You could fool the pickiest eater.

    For everyone’s information, this works out well with frozen pineapple. Just keep the pineapple frozen until you are ready to put it in the batter and dust the pineapple with arrowroot powder. This will keep the pineapple from sinking to the bottom of the muffin.

    Thank you so much Megan!

  7. Devon

    These look delish! I love all your oat flour recipes from No Excuses Detox! Not only is the texture always so good, but the flour is so easy and cheap to make! I’ve been making your waffles non stop 🙂 I’ll be making these for my mom tomorrow!

    Happy Mother’s Day 😊🌹

  8. shannon

    I just whipped these up and they are fabulous! I had shredded carrots AND pineapple in the fridge so I was excited when this post popped up on my instagram. My daughter has several food allergies, but she can have everything in this muffin. Thank you for sharing this!

  9. Audrey Dertinger

    I have so many food tolerances can’t eat gluten, soy,msg, gmo, preservatives ,natural flavorings, nothing artifical , dyes, garlic,onions,cassin ,carrgeean , any type of emulsifier , potatoes, green pea protien, green vegetables accept zucchini ,,nitrates, more or less . Finding food that doesn’t cost a lot for so little. I saw your muffins . I am all new to this.
    This all started after a virus causes this to happen
    So I am reaching out to anyone with different recipes I can make. Maybe you can point me in the right direction .


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