Spinach Muffins for Picky Eaters (Gluten-Free!)

These easy Spinach Muffins are naturally gluten-free (with a tested egg-free option) and come together quickly in a blender. I love their fluffy texture and slightly sweet flavor, but I especially love how my picky children gobble them up!

spinach muffins

You should know that my 5-year-old son rarely eats anything that I make these days. Except cookies, of course. He’s grown to love the snacks they serve at his preschool, like Goldfish and graham crackers.

Because he’s been exposed to packaged snacks like those, and to some picky-eating peers at school, he turns his nose up at my smoothies (that he used to love!) and most of my homemade baked goods. My 2-year-old daughter is starting to follow suit, because she wants to be just like her big brother. Yippee.

spinach muffin ingredients

Spinach Muffins Recipe

That’s why I’m SO EXCITED about these muffins. They’re green, because they’re loaded with fresh spinach, and my son nearly ate the whole pan the first time I made them. I love how they keep him full, thanks to the fiber-rich oats, banana, and protein-rich egg.

But, let me let you in on my little secret: the key is all in how you present them.

spinach blender muffins in pan

My 5-year-old is obsessed with Ninja Turtles right now, so I called these “turtle power” muffins, and told him that Ninja Turtles eat these to stay strong. He loves to pretend to train like a Ninja turtle, so he asked me if he could have two right away. Then he came back for two more, and soon again, he wanted two more. (They’re bite-sized, mind you.)

Spinach Muffins for Toddlers

If your child is into the Incredible Hulk, or dinosaurs, or the Grinch, feel free to call these bright green muffins whatever you need to. They could be St. Patrick’s Day muffins! Or Christmas tree muffins! The options are endless.

before and after spinach muffins

The first time I made these, the whole pan of muffins was gone by the end of the day! My 2-year-old daughter had eaten several herself, and so did my husband. They’re a total hit with my family! I did sweeten them with a little bit of honey, because I know my audience, but if you prefer a less-sweet treat, feel free to cut back on that to your taste.

Spinach Muffins for Babies

If you’re making these muffins for a baby under 1 year of age, omit the honey. You can use maple syrup instead, or just add a little more banana or applesauce for natural sweetness. The more ripe your banana, the sweeter they will be.

4.85 from 26 votes
spinach muffins in a glass jar
Spinach Muffins for Picky Eaters (Gluten-free!)
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 

These healthy Spinach Muffins are made with fresh spinach, gluten-free oats, banana, and a touch of honey for a naturally-sweet muffin my kids love! Egg-free option included.

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: gluten free, kids, muffin
Servings: 24
Calories: 47 kcal
Author: Megan Gilmore
Ingredients
  • 1 ripe banana (6 to 8 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup almond butter (or any other nut/seed butter)
  • 1 egg (or a vegan flax/chia egg; see note)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1-2 cups fresh baby spinach , loosely packed
  • 1 cup rolled oats (certified gluten-free, if needed)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and grease a mini muffin tin.

  2. Into a blender container, add the banana, water, almond butter, egg, honey, spinach, rolled oats, baking soda, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt, in that order. (Liquids on the bottom help facilitate blending better.) Blend until very smooth, stopping to scrape the sides as needed.

  3. Pour the green batter into the prepared mini muffin cups. I usually get 22 to 24 muffins out of this batch, depending on the size of the banana. If you like to measure, I use about 1.5 - 2 tablespoons of batter per muffin cup.

  4. Put the muffin tin in the preheated oven and bake until the muffins rise and feel firm to a light touch in the center, about 15 to 17 minutes. The edges should turn lightly golden, and might crack a bit.

  5. Remove the muffins from the oven and allow them to cool at least 30 minutes before removing them from the muffin tin. I find that using my fingers to twist them out of the tin helps them release easily, but you can also run a knife around the sides of the muffin to help get them out.

  6. Muffins can be stored at room temperature for 24 hours, but I recommend storing them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Per mini muffin: Calories: 47, Fat: 1g, Carbohydrates: 6g, Fiber: 0g, Protein: 1g

Recipe Notes:

  • For a vegan version of these muffins, use a flax or chia egg to replace the egg called for. No need to mix the egg ahead of time; I just add 1 heaping tablespoon of ground flax seed and 3 tablespoons of water to my blender, with the rest of the ingredients. I also recommend adding a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in this case, to react with the baking soda and help the vegan muffins rise. Instead of honey, use maple syrup. The vegan version is slightly “gummier” in texture, but still totally passable as a muffin.
  • If you can’t have oats, try adding a handful of spinach to this flourless peanut butter banana muffin recipe instead. It’s naturally sweetened and you could use almond butter instead of peanut butter for a paleo version.
  • I’m not sure how these would work in a full-sized muffin tin. My kids only like mini muffins, so that’s the only way I’ve tested this recipe. I don’t think the vegan version would work as well, with more middle needing to cook through, but the egg version might be okay with a cook time of closer to 25-30 minutes.

Reader Feedback: Do you have any other sneaky ways of getting your kids to eat more veggies, and less processed snacks? Please feel free to share in the comments below!

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Comments

L

Is there a substitute for the bananas? My little guy hates them!

    Megan Gilmore

    Maybe applesauce?

      Ln

      I just made them with applesauce instead of banana (1/2 c applesauce) and my extremely picky kids are eating the whole batch as we speak 😆 i also made them into regular sized muffins (ifilled up the muffin liners 3/4 of the way and made 9 full sized muffins) and used flax egg instead of egg along with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar.
      thank you so much for the fabulous recipe Megan!!

        Jenny

        They weren’t too gummy?

Raquel Smith

I’ve made these twice today (vegan version)! My kids love them, thank you! What do you think about using dates instead of the maple syrup?

Pamela Sanders

Three tactics: remove the food for a time and “rebrand” it at a later date. Squash became Indian Plant after a study of the foods nartive Americans introduced to the Pilgrims.

Reshape the food. Mushrooms chopped in squares are unrecognizable and undetectable.

Market the food in a different way and don’t offer it. Shrimp became something for adults that I didn’t put on my daughters plate. She wanted to know why she didn’t get any. I told her they were something grownups like, and she might not like them. What 5 year old doesn’t want to be more grown up? Shrimp were quite wonderful as adult food.

I allowed her to choose a vegetable of the week that we would prepare together, and that helped too.

My daughter is 31 now and introduces her friends to all kinds of things they’ve never eaten before and now like also.

If your child has read GREEN EGGS AND HAM, green muffins should be highly desirable. Try green rice with spinach and cheese also.

Don Frenette

Oats are not gluten-free

    Megan Gilmore

    Some people who are gluten-free can’t have oats, but others can. (Me, for example.) They wouldn’t label oats with a “certified gluten-free” label otherwise.

      Francheska Sanchez

      There’s also gluten free oats…

Leah Moses

Do these freeze?

Don Frenette

Oats are not gluten free go to Dr Wallach. Calm listen to his videos go to dr. Glidden look for his video 12 bad foods the people that say that oats are gluten free or lying to us

    Megan Gilmore

    Dr. Wallach is incorrect that gluten is in oats. They do contain a similar protein, called avenin, and due to processing they can be contaminated with gluten in certain facilities. So that might be what he meant in his video.

    This statement is from the University of Chicago Medicine: “A large body of scientific evidence accumulated over more than 15 years has proven that oats are completely safe for the vast majority of celiac patients. Oats are not related to gluten-containing grains such as wheat, barley and rye. They don’t contain gluten, but rather proteins called avenins that are non-toxic and tolerated by most celiacs (perhaps less than 1% of celiac patients show a reaction to a large amount of oats in their diets). Oats can be in a celiac’s diet provided they are selected from sources that guarantee a lack of contamination by wheat, rye or barley. Some who add oats to their diet may experience GI symptoms. This may actually be a result of the increased fiber that oats provide instead of a reaction to the oats themselves. “

Vesta

Hey Megan! Love your blog and your cookbook! I use a similar recipe from Super Healthy Kids and substitute certain ingredients to make it vegan! I will also use applesauce instead of oil to make it oil-free! https://www.superhealthykids.com/sweet-spinach-muffins/is what I have used in the past. I tell my son they are Hulk Muffins! Your recipe tastes great! I will definitely make it again!! I wonder if adding a little bit of baking powder along with the baking soda would make it rise more. Might be worth a shot! I like the apple cider vinegar idea. Thanks for all you do!

Rosey

I’m ballsy and made the muffins-vegan version-in a regular size muffin tin. I cant justify buying a mini one right now. I baked them for 25 min. They were kind of gummy, but I really liked them. I will try again with the egg (we aren’t vegan). And if you ever test this to be made in a full size muffin tin, I would be grateful forever 😉

Kara

So mine taste good, but are very dense. I have a Vitamix, did I process too long? I used the recipe as it and did not change it. Maybe I should have added baking powder in addition to the soda. I’m stumped.

Antoinette Davis

These spinach muffins are absolutely delicious. Even my picky husband liked them! I am looking forward to trying your other recipes

Bárbara

I want to make these asap! I love your toddler recipes, my ittle one enjoys everything I cook from your blog!:) I have a question: Do you think they could also work with spinach powder instead of fresh leaves?I still have some powder around and would like to get rid of it…

Leacia

I really wanted to love these but find them a bit…spinachy. Do you think using maple syrup in place of the honey might help? I could decrease the amount of spinach but don’t want to decrease the health benefits! TIA and love your recipes!!

    Megan Gilmore

    Hmmm… honey is sweeter than maple syrup, so using maple syrup would make them less-sweet most likely. You can start smaller with the spinach, though! Your taste buds will adjust and then you can gradually add more to each batch. 🙂

Shannon Spezialy

These are amazing! My 4 and 1.5 year olds ate almost 30 of these in a few hours. Looks like I’ll be making another batch tomorrow!

    Patricia

    I absolutely want to make these TODAY, but only have frozen spinach. What kind of deal breaker is that?

      Megan Gilmore

      I would probably thaw and drain it so the frozen spinach doesn’t add to much moisture. And I’d use less of the frozen spinach, since it shrinks so much compared to fresh!

Sari Steinberg

Great recipe!! My family, and 2 yr old included, loved these…we called them “oscar the grouch muffins”. Thank you!!

Mary

Can I substitute almond flour for this recipe?

Ganna

These muffins are wonderful! They are so easy to make! I’ve added a table spoon of lemon zest and the flavor was enhanced.

Bee

This recipe makes enough batter for nine delicious, full-sized muffins. I’ve made three batches this week and cooking them for 25 minutes has worked great! They do collapse a bit while cooling, but are still very tasty.

Hanaa

Thank you!! My picky eater LOVED these!!!! And so did the rest of the family 🙂 I was skeptical, but I made the vegan version, and the entire batch was gone in no time, hooray!

Claudia

OMG!!!! These are amazing!! My very picky 2.5 yr old can’t get enough of these “baby dinosaur muffins”…lol! That’s what I’m calling them & said that baby dinosaurs eat them so they can be big & strong! I love trying your recipes, I’ve never been disappointed!!
Thank you!

Erica

Can these be frozen? And if so, for how long would you recommend?

Joyce E Bjork

These are absolutely delicious! I was a bit skeptical just looking at the ingredients – however they taste like yummy crunch banana bread. And I love that it can be made without eggs as I am sensitive to them. Thanks so much!!!

Amy

Do you have to use honey in this muffin recipe?

    Megan Gilmore

    Probably not, but my kids wouldn’t eat them if they aren’t a little sweet.

    Pia

    Amy – I used applesauce instead of honey an it turned out great. It did have to cook a bit longer though.

Taylor

I baked these in normal sized muffin tins for 20 minutes and they turned out perfectly!

Denise Coy

Love this recipe! So easy to make and delicious! My 18 month old loves it too!

Kyfin

I made the vegan version of these but I was out of oatmeal, I subbed cornmeal and also used a regular sized cupcake pan(Makes 9). My banana was completely black and I used a baby kale/spinach/chard mix. My result is Super sweet delicious corn cakes! Not gummy at all on the inside (once they are cooled completely) a great versatile recipe!

Tracy

These are delicious ! I used the mini baking cups which worked great! First time I made them I used an egg then today I -wanted to make them but didn’t have an egg so made the chia egg the way you suggested with the apple cider & maple syrup – super good too. Thank-you!!!

Lorie

My batter is not green like the photo. It is brown and muffins are brown also. I was hoping for a green look for St. Pat’s Day. I followed instructions to a tee.

    Megan Gilmore

    How strange! Did you definitely use fresh spinach and made no ingredient swaps? My batter is always bright green, so I’m not sure what would cause it to turn brown.

    Vidhusha

    I ran out of oats. Can I substitute it with wheat flour?

      Megan Gilmore

      Probably, but I’ve never tried it that way. Let us know if it works for you! (Maybe you’ll need slightly less of it compared to the oats?)

Christina M

My kids, ages 4, 6 & 8 gobbled these up! I only added a spoonful of honey as I didn’t want them to be very sweet. I actually forgot to add the oats but they still tasted great! They were just really thin muffins. I will definitely make them again!

Trisha

Made these tonight. I skipped the sweetener and spices; used 4 packs of Great Grains Maple and Brown Sugar Oatmeal…because thats what I had on hand. It is a mix of quinoa, flax seeds and oatmeal. I also added 1/4 tsp of baking powder. The batter is really tasty. They are in the oven now. The mix made 9 medium size muffins. I tested a 1/2 muffin..is pretty good.

Stephanie

Very good! Only thing is that it took a lot longer to cook through and it was divided into 12 muffins. Also, maybe it’s my blender but needed to add another 1/4 of water. Thanks for the recipe!

nikki

Just made these and they were so good I ended up eating all 9 by myself! lolI ended up adding 1/4 c more water because they were so thick… and some chia seeds too. Very YUMMY!!

Genev

This looks delicious! Can I make them as cookies? I’m on a trip right now and I don’t have a muffin tin. What changes would I have to make? No water?
Thanks for these awesome and easy recipes! Every one I’ve tried has been delicious 😋

Sachiko

Made these this morning for my 5 year old and 18 month old. 18 month old loved these and she’s a picky eater! I used instant oatmeal instead of rolled oats because instant was the one I had… came out just fine, but wondering why the recipe recommends rolled instead of instant? Is this because they’re less processed? The muffins this morning came out really smooth, so if I used rolled oats, this may give it more texture? In any case, looking forward to more flourless, sugarless, nutrient rich goodies on you blog! Thank you Megan!

Stacey

Thank you for this terrific recipe! I made the vegan version, in regular muffin size, and they are so delicious! So easy, and uses ingredients I always have on hand!👍

Laura G

I made them without the nut butter by mistake but they were really good! Made them this morning and there are only two left. I’ll try it with almond butter next time. My banana was really ripe so it was pretty sweet. May try lowering the honey next time.

PIa

I made these today for my so. We are vegan and he’s under a year old so I substituted the honey for applesauce, and used a flax egg. They took longer to bake – more like 25 minutes, but they turned out great and are going to be perfect snacks for me to send with him to childcare. I think this is a great recipe.

Sari Steinberg

I love these, and so many of your recipes! I was wondering if these can be made without a nut butter? I need to make the recipe for a family that can’t eat any nuts or the substitutes. Thx for the great recipes!

    Megan Gilmore

    You could probably use a mild flavored oil in its place, like coconut oil.

Mia Williams

These are so good, my kids love them. My only problem was that they stuck really bad to the muffin tin. Would these work in silicone muffin pans? Or do you think I just need to grease better? Thank you!

    Megan Gilmore

    Yes, they work well in a silicone muffin pan!

      Mia Williams

      Thanks so much. They worked in the silicone, but they don’t rise at all. Is that normal? They are all totally flat, like disks. Still good though. Maybe I needed to cook them longer in the silicone? Any info you can give me would be great, as my kids love them!

Candace Robinson

Do you think switching the spinach for kale would make any detrimental difference?

    Megan Gilmore

    Kale has a stronger flavor, so I’d use less and wouldn’t expect the flavor to be “hidden” as well as spinach.

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