1-Bowl Carrot Apple Muffins (Vegan + GF)

Jump to Recipe
Gluten-free vegan Carrot Walnut Muffins resting on linens

We recently took a trip to Portland, Oregon where I visited several of our favorite bakeries and coffee shops. Perhaps my favorite is Crema – home of the biggest, fluffiest, most perfectly sweet zucchini muffin I’ve ever had.

Since I’ve already mastered the art of the Gluten-Free Zucchini Cake (<- OMG have you tried it yet?), I wanted to venture into the land of carrot cake. This recipe would certainly work as a cake, but I wanted to go the  healthier route that didn’t require frosting.

Muffin tin, loaf pan, cake pan: Whatever route you choose this 1-bowl, vegan, gluten-free recipe is going to blow you away! I literally couldn’t stop eating these (always a good sign).

Apples and carrots for making our Simple Carrot Apple Muffins recipe

The recipe starts with some of nature’s best sweeteners: Banana, apple and carrot.

You can either use applesauce or grated sweet apple (a tip I got from a friend). I’ve tried both and they work well. Plus, it replaces some of the oil to provide plenty of moisture.

Sprinkling walnuts onto Vegan Gluten-Free Carrot Muffins

Top these muffins with crushed walnuts for an extra kick of healthy fats, protein and Omega 3 fatty acids.

In an ideal world I would eat a handful of walnuts every day; sometimes on top of a muffin, sometimes in granola, sometimes straight from the jar. It doesn’t always happen but it’s a personal goal of mine. Can’t get enough of these nutrient-packed nuts.

Grabbing a Carrot Muffin for a healthy vegan breakfast treat

Not only do these muffins require just one bowl, they’re also vegan and gluten free and surprisingly healthy!

The only exception to the “healthy” label is the brown sugar (which I don’t mind in reasonable amounts). But if you’re looking to keep this recipe more natural, I’ve included muscovado (an unrefined brown sugar) as a substitution suggestion.

Batch of our Vegan Gluten-Free Carrot Muffins recipe

You’re going to love these wholesome, fruit- and veggie-packed muffins. They’re

Tender and light
Golden brown
Perfectly sweet
Loaded with carrot and apple
& Simple

Keep these muffins on hand for a quick, on-the-go breakfast or snack. I love packing these when we’re going on trips instead of having to buy super sugary and processed alternatives.

If you make this recipe be sure to take a picture and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram! I love seeing what you guys cook up. Cheers!

Close up shot revealing the moist texture of a partially eaten carrot muffin

1-Bowl Carrot Apple Muffins (Vegan + GF)

Vegan, gluten-free carrot muffins loaded with fruit and veggies. Super moist and flavorful, healthy, and made in one bowl! Perfect for on-the-go breakfast and snacking.
Author Minimalist Baker
Tray with a batch of Carrot Apple Muffins for simple GF vegan fall dessert
4.85 from 387 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 32 minutes
Total Time 47 minutes
Servings 12 (muffins)
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 3-4 Days


  • 1 ½ Tbsp flaxseed meal (to make flax egg)
  • 4 Tbsp water (to make flax egg)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup mashed very ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar or maple syrup (or honey if not vegan)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (or finely grated apple)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (or sub muscavado)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup plain almond milk (unsweetened)
  • 1 heaping cup (packed) grated carrot
  • 2/3 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 heaping cup gluten-free flour blend
  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts (chopped // for topping)


  • Prepare flax eggs in a large mixing bowl by mixing flaxseed meal and water and let rest for a few minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C).
  • Prepare muffin tin with liners or lightly grease them.
  • To the flax eggs, add mashed banana, agave or maple syrup, olive oil and whisk to combine.
  • Next add applesauce, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and whisk to combine.
  • Add almond milk and stir.
  • Add grated carrot and stir.
  • Add oats, almond meal, and gluten-free flour blend and stir.
  • Divide evenly among 12 muffin tins, filling them all the way up to the top, and top with crushed walnuts (optional).
  • Bake for 32-36 minutes, or until deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. When you press on the top it shouldn’t feel too spongey, so don’t be afraid of over baking! The GF blend just takes longer to bake.
  • Remove from oven and let set in the pan for 15 minutes. Then flip on their sides still in the pan to let cool completely.
  • If you try to unwrap them too quickly, they have a tendency to stick to the wrappers.
  • Once cooled, store in a covered container or bag at room temp to keep fresh. Freeze after that to keep fresh.



*You can sub 1 sweet apple in place of 1/2 cup applesauce.
*If baking in a loaf pan or cake pan (8×8), bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour and check every 5 minutes thereafter for doneness.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.

Nutrition (1 of 12 servings)

Serving: 1 muffin Calories: 203 Carbohydrates: 30 g Protein: 3.5 g Fat: 8.5 g Saturated Fat: 1 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 255 mg Fiber: 3.5 g Sugar: 14 g

Did You Make This Recipe?

Tag @minimalistbaker on Instagram and hashtag it #minimalistbaker so we can see all the deliciousness!

If you love this recipe...

Get Our Fan Favorites eBook Here!

Reader Interactions

Leave a Comment & Rating!

Have a question? Use ctrl+f or ⌘+f on your computer or the "find on page" function on your phone browser to search existing comments! Need help? Check out this tutorial!

My Rating:

  1. Eve says

    We have a nut allergy here, I usually swap nut milk for oat milk, but what about the almond flour? Can I just use more GF flour blend instead? Or will it change texture too much?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Eve, it will likely change the texture, but it might be okay since it’s a small amount. GF blend is more absorbent than almond meal, so you won’t need as much of it. Another option would be to sub a seed meal (raw pumpkin/sunflower seeds blended in a blender) 1-1 for the almond meal. Pumpkin seed meal is preferable because sunflower seed meal may turn the muffins green (still fine to eat!) because of the reaction with baking soda. Hope that helps!

  2. Janice says

    These were the best muffins I’ve ever made in my 4 years of being gluten free & vegan! Texture was perfect, flavour was so wholesome and delicious. Great job on this recipe!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! We’re so glad you enjoyed these muffins, Janice. Thank you for the lovely review! xo

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Eva, We haven’t tried this recipe without oats, but it could work to increase the gluten free blend and almond meal, or possibly try quinoa flakes or a lesser amount of buckwheat flour or sorghum flour. Let us know if you try it!

  3. Gluten Free Chef says

    Literally the most amazing muffin ever, will 100% be making again. When I tried it my jaw dropped.
    I added cranberry, pumpkin seeds and almonds to the batter right before baking – best decision I’ve made this week. Please try its actually so good.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Whoop! Thank you so much for the amazing review! Your additions sound delicious. xoxo

  4. Kate Marlowe says

    I baked these as mini-muffins for a February book club gathering and they turned out moist and really delicious. I’m still enjoying them 3 months later, thanks to how well they freeze and the fact that I ended up not attending the book club gathering.
    I’m low sugar so made modifications to use what I had on hand and/or what I thought would be good as follows:
    -Halved olive oil and used half a cup mashed banana
    -Sweetened with 2 T agave syrup and 2 T Wholesome Yum Keto maple syrup (sweetened with monk fruit and natural allulose)
    -For the brown sugar, I mixed a variety of low sugar substitutes I had on hand and needed to use up: Truvia Brown zero calories, Wholesome Yum’s brown sugar monk fruit and allulose blend, and a little TJ’s Organic coconut sugar. Kept tasting raw mix (yay for flax eggs) till the sweetness was right till I hit the sweet spot ;)
    – added 3/4t baking powder per another reviewer’s comment
    – was really low on cinnamon so added a tsp of pumpkin pie mix. Will def do that again
    – low on PB milks so used an oat and almond mix
    -made a note to use try-color carrots next time for most interest
    – used a matchstick peeler, not a grater. Was worried with the tiny muffin size but everything baked tidily into the cup.
    -Used Aviate Lupini flakes instead of rolled oats. Look them up. Way lower glycemic index, more protein, less calories and carbs. I use their rice and flour too.
    – for GF flour, subbed a blend of almond, eikhorn, & lupini flours that worked well, although I had to add a couple of tablespoons more as it was kinda wet.
    – for topping I didn’t have walnuts so used a blend of raw sunflower seeds and pecan chips. Nice balance of flavors and textures.
    The batter was wet when I filled the first mini cup so I doubled the cupcake papers. I was worried it wouldn’t bake through so I gave it 10 more minutes, tested, then another 3-4 minutes in the oven after I turned it off. Cooled and sat overnight pan in frig open, then froze in glass tupperware type containers. Great for a quick dessert or small sweet snack.

    Don’t think I’d change or add anything, and that’s high praise from this free-lance cook!

  5. Babs says

    I know you make many gluten free foods, but that’s not a problem for me. Can I just use a whole grain flour instead of the gf and almond flour?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi, you can! We would recommend keeping the almond flour for best texture/flavor, but you can definitely replace the gluten-free flour blend. You might not need quite as much whole wheat flour. If replacing the almond flour too, keep in mind it’s much less absorbent than all purpose or whole wheat flour, so you’ll need much less of those flours. Hope that helps!

  6. Melissa says

    Made these gf muffins and they are great! I have added dried cranberries and sometimes blueberries to these and still turn out awesome!! Great recipe!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! We’re so glad you enjoy these muffins, Melissa. Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing about the add-ins you’ve tried! xo

  7. Baiba says

    Dear MB Team,
    Is there any chance I could use leftover pulp from your super powered orange juice in this recipe? If yes, what can I swap it with and how much of the pulp I can use?
    Thank you so much! :)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Baiba, That’s a creative idea! We wonder if it might work in place of some of the grated carrot? Maybe try half pulp and half grated carrot, adding a bit more liquid, if needed. We’d love to hear how it goes if you try it!

  8. Tess says

    I can’t wait to make these, however, I have an almond allergy, what can I use instead of the almond meal? Thanks!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Tess, we’d recommend using cashew flour if you can have that! Otherwise, more oats + GF blend.

  9. Jen says

    Hello, I would like to try these and just wondering if there is a good substitute for the banana? Thank you!

  10. Alana says

    These came out amazing! I used a chia seed “egg” instead of flax, and grated apple instead of applesauce. I also used maple syrup and added GF/DF chocolate chips for some extra sweetness. I didn’t use walnuts on top as my daughter has an allergy, and they still came out great! I’ll definitely be making these again!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications, Alana! xo

  11. Thea says

    I love these muffins. I have made them a few times with the recipe as written and they were good though a little sweet for me. This time I used 1/2 cup maple syrup and omitted the sugar and they were just right.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed the muffins with that modification, Thea. Thank you for sharing! xo

  12. Maree says

    The best healthier carrot cake recipe I’ve tried thus far! I used 1 apple grated instead of 1/2 c apple sauce/purée & I added 1/3 c of sultanas/raisins & also switched out the GF flour to white spelt flour. I’ll be making more again tomorrow a double batch & storing them in the freezer to have on hand. Also note I used the regular side of the grater for both the apple & the carrot & it baked perfectly & the chopped walnuts on top add such a tasty crunch to the top of the muffin. Yum 😋 🥕

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Whoop! We’re so glad you love this recipe, Maree. Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications! xo

  13. Elle Russell says

    Hi I’m confused about the flax egg measurements. In the recipe it says use 1 1/2 tbl ground flax and 4 tbl water but in the link about how to make a flax egg it says to use 1 1/2 tbl flax seed and 2.5 tbl water. Can you clarify?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Elle, sorry for the confusion! Use 1 1/2 Tbsp flaxseed meal + 4 Tbsp water in this recipe.

  14. Andrea says

    Hi; thanks for your suggestions. I did put the amount of grated apple as the recipe suggested (1/2 cup), and other bakers seemed to have cut the sugar without ill effect. Also, I did allow the muffins to cool as the recipe said (with the 15 mins in the tin, then on their side til cool). So, the flour seems to be the culprit as these were definitely too wet and no amount of cooking would’ve helped. I forgot to say I used Almond flour instead of Almond meal, so I hope that wasn’t an issue? Do you think it was okay to use the Bob’s Red mill 1:1 GF flour? If that blend is okay, what would you suggest I use for amount? Closer to 1.5 cups? Thx for your help.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Ah, got it! That blend should be okay (assuming you’re referring to the blue bag, not red bag version). We would say try increasing the almond flour and 1:1 GF blend so it doesn’t get too gummy from just more GF blend. It’s hard to say a precise amount, but you could add 1 Tbsp more of each at a time, until the batter resembles the consistency in the video. Hope that helps!

  15. Andrea says

    Hi! I tried this muffin today and was excited to have something dairy free and GF, too. I made a few modifications/choices:
    -used grated apples instead of apple sauce
    -reduced brown sugar to 1/4 cup packed
    -changed amt of baking soda to what was suggested below – 1 tsp each of baking soda and baking powder
    -used unsweetened almond milk
    -used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten free 1:1 Baking Flour
    Sadly, I had the same issue as Olivia below and after cooking for approx 45 mins, they still had some bounce to the top, and they turned out totally gummy inside. Perhaps way more flour was needed? I put a heaping cup. Any thoughts on the issue? I’m really anxious to try them out and have success, as they look and smell delicious. Thanks.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Bummer. Sorry that happened, Andrea! We think a couple things may have been at play. Apples might add more moisture than applesauce and using less sugar could also impact the texture. If those factors weren’t contributing, then using more flour and letting the muffins cool fully before enjoying would be our next recommendations. Hope that helps!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jayne! We haven’t tried them with whole wheat flour, but are guessing you might need a bit less.

  16. Michele says

    I made pulp muffins for the first time using this recipe. I appreciate the clear steps and options; substitutes, that could be considered. I printed the recipe because I plan to make these time and time again. They are not only tasty but they are beautiful too.

    These muffins are spectacular and I plan to make more pulp muffins! Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! We’re so glad they turned out well with that modification. Thank you for sharing, Michele! xo

      • Bez says

        I made the muffins only substituting more almond meal rather than the GF for the last heaping cup. The taste was great, but all muffins were expressed in the middle. Thoughts on how to get them looking like normal muffins?

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          Hi Bez, we’re not sure what you mean by expressed in the middle, but almond meal isn’t as absorbent as a gluten-free blend, so it will make the muffins more wet/dense in the middle. You would need to use more almond meal than you would GF blend, and even so, the result would be different!

  17. Freezedried says

    Yum, I made this with a few minor changes, einkorn flour, date sugar, less olive oil, threw in also apple pie spice, 2 tsp bak powd, not as many almonds, and it came out grrrrreat! Thanks for the recipe. Worth the grating time. It’s -40 F, gave a couple, made more than a dozen, to the ravens outside.

  18. Nadine says

    what can I use to substitute the rolled oats? Rolled oats don’t do well with my tummy but oat flour is ok

    Also, how would I modify if I also wanted mashed bananas?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Nadine, We haven’t tried this recipe without oats, but it could work to increase the gluten free blend and almond meal in place of the oats. For the mashed banana, you could try more applesauce. Hope that helps!

    • Kate M says

      Nadine, check out Lupini oats made from lupini beans as a substitute for oats. I use Aviate brand but there are others. – Kate M

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Teil, cashew flour would be the next best option. If nut-free, you could try sunflower seed meal, but keep in mind it may change the color (to green). Hope that helps!

  19. Erin B. says

    I’ve come back to this recipe time and time again, even printing it out, which is a testament to how much I like it! Substitutions I’ve made include:
    pumpkin puree in place of olive oil (oil free),
    pumpkin puree in place of banana (i was out of banana),
    egg in place of flax egg (if not vegan),
    ground sunflower seeds in place of almond meal,
    and added raisins to make these almost like gluten free ‘bran muffins’!
    They are so yummy and adaptably forgiving.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! We’re so glad you enjoy the recipe, Erin. Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications! xo

      • Erin says

        For the most recent batch I tried grinding hemp seeds instead of almond meal/almond flour as I didn’t have almond, they still came out delicious but the hemp seeds were more like a paste so it was quite a chore to mix it properly… tastes great but I wouldn’t recommend my substitution 😂😂😂

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          Thank you for sharing your experience! We wonder if processing them for less time (or in a food processor maybe?) might keep them more of a flour consistency.

  20. Amanda Ciciotti says

    I want to make these for my toddler, can I use whole wheat flour? And I’d prefer to use eggs instead of the flax, is one egg enough?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Amanda! We haven’t tried them with whole wheat flour, but are guessing you might need a bit less. Also, one egg should work!