These carrot cranberry muffins are moist and delicious and just a little tart. Some links in this article are affiliate links that earn me a commission if you purchase through them.
I learned to just make a double batch of any muffin in the hopes that they’ll last more than a day or two.
These carrot cranberry muffins fall into the same line. They’re easy to make, and it’s a great way to sneak in some extra veggies.
Because I puree the carrots, they have a smoother texture than many carrot muffins that use grated carrots, which makes them more appealing to kids and those with texture issues. That’s a win in my house.
The pureed carrots also make them a little heavier than some muffins I bake, so they don’t create the big domes that so many of my muffin recipes do. They remain light and moist when you eat them, however.
This is a great way to use up extra cranberries if you made cranberry sauce (can I recommend my simple orange cranberry version?) or found them on sale and bought a package.
Are these muffins vegan?
As written, this is not a vegan recipe, but you can easily make one change and have it vegan. It is dairy free as written.
The only non vegan item in this recipe is the eggs. Substitute the eggs with your favorite vegan replacement, and you have a delicious vegan muffin.
Can I use baby carrots or frozen carrots?
Yes, you can, and I have in the past. However, baby carrots don’t seem to have as much flavor to me as full size carrots.
If you use baby carrots, they need to steam for less time than larger carrots, which shouldn’t be a surprise.
You could also use frozen carrots. Frozen carrots are cut into smaller pieces and blanched before they get frozen.
Needless to say, you may only need to steam them for two or three minutes, so check them sooner if you use frozen carrots.
How do I steam carrots?
Steaming carrots is fairly simple. You need a pot with a steamer basket, then add water but do not let it touch the basket itself.
Peel your carrots, and cut them into smaller pieces if you have large carrots like I tend to. Place them into the pot, and bring the water to a boil.
Steam them for 6-8 minutes, depending on the size of your carrots. When you can easily pierce them with a knife, they are good to go.
Be careful working around steam, and always use appropriate protective tools to keep the heat and steam away from you.
Do I need to let the carrots cool after I steam them?
You do not need to, but you absolutely can. In fact, you can steam your carrots a day or two in advance if you choose.
I puree my carrots directly after they finish steaming. I add only the oil to the blender, and I make sure the blender is filled no more than a third of the way and that I hold down the top of the blender with a kitchen towel to ensure it doesn’t pop off.
Note: Those two safety precautions are required any time you use a blender with hot items. You do not want to have anything hot spray out ever.
If you cool your carrots first, you can add the eggs directly to the blender with the carrots and oil to save a step. If you use hot carrots, do not add the eggs.
That said, the carrots cool sufficiently once they mix into the dry ingredients that you can add the beaten eggs safely while mixing at that point.
Should I use fresh or dried cranberries in these carrot muffins?
While I used fresh cranberries this time, this recipe works equally well with dried cranberries. There are a few differences, however.
If you use dried cranberries, you only need a cup and a half rather than the two full cups of fresh cranberries I used. You may also get a muffin or two less than the 20 I make with fresh cranberries.
Additionally, I recommend using straight dried cranberries rather than flavored ones or ones with sugar added. Muffins are sweet enough as it is, and you don’t need extra sweetened dried fruit for them.
That said, the fresh cranberries provide a tang that you don’t get from dried cranberries, and I do prefer that version.
What else can I add to these carrot cranberry muffins?
You can definitely have some fun with these muffins in terms of flavors and ingredients.
If you don’t have cranberries on hand, try them with raisins instead. Again, use 1 1/2 cups of raisins rather than the two cups of fresh cranberries.
Try adding some ground ginger or a pinch cardamom in addition to the ground nutmeg. Pecans would taste great as a mix in. Try adding pepitas (pumpkin seeds) to the tops before you bake them.
Have fun with these moist cranberry carrot muffins.
Why do I bake my muffins at two temperatures?
I love this trick to making muffins. When you start out at a high temperature, it causes a quicker rise, which gives you a nice top to your muffin.
The lower temperature after the top sets lets the muffins then cook all the way through without burning the top.
When you change temperatures, do not open the oven door. Simply change the temperature and let your muffins do their thing.
This method also bakes your muffins faster, which is a plus for me. If you want to bake them at a single temperature, you can bake them at 350 degrees for 25 minutes and skip the two temperature step.
Should I grease my muffin tins?
You can grease your muffin tins if you do not have muffin papers, but I strongly prefer to use cupcake liners in an ungreased muffin tin.
First, the greased muffin tin makes for a slightly greasy muffin when you remove it from the tin, which isn’t the texture you want.
Second, spraying a tin isn’t foolproof. You may miss a spot, then your muffin gets partially stuck in the tin and breaks apart or leaves pieces behind.
Third, when you spray, you don’t get just into the muffin cavity. It goes over the whole tin, and you then bake the spray into the muffin tin. This is why so many baking dishes get sticky over time, and that’s just gross.
Last, the muffin paper helps the muffin retain moisture after you first bake it. No one wants a dry muffin.
Can I freeze muffins?
Yes, you can absolutely freeze muffins for up to two months if you store them properly. This is a perfect way to save muffins if you won’t eat them right away.
Make sure you cool your muffins completely. Place them in a tightly sealed container with as little air as possible, then freeze.
To thaw, let them sit on a counter overnight (never ever put them in the fridge). Alternatively, you can microwave them for 10-15 seconds to thaw them more quickly.
How to Make Carrot Cranberry Muffins
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees, and line muffin tins with cupcake papers.
Steam your carrots as instructed above until a knife pierces them easily. Place carrots and oil in a blender.
Cover and process until smooth.
Safety Note: Be sure to fill your blender no more than one-third full, and always use a kitchen towel to help you hold down the top when working with anything hot. You do not want the top to pop loose due to pressure inside.
In a medium sized bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Stir to mix.
Add the carrot mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened (lumps are ok when you’re making muffin and pancakes and such!).
In a separate bowl, add the two eggs and beat. Pour them into the batter while mixing. The carrots will have cooled enough that they will not cook the eggs.
Alternatively, if you steam and cool your carrots before you start, you can add the eggs to the blender if the carrots are cool enough.
Fold in the cranberries with a rubber spatula. You just want them evenly distributed.
Use your muffin scoop to fill the muffin cups until almost all the way full. They will not spill over while you bake these carrot cranberry muffins.
Bake at 425 degrees for 7 minutes, then turn the heat down to 350 degrees without opening the door. Bake for another 7-9 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool for five minutes before removing from the pan, then place your muffins on a wire rack to cool the rest of the way.
Store fully cooled muffins in a tightly sealed container on your counter for 2-3 days.
Like this idea? Save this carrot cranberry muffins recipe for later!
- 1 pound carrots, steamed
- 1/2 c canola oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 c flour
- 3/4 c (scant) sugar
- 1 1/4 t baking soda
- 1/2 t baking powder
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/2 t nutmeg
- 1/2 t cinnamon
- 1/8 t allspice
- 2 c fresh cranberries
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Peel and steam carrots until a knife pierces them easily.
- Add carrots and oil to a blender and puree. Fill no more than 1/3 full, and use a kitchen towel to hold down the top at all times for safety.
- Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice in a bowl.
- Add the pureed carrots to the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
- In a small bowl, beat the eggs, then pour into the batter while mixing.
- Fold in the cranberries until distributed.
- Use a muffin scoop to fill a muffin tin lined with papers most of the way full.
- Bake at 425 degrees for 7 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 350 degrees and bake another 7-9 minutes.
- Let muffins cool in the tins for three minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool the rest of the way.
- Store in a tightly sealed container on your counter for 2-3 days.
If you don't have fresh cranberries, you can also make these with dried cranberries. However, you need only 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1 muffin
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 114Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 170mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g
This site uses an outside source to provide nutrition as a courtesy. If you need exact values, please calculate yourself.
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