Carrot Cake Oatmeal Muffins

Carrot cake oatmeal muffin with cream cheese icing in a pink cupcake liner.

For some reason, as soon as I start to see bunnies in the grocery and drug store aisles each year, I immediately get cravings for carrot cake. It’s my favorite.

A couple of months ago, I came across some recipes for oatmeal muffins. I was looking for something I could make on the weekend then eat for breakfast and snacks during the week. It needed to have good nutrients to fuel my day and it needed to be low in sugar.

Enter oatmeal muffins. How is an oatmeal muffin different from just a normal oat muffin? Well, you soak the oats in milk for 30-45 minutes to soften the grain before mixing and baking the muffins. You end up with a moist, fluffy, and completely satisfying muffin.

Since discovering my new favorite breakfast pastry, I have made them weekly with a variety of different flavors and add-ins. My favorite so far is the carrot cake flavor, which has chopped walnuts and a yummy cream cheese glaze.

What You’ll Need

First, you’ll need a few basic tools:

  • Medium-sized mixing bowl
  • Small bowl to whisk egg
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Large spoon for mixing
  • Sifter or mesh sieve
  • Muffin tin with paper liners or silicone muffin cups
  • Small mixing bowl for glaze
  • Spoon for glaze

And, of course, the ingredients. For the muffins:

  • Rolled oats
  • Skim milk (or your milk of choice)
  • All-purpose flour
  • Granulated sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Unsweetened apple sauce
  • Egg
  • Carrots
  • Walnuts
  • Spices – I used apple pie spice and cinnamon.

For the icing:

  • Butter, unsalted
  • Cream cheese
  • Powdered sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt

How to Make

First, you’ll want to soak the oats in milk for at least 30-45 minutes. Just throw them in a bowl, pop it in the fridge, go do your workout, and by the time you’re done they’ll be ready to go.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

I’m all about making life easy, and I’ve found that these muffins turn out just as well when I mix everything in one bowl as when I mix dry and wet ingredients separately then combine. However you choose to do it will work, though.

I first sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl.

Then add the sugar and salt.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg and add, along with apple sauce, to the oats mixture.

Mix ingredients together until just combined. Be sure not to overmix.

Add carrots, walnuts, and spices and fold into batter. Folding is a little more gentle than stirring, and simply means to scoop and turn the batter using a spoon or rubber spatula.

Evenly distribute batter amongst 12 muffin cups. If you have a muffin tin, great! Line it with paper liners or lightly spray with oil. I used silicone muffin cups and just spread them on a regular baking sheet.

Bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through. Test by inserting a toothpick or fork into the center. If it comes out clean, the muffins are done!

Remove from muffin tin or baking sheet (if using silicone muffin cups) and set aside to cool.

overhead shot of carrot cake oatmeal muffins without icing.

While muffins are cooling, put all icing ingredients in a bowl and mix until there are no lumps.

Spoon about 1/2 tablespoon of icing onto each muffin and gently spread to cover the top of the muffin.

Angled shot of carrot cake oatmeal muffins with cream cheese icing on top.


Ingredients 1-8 make up the base muffin mix I use for every variation I’ve made so far.

Once you’ve mixed these ingredients together, the sky’s the limit on add-in combinations you can do.

I’ve done lemon/blueberry, apple cinnamon, and dark chocolate/cherry and they all turned out great. I typically include a tablespoon of flax or chia seeds if not using nuts to boost fiber and healthy fat.

Have fun playing around with different flavors. If you come up with a fun one, let me know!


Apple pie spice: I used store-bought, but you can easily make your own apple pie spice mix if you already have the spices at home.

Cream cheese icing: I only use about 1/2 tablespoon of icing on each muffin, so a little goes a long way. The recipe below will glaze about 36 muffins, or 3 batches. Store in the fridge until the next time you make Carrot Cake Muffins…if you’re like me, that won’t be long!

Why apple sauce? I used apple sauce instead of oil in this recipe to lower the calorie count while maintaining moisture. If you want to boost your fats for the day, you can use 1/4 cup of canola oil instead.

Are these a good pre-workout snack? I’m glad you asked! Yes. For a low- to moderate-intensity workout of less than 60 minutes, this would be a great little energy boost. If you’re doing a more intense and/or longer workout, you’ll need to have something with it, like some fruit, to boost carbs.

How to Store and Reheat

These muffins keep best in the fridge, but they are definitely best eaten a little warm.

Store muffins in a storage container in the fridge, and when it’s time to eat one, pop it in the microwave for about 15 seconds. That’s the perfect amount of warm for me, but adjust to your preference.

What to Serve With It

For a solid, balanced breakfast, I like to eat one of these guys with some plain or vanilla Greek yogurt to get my morning protein in.

If you plan to do a hard or long workout, add some berries or other fruit to amp up the carbs.

Or, have one by itself for a nice little snack.

Carrot cake oatmeal muffin with cream cheese icing in a pink cupcake liner.

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Muffins

Carrots, rich spices, and cream cheese glaze give the flavor of carrot cake with the nutrients of oats.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: carrot cake oatmeal muffins
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Soak Oats: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 12 muffins
Calories: 135kcal


  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk or milk of choice
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 each large egg whisked
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp apple pie spice

Cream Cheese Glaze

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 4 oz cream cheese softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar sifted
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt


  • First combine oats and milk in a medium-sized mixing bowl and let soak for 30-45 minutes
  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
  • Add flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, egg and apple sauce to bowl and mix to combine
  • Add carrots, walnuts, and spices and fold into oats mixture until well dispersed throughout batter
  • Scoop batter into muffin cups, filling each evenly
  • Bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick or fork inserted into center comes out clean
  • Remove from baking pan and set aside to cool, preferable on a baking rack if you have one
  • Make sure butter and cream cheese are both softened and add to small bowl with powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Mix until there are no lumps.
  • Once muffins are cooled, spoon about 1/2 tablespoon of icing onto each muffin and spread to evenly coat the top of the muffin
  • Enjoy!


Serving: 1muffin | Calories: 135kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 190mg | Potassium: 96mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g

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