Breakfast & Brunch · Gluten Free

Morning Glory Muffins (Gluten Free & Naturally Sweetened)

Happy National Carrot Cake Day!

IMG_2269Oh… what, you forgot? Well I didn’t.

Carrot cake definitely ranks as one of my favorite cakes. It’s one of the only varieties of cake that is great with or without icing. Which doesn’t exactly stop me from slathering on a thick layer of cream cheese frosting every time I make one, but I appreciate that it could stand alone if I wanted it to.

A year or two ago I came up with what I’ll immodestly boast as the greatest carrot cake recipe of all time… but I won’t be sharing it just yet. As much as I looooveeee carrot cake, something about it makes me think of spring time. It must have to do with bunnies. Bunnies like carrots. Bunny. Easter Bunny. Carrot cake.


You see it all comes full circle. Even though I wait until Easter to make my carrot cake each year, I love the flavors of carrots and warm spices no matter what season it is. That’s why I almost always have a batch of these Morning Glory Muffins stored in my freezer.

Have you ever had a morning glory muffin? I remember the first one I ever ate. It was Christmas morning during one of my vegan years, and for whatever reason that year my mom and I had stayed the night at my grandma’s. I think my mom forgot to do any Christmas shopping, so sometime during the day Christmas Eve she set out to a new Tea Room & Herbal Apothecary a short distance away to hunt for stocking stuffers. I woke up the next morning to a lovely basket of things, on top of which was a huge, cinnamon-y, orange-hued muffin. I couldn’t believe my ever-hungry vegan eyes. I devoured that muffin. It was the best Christmas morning breakfast ever, even when washed down by that terrible Maxwell House coffee only grandmas buy.

And so started my love affair with morning glory muffins. That particular vegan muffin was sweet and spicy, bursting with bits of apple, pineapple, and studded with walnuts. It teetered precariously on the line between muffin and cupcake, but boy was it good.


It took a few years before I experimented with my own recipe. There’s a lot of variation in what goes in to a morning glory muffin. They alway have carrots and cinnamon, but otherwise what else gets baked in is up to the person making them. I’ve seen versions with coconut, apple, pineapple, bananas, walnuts, pecans, dried fruits, and a number of different spices.

For mine, I use a bit of finely chopped apples, a handful of raisins for sweetness, and a touch of pineapple juice. I prefer not to overload them with “stuff” so that the flavor of the carrots can really come through.

Speaking of flavor, these muffins are made from brown rice and oat flours. Not only does that make them friendly to anyone avoiding gluten, but these flours offer a great toasty flavor that plain all-purpose flour doesn’t have. I’ve actually never even tried to make these with wheat flour because I like them so much as is.

These morning glory muffins are also free from refined sugar. I am definitely a sweet breakfast person, opting for a bowl of granola or toast with jam over eggs and bacon any day. Even so, I don’t want something cloyingly sweet first thing in the morning, as I mentioned in this post. I use a bit of coconut palm sugar and maple syrup in this recipe to lightly sweeten the batter. This keeps the muffins from tasting like something you might feed to a horse, which is the opinion I’ve had on a lot of “healthy” muffins I’ve tried in the past. To me, the sweetness is just right; I get to enjoy my muffin without having to worry that I’m really just eating a cupcake at 7 AM.


Whether you’re running out the door on your way to work, or lingering with a cup of coffee on a lazy weekend morning, you’ll want to have one of these Morning Glory Muffins for breakfast. Eat one just as it is, slightly warmed, or toasted with a bit of butter. These muffins will make getting up in the morning more “glorious” for sure! 🙂

Morning Glory Muffins
Yields 12 muffins

Soft, spiced, and lightly sweet muffins made with whole grain gluten free flours, no refined sugars, and more than two servings of fruit and vegetables. A glorious start to the morning indeed. 


  • 1 cup (120g) brown rice flour
  • 1 cup (105g) oat flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup (65g) coconut palm sugar
  • 2 Tbs. (27g) maple syrup
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup (2oz) pineapple juice
  • 2 cups (210g) finely shredded carrots (about 3-4 large carrots)
  • 1/2 cup (75g) finely diced apple (about half of a medium apple)
  • 1/4 cup (40g) raisins


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray, or grease lightly with oil.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the canola oil, coconut palm sugar, and maple syrup. Add the eggs and whisk vigorously until slightly foamy. Whisk in the applesauce and pineapple juice, then add the carrots, apples, and raisins.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to mix everything together until combined, with no lumps remaining. Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cavities. They will be nearly full.

Bake for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool fro 5-10 minutes in the pan before removing and transferring to a cooling rack.

These muffins keep well stored in an airtight container for 4-5 days, or you may freeze them to have for future breakfasts on busy mornings! Thaw for an hour or overnight at room temperature.


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4 thoughts on “Morning Glory Muffins (Gluten Free & Naturally Sweetened)

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