These Easy Sugar Top Carrot Muffins are moist and studded with coconut, raisins and crushed pineapple. The crisp, crunchy sugar topping is a fabulous finishing touch!
I’ve never thought of airport food as being anything out of the ordinary, but I’ve discovered that occasionally there is an exception. That’s actually the story behind our Copycat Starbuck’s Blueberry Muffins as well as these delicious Sugar Top Carrot Muffins.
Delicious, unexpected inspiration!
Scott and I were traveling recently and had to be up at 3:30 am to catch a flight back home. By the time we checked in and got through security we were starving and in need of caffeine. I found a little coffee shop and as I was ordering cappuccinos, I noticed some beautiful, high-domed carrot muffins in the display case. I purchased two to go with our coffee and we were pleasantly surprised with the first bite. The muffins were moist and laden with plump raisins and shredded carrots.
The crunchy sugar topping was delicious without adding a lot of extra calories and fat. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good crumb-topped muffin, but generally steer away from them as they probably should be relegated to a dessert treat rather than breakfast fare.
Muffins on the mind
When we arrived home from our trip, I had carrot muffins on my brain and set to work a few days later on my own rendition. I used our Morning Glory Muffin recipe as a base as it’s one of those failproof, super reliable recipes that everyone seems to love. I altered and tweaked the ingredients a bit and I’m super happy with the results.
It’s an easy recipe that you can stir up without a mixer. I like to use the pre-shredded carrots that are available at most grocery stores these days, which makes throwing these muffins together super easy and quick.
It’s easy to prep this recipe in advance by combining the dry ingredients (flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, salt and shredded coconut) in one bowl that can be covered and stored at room temperature. In another bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, drained pineapple, pineapple juice and vanilla and then refrigerate.
Prep ahead for low-stress mornings and easy entertaining
When you’re ready to bake the muffins, preheat the oven to 375˚F and grease a muffin pan. Add the shredded carrots and plumped raisins to the dry ingredients and make a well in the center. Stir in the prepared oil mixture and stir just until combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, pop the pan in the oven and wait for the delicious intoxicating aroma!
I served these Sugar Top Carrot Muffins for breakfast one morning when a friend was visiting over the weekend. She loved them as much as we do and gave them a big thumbs up. There was no arguing when I offered to send the leftovers home with her. I think you’ll enjoy them too!
Cafe Tips for these Sugar Top Carrot Muffins
- As mentioned above, to make this muffin recipe really easy, I like to use the pre-shredded carrots that you can find in the produce department of most grocery stores. The carrot shreds can be a little long and unwieldy though, so I place a handful on a cutting board and run a large sharp knife through them a few times.
- You can also shred your own carrots. Pack them lightly in the cup when measuring.
- This recipe makes 16 nice size muffins. You can make 16 or just make one muffin pan full (12 muffins) and then make an additional small loaf of carrot bread (I use a mini loaf pan). I’ve found that if you use all of the batter to make 12 muffins, they don’t rise as nicely and you end up with large muffin tops.
- You could also make 4 of the mini loaves instead of muffins.
- I love pretty cupcake liners but find that even the greaseproof varieties tend to come out of the oven looking faded and unattractive so I usually bake my muffins without papers. When they’ve cooled a bit, I slip them into a pretty liner for serving.
- These muffins start out with a preheated oven of 375˚F but then the temperature is reduced to 350˚F when you place them in the oven. The higher temperature gives an initial boost of heat which helps the batter get a good start on rising. Lowering the temperature ensures that the muffins don’t bake too quickly on the outside and get too brown.
- This recipe calls for an 8-ounce (227g) can of crushed pineapple. Look for the kind prepared in pineapple juice without any extra sugar. Drain the pineapple well, preferably in a fine-mesh strainer. You’ll use ¼ cup of the strained pineapple juice and discard the rest (or use it for something else). Fine-mesh strainers are inexpensive but wonderful to have for all kinds of recipes.
- I really love this OXO Good Grips Non-Stick Muffin Pan. I’ve had mine for several years, use it several times a week, run it through the dishwasher frequently and it still looks brand new.
- Wrap any leftovers in plastic wrap or a zippered storage bag, and store at room temperature for up to 24 hours. Freeze for longer storage.
- These Easy Sugar Top Carrot Muffins freeze well. I like to freeze them on a plate or sheet pan, uncovered for about an hour. Then I throw them in a ziplock bag. They’re already partially frozen so they won’t squish each other.
Thought for the day:
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
What we’re listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations and ideas for variations.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups shredded carrot see Café Tips above in the post if using purchased shredded carrots.
- ¾ cup raisins
- ½ cup shredded coconut sweetened
- 3 large eggs
- ⅔ cup vegetable oil
- 1 8- ounce can crushed pineapple well-drained (reserve the juice)
- ¼ cup pineapple juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Demarara sugar or turbinado sugar, for topping
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray 16 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray or line them with cupcake liners. (See Café Tips above in the post about alternatives.)
If your raisins look dried out, place them in a small bowl and cover them with hot water. Set aside for 5 minutes then drain well.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, spices, and salt. Stir well.
Add the carrots, raisins and coconut and stir to combine. Run your hands through the mixture, breaking up any small clumps of brown sugar, coconut or raisins that remain. Make a well in the center of the mixture then set it aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, pineapple, pineapple juice and vanilla until well combined.
Add egg mixture to the well in the flour mixture. Stir just until all of the flour is incorporated (mixture will be quite thick). Divide the batter among the cups of the prepared pans, filling almost to the top (about 7/8 full). Sprinkle each muffin with about ½ teaspoon of Demerara sugar. Place the muffins in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 350˚F.
Bake the muffins for 22 to 28 minutes, until they're nicely domed and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven, cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove from pans and cool on a wire rack.
See Café Tips above for detailed instructions and additional tips.
Original Morning Glory Muffins recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.