Carrot Muffins With Walnuts and Cream Cheese Spread

Carrot Muffins With Orange Cream Cheese Spread

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 12 servings

These moist carrot muffins are loaded with shredded carrot and chopped walnuts, and the cinnamon and nutmeg flavors complement the ingredients perfectly. We used multicolored carrots in these muffins.

The orange cream cheese spread is optional, but it does make an easy and tasty spread. Or simply sweeten the cream cheese and add a few drops of vanilla. A flavored butter would be nice with the muffins as well. Try this cinnamon butter or the whipped orange butter.

The carrots may be grated with a hand grater, but a food processor makes the job much faster and easier. 


  • 6 tablespoons butter (softened)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, 8 ounces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots (about 3 carrots peeled and finely shredded)
  • 2/3 cup walnuts (chopped)
  • For the Optional Orange Cream Cheese Spread:
  • 4-ounces cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon orange zest (finely grated)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 3 drops vanilla (or to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Heat the oven to 375 F / 190 C / Gas 5. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with muffin/cupcake papers.

  2. In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter with the granulated sugar until light and fluffy. 

  3. Beat the egg and 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla into the creamed mixture.

  4. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt; mix well to blend.

  5. Add about one-third of the flour to the first mixture along with half of the milk; blend well.

  6. Add another one-third of the flour mixture and the remaining milk; mix until blended.

  7. Add the remaining flour and mix until well blended.

  8. Stir in the shredded carrots and chopped walnuts. 

  9. Fill the prepared muffin cups almost full. 

  10. Bake the muffins for about 25 minutes, or until browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Orange Cream Cheese Spread

  1. In a bowl with an electric mixer, combine the softened cream cheese with the orange zest, 2 tablespoons of confectioners' sugar, and a few drops of vanilla extract.

  2. Beat until light and fluffy.

  3. Add more confectioners' sugar, if desired.

  4. Refrigerate.

  5. Let the cream cheese come to room temperature before serving.

Recipe Variations

  • Replace about 1/2 cup of the grated carrots with 1/2 cup of flaked coconut.
  • Use pecans instead of walnuts in the muffins.
  • Streusel Topping: For a quick topping, combine 1/3 cup of flour, 1/3 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 3 tablespoons of soft butter; mix well. Add a few tablespoons of finely chopped nuts, if desired. Add a few tablespoons of finely chopped nuts, if desired. Sprinkle a little of the mixture over the muffins just before baking.