Keto Carrot Cake Muffins (with Optional Cream Cheese Frosting)

These keto carrot cake muffins are such a delectable treat – perfect for spring.  Made with nutty almond flour, sweet grated carrots, and aromatic spices, these muffins have the perfect flavor with just 4 grams of net carbs.  Elevate them with an optional cream cheese frosting for a more decadent dessert (and even with the frosting, less than 5 grams of net carbs)!

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A muffin tin full of keto carrot cake muffins.

Are carrots keto?

Let’s start with the elephant in the room – carrots and the keto diet.  While some may say that carrots are a no-go on the keto diet, we disagree with that.  Ketosis is a metabolic state and while some may claim there are very specific rules, we adhere to the philosophy that if you are in ketosis, that’s what matters. 

Carrots may be slightly higher in sugar than other vegetables, but they can certainly be included in a keto diet in moderation, so long as they’re in an amount that allows you to stay in ketosis.  Using 2 cups of grated carrots in this recipe means there’s less than a quarter cup of carrots per muffin.

Even along with all the other ingredients, there’s still only 4 grams of net carbs per muffin (or a little less than 5 grams with frosting) – which is definitely feasible for most people following the keto diet.

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe, along with some helpful ingredient tips:

  • Butter – Using butter in this muffin adds fat and keeps it tender.
  • Low carb granulated sweetener – You can use any granulated low-carb sweetener of your choice.  I prefer Lakanto Golden (a mixture of monkfruit and erythritol) because I find it has the best flavor, and less of a cooling sensation compared to just using granulated erythritol.  (In fact, I don’t notice any cooling sensation at all with this recipe).
  • Eggs – You’ll use more eggs than a conventional muffin recipe here, as they help to hold the structure of the muffin when using almond flour as the base.
  • Vanilla extract – Vanilla helps enhance the perception of sweetness in a recipe.
  • Cinnamon and ginger – These aromatic spices are classic in any carrot cake inspired recipe.
  • Almond flour – This slightly sweet, nutty flour is ideal for keto baking, since it’s low in carbs and high in healthy fats and fiber.  You can find almond flour online, or in the baking or natural sections of your grocery store.
  • Salt – Enhances the flavor and acts as a mild preservative.
  • Baking soda and baking powder – These are used as leavening agents.  This recipe won’t rise as much as a conventional muffin, but will still rise slightly.
  • Grated carrots – The star of our carrot cake muffins!
  • Walnuts – Adding walnuts (or pecans if you prefer) gives additional texture and more healthy fats.

Instructions

Here’s how to make these keto carrot cake muffins (full amounts and instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post – but here’s some helpful step-by-step tips and photos):

Start by creaming the butter and sweetener together.  You can use a hand mixer or stand mixer, but you want it to be light and fluffy.

Then, add the eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger.  Mix it until well combined; you want the eggs fully incorporated into the mixture.

Next, add the almond flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.  Give it a few good stirs to combine, then fold in the carrots and walnuts.

The batter will be thicker than many muffin batters, and look like this:

Muffin batter in a silver bowl.

Spoon the batter into a lined muffin tin.  You want to fill them until almost completely full.  Spoon the batter in then press down with the back of the spoon to ensure it’s almost full.  Here’s what it’ll look like:

Muffin batter filling up the cups of a muffin tin.

Yes, that’s completely the opposite of most muffin recipes, where it calls for you to only fill about 3/4 of the way.  However, because these don’t rise quite as much, you want them almost completely full.

Now all that’s left to do is bake ‘em, let ‘em cool, and enjoy!

Optional Frosting

If you’d like to add an optional frosting to make this more of a dessert, feel free!  Is frosting the differentiator between a muffin and a cupcake? 😉

I prefer these without frosting, my wife loves them with the rich cream cheese frosting.

To make the frosting, you’ll need:

  • Cream cheese – Obviously, we’ve gotta have cream cheese in a cream cheese frosting!
  • Butter – Butter helps the mixture come together into a frosting consistency, and gives a better balance of flavor compared to cream cheese alone.
  • Powdered low-carb sweetener – I just use powdered erythritol for this, but you can also use any other powdered low-carb sweetener you’d prefer here.
  • Vanilla extract – This helps brighten up the frosting and bring out sweet notes.
  • Salt – A pinch of salt helps enhance the other flavors.
  • Heavy cream – A little heavy cream will help create the proper texture so the frosting is spreadable.

To make it, you just need to toss all that in a mixer and use the whisk attachment to create a light, fluffy frosting.  If you don’t have a stand mixer, a large bowl with a hand mixer will do!  Then spread it on to your muffins and dig in.

Low carb carrot cake muffins topped with cream cheese frosting on a cake stand.

Recipe FAQ

Here are some common questions that may come up as you prepare this recipe:

Is there a substitute for almond flour in these muffins?  Unfortunately, there’s not.  Almond flour works exceptionally well here, and is needed to keep this recipe low carb.  While some other recipes may use coconut flour, this recipe is not designed for that.  Coconut flour absorbs liquid differently, so if you wish to use that, it’s best to find a recipe specific for that.

How do you store these keto carrot cake muffins?  Store in an airtight container in the fridge.  Even without frosting, the presence of fresh carrots and high moisture content in this recipe can lead to quicker spoilage at room temperature.  (And with frosting, the fresh cream cheese definitely needs refrigeration.)  These will last for 4-5 days in the refrigerator.

Can you freeze these muffins?  Yes, feel free to freeze them without the optional frosting.  To defrost, pop one in the microwave for about 30 seconds.

Macronutrient Breakdown 

Each of these muffins is 260 calories with 23.5 grams of fat and just 4 grams of net carbs.

The macronutrient breakdown is as follows:

  • 82% fat
  • 12% protein
  • 6% net carbs

Pretty nice little breakdown for a keto dessert!

If you choose to add the optional frosting, the nutrition facts go to 339 calories with 31.5 grams of fat and 4.7 grams of net carbs.  The macronutrient stays very close, just slightly shifting to be a smidge higher contribution of fat:

  • 84% fat
  • 10% protein
  • 6% net carbs

I hope you enjoy this recipe.  If you get a chance to try it, feel free to leave a comment or recipe rating below.

A keto carrot cake muffin in a paper liner still in the muffin tin.

Keto Carrot Cake Muffins (with Optional Cream Cheese Frosting)

Yummy Keto Cooking
Made with nutty almond flour, sweet grated carrots, and aromatic spices, these keto carrot cake muffins are a delectable treat.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 12 muffins
Calories 260 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the muffins:

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup Lakanto golden monkfruit sweetener (or another low-carb granulated sweetener, like erythritol or allulose)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts

For the optional cream cheese frosting:

  • 3 tbsp butter, softened
  • 6 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup powdered erythritol
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ tbsp heavy cream (or more as needed)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sweetener until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger, and mix again until well combined.
  • Add the almond flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder, and stir until combined. Fold in the carrots and walnuts.
  • Spoon the batter into the lined cupcake tin. Fill each one almost completely full.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through and a toothpick pulls out clean from the center of a muffin. Let cool and enjoy.
  • If topping with optional frosting: Combine all frosting ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer, then use the whisk attachment on high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. If mixture is too thick, thin with another splash of heavy cream. Add a thin layer of frosting to each muffin and enjoy.

Notes

Net carbs below are calculated by subtracting erythritol (a sugar alcohol that generally has no impact on blood sugar) and fiber.
 
Nutrition facts (approximate without frosting):  260 calories, 23.5 g fat, 6.5 g saturated fat, 320 mg sodium, 19.3 g carbohydrate, 3.4 g fiber, 12 g erythritol, *3.9 g net carbs*, 7.5 g protein, Vitamin D: 2%, Calcium: 7%, Iron: 7%, Potassium: 5%
Nutrition facts (approximate with frosting): 339 calories, 31.5 g fat, 11.5 g saturated fat, 400 mg sodium, 26.5 g carbohydrate, 3.4 g fiber, 18.4 g erythritol, *4.7 g net carbs*, 8.5 g protein, Vitamin D: 2%, Calcium: 8%, Iron: 7%, Potassium: 6%
Keyword keto carrot cake muffin, low carb carrot cake muffin

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