Toddler-Approved Veggie Surprise Mini Muffins

If you’ve been searching for a way to use up the spoils of an overabundant garden, you’ve come to the right place.  And if, as an added bonus, you’d like to get some of those aforementioned excess veggies into your toddler/preschooler/big kid/teenager with as little drama as possible, then look no further.  Carrot Cake, I’d like you to meet Zucchini Bread.  Even though they’re chock full of veggies, who could turn down these little cuties?

Toddler Approved Veggie Surprise Muffins ~ like a combination of Carrot Cake and Zucchini Bread!  |  {Five Heart Home}

I am not above hiding/disguising vegetables to get my kids to eat them.  That’s not to say I don’t serve them straight-up as a side dish as well.  We have a veggie or three with dinner every night, and on a good day I may even throw some baby carrots or cherry tomatoes into the ole’ lunchbox.  But the in-your-face vegetables aren’t always regarded with excitement and acceptance around here, particularly in reference to my younger son.  So what’s a mama to do?  Rather than turn every mealtime into a war zone, I’m of the philosophy that, while we will certainly offer and model eating veggies, I’m also going to sneak them in any chance I get.  That way, when my stubborn little darling balks at the idea of consuming a solitary green bean, I can cackle to myself that he still got those important veggie vitamins, whether he knew it or not.

Toddler Approved Veggie Surprise Muffins ~ like a combination of Carrot Cake and Zucchini Bread!  |  {Five Heart Home}

Now the veggies in these muffins are not entirely subtle.  The bits of shredded zucchini and carrots can be made out by a discerning eye.  But for some reason, even in their most ardent anti-vegetable phases, my kids have always been receptive to veggies in the form of tiny muffins that taste like cake.  Yes, they’re tender and sweet, but don’t get me wrong…these muffins are way healthier than cake.  In addition to a pound of vegetables, they feature whole wheat pastry flour in lieu of white flour, plain yogurt, and, if you’re so inclined, you can use coconut oil instead of butter and unrefined sugar as your sweetener.

Toddler Approved Veggie Surprise Muffins ~ like a combination of Carrot Cake and Zucchini Bread!  |  {Five Heart Home}

So what are you waiting for?  Whip up a batch of these mini muffins and prepare to be amazed as your kiddos come back for extra servings of zucchini and carrots!

Toddler-Approved Veggie Surprise Mini Muffins

Yield: 48+ mini muffins

Toddler-Approved Veggie Surprise Mini Muffins

Carrot Cake meets Zucchini Bread in these cute and tasty little muffins that will have even the most ardent vegetable haters coming back for more.


  • 1 pound COMBINED zucchini & carrots
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil OR butter, melted & cooled
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar OR unrefined sugar


  1. Using a box grater or food processor, grate the zucchini and carrots. Stir 2 tablespoons sugar into shredded veggies, and place mixture in a large colander set over a bowl. As you prepare the rest of the batter ingredients, the sugar will draw the moisture out of the zucchini and carrots. Occasionally press down on them to squeeze more water into the bowl.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly coat two mini muffin pans with cooking spray.
  3. Place chopped nuts on a sheet pan and bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until toasted. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together nuts, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, stir together coconut oil or butter, yogurt, eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla. Blend in sugar.
  5. Add liquid mixture to flour mixture and stir until just combined. Press on shredded zucchini and carrots in colander one last time to extract any remaining water. Mix veggies into batter.
  6. Scoop batter into mini muffin tins and bake for 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. You will probably have more batter than will fit in two muffin pans. You may bake the remaining batter in an additional mini muffin pan (or reuse a pan after the first batch of muffins comes out of the oven, allowing it a few minutes to cool off). Or you can scoop the remaining batter into small ramekins to make a couple of larger muffins (which will probably take 15 minutes or so to bake).


I had a 10 ounce zucchini on hand, so I used 6 ounces of carrots in addition to that in order to make up my pound of veggies.

You can use all-purpose white flour if you prefer. You can also use half white flour and half whole wheat flour in lieu of whole wheat pastry flour.

If you wish to use unrefined sugar, Sucanat and Rapadura are popular brands.

Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin

Adapted from Baking Illustrated.


This post is linked to Lil Luna Link Party 132 at Lil Luna, Kitchen Fun & Crafty Friday Link Party #71 at Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons, Weekend Potluck #72 at 4 Little Fergusons, Strut Your Stuff Saturday Link Party Week 102 at Six Sisters’ Stuff, Super Summer Saturday Party at The Chirping Moms, and Sunday Linky Party #13 at Suburbs Mama.



  1. Samantha:

    These look delicious. I bet they are really moist with all that zucchini. Yum! Have a lovely day!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      They are super moist, Kris. Hope you enjoy them if you end up trying them! And I hope you have a great day as well!

  2. This looks awesome!!! We would love it if you would link up at our linky party:
    Life With the Crust Cut Off
    Live every Wednesday to Sunday.
    Hosted by:
    Parrish @ Life with the Crust Cut Off
    Dana @ This Silly Girl’s Life
    We hope to see you there!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thanks for the invite, Parrish! I just linked up and I’m excited to take a look around your site!

  3. no wander they are toddler approved – they look so cute!

  4. These look great—I’m going to have to try these with my boys! We would love for you to share at our first Super Summer Saturday party here: The Chirping Moms

  5. Delicious and yummy looking! Mmm makes me want to have

    one.. When you get the chance, please share your recipes at

    Pin It Monday Hop. We’d be so happy to have you. See you at the hop.


  6. Thanks for linking up for our first Super Summer Saturday party. Just pinned to our boards to share with our followers. Come back next Saturday to join the fun again!


  7. Sounds great! Is there something I can substitute for the yogurt to make them dairy free? My 10 month old seems to be sensitive to dairy and eggs! Thanks!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi Lisa! I haven’t tried subbing the yogurt for a dairy-free option. I know that you can buy non-dairy yogurt made out of rice milk, soy milk, coconut milk, etc. You could also just leave the yogurt out, adding instead a bit more coconut oil or a splash of one of those milk alternatives (just until the batter reaches the right consistency). This will probably slightly change the texture of your muffins, but since we’re only talking about 1/4 cup yogurt to begin with, I don’t think it would be too much of a difference.

      As far as no eggs, I found this chart for you with some substitute ideas: http://chefinyou.com/egg-substitutes-cooking/

      However, I do have an egg-free, dairy-free muffin recipe on my site that might make an easier starting point for you, and then you could just throw in some of the grated veggies? https://fivehearthome.com/2013/09/30/dairy-free-egg-free-spiced-applesauce-muffins-or-first-birthday-applesauce-cake/

      I hope this helps! If you try a substitute, please come back and let me know how it works out for you. Thanks so much for the question…have a great day! 🙂

  8. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! These are delicious. I accidentally read the recipe wrong and read just 1/2 cup of sugar not 1/2 cup and 2 tbsp but they were perfect and this way I can add a little jam to them and have for breakfast. I’ve been looking for a healthy carrot and zucchini muffin recipe and all the others I found had like 1 3/4 cups sugar for 2 cups of flour and less veggies. So this is very much appreciated.

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      I’m so glad that you enjoyed these, Anisah! They turn out great even if you tweak the sugar a little bit. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to let me know that they were a hit. Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

  9. These look great but I was wondering if there was a good sub for the sugar? we try not to do that much sugar for my toddler and id love to give her these in the mornings for a quick breakfast!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi Kristen! Sometimes I sweeten muffins using honey instead of sugar, like these Healthy Whole Wheat & Honey Banana Muffins. You could try subbing honey in these…maybe 1/4 cup if you don’t want them too sweet? It might slightly affect how they rise, but hopefully they will still turn out fine. Good luck and I hope your daughter enjoys these if you decide to try them! 🙂

  10. Just made these today. I was searching for a healthy toddler muffin with veggies and these are perfect. I used coconut palm sugar, the coconut oil substitute, and coconut yogurt and they were awesome! I actually made a bit of cream cheese icing to spread on a few. Yummy and thanks!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      I’m so glad these were a hit, Sarah! Your substitutes sound like a great way to make them even healthier…thanks for sharing! Hope you have a wonderful week ahead! 🙂

  11. Jewels says:

    Hi! A couple questions…

    Do these freeze and reheat well?

    Does it make any difference to make them regular size muffins instead of mini muffins?


    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi Jewels! We’ve always eaten the whole batch so I’ve never tried freezing these muffins, but I see no reason why they wouldn’t be just fine to freeze. And you can definitely bake them in regular muffin pans…you’ll just need to add more cooking time. I’d probably start checking them at 14 or 15 minutes instead of 10. Good luck and enjoy! 🙂

  12. These are great – even with no sugar! I wanted a savoury muffin for my kids lunch boxes, didn’t add the sugar but only sweetens yoghurt and the lunch boxes were empty for the first time ever! Thank you!!!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      So happy to hear it, Julia! I love that you were able to modify them without sugar and your kids still scarfed them down! 🙂

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