Morning glory muffins are filled to the brim with wholesome goodness and packed with fibre. Whole-wheat flour, carrots, apples, raisins, and seeds make up some of the healthy ingredients that go into the recipe. These hearty muffins are perfect for breakfast or a mid-morning tea-time treat. They are a breakfast version of carrot cake and a spiced apple cake but without the sweetness and all the extra nutrition.
The ingredient list might seem long for this morning glory muffin recipe, but they are so worth it. You can easily make a few substitutions with the nuts and seeds or leave them out (see options below).
I have used flaxseeds or chia seeds here (they contain protein and fibre) but you can totally use any seed that you prefer such as ground-up hemp or sunflower seeds. I always keep a jar of mixed seeds in my fridge for my cereal, porridge and yoghurt & fruit bowls.
I have used mashed up very ripe banana in this recipe but smooth apple sauce is a typical ingredient. I don’t normally keep it on hand so I found the banana worked perfectly and does not give the muffins any banana flavour.
How to make morning glory muffins
Morning glory muffins are made by hand. You simply need to mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl and the wet ingredients in a separate one, before combining them together.
The batter will have a thick and chunky consistency due to all the dried & fresh fruit and carrot. I like to use a spring ice cream scoop to spoon out even amounts of batter into the muffin cups.
Tips and substitutions
Here are some ingredient variations and substitutions you can try to switch up the recipe. Make sure to use the same amount of the substitute ingredient as the original, unless otherwise stated.
Use all-purpose flour instead of whole-wheat flour. While I haven’t tested this recipe with gluten-free flour blends, some blends may work as a direct swap.
- Replace raisins with dried cranberries, dried apricots, or unsweetened dried coconut flakes if you prefer. Alternatively, add more raisins if you’re a fan.
- Instead of pecans, try using pistachios, almonds, or walnuts. Alternatively, leave them out.
- Use coconut sugar instead of brown sugar. You can also use muscovado or demerara sugar, or white sugar if you prefer.
- Swap honey for maple syrup or sugar.
- Use melted butter instead of oil but don’t completely omit the fat.
- Use drained crushed pineapple, pumpkin puree, or unsweetened applesauce instead of mashed banana.
- Instead of orange juice, use pineapple juice or milk (dairy or non-dairy).
- Substitute shredded zucchini for carrots or shredded apples.
- Replace 1 cup of shredded apple with 2/3 cup of canned crushed tinned pineapple (drained).
These are moist and so delicious and will keep for up to 5 days in a sealed container.
The next time I make these, I might add bran for extra fiber, even though they already contain a lot. The wheat germ was included in a few recipes I came across, but I would have to search for it because it’s not a common ingredient.
Before making these, I researched many recipes, and I found that carrots, raisins, apples, orange juice, whole wheat flour, cinnamon, and ground ginger were always used. You can easily substitute other ingredients according to your liking.
What is the origin of morning glory muffins?
Since morning glory muffins are not well known in South Africa, I was curious to do a little research on their origin:
The exact origins of Morning Glory Muffins are unclear, but they are believed to have been created in the United States during the 1970s. The original recipe is said to have been developed by Chef Pam McKinstry for her Morning Glory Cafe on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts.
These muffins were inspired by the hippie culture of the time, which emphasized healthy, whole foods. The recipe gained popularity and was featured in Gourmet Magazine in 1981, which helped to spread the popularity of the muffins across the country. Since then, Morning Glory Muffins have become a beloved breakfast treat in the United States and beyond.
True to their name they are a glorious way to start the day and are the perfect grab-and-go breakfast treat.
Orange & pecan muffins (one of my all-time favourite muffin recipes)
Recipe – makes 15 – 16 muffins – adapted from Sallys Baking Addiction
Healthy morning glory muffins recipe
- 260 gm / 2 cups whole wheat flour spoon & levelled
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 21/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 35 gm / 1/3 cup ground flaxseed/chia seeds or any seed blend optional see notes
- 3 free-range large eggs at room temperature
- 100 gm / 1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 3 Tbsp honey
- 80 ml / 1/3 cup vegetable oil canola oil, or melted coconut oil
- 60 gm / 1/3 cup mashed very ripe bananas or unsweetened applesauce
- Zest of ½ and orange optional
- 80 ml/ 1/3 cup orange juice or pineapple juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or essence
- 260 gm / 2 cups grated shredded carrots (about 3 large)
- 140 gm / 1 cup shredded/grated apple about 1 large
- 75 gm / 1/2 cup raisins or sultanas or a mix of both or added a little more
- 65 gm /1/2 cup chopped raw pecans
- To make these muffins, start by preheating your oven to 218°C/ 425°F and spraying a 12-hole muffin pan with nonstick spray or lining it with greased/sprayed cupcake paper liners. NB: it’s important to spray the paper liner to prevent the muffin from sticking to them.
- This recipe yields 14-16 muffins, so you may need to prepare a second muffin pan or bake in batches.
- Pour boiling water over the raisins and allow to soak for about 15 minutes then drain and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and seed mix if you are using it.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, honey, oil, mashed-up banana, orange zest, orange juice, and vanilla until well combined. Add in the grated carrots and apples and stir to combine.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir a few times with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Then add the raisins and pecans and fold everything together until just combined and no pockets of flour remain.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan using an ice cream scoop to get an accurate portion, filling each liner all the way to the top.
- Bake for 5 minutes at 200C/ 425°F, then reduce the oven temperature to 180C / 177°C and continue baking for an additional 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.
- The total bake time should be around 23-25 minutes. Once done, allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.