These healthy Morning Glory muffins are the BEST.  Jam-packed with carrots, zucchini, apple, pecans, coconut and whole wheat flour, they are great for breakfast or a healthy but oh-so-yummy snack.

An image of a batch of original morning glory muffins made with zucchini, carrots, apple, coconut, and pecans.

Morning Glory Muffins

I’ve mentioned before on the blog how much I love muffins for breakfast.  They are just so tasty and the perfect, sweet little treat alongside some scrambled eggs, fruit, and a glass of milk.  And since most muffins freeze beautifully, it’s easy to make a batch and throw the extras in the freezer to be pulled out and warmed up for a quick, easy breakfast or snack on busy days.

These Morning Glory Muffins are one of our very favorites.  They are loaded with all the best things:

  • lightly spiced with cinnamon
  • shredded carrots & zucchini
  • grated apple
  • crunchy pecans
  • chewy, sweet coconut
  • whole wheat flour
  • & applesauce!

All of which work together to give morning glory muffins a unique texture and flavor that is perfectly wonderful.  Making these healthy morning glory muffins with whole wheat flour makes them just a bit better for you than other muffins that are really just cupcakes masquerading as breakfast food.  Not that I have anything against those delicious, streusel laden or chocolate chip studded creations.

An image of ingredients for morning glory muffins, including pecans, zucchini, apple, carrots, and coconut. A glass bowl filled with shredded zucchini, carrots, apple, pecans, and coconut for making morning glory muffins.

You will love how these carrot zucchini muffins turn a beautiful caramel-brown color and make your kitchen smell heavenly while they are baking.  Morning glory muffins are sort of a cross between carrot cake, zucchini bread, and a cinnamon applesauce muffin and oh heavens, they taste divine.

My girls especially love when I make morning glory muffins in the mini-muffin pans because then they are just the right size for little fingers.  On days when I am baking these fresh, my girls love to sit on the counter and help me measure everything out and sneak bites of the grated carrot, zucchini, and apple.  Which makes me so happy that they love those healthy things and know what is going into the foods that they eat.

An image of twelve morning glory muffins in a muffin pan.


Original Morning Glory Muffins

From what I read, the reason these are called morning glory muffins is because they were created by former owner and chef Pam McKinstry at the Morning Glory Café in Nantucket, sometime in the late 1970’s.  Then in 1981, the original morning glory muffins recipe was published in Gourmet magazine, and chosen ten years later as one of the magazine’s twenty-five favorite recipes from the previous fifty years.

The original bakery muffins recipe calls for crushed pineapple and raisins, both of which I omit in my version out of personal preference.  I also replaced half of the shredded carrot in the original recipe with shredded zucchini instead, making it more of a carrot zucchini muffin with some added texture and flavor from the coconut and pecans, as well as making some adjustments to the flour, sugar, and oil called for.

An image of healthy morning glory muffin batter in cupcake liners in a muffin pan.

Healthy Morning Glory Muffins

I lightened the recipe up a bit by making the morning glory muffins with applesauce in place of half of the oil called for in the original recipe.  I find that completely eliminating the oil is going too far as it affects the texture, but half oil/half applesauce is just right for keeping a rich, moist flavor and texture that doesn’t compromise the integrity of the original.

I also decreased the sugar a smidge and replaced half of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour instead.  It takes these from being essentially carrot cake for breakfast in the guise of cream cheese frosting-less cupcakes, to a legitimate portable breakfast food.  Albeit still on the sweet side – I’m not a monster after all.

And it’s a pretty easy-going recipe as far as measurements of the the vegetables go.  I hate using just part of a zucchini so if I end up with an extra half cup of zucchini or an extra half cup of grated carrot, I don’t sweat it and just toss it in the mix.  Since they are both grated, they kind of just melt into the batter during the baking process and it turns out all good.

What is your favorite muffin to enjoy for breakfast?

These morning glory muffins with applesauce are healthier than the original version. An image of a morning glory muffin cut in half, with butter spread on it. These healthy Morning Glory muffins are the BEST.  Jam-packed with carrots, zucchini, apple, pecans, coconut and whole wheat flour, they are great for breakfast or a healthy but oh-so-yummy snack.

Morning Glory Muffins
Yield: 16 muffins

Morning Glory Muffins

These healthy Morning Glory muffins are the BEST.  Jam-packed with carrots, zucchini, apple, pecans, coconut and whole wheat flour, they are great for breakfast or a healthy but oh-so-yummy snack.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1 granny smith apple, peeled and grated
  • 3/4 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tins with liners or by spraying each cup with cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, soda, cinnamon and salt.
  3. Stir the grated zucchini, carrot, apple, raisins if using, pecans, and coconut into the flour mixture, just until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, applesauce, oil and vanilla, then pour into the larger mixing bowl with all the other ingredients and mix just until combined.
  5. Fill each muffin cup with muffin batter almost all the way to the top.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes for regular-sized muffins or 16-18 minutes for mini-muffins.


If opting to include the raisins, plump them in hot water for 10 minutes, then drain before adding to the muffin batter.

Nutrition Information:



Amount Per Serving: Calories: 223 Saturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 30mg Sodium: 235mg Carbohydrates: 27g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 15g Protein: 3g



I enjoy hearing from you!  If you have tried this recipe or any others on my site, leave me a comment and a rating and I will do my best to respond!